Theodosia Deshon was born circa 1788 and lived most, if not all, of her life on the Mashantucket Pequot reservation. While marriage records are non-extant, Theodosha Deshon had at least two children: Mary Ann Deshon b. ca. 1811 and John George Washington Wait b. ca 1820. Theodosia appeared consistently in the records of the State appointed overseer to the tribe for a period of more than 35 years. During this time she was an active member of the community and involved in the political affairs of the tribe.
The earliest mention of Theodosia in the historical record is associated with an unfortunate incident in which she was assaulted by Silas Aaron ( a.k.a. Silas Kindness ). In April of 1816 Silas Aaron attacked and viciously beat Theodosia. According to William Hempsted, who cared for her after the assault, Theodosia was “blind & broused & all most helpless”. Aaron was found guilty and sentenced to prison.
In February of 1819 Dr. Dan King indicated that he provide medical attendance and medicine to Theodosia’s youngest child for an unspecified condition. While it’s uncertain who the child may have been, given the timing it’s possible it was Theodosia’s infant son, John Wait.
As a young woman, in April of 1819, Theodosia was a signatory to a petition for the appointment of a new overseer. She, along with 24 others from the community, petitioned the New London County Court for the appointment of Captain Eneas Morgan as overseer. Over the next three decades, Theodosia would put her mark to another five petitions for new overseers, the last of which was in in February of 1851, just one year prior to her death.
During this period the accounts of the overseers show that Theodosia received goods and services in the form of food, clothing, firewood, assistance in the preparation of her garden, as well as other supplies and necessaries. The most revealing source of information concerning the Deshon family comes in a December 1833 letter in which Theodosia was enumerated in an informal census of tribal members living on the reservation. Erastus Williams, having just concluded his tenure as overseer, described her in a letter to William Williams, as a 45 year old and of mixed white and Indian ancestry. Living in Theodosia’s household was her daughter Mary Ann, son John Wait and Mary Ann’s two children Eliza Esther and Peter, ages 5 and 2 respectively.
The last entry in the overseer records for Theodosia was in March of 1852 when the expense of her grave clothes and burial was paid for out of tribal funds.
CHS, William Samuel Johnson Papers, III, 100: December 13, 1833 Letter from Erastus Williams to William T. Williams; CSL, NLCC:PbS, Indians, Mashantucket Pequot; CSL, RG3, NLCCR June 1816, File 414; CSL, RG3, NLCCR December 1816, Box 11, folder 5, Box 12, folder 18; Petition of the Western Pequots to the Connecticut General Assembly, 1819.04.24.00