Tag Archives: Giles

52 Ancestors – #5 William Lynn Davis

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I have decided to accept the challenge of Amy Johnson Crow over at No Story Too Small blog. Amy challenges us: 52 Ancestors in 52 weeks.  I think this is an excellent challenge as I tend to focus on my brick walls, and this will force me to fan out in my tree and focus on other ancestors.

Please meet my 2nd great-grandfather, William Lynn Davis.  Week five and my fifth post in the challenge.

William Lynn Davis

William Lynn Davis

I would like to thank Tony Davis for his help with this week’s post. Lynn Davis is also the 2nd great-grandfather of Tony, and Tony is my 3rd cousin.

William Lynn Davis was born on 20 Mar 1854 in Lowndes Co., Alabama to John Thomas Davis and Jemima Jane (Bullard) Davis.

At about the age of ten he moved with his family to Sylverino, Lafayette Co., Arkansas, which is south of present day Texarkana.  This area later became Miller Co., Arkansas.

I have been unable to locate the family on the 1860 census.  On the 1870 census, not finding Lynn in the home of his parents, I believe I found him living in the home of the B.R. and Marguerite Attaway.  I’m not positive this is him though.

1870 Census Possible Lynn Davis

1870 Census, Beach, Lafayette Co., Arkansas. Possibly Lynn Davis.

On 13 Sep 1874 in Lafayette Co. (later Miller Co.), Arkansas at the home of Charles and Rachel McBride, Lynn married Sarah “Sallie” Magdalene Robertson, the daughter of James Robertson and Anna (Lamberson) Robertson. His parents John and Jemima Davis, and her stepmother Delphy Robertson were in attendance. The McBrides were early settlers of the area, and probably close friends of the family.

1870 Possible Lynn Davis

Sarah “Sallie” Magdalene Robertson Davis.

To see the family bible records which record their marriage, and the births and deaths of family members, you can view them here, Bible of William Lynn and Sarah M. Davis.

According to his testimony on his own behalf in support of his homestead claim certified on March 8, 1884, he was on the original farm in September of 1877 and in October of that year moved into a box frame house of three rooms. He originally cleared and cultivated about 22 acres, and cleared and fenced an adjoining patch of eight acres, in total worth about $400.00. He raised six crops, although these were not specified. The land patent was issued on 30 Jun 1884.

William L Davis Land Patent

William L Davis Land Patent

As you can see on the screen shot below, he was granted 80 acres in Township 16S, Range 28W. On the map at the bottom of the land information, you can see where the township and range is, highlighted in orange.  The darker block inside the orange area is section thirty-five where Lynn’s land was.  The actual description of his homestead was: the south-east quarter of the south-west quarter, and the south-west quarter of the south-east quarter of section thirty-five, in township sixteen south of range twenty-eight west of the Fifth Principal Meridian in Arkansas, containing eighty acres.

Land Patent Info William Lynn Davis

Land Patent Info William Lynn Davis

This is the original land survey from the area, done in 1843. I have highlighted section 35, where Lynn’s homestead was. This is the section that is highlighted dark orange on the map above.

Land Patent Map 1843 Miller Co Sec

The Miller County Personal Property Tax records of 1893-1894 list the following personal property and its value:  4 horses-$125, 20 cattle-#100, 1 mule-$65, 14 sheep-$15, 30 hogs-$30, 2 carriages or wagons-$60, total value of personal property-$770.

Before 1900, Lynn and Sallie had eleven children.  Three of them would not live to adulthood.

  • John Thomas Davis named after Lynn’s father.  John was born 10 Dec 1881 and died 20 Jul 1882 and is also buried in the Concord Cemetery.
  • An infant daughter, born and died in 1882 and buried in the Concord Cemetery in Fouke, Miller Co., Arkansas.
  • Mary Georgia Davis born 30 Mar 1891 and died 18 Feb 1892.  Mary is buried in Sylverino Cemetery, Miller Co., Arkansas.

The other children (also listed in the bible) are as follows:

  • Magdalene “Maggie” Isabell Davis – (1876-1900) married James Arthur Alexander.
  • William Harley Davis – (1877-1955) married Martha Jane Giles.  Harley is the great-grandfather of Tony Davis.
  • James Harvey Davis – (1879-1952) first married Lula Giles, then married Florence Higginbotham, my great grand aunt.
  • Jemima “Jennie” Davis – (1884-1966) married Alfred Alonzo Aaron.
  • Mollie Agnes Davis – (1887-1967) married Thomas Owen “Major” Harris. My great-grandparents.
  • Joel Almus Davis – (1889-1968) married Maggie Elena Ray.
  • Nora Ola Davis – (1893-1974) married John Wesley Bull.
  • Mittie Ann Davis – (1900-1991) married first Horace Greeley Grigson, Sr. and second Bryan McBride.

This photo is of Maggie, Lynn and Harley Davis.

Maggie, Lynn and Harley Davis

Maggie, Lynn and Harley Davis

In this family photo, on the front row, left to right:  Jennie (Davis) Aaron, Lynn Davis, and Sallie Davis holding Almus Davis with Mollie (Davis) Harris standing next to Sallie.  Back row, left to right: Harley Davis, Maggie (Davis) Alexander, and Jim Davis.

Lynn and Sarah Davis Family

Lynn and Sarah Davis Family

There’s no shortage of photos of Lynn and Sallie, and this one here is one of my favorites.

Lynn and Sallie Davis

On the 1900 census, enumerated in Days Creek, Miller Co., Arkansas. Lynn Davis, with wife Sallie and children Jennie, Mollie, Almus, Nora, and Mittie.

1900 Census - Lynn Davis Family

1900 Census – Lynn Davis Family

On the 1910 census, enumerated in Days Creek, Miller Co., Arkansas. Lynn Davis, with wife Sallie and children Nora and Mittie, grandchildren Albert and Calvin Davis, the children of Jim Davis, and a mulatto servant, Will Pines. Albert and Calvin were children of Jim and Lula Davis. Lula died in 1903, which is probably why their children were with Lynn and Sallie. In Oct of 1910 Jim remarried Florence Higginbotham.

1910 Census Lynn Davis Family

1910 Census Lynn Davis Family

This family photo, ca 1911 is amazing. What a great picture to have all the children and grandchildren in. Top Row – Left to Right: Osa (Alexander) Sloan, Doug Alexander, Almus Davis, Maggie (Ray) Davis, Leon Davis, Nora (Davis) Bull, Lynn Davis, Sallie (Robertson) Davis, Alice (Herring) Harris, Ed Harris, Elvie Davis, Mittie (Davis) Grigson McBride.

Front Row Left to Right: Alonzo Aaron, Jennie (Davis) Aaron, Jim Davis, Florence (Higginbotham) Davis, Albert Davis, Calvin Davis, Ruvelle “Man” Aaron, Arlie Aaron, Ruby (Aaron) Briggs, Exie Davis, Clarence Davis, Floyd Davis, Janie (Giles) Davis, Harley Davis, Vesta Davis, Major Harris, Mollie Davis Harris, Edna (Harris) Higginbotham.

Davis Family

Davis Family

I love the side view of the house.  In this photo, from left to right:  Doug Alexander, Osa (Alexander) Sloan, Nora (Davis) Bull, Sallie Davis, Lynn Davis and Mittie (Davis) Grigson McBride.

Lynn and Sallie Davis House

Lynn and Sallie Davis House

This photo, is of Lynn and Sallie with their children.  From left to right on the front: Jim Davis, Nora (Davis) Bull, Mollie (Davis) Harris, Mittie (Davis) Grigson McBride, Jennie (Davis) Aaron, Almus Davis, and Harley Davis. On the back row: Lynn and Sallie Davis.

Davis Family

Davis Family

There are a couple of cool things I learned about this photo, the first is that Melba Briggs Wood, a great-granddaughter of Lynn and Sallie through daughter Jennie (Davis) Aaron, has the original photo that hung on Lynn and Sallie’s wall.

Davis family picture, Melba Wood

Davis family picture, Melba Wood

The second and even cooler thing I learned is about the doll that Mittie was holding in the photo. Melba says that the doll was a gift from Lynn to Mittie, and that not only did he buy Mittie a doll, but he also bought Jennie’s daughter, and Melba’s mother, Ruby (Aaron) Briggs a doll at the same time. Melba still has the doll that belonged to her mother Ruby.

Melba Wood with Her Mother's Doll.

Melba Wood with Her Mother’s Doll.

What a great treasure!   I’ll speak more about other heirlooms that Lynn and Sallie passed down in a minute but first I want to continue to tell you what I know about Lynn, that Tony shared with me.

Lynn and his sons raised hogs in the bottoms near the Sulpher River in an interesting way. They would catch wild hogs (razorbacks!) by baiting a large wooden cage with corn. They would mark the hogs, and release them to forage as wild hogs will do. I guess after some period of time when they needed to eat some pork they would catch and slaughter a hog instead of releasing it back. The earmarks would let them know if they caught someone else’s hog or if it was theirs; the same if someone else caught one of theirs. At least this is what Tony was told.

The Davis family ear crop for their hogs was “crop, split, underbit right, underbit left.” A crop was a triangular notch cut off the top of the ear, a split is a cut in the ear at the top of the ear after the crop, and underbit was a little notch in the bottom of the ear.

Tony’s grandfather, Clarence Taylor Davis, told him the following about his great-grandfather:

“He owned about 280 acres along the Sulpher River, where Blackmon Ferry Road meets the river. A ferry used to operate there. He owned and operated a cotton gin, sawmill, and did a lot of hunting commercially, particularly ducks which he would sell to area restaurants and hotels. During the Depression he turned the operation of the businesses over to his sons. Harley Davis (Clarence’s father), operated the sawmill. It was a large operation, with logs brought in from Louisiana and Texas, as well as those cut locally.”

I love this picture of Lynn, with his dog sitting in the saddle.

Lynn Davis

Lynn Davis

On the 1920 Census, just two years before Sallie would pass away, we find Lynn and Sallie enumerated in Days Creek, Miller Co., Arkansas with daughter Mittie.

1920 Census Lynn Davis Family

1920 Census Lynn Davis Family

This next photo, is hanging in the home of Wesley Aaron, great-grandson of Lynn and Sallie. I imagine it also hung in Lynn and Sallie’s home.

Lynn and Sallie Davis

Lynn and Sallie Davis

Sadly on 11 Dec 1922, Sallie passed away in the family home.  When she passed, she and Lynn would have been married for 48 years.  Her obituary, from the Texarkana Gazette read:

Mrs. W.L. Davis, a native-born resident of Miller County who spent the whole 67 years of her life in the county, died yesterday morning at 5 o’clock at the family home on the Line Ferry Road eleven miles south of Texarkana.  Mrs. Davis is survived by her husband, three sons, Harley, Jim and Almus, and four daughters, Mrs. Alonzo Aaron, Mrs. Major Harris, Mrs. Wesley Bull and Mrs. Horace Grigson, all of the daughters being residents of Texarkana.  The funeral will be held at 11 o’clock this morning at the Sylverino church.  Rev. O.J. Wade officiating, with interment in the Sylverino Cemetery.”

I imagine after 48 years of marriage, this would have been extremely hard on Lynn. According to Melba Wood, Lynn remarried after Sallie died for companionship.  However, none of  Lynn and Sallie’s children were happy about this.

On 25 Sep 1927 Lynn remarried May Ella Temple, the widow of David L. Temple.  Melba shared this picture with me of May, as you can see “Love Birds” was written on the photo by one of the disgruntled children.

William Lynn Davis and his second wife, May

William Lynn Davis and his second wife, May

This photo of Lynn and May was in my grandmother Edna (Harris) Higginbotham’s photo album. It was not labeled Lynn and May, but I have a pretty good feeling its them.

May and Lynn Davis

May and Lynn Davis

On the 1930 Census, in Day’s Creek, Miller Co., Arkansas it’s just Lynn and May.

1930 Census Lynn Davis

1930 Census Lynn Davis

Then, on 19 May 1937 in his home, Lynn passed away. This is his obituary.

WL Davis Obit

WL Davis Obit

Notice the obituary doesn’t list May as a survivor? Poor May. She was listed as living alone on the 1940 census, and when she died in 1955 she was buried beside her first husband, David L. Temple in Pleasant Hill Cemetery, Miller Co., Arkansas.

Lynn was buried beside Sallie, in the Sylverino Cemetery, Miller Co., Arkansas.

Headstone of Lynn and Sallie Davis

Headstone of Lynn and Sallie Davis

I mentioned earlier there were some other heirlooms that Lynn and Sallie handed down. One of which, I actually have. It’s their clock, and I have it hanging on the wall in my living room. The clock was given to Mollie, who gave it to my grandmother Edna, who gave it to my Aunt Jane. When Aunt Jane (Higginbotham Starks) passed away in 2012, Uncle Charlie gave it to me.  There was a note inside from Lynn stating the clock was to be given to Mollie, and he signed it “Papa”.

Lynn Davis Clock

Lynn Davis Clock

The next heirloom, is the family photo album. This is where all these great pictures were that Marilyn Metcalf Huber was kind enough to let me scan. It’s also a music box. Marilyn is the great-granddaughter of Lynn and Sallie through their daughter Mittie.

Photo Album of Lynn and Sallie Davis

Photo Album of Lynn and Sallie Davis

In the very back you can see the music box, it also has the songs written on it that it played. I don’t think it works any more. Neither does my clock, but maybe one day I will have it fixed.

Photo Album of Lynn and Sallie Davis

Photo Album of Lynn and Sallie Davis

Last but certainly not least as you will see, is the organ of Sallie Davis. It still works, and is in good condition after some maintenance and upkeep was done to it by Marilyn or someone in her family. I couldn’t really remember the story on how Marilyn ended up with it, or remember about them fixing it up, but as soon as I get in touch with her about it, I will update this story. Here’s the organ, it’s beautiful!  I can just imagine Sallie sitting there playing it.

Organ that belonged to Sallie Davis

Organ that belonged to Sallie Davis

Marilyn played it a bit for Nedra and I.

Organ that belonged to Sallie Davis

Organ that belonged to Sallie Davis

It still has books in it.

Organ that belonged to Sallie Davis

Organ that belonged to Sallie Davis

I hope you have enjoyed this long-winded post from Tony and I, and if any of you Davis descendants out there have an heirloom or more information that you would like to share, please let me know.

This is how I descend from Lynn and Sallie Davis.

Susie to Lynn Davis

Norma Jean McClure Davis

Guest post by my 3rd cousin, Tony Davis.

Susie has graciously allowed me to post this brief article on my aunt, Norma Jean (McClure) Davis, who was married to my uncle, C. Gene Davis.  My father was Lynn Arthur Davis, and Uncle Gene was his older brother.  For those who don’t know, their father was Clarence Davis, son of William Harley and Janie (Giles) Davis.  Harley was a son of William Lynn and Sarah (Robertson) Davis.  Susie and I are related two ways: Harley’s brother Jim Davis married Florence Higginbotham, and Harley’s sister Mollie Davis married Major Harris! A small world, especially south Miller County in the early 1900’s!

With the recent passing of my Uncle Gene on October 30, 2013, my Aunt Agnes, who married Uncle Gene in 1973, gave me old photos that Uncle Gene had taken as a teenager, as well as photos of Uncle Gene’s first wife, Norma Jean.  Norma Jean was the daughter of Dan Henry and Oberia (McDonald) McClure.

Norma Jean McClure

Norma Jean McClure as a teenager.

She and Uncle Gene married in 1949, and she died unexpectedly on January 2, 1966 in Texarkana.  She is buried at East Memorial Gardens.  These are the facts of her brief life, but not really why I wanted to write this article.

Gene and Norma Jean Davis - Wedding

Gene and Norma Jean Davis – Wedding

My aunt and uncle did not have any children, so I guess I was in some way a substitute.  I was very close to them, as we lived in those early years in Texarkana, before my father joined the FBI and we moved away.  Everyone who knew her thought she was a very classy lady, always dressed sharply and elegantly, long red fingernails, cat-eye glasses, the epitome of 1950’s and early 1960’s style.  My mother, Sue, tells the story of the time I got into a nest of chiggers, and was literally covered with them.  I wouldn’t let anybody pick them off except my aunt Norma Jean.

When I first started reading Susie’s blog I found a picture she had posted of the “Radar Squares” square dancing club.  What I soon realized was that my Uncle Gene and Aunt Norma Jean were in the same picture with Edna and Earl Higginbotham!  Once again a small world!

Radar Squares 1965

Radar Squares 1965

It’s funny that you don’t usually know about your relatives growing up, unless you are inquisitive, as we genealogists are. When my father died, I knew he was a cheerleader at Texarkana, Arkansas High, but I didn’t know he was also part of a tumbling team, and played a lead part in the Senior High play.  When my Uncle Gene died, I didn’t realize he was such an avid photographer as a teenager.  Aunt Agnes gave me several photo books full of pictures he had taken of friends and activities in his life growing up in Texarkana.  I also didn’t know that my Aunt Norma Jean was a band majorette at Texarkana, Arkansas High School.  There are a lot of pictures of her that Uncle Gene took.  How young and carefree everyone looked!  I guess God allows most of us those easy times in life to help make up for the tough times.

Norma Jean as a Majorette

Norma Jean as a Majorette

I have included some of the pictures I was given by Aunt Agnes, who is also a very stylish (and fun!) lady.  Uncle Gene was a very lucky man to have married two such lovely women.  A tear comes to my eye when I think of my dear Aunt Norma Jean, and most recently my Uncle Gene.  Thank you for joining me on this trip down memory lane.

Tony Davis

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