Their Descendants...Their Stories...Their Achievements

Lifting the Mists of History on Their Way of Life

By: Ethelene Dyer Jones

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Continuing the Saga of the Davis Siblings, Early Union Settlers

At the outset I want to correct and clarify an error from last week’s column entitled “Old Letters from Davis Kin Give Insights to Life in Early Union County.” In it I wrote: “The Marida Davis who wrote this letter, I think, was the Mary Davis listed in the household of Meredith Davis in the 1850 census.” Well, I admit that I “thought wrong.” I have since learned, thanks to a kinsman of these early Union County Davis families, that Merida was a way Meredith Davis sometimes signed his name. His signature was also sometimes rendered “Meriday”, so the “Merida” of the letter was not his sister Mary at all, but the head-of-household, Meredith Davis, writing to his sister back in North Carolina, Jane Davis England. Thanks, David Davis, for setting me straight on who Merida Davis really was back in the 1860’s and 1870’s correspondence to family.

And now we go to an old deed, the source of our learning the kinship and connection of the Union County Davis settlers from the 1850 census and that of Sarah Davis Souther, also a sibling, wife of miller and farmer, Joseph Souther.

Also from David Davis, Vale, NC, I received a copy of an old document from Burke County, NC dated 18 December, 1797 and numbered “Grant No. 2222.” It was for “100 Acres” of land located “on a branch of England’s Mill Creek.” Five days before the record was entered in “Book 94, page No. 206” of the Burke County land transactions, William Davis had “paid into this office the sum of fifty shillings” on Dec. 13th 1797, “it being in full of the purchase money for 100 acres of Land by him entered in the county of Burke.” The document was duly signed by Wm. Davis and John Haywood, Treasurer. The second page of the 1797 document gives the marks that denote the land boundary, “lying on a branch of England’s Mill Creek, joining said England’s land on the east beginning from a post oak England’s Corner and runs west nineteen (?) poles to two Chesnuts in the head of a hollow. Then South one hundred and seven by eight (nots [knots?]) to a Maple and Chestnut, then exactly East ninety nots (?) to a stake. Then No. (north) to the beginning. Surveyed October 10, 1797. Signed and attested to by William England, Thomas Davis and Robert Logan.”

What happened to this hundred acres bought for fifty shillings in a land grant transaction in December, 1797? William Davis and his wife, Sarah Oxford Davis, lived on it and farmed the land and reared a large family there. Their youngest son, David Davis, was born in 1809. In early 1810, William Davis was named on a road crew working in Old Burke County, NC. But sometime later in 1810, this William Davis, holder of the 100 acres of land on England’s Mill Creek, died. His wife, Sarah Oxford Davis, survived him and was in some documents referred to as “Widow Davis.” She died in 1844.

Then in a deed drawn up in 1845 but not probated until 1855 in McDowell County (which was formed from Old Burke County) states: “This Indenture made the twenty fifth day of September in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and fifty five between John Davis (Sr. ?) and Thos. Davis, Salatheal Davis, Jehial Davis, Merryda Davis, David Davis, Mary Davis, David Dalton and his wife Ruth Dalton, Joseph Souther and Sarah Souther his wife, John England and Jane England his wife of the State of North Carolina and County of McDowell of the one part and Patrick Davis of the State and County aforesaid, of the other part, witnesseth that for and in consideration of the sum of seventy dollars to them in hand paid by the said Patrick Davis the receipt whereof the said John Davis, Thos. Davis, Salatheal Davis, Johiel Davis, Merryda Davis, David Davis, Mary Davis, David Dalton and Ruth Dalton, Joseph Souther and Sarah Souther, John England and Jane doth fully acknowledged, have bargained, granted, sold, enforced, conveyed and confirmed unto (and here follows again a listing of all those children of William and Sarah Davis who would get their equal portion of the $70 for which the 100 acres was sold to Patrick Davis.

We know from the Union County, Georgia 1850 census that Meredith Davis, Salalthiel Davis, Johile Davis, Mary Davis and Sarah Davis Souther were already settled and living in Union. At the end of the old McDowell County indenture were affixed the signatures (and or marks with names) of the twelve children who were to receive their part of the $70 from the land transaction paid for by Patrick Davis. When we divide out this inheritance, we find that each of the twelve children listed received about $5.83 in cash for the land on which they had grown up at England’s Mill Creek in Old Burke turned McDowell County.

As for Joseph Souther and Sarah Davis Souther, they moved from Choestoe to Arkansas in late 1853 as their daughter Lydia Louise and her husband, Richard H. Wimpey moved there about then. Sarah evidently died there before 1859. Joseph Souther married twice more following Sarah’s death, to Malinda (maiden name unknown) Chumely, widow of John Chumely of Claiborne County, Tennessee. She, too, died before 1865, for on December 28, 1865 Joseph Souther married the third time to Matilda J. Houston in Polk County, Missouri.

Some of the other Davis siblings who settled in Union evidently did not remain here very long. Johiel Davis and his wife and family moved before 1860 to Pickens County, Georgia and later on to Cherokee County, Georgia. If others of the Davis siblings remained in Union until their deaths, they do not have monuments in any of the cemeteries of Union County corresponding to their names and dates of birth. The oldest graves of Davises buried in a Union County cemetery were found in the Mt. Pleasant No. 2 Cemetery in Gaddistown. These were Charles Davis (1811 – 1883) and Rebecca A. Davis (1811 – 1893).

We’ve examined letters to family members preserved in an old dove-tailed wooden box, thanks to contributor and descendant David Davis. We have read that Rita Elaine Davis, who has worked as a librarian for the National Society, Daughters of the American Revolution in Washington, DC, has collected “many Davis letters and information.” We are seeking to find this descendant of Joseph and Sarah Davis Souther to see if she can share with us other important family history tidbits of these early Davis settlers to Union County.

c 2010 by Ethelene Dyer Jones; published August 26, 2010 in The Union Sentinel, Blairsville, GA. Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.

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