Thursday, November 22, 2012

The Methodist Man: The Estate of Job Davis

Corn now growing on the former Davis farm
Job Davis was my great-grandfathers great-grandfather and the cause of my dive into genealogy. I grew up hearing stories of Job and his 4 sons and knew the location of his property along the Rocky River. He was born on April 10, 1773 and died in the old Davis Community along the Rocky River in southern Stanly County, North Carolina.

The graveyard, where Job, his wife Sarah Winfield Howell Davis and several other family members are buried, is just off of Old Davis Road there. What I did not know was his origins prior.

You can tell a great deal about an individual by the possessions they acquired and kept. Tools can betray a trade, books can impart an interest, collections can reveal a lifestyle.

The estate of Job Davis was settled in the May Session of the Court of Stanly County in 1853. His will had already been probated and his assets were being inventoried. Other parts of Stanly County had been settled by Scotch-Irish coming down the Philadelphia Wagon Trail or Germans coming in from Cabarrus and Rowan down the Salisbury-Fayetteville Market Road. Several Virginians had settled into the Granville Grants in the early days of the area and a few Welsh Methodists had set up plantations along the Rocky and PeeDee Rivers. Job's land was just north of a settlement along the PeeDee in South Carolina known as the "Welsh Neck".

The Davis family were both Virginians and Welsh Methodists. Several family members still today are Wesleyan Methodists and Job's belongings verify that he was as well and it was passed down to his descendants.

Job was a member of the small plantation community that had grown up near the "Forks", the fertile area where the Rocky River flows into the Yadkin/PeeDee. His estate records reflect his time and place in history as the owner of large tracts of land and a gentleman of the era. It is not meant to be insulting to any one or group, it is simply a listing of what was in that time and place.

A view of the Rocky River from the Old Ford

An inventory of the property on Job Davis deceased which came into the hands of E. W. Davis his administrator with the will annexed.
Cash on hand             $87.50  ( A chart states that $25.00 in 1852 is worth $4000 today, so considering that fact $87.50 was about $14000.00

One not on Caleb Aldridge (Caleb Aldridges grand daughter would marry Job's grandson and become my great, great grandparents, so Caleb is also an ancestor)

One note on Henry Davis due Jany (sic) 1 1844
 "         "       Lewis Brown   "  Feby 16th 1852
 "         "       Benjamine Hudson  Oct 22  1852
 "        "       Alexander Foreman for Cr by Cash 95 cts due Jany 1853
 "        "       Kimbrell Cooper due Jany 1852
 "         "      Jeremiah B. Broadaway  Due 1 Jany 1852 (Jeremiah Broadway married Clarissa, daughter of Job's stepson Jordan Howell, son of Sarah Winfield Howell and first husband Richard Howell).
 "         "     George Kimra     due 1  Jany 1852
  "      "      Celia Easley   due 1st Jany  1852
  "       "      Edmund Coley due 1st Jany  1852 (aka Edmund Murray, another apple in the family tree. Caleb Aldridge's son Garner would marry Priscilla Murray. Edmund was the illegitimate son of her brother Benjamin Murray. He is shown simultaneously in records as both Murray and Coley, as is his children. Some of his grandchildren chose to remain Murrays, others became Coley's.)
  " Josiah  Aldridge (son of Caleb and brother of Garner. Josiah's son Pink's daughter Judy was the mother of my Grandmother Thompson).

7 bedsteads and furniture, 4 head of horses, 2 two year old colts, 1 mare and colt, 12 head of grown cattle, 2 yearlings and 3 calves.  5 Head old sheep and 6 lambs, 45 Head of Hogs, 380 lbs pork, 8 split bottom chairs, 2 stool chairs, 1 arm chair,  2 blue painted chest pine, 1 walnut desk, 1 blue painted Slabboard, 1 large looking glass, 2 small sizes looking glasses, 1 large pine table, 1 pine painted red cupboard, 2 small sized ine table, 1 folding leaf walnut table, 2 walnut Bureaus,  1 Clock, 1 clock reel, 1 old pine cupboard, 1 large poplar chest, one old pine trunk, 1 cot, 1 cot frame, 1 LARGE FAMILY BIBLE (I wonder what happened to this or whom might have it now) 2 volumes Wesley Notes, 1 Methodist conferences, 1 vol J  Wesleys Journal, 1 vol Potters Justice, 1 vol life Garrison, 1 Watson's Wesley, 1 family adviser, 1 life Benjamin Abbott, 1 experience of Methodist preachers, 1 Methodist discipline, 2 Wesley sermons, 1 Watkins dictionary, 1 small Hymn book, 1 large Hymn Book, 1 Testament.

I'm going to pause here and analyze what this collection is telling me. First, as I know, he was obviously a farmer. He also seems well read,  devoutly Wesleyan Methodist, and maybe even liked to sing. Job was a tall, lean bearded man with deep set eyes, handsome into his old age. I've seen examples of his handwriting, he was well spoken and obviously educated. My grandpa and his siblings also liked to sing. I can imagine Job sounding much like his great-grandson, my Papa Davis.  

1 and a half gallon spice jar,  6 case bottles, 1 shot gun, 1 set cup & saucers, 2 doz plates, 1 large red flowered bowl, 1/2 doz pint bowls, 1 1/2 gallon pitchers, 2 Do quart pitchers, 1 cream pot, 2 sugar bowls, 1 glass butter plate, 1 do earthern (sic) butter plates, 1 coffee canister, 4 blk chunk bottles, 1 shoe hammer, 3 chamber mugs, 1/2 doz glass tumbers, 2 tin trunks large, 1 small Do, 1 Iron hooped keg, 4 jugs large, 2 sides thin sole leather, 1 flax wheel, 1 straw basket, , 1 do small size, 1 slate, 2 reap hooks, 1 small iron hooped keg, 1 pr balances, 1 wagon saddle, 1 Riding saddle, 1 side saddle, 1 lard stand, 24 lb weights, 3 barrel stands, 2 pails, 2 coffee pots, 100 barrels corn, 2 half B measures, 2 large pine box, 1 pr. Cart wheels, 1 old sulkey, 1 road wagon and harness, 1 sett old hind wheels wagon, 1 Fan mill , 10 bushels peas, 25 bushels wheat, 2 large grain boxes, 2 pea stand, 1 cotton gin, 1 threshing machine, 1 small pr. steelyards, 1 large pr Do, 3 sythes & cradles, 100 lb spinning cotton, 1 pr hand mill stones, 1 log chain 3 steel weeding hoes, 6 Iron weeding hoes small, 1 cross cut saw, 1 hand saw, 1 tenant saw, 2 cutting knives & boxes, 9 stacks fodder, 15 bushels oats, 4 setts plow gear, 2 dung shovels, 2 dung forks, 1 ditching spade, 4 spinning wheels, 3 cook pots, 2 ovens, 2 wash pots, 2 friars, 2 frying pans, 2 kitchen pail, 2 piggins, 1 churn, 3 pr pot hooks, 1 tea kettle, 2 washing tubs, 2 bread trays, 1 grind stone, 1 brier blade, 2 grass sythes (sic), 1 salt gum, 2 salt boxes, 3 bee stands, 5 half shovel plow hoes, 1 foot adz, 1 old gig axle iron, 8 plow hoes, 1 set blacksmith tools, 6 setts singletree & clevices, 5 sprouting hoes & mattocks, 5 axes, 2 pr andirons, 1 pr shovel & tongs, 3 brass candle sticks and snuffery, 2 pr sheep shears, 8 head geese, 1 pr hand bellows, 4 bells, 1 pr Tailors sheers, 1 set knives & forks, 1 sett tea spoons, 3 large dishes, 1/2 doz milk crocs, 30 lb lard, 2 smoothing irons, 1 square, 2 raw hides, 1 drawing knife.

( The next part of the list is troubling, however, the year was 1852 and he was a man with considerable real estate and of his time. The Davis plantation included, a ford, a gold mine, a school, a cemetery with a 'Meeting House' or church, a store ran by his third son Neddy or Edward Winfield Davis, and several families lived on the property besides the Davis's, employees, slaves, sharecroppers and even squatters whom they took to court several times.)

The following are the negros belonging to the Estate of the said Job Davis to wit.
Perry, Dennis, Jim, Green, Lucy, Charlotte & child, Columbus, Jack, Mary, Ben, Anna, Austin, John, Dockery, Wiley, Daniel, Liz, Fanny & child, Nancy and child, Martha, Bob, Charles, Harriet, Clarissa, John, Bettie, Maria & Frank.  The foregoing personal property was left to the widow of Job Davis by his last will and the above negros named Dennis, Jim, Jack, Nancy & child, Harriet and Betty were also given to her. The other negroes to be divided  as his will directs.  Returned to May Cty Court 1853 by me,
E. W. Davis Admr.  With the will annexd. R Harris clrk.

Remains of the old road leading from Davis Ford to Allenton

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