Saturday, April 2, 2016

The Mystery of E. M. Davis

E. M. Davis was a child of Benjamin Franklin Davis and his wife Julia Ann Sibley Davis. He was a great grandson of Job Davis and that statement in itself is from a matter of research, because E. M. Davis is quite a bit of a mystery.

"Eliza" appears very clearly as a child in a few census records with his parents, and in the beginning, that was very confusing in and of itself.

Name:Eliza Davis
Age in 1870:3
Birth Year:abt 1867
Birthplace:North Carolina
Home in 1870:Tyson, Stanly, North Carolina
Post Office:Albemarle
Value of real estate:View image
Household Members:
B F Davis40
Julia Davis31
Holm Davis12
Matthew Davis11
Lorena Davis7
Thomas Davis5
Eliza Davis3
Hartviill Davis1

In the 1870 census, Eliza is very clearly in place between brothers Thomas Franklin and Hartwell Alexander Davis. This "Eliza", however, has been recorded as female.

Name:Eliza M. Davis
Birth Year:abt 1867
Birthplace:North Carolina
Home in 1880:Steeles, Richmond, North Carolina
Relation to Head of House:Son
Marital Status:Single
Father's name:Benjimine F. Davis
Father's Birthplace:North Carolina
Mother's name:Julia A. Davis
Mother's Birthplace:North Carolina
Neighbors:View others on page
Cannot read/write:


Deaf and dumb:

Otherwise disabled:

Idiotic or insane:
Household Members:
Benjimine F. Davis51
Julia A. Davis42
Louvena Davis17
Thomas F. Davis15
Eliza M. Davis13
Hartwell Davis11
John S. Davis9
Mary Davis6
Catharine Davis5
Sallie Davis2
Susan Davis3m

By the 1880 census, however, "Eliza's" gender has been changed to that of a male. 1880 is the first census in which relationship to the head of household is given and the relationship for "Eliza M." is that of son.

So which census was in error? I have looked diligently for a daughter named Eliza and who she could have married. But that is not what I have found.

The most telling evidence of who E. M. Davis truly was is found in the divisions of property after the death of the parents and siblings of this Davis clan.

The Enterprise
(Albemarle, North Carolina)
19 Jan 1911, Thu • Page 1

In this 1911 balance of a fund, it gives evidence to who is still alive and what their names were.

E. M. Davis is clearly a recipient, Susan aka "Susie" Davis is still single. Wincy Catherine Davis aka Kitty or W. C. , is married to a Mr. Cox. Sarah, aka "Sallie" Davis has married an unknown Whitaker, and Lorena, the oldest of the Davis sisters, is seen as "L. A. Davis", meaning she was single. The five recipients of a reduced amount of $7.20 are the children of Thomas Franklin Davis, who had passed away before his brother Hartwell Alexander Davis, whose division is displayed here and who never married.

A later article, in 1922, of the same family and divisions, adds more intrigue and changes.

The Albemarle Press
(Albemarle, North Carolina)
12 Oct 1922, Thu • Page 7

In this notice, H. E. Davis is mentioned, which is oldest son, Henry Edward "Holm" Davis and  Lilly McIntrye, who was youngest daughter Lilly Mae Davis McIntyre. Lorine Whitaker is oldest daughter Lorena A. Davis. This means she was married to the mysterious Whitaker by 1922. She is listed in suite with Mabel Davis, who is a completer mystery to me at this time. E. M. Davis is not listed. This means he was either passed away, or could have been included in the 'et als.' or just not at all. Siblings Nannie Davis McIntyre and Mathew Davis are mentioned later as is Wincy Catherine Davis Cox, who had passed away.

The Stanly News-Herald
(Albemarle, North Carolina)
25 Jul 1922, Tue • Page 7

Another listing the same year, included Susan Davis "Shank", and the mysterious Mabel, but not E. M. Davis.

Image result for land records

The telling comes in the actual land records. In 1909, Mrs. Julia A. Sibley Davis, 70 year old widow of Benjamin Franklin "Frank" Davis, decided to distribute sections of her estate, which she was now too old and feeble to manage, to her living children. That said, she gave the juiciest section, her homestead, to youngest daughter, Lilly Mae Davis McIntyre, in exchange for caring for her mother for the remainder of her life. There are likely reasons for this, which I will get to in another post.

But back to E. M. Davis. He was alive in 1909, and the following land transcations could explain what happened to him.

Deed Book 44 Page 312

This Indenture, made this the 12th of March in the year of our Lord, 1909 between Julia A. Davis, of the County of Stanly and E. M. Davis, of the County of Stanly, on the second part.......of the second part HIS heirs and assigns....

This section clearly shows that "Eliza" M. Davis was clearly a male. So then, I go back to and look at the actual census record itself, and not just at the transcribers translation. 

The cursive "Eliza" then appears to look more like "Elija".  With that, a lightbulb went off.

Image result for light bulb

Julia Ann Sibley Davis was the daughter of Elijah M. Sibley, who passed away in Anson County in 1850 of  Typhoid Fever. His will was probated in 1850 alson.

Surname:Elijah M. Sibley
County:Anson CO.
Month of Death:Mar
State of Birth:NC
Cause of Death:TYPHUSFEV

Seeing the names of the siblings of Julia A. Sibley in the 1850 will of Elijah M. Sibley, it is evident that she named several of her children after her older siblings. Why not then, would it make sense, that she had named one of her sons after her own father, Elijah M.

Name:Elijah M Sibley
Probate Date:1850
Probate Place:Anson, North Carolina, USA
Inferred Death Year:Abt 1850
Inferred Death Place:North Carolina, USA
This is just a theory, one I have not yet proven, that "Eliza" Davis was really Elijah M. Davis.

Further land records give more information.

E. M. Davis's allotment, for $25, by his mother was "Lot No. 4, Beginning at a stone and runs south 46 1/2 E. 19 1/2 chs. to a stone thence 44 East 14 chains to a stone, thence North   46 1/4 West 19 chains to a stake; thence South 46 1/2 west 14 chains to the beginning, containing 25 acres more of less.  Acknowledged by the Justice of the Peace, H. M. Hudson on March 12th, 1909.

E. M. Davis did not settle upon his share of his parents estate. Four years later, near to the day, he sold it.

Deed Record Book 45, Page 168

This Indenture, made this the 14th day of  March, in the year of our Lord one thousand nine hundred and Thirteen between E M Davis and wife A. J. Davis of Benton, Arkansas  and H. W. McIntyre of the county of Stanly, NC. Lot No. 4....conveyed to E. M. Davis by his mother Julia A. Davis on March 12, 1909 by deed....

Later in the deed their names are given as "E. M. Davis and wife J. A. Davis" but in the signature section, their names are typed, "E. M. Davis and A. J. Davis".

Attached to the deed is the Notarized statement of the spouse, that she agrees to the sale of her own freewill and has not been coerced by her spouse to sell her rights to the property. This statement is noted as being written in The State of Arkansas, Latins County  and the wife of E. M. Davis as "J. A. Davis" wife of E. M. Davis, by W. A. Utley, Notary. 

The thing is, there is no "Latins" County in Arkansas. There is however, a town called Benton that was formed in 1837, so well populated by the time E. M. Davis arrived there, and it is in Saline County, near Little Rock. There is also a Benton County. 
Image result for saline county arkansas

Looking in Saline County, I did find this odd list of names. 

E. M. DavisScalp ClaimCOUNTY OF SALINEDavis, E. M.1-29-1914
E. M. DavisScalp ClaimCOUNTY OF SALINEDavis, E. M.2-13-1914

Now, I have no idea what a Scalp Claim is . This is in the year 1914, which I would believe the Indian Wars would have been long over by then, but it does place an E. M. Davis in Saline County around the right time.

Image result for saline county arkansas
I have been trying to order, with no luck, the following court record, from the State Archives. I hope I can through enough information to them that they can help me to locate it.

520-174 Special Proceedings.

M. A. Davis (Mathew Addison), J. S. Davis (John S.),  H. E. Davis (Henry Edward), Lilly McIntyre and husband H. W. McIntyre (who purchased E. M. Davis's share in 1913), N. A. McIntyre (Nannie A. Davis), and husband D. L. McIntyre, Annie Campbell and E. M. Davis. (who was Annie Campbell?)


Mary McIntyre and husband Jessie McIntyre, Mrs. W. C. Cox (Kitty), Mrs. Sallie Whitaker, Susie Davis, Ana Ethel Davis, Flossie May Davis, Katie McLean Davis, Lia Alex Davis, Frank Thomas Davis.

Petition for Sale: August, 1909. Recorded in Special Proceedings Record Book, Book 4 p 48 - 63.

Missing in this record, surprisingly is Lorena A. Davis, who is shown later as "L. A. Whitaker" and could explain why L. A. Whitaker is shown as marrying Oscar Antonson in Boone County, Arkansas in 1928.
Image result for saline county arkansas

The following questions remain to be answered:

When did E. M. Davis remove to Arkansas and what became of him. Who was his wife A. J. or J. A. Davis and what became of her?

Who was Mable Davis?

Who was Annie Campbell?  Was Lorena A. Davis also Annie Campbell?

Who were the Whitaker men that Sallie and Lorena ended up marrying? Was it the same man?

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