Sunday, June 25, 2017

The Will of Randolph Davis

Randolph Davis was one of the sons of Henry Davis and Mary Marriott. I've always thought of him as an ancestral Uncle, and not a direct ancestor, because the name Randolph, or Randall as he is sometimes seen, did not travel down my direct line. But in a time when there were too many James', William's and John's, Randolph was one whom I could readily identify, because at the time, he and his brother Marriott I, were the only ones.

Both of them, I discovered, ended up in Brunswick and Mecklenburg Counties, Virginia. And the Davis I was looking for lived in Mecklenburg County in 1773, when my Sixth Great-Grandfather, who would come to make his home in Stanly County, NC, along the Rocky River, was born there.

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Randolph Davis and his siblings were likely all born in Surry County, Virginia. Surry County was formed in 1652 from a portion of James City County, and was located south of the James River. This branch of my family tree, I have discovered, had its start in Jamestown with Captain James Davis and his wife Rebekah Keyes Davis, son of Sir Thomas Davis. Captain Davis did not stay there in the early days, but was back and forth, between the colonies and England. He and his father both, eventually did retire there, after things were healthier and more established. He did survive one really bad winter there, however, and that may have been why it was many years before he brought his family.

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Henry Davis was the son of James Davis III, a Great-Grandson of Captain James, who married Elizabeth Warren, daughter of  Thomas John Warren. The Warren's were also a very old Virginia family.

The line is:

Sir Thomas Davis of Devon, wife unknown.

Two son, James and Robert, both Sea Captains and sailed for England helping to establish and supply the new colonies.

"was among the company of men assembled by Sir John Popham, 1607, to settle the region of Virginia which later was designated New England."

From The Adventures of Purse and Person.

He married Rachel Keyes about 1608. They had two sons. Later in his career, Captain James started a plantation South of the James River. There he died in the winter of 1622 or 1623, James City, Henrico, Nansemond County when it was noted by a man named Hotten that "James Davis, dead at his plantation over the water from James City" on February 16, 1623.

His son Thomas was born about 1613. In 1634, he was given a patent for 300 acres on Warwicksquicke Creek.  He was in Norfolk by1637 and Nansemond in 1642. Thomas married Elizabeth Bagwell and died in 1673.

    From History of Perquimans County by Ellen Goode Rawlings Winslow. Published 1931.
    Thomas Davis of Warricksqueake, planter—son of James, late of Henrico, in 
    Vir’ dec’d, was granted 300a of land on Warricksqueake Creek, “100 in 
    right of his father, an ancient planter, who came to Va in the “George” 
    1617, and 100a in right of his mother Rachel, wife of sd James.” Mar 6, 
    1633. Thomas made deposition in Norfolk Co Va 1640. He sold a grant from 
    Sir Wm Berkeley June 1, 1649, to Thomas Maros, who sold sd land 400a unto 
    Robert Bowers, who in like manner gave the land to his dau Mary, wife of 
    Thomas Davis, and was conveyed by them Nov 14, 1708, unto Phillip Reynolds 
    Mer’cht, “lying on W. side of Western Branch,” in which deed Thomas Davis 
    is styled, “of Nansemond Co. planter.”

Their son Thomas was born in 1658 and died in 1720. He married Elizabeth Plaw, who was born at Smith's Fort and died in 1726 in Surry County.

They were the parents of James Davis, born in 1682 and died on 21 January 1745 who married Elizabeth Warren.

They, in turn were the parents of Henry Davis who married Mary Marriott, daughter of William Marriott and granddaughter of Mathias Marriott. More on them in another post.

Henry and Mary had a large family of 12 childdren:

The Children of Henry Davis and Mary Marriott Davis, He the son of James Davis and Elizabeth Warren, she the daughter of William Marriott and Sarah Collier. 

1) William Davis married Martha Wells Thompson

2) Benjamin Davis married Tabitha Rose

3) Rebecca Ann Davis married 1st) Roger Tillman Married 2nd) James Taylor

4) Hannah Davis

5) Isham Davis married Sarah Long. Migrated to Halifax Co. NC then to Wilson Co. TN.

6) Keziah Davis

7) Elizabeth Davis married John Rose

8) Randolph Davis married Hannah Marriott daughter of his Uncle Thomas Marriott

9) Henry Davis Jr. 

10) Marriott Davis married Mary Nicholson

11) James Davis married 1st) Sarah Holmes married 2nd) Lucy Walker died in 1830 in Brunswick County. 

12) Sylvia Davis married Sterling Wright son of Solomon Wright. Moved to North Carolina. 

At times, there is also a Joshua, Charles and Edward Davis attributed to this marriage. I will have to do more research before coming to that conclusion. There is a Joshua Davis who shows up in the early records of Anson County and Montgomery County, North Carolina.

It must also be noted that the children younger than Randolph were under 21 at the time of Henry's death and were appointed guardians in the court. James and Henry were appointed James Taylor, their brother-in-law, and husband Rebecca Ann Davis Tillman Taylor, mother of Mary Tillman Floyd with whom Job Davis migrated from Virginia to North Carolina with and Silvia Davis, the youngest child, was appointed Joshua Winfield, brother of Peter Winfield who also migrated to North Carolina and whose daughter, Sarah Winfield became the wife of Job Davis after the death of her first husband Richard Howell. After research on Richard Howell, it has become fairly clear that his roots originated with the Jordan and Howell families of this same area of Virginia.

I will cover land records in a later post, but one of the treasures of my trip to Virginia was the discovery of the Will of Randolph Davis in Mecklenburg County, Virginia. I have never seen any records in my research of the Davis family, of any of the descendants of either Marriott or Randolph Davis. Davis descendants often list Randolphs marriage to Hannah Marriott and leave it at that. But according to the records and to his will, he was the Patriarch of a large branch of the Davis Family Tree.

Listed in his will are a living wife and the following children and grandchildren:

Children of Randolph Davis and Hannah Marriott Davis living in 1825:

1) John Davis
2) Robert Davis
3) William Davis
4) Henry Davis
5) Benjamin Davis
6) Betsy Taylor
7) Rebeckah Vaughn
8) Nancy Cheatham
9) Daughter "S....Y" who married a Moon, Her children mention are Sally Moon, Harry Moon and Betsy Moon. The letter that begins the name is definately an "S" and looks the same as the S to start Sally, but the others could be interpreted as "Saucy" or "Savory". It appears most as S... ae or or ssy. It could be a spelling of Susey, short for Susanna. 

So far in my research of this family, I have discovered that William married Mary Cheatham, daughter of  Daniel Cheatham and his wife Agnes Robertson Cheatham and Nancy Davis married her brother Samuel as his second wife.

Elizabeth "Betsy" Davis married Goodwin Taylor
Rebeckah Davis married Robert Vaughn, son of Ambrose Vaughn.

I can not find any record of a Davis marrying a Moon, in fact the only Moon marriage in Mecklenburg was that of a Joseph Moon to a Joan Johnson, several decades before the Davis children were born. It could be that Randolph's "S" daughter married a son of this couple.

The names of the sons are so common, and with the record number of migrations out of this area to less populated areas south and west during this era, it will take awhile to determine which John, Robert, Henry, William and Benjamin Davis are the sons of Randolph and Hannah. It would have been much nicer if they had named their sons Eupradites, Grief, Mitchum, Buckner or River, which are names I have seen parents give to sons during this era.

And now for the Will:

"In the name of God, I Randolph Davis in the county of Mecklenburg VA do ordain constitute & make this my last will and testament in manner and form following, that is to say,that as soon after my decease as may be committed my Exec. herein after named shall be moved to sell all my estate both real and personal at publick sale the personal estate in a credit of 12 months and all my real estate on a credit of  one & two years selling the real estate in such tract and quantity of acres as shall appear most advantageous for my estate in the opinion of my Exectuto. I then give and bequest the proceeds arising from the sale of my estate in the manner and form following, that is to say in the first place it is my will and desire that all my just and equitable debts be justly and honestly paid as soon as possible after my decease and that the remains of my estate I give as follows viz: To my son John Davis I give and  (illegible) the sum of $500, 2nd for my son Robert I give and bequest the sum of  $300. To my son William I give and bequest the sum of $10. To my son Henry I give and bequest the sum of $5. To my son Benjamin I give and bequest the sum of $10. To my daughter Betsy Taylor I give and bequest the sum of  $100. To my daughter Rebeckah Vaughn I give and bequest the sum of $100.  To each of the children of my daughter Nancy Cheatham I give and bequest the sum of $50. To Sally Moon daughter of  S****Y Moon, I give and bequest $33. To Harry Moon her son I give and bequest $33. To Betsy Moon her daughter I give and bequest $33. And all the rest and residue of my estate it is my will and desire should be equally divided between my sons John, William, Benjamin and Robert. And I hereby constiture and appoint my brother James Davis and my friends Edwin H. Peete & Daniel Middaugh as my Executors to this my last will and testament hereby revoking all wills herebefore subsribed. This 5th day of August, 1823.

                                                                                           Randolph Davis (Seal)

Signed in the Presence of Us

D Middaugh
Lewis G. Crutchfield
Samuel x Crutchfield
      his mark 

The following codicil is upon my request added to this my last will. Item that part of the land that I purchased of William Q Cook, which the said William Cook purchased of Samuel Cheatham containing about 80 or so acres I desire may not be sold by my Executors and my will is that it be laid off by my Executors and I here by give the said tract of land to my son Benjamin in addition to what I have hereforto given him and his heirs forever. 

                                                                                         Randolph Davis


Phillip S Land
Ambrose x Vaughn
      his mark

At Court held for the County of Mecklenburg on the 16th day of February 1824 The last will and testament of Randolph Davis within written was proved by the court into court by Daniel Middaugh the executor therein named and proved by the oaths of Lewis G Crutchfield and Samuel Crutchfield  and a codicil therein proved by the oaths of  Phillip S. Sands  &  Ambrose Vaughn subscribing witnesses thereto and ordered to be recorded and on motion of Daniel Middaugh the Executor therein named who made oath according to law aCertified is granted him for obtaining probate through in one form whereupon he together with Jones Gee, Joseph S. Grigory, Benjamin P. Pennington entered into bond for that purpose and qualified according to law. 

                                                                                       Edmond L Tabb C. Comm.

And now I commence to try to find clues among the land records I copied to the fate of these persons named in the will.


1 comment:

  1. I found the story of Randolph Davis very interesting. He has to go through a lot in his life but he remained determinant through out his life.