Sunday, May 3, 2020

30 Mothers in 30 Days: Sarah

I've often felt the influence, or the presence of, Sarah Elizabeth Winfield Howell Davis, when reading her words, when walking about the old family lands, when in her home county of Mecklenburg County, Virginia, or,just when thinking about her. As if, with a swish of her skirts and a gentle touch of her hand on my shoulder, she lets me know she is still with me, with all of her descendants, guiding, instructing and praying.

 Sarah <I>Winfield</I> Davis

I recently participated in a discussion on "Cell Memory", or as I prefer to call it, "Genetic Memory", on a Facebook Genealogy Group. When one poster brought this to the forefront, the comments poured in. Several posters mentioned noticing small children or grandchildren of theirs "born knowing" things, talents, how to do things, or fix things.  One child with an affinity to France before a previously unbeknownist French ancestry was discovered by her mother. Others mentioned vivid dreams or visions of places they had never been, just  to either see a photo of the place, or to arrive in the place and experience a memory they should not have had. Or, they  had met people they felt a kinship to, before discovering they actually did share dna. It goes on.

Could this explain my connection to Sarah, or is it a whisper of her actual presence, how I somehow "know" her, how I can feel her calm piety and her ladylike gracefulness?

Image result for mecklenburg county, virginia
Mecklenburg County, Virginia in orange

Sarah Elizabeth Winfield was born on February 2, 1773 in Mecklenburg County, Virgina. She was the youngest of the 4 children  of Peter Winfield and Charlotte Freeman Winfield and the granddaughter of Arthur Freeman and wife, Agnes Stokes Freeman and Edward Winfield and Mary Harris Winfield. Tried and True Olde Virginia stock.

She had one brother, Edward Winfield, Esquire, who would in turn, take over his father's plantation along the Rocky River after their migration to North Carolina, and two older sisters, Jemima, named for Charlotte's oldest sister, who would marry Griffin Nash and Ancena, who would marry first, James Morrison and second Thomas Avett.

From records, it appears Peter Winfield probably made a trip down to purview and purchase the property and perhaps set up accommodations before bringing his family down. There are documents in both Mecklenburg Coounty, VA and Anson County,  NC, that show the back and forth movement in the early 1780's.

Mecklenburg County - Geography of Virginia
The Winfields lived on Taylors Creek, near South Hill and the Brunswick County border

From the best estimate, the Winfields arrived to the area of the Great PeeDee, not far from it's fork with the Rocky River, about 1784. They came with members of Charlottes' Freeman family: Freemans and Stokes, along with some Ledbetters of no particular relation, just neighbors. Also in the party was the Robertson family and the connected younger generation of Winfields. Drury Robertson, Sr. appears to be Peter Winfields best friend. He came with his sons James and Drury, Jr., both who had married Peters nieces Mary Winfield and Martha Winfield.

Peter's brother, Captain Joshua Winfield had married Charlotte Freeman Winfields sister, Jemima Winfield. He remained in Virginia. When Jemima died, Joshua married a young widow, Rebecca Thrower Carloss. I mention that because  the younger genertaion of Winfield kin included Joshua's children, his stepson, a Carloss, and the children of Peter and Joshua's deceased brother, Joel.

Also in the group was Richard Manly or Meanly, who had married the youngest Freeman daughter, Keziah, sister to Charlotte and Jemima Freeman Winfield(s).

Several of the younger generation would, within a few decades, migrate to Marlboro County, South Carolina, the Roberston brothers among them, with the Carloss family,

The Honeymooners Mike and Pam's Blog: Our Quick Roots In Marlboro ...
Marlboro County, SC, just south of Anson

Nephew Joel Winfield would start an Ordinary and a Post Office at a place he named Winfieldsville. He held several county offices and would become the one to marry Sarah Winfield Howell, now a young widow, to her second husband, Job Davis. Winfieldsville would become Carlisle and eventually a name that would stick, Bennettsville.

Richard Meanly and his family would migrate in the other direction with several Anson families in tow, including Ropers, Randalls and Allens, to Tennessee.

But back to Sarah. Arriving in North Carolina about 1784, Sarah would have been 10 or 11 years old.

In the early 1790's, she married Richard Howell, thought to be about 3 years or so her elder. She would have been about 18 or 19 upon marriage.

The exact heritage and parentage of Richard Howell has not been proven. There were Howells in Anson decades before the Winfields arrived, dating back to the 1840's and 1850's. From a preponderance of circumstantial evidence, however, it is said that his line leads back to the Howells of New York and New Jersey and that he was a relation of Rednap Howell, who was known to have came to Anson. Rednap was a brother of Richard Howell who was  Govenor of New Jersey during this time. These Howells were kin to Varina Howell, who married Jefferson Davis.

Varina Davis - Wikipedia
Varina Howell Davis

I believe our Richards father was a man named James Howell, who was in the area, and had a son named Paul.  James and Paul migrated to Tennesee, after the death of Richard Howell. I'm nearly certain that Jordan Howell the elder was his brother. Jordan was the executor of his estate and witnessed his will. Richard had a son named Jordan and Jordan had a son named Richard. And the two families would 'swim in the same pond', so to speak, associating together and with the same group of families, for generations. Richards mother is thought to have been a Jordan from Marlboro County, South Carolina, having came up the Great Pee Dee from the Charleston area. Some Jordans settled in Montgomery County, that at that time, was a part of Anson.

Jordan -

Sarah and Richard would have 4 children:

1794 Peter- named for his maternal grandfather.
1796  Jordan- named for Jordan Howell, the elder, on his father's side of the family.
1799  John W. Howell - the W is thought to stand for Winfield
1801  Charlotte - the only daughter of Sarah and named for Sarah's mother, Charlotte Freeman Winfield.

1802 was a year of tremendous loss for Sarah. First, she would lose her beloved father Peter.
Later, she would become a widow with 4 small children. Peter would die first, as Richard Howell is mentioned in his will and in the following divisions of lands. It is unknown what they died from. Perhaps is was fate, perhaps a deadly disease was in the area. Thyphoid was rampant in the riverside plantaions and Peter owned land on both sides of the Rocky River.

Name:Sarah Howell
Spouse:Job Davis
Marriage Date:1773-1865
Source:Marriage and Death Notices, Southern Christian Advocate

Sarah would not remain a widow long. She was married in Marlboro County, South Carolina by her cousin Joel Winfield, to Job Davis.

Job Davis was born in the same year, in the same county as Sarah. He was just a few months younger, having arrived on April 10th, 1773 to her February second. Although I do not know, yet, exactly who Job Davis's parents were, circumstances, familial connections and dna have verified which set of Davis's he came from.

One set was from the southwest corner of Mecklenburg County. Certain unusual names reared their heads in the generations in that line of Davis's that do not appear in ours.

The other set of Davis's lived in both Mecklenburg and Brunswick, near their border and in the northeast corner of Mecklenburg, along the same creeks as the Winfields. Also in this area was the Floyd family. Job Davis gave a depostition for the widow of Josiah Floyd, so she could obtain a pension from her husbands Revolutionary War Service. In this depostition, we learn that Job arrived in the early 1790's with the Floyd Family to this area from Virginia, at the age of 19. He lived with them for a period of 18 months. Mary Tillman Floyd, the wife of Josiah Floyd, was the daughter of Roger Tillman and Rebecca Ann Davis. They would have 3 children, Henry, Ann and Mary.

Mary is mentioned in the wills of both her father and her brother. After her father's death, Mary's mother would marry a James Taylor and have more children. James Taylor would become a guardian to some of the younger siblings of Rebecca Ann Davis Tillman Taylor, after the death of her parents, Henry Davis and Mary Marriott Davis. So would Captain Joshua Winfield, brother of Peter Winfield., to the youngest daughter, Silvia Davis, who would marry, Sterling Wright. Joshua Floyd's brother, Charles would marry into this Davis family.

mecklenburg county, virginia arnolds

The Floyds and the Winfields both lived along Taylors Creek that was located in both Mecklenburg and Brunswick Counties, Virginia. So did several of the children of Henry Davis and Mary Marriott Davis. Josiah and Mary Tilllman Floyd named one of their sons Henry, for her grandfather and Marriott, for the maiden name of her grandmother.

Job and Sarah Davis would name thier firstborn son, in 1806 - Henry.
In 1808, they named their second son, James M. Davis. Some believe the M stood for Marshall, as Peter Winfield was a friend and close associate of James Marshall. Also, the father of Henry Davis of Virginia was James and the family line leads back to a Captain James Davis of Jamestown.

The third son of Job and Sarah, born in 1811, became the dominant son, after the fall of oldest son Henry. Edward Winfield Davis was obviously named for the grandfather, Edward Winfield, and brother, of Sarah.

The youngest child, yet another son, in 1815, was Marriott Freeman Davis, or M. F., as he was known. Freeman, of course was Sarah's mother's maiden name. Could Marriott stood for Job's grandmother's maiden name?

Job's Children: A Trip to Virginia

All roads lead to my strong theory that Job and Sarah knew each other well and played along the same creeks while small chidlren in Mecklenburg.

When Peter Howell was only about 15 years old, his mother and stepfather deeded him a portion of the property that belonged to his father. As he grew older, Peter would purchase all of the land in Anson County that had once belonged to Richard Howell. Peter would remain a farmer and live in Anson County, while his mother and stepfather would maintain a large plantation on the side of the river that is now Stanly County.

Job's Children

On the above map, notice the area where Howell, Kendall and Woodson Roads vere east from the old Plank Road. This was the area where Richard Howell, and then Peter Howell, farmed. Midways, you will see Old Winfield Road. This road once led from Stanly into Anson and crossed the river at Winfield Ford and went through the part of the Winfeild Plantation that Peter left to his only son, Edward. The area that is Springer Road and Concord Church Road is the area that marks the old Concord Church. This land was deeded to the church by Griffin Nash, husband of Jemima Winfield and marks their portion of  Peter Winfields property that was left to them.

To the far left of the photo, heading south into Anson from Stanly is Gaddys Ferry Road. Just over the bridge into Stanly, it intersects Old Davis Road. This crossing is not where the Davis Ford was, but the crossing of the Winfield Road was where the Winfield Ford, that later became known as the Davis Ford was. The 'boot' shape made by the Rocky River was the Davis lands and north of there.
Along Boone-Caudle Road, in the north of the photo, on the Stanly side, is where the Benjamin Franklin cemetery is found. He was the oldest grandson of Job and Sarah and the oldest son of their oldest son, Henry. This was where he lived. From that area to the River was the Davis plantation. This whole picture, plus more, was within the Winfield lands. Job and Sarah were not poor. They were well-educated and part of the "Upper-Crust" Society of  Pee Dee area Virginians.

This fact came to me in its most blatant form when I began researching Sarah's second and third sons, Jordan and John W. Howell. Both became merchants and businessmen and both relocated to the market town of Crosscreek, which would become Fayetteville.

An ad concerning only one of Jordan Howells' business adventures

Peter Howell, the oldest son, would marry Elizabeth "Betsy" Floyd, the daugther of Josiah and Mary Tillman Floyd, the family and, I believe, cousins, that Job Davis traveled to North Carolina with.

Jordan Howell, the second son would marry Hannah Handy, in Fayetteville, on January 20, 1820.

John W. Howell would marry Mrs Clarrissa Harlow Phelps, widow of Nathan Phelps, who was born in Harwinton, Connecticutt and married first in New York, and to John Howell, in Fayetteville, on December 18, 1821.

In researching Jordan and John, I discovered that a Job Davis owned property in Fayetteville. At first, I dismissed it, thinking it must be a different Job Davis, as Fayetteville is a good 2 hour drive from here, nearly, in this day and time. But then, when I discovered that he signed over property on Haymount, for love and affection, to his stepson, Jordan, I knew it was the same Job Davis.

Fayetteville, North Carolina
Downtown Fayetteville in the late 1800's.

In fact, Job Davis owned property on the hill called Haymount and he also owned a townhouse, a brickhouse, on Hay Street in downtown Fayetteville.

One of the most fullfilling moments in my genealogical life occured several years ago, when I visited Fayetteville, searching for Haymount and searching for the area of the brickhouse mentioned in the deeds. I saw a Methodist Church, Hay Street Methodist, and this genetic dna thing drew me to it like a moth to a flame. I knew that the family had been devout Methodist Episocopals.

 It was a weekday, but there was still a great deal of activity happening in and about the church. Hoping to discover the age of the church, I asked if they had a church historian. Indeed they did and as luck would have it., she was present. A delightly delicate and beautiful aged lady appeared, not a day under 80 and a frail as a feather. She took me to their archives, and yes, the church was old, much older than I could have ever dreamed. Not only that, preserved in glass cases, were Sunday School attendance books that dated back to the 1820's and 1830's. She allowed me to photograph them while she turned pages with a gloved hand and to my delight, whom did I find in the pages, not only the Howell sons of Sarah, but Sarah herself and Job Davis.

Hay Street Methodist Church, Fayetteville NC Postmarked 1948 | eBay

After noticing a pattern, that they seemed to arrive in June, sometimes late May, but more often June, and then were no longer in attendance in by late August, I questioned why that was. Jordan, John and their families, were in attendance all through the year. The historian stated that it appeared they "summered" in Fayetteville, or at the time, Cross Creek. They may have began going there to purchase supplies for their ever growing plantation, a few days travel. After the boys moved there, Jordan to operate a retail business and merchantile and John to run a lumber company, where he grew very beloved and helped employ many a poor man who needed work, the couple summered to visit with the sons and grandchildren there. They must have left their other children and employees in charge of  the plantation and homestead back on the Rocky River.

Fayetteville Weekly Observer at
Obituary for John W Howell in the Fayetteville Observer, 1853

By the time Job signed the Fayetteville property over to his stepsons, he was in his later 60's. I believe he did this as the trip to Cumberland County by horse and buggy, or by stagecoach, may have been more than his and Sarah's old bones could take any longer.

Upon the death of Jordan Howell, however, they took in his daughters, Charlotte and Clarrissa, while his son, Jordan Lafayette Howell, relocated to Columbia, Georgia, with Jordan Sr.'s business partner, Paris Tillinghast. Both girls married men from this area. Charlotte, the eldest, married Allen Newsome from the Newsome (defunct community displaced by the building of High Rock dam) community in Davidson County, just up river. Allen ran a store, plantation and Post Office in the town of Jackson Hill for awhile. He was not a good slave owner as recounted in the story of a runaway youngster. Charlotte outlived him and ended up removing to Gonzalez, Texas with a few of her chidlren and dying there. Her husband was highborn and wealthy, however, and kept her well.

Clarrissa married Jeremiah Broadaway from the Rocky River area of Anson. They had a large family and relocated to Pike County, Alabama. After Clarrisa's death, Jeremiah removed to Georgia to be near his brother-in-law, Jordan Lafayette Howell, and remarried there on the same day as one of his elder sons.

The comings and goings, marriages and deaths of this family, were all recorded in the newspapers of the time, for the most part, The Southern Christian Advocate  and The Fayetteville Observer. For that, I am thankful. The Argus, from Anson County and the Salisbury, NC newspapers, are also to be appreciated.

I wish I had a picture of Sarah, but I do not. I only have an old memory of a portrait, I believe was painted, that a cousin of my Grandfather had that I saw when I was little. In this portrait, Sarah was old and drawn and tiny, with her hair pulled back into a white napkin-looking lace-trimmed cap and a dark dress with a high collar. Job looked to have been a tall, thin man with dark hair. But that is not how I see her in my minds eye. I see her with wide skirts with crinolines and dresses consevatively buttoned up to the neck, hair pulled back and tucked neatly into a tight bun, a quiet smile upon her face.

Name:Sarah Davis
Birth Year:abt 1774
Home in 1850:Ross, Stanly, North Carolina, USA
Line Number:38
Dwelling Number:789
Family Number:794
Household Members:
Job Davis77
Sarah Davis76
Edwd W Davis37

Sarah only appeared in one Stanly County census record. She is living with Job and their next-to- youngest son, Edward Winfield Davis, who would become the second sheriff of Stanly County and marry late in life.

Sarah's only daughter, Charlotte Howell, would marry a Methodist Episcopal Minister named Levi Stancell and they would relocate to Newton County, Georgia, where Levi was originally from. She would have 10 children and die there in 1877.

All of her Davis sons stayed in Stanly County and raised their families here.

Henry, the oldest, was a businessman, a preacher, a farmer, a politician, a judge and a Ranger. He was instrumental in his 20's and 30's with founding a number of Methodist Churches, some in other counties. He would become an alchoholic and grow in debt to this father and brothers, father-in-law, and others, forcing his brother, the dominant Davis, businessman Edward W. Davis, who was evermore like his Uncle Edward, to have Henry declared unfit, so he could settle his debts and try to prevent his wife and children from becoming paupers.

Henry married twice, first to Reuben Kendalls daugther, Sarah, and second to James Palmers daughter, Martha. He had 2 sons by the first and 7 children by the second.

James M. Davis would marry Rowena Lee, daughter of John Lee of Anson. James would own property in both Stanly and Anson. He did not seek to get into polictics like Neddy (E.W.) or Henry. He farmed and eventually bought out a mill and a Gold Mine, with his brothers investments. He was a farmer and a businessman, and several of his daughters married well. Two married the wealthy Mauney brothers, Valentine and Ephraim, of Stanly and Rowan. Another married into the Mecklenburg County Belk family.

Edward Winfield Davis was a merchant, and investor, a politician, a mason, an attorney and lawman. A handsome man with light brown, (or dark blonde) hair and a handlebar mustache, he married late in life, at 56, to an 18 year old girl from the Rocky River named Rebecca Hathcock. They had 3 children before his death and she would remarry to John T. Crump. That is why some Crumps are buried in the old Davis Graveyard.

Marriott (sometimes seen as Merritt) Freeman Davis, the youngest child of Sarah, took more after James. He married first to Elizabeth Turner, daughter of George Turner, of the Richardson Creek area of Anson near its juntion with the Rocky River. They had two children, Rebeth and Millard F. Davis. Elizabeth died at the young age of 20 and her baby daughter followed her to the grave 18 months later, leaving only Millard. Millard would grow up and move west to become a cowboy. I keep up with his descendants. Marriott would then marry the widow of his first cousin. Milton Winfield, a son of Edward Winfield, Sarah's brother, had married Mary Ann Pickler. I believe the Picklers to be cousins of the Davis's throught their Matriarch, Jane Davis Pickler. Milton would die leaving Mary Ann and no children. She would marry M. F. Davis and remained childless.

Sarah would be widowed a second time when Job Davis passed away on November 8, 1852, at the age of 78.

She would join him in the Old Davis cemetery off of Old Davis Road, near the Rocky River and Cottonville community, just 4 years later, on July 10, 1856. The Southern Christian Advocate would publish the obituary of Sarah Elizabeth Winfield Howell Davis, my 4th Great Grandmother.

Below, I have copied from one of my other posts on Sarah.

There were some errors in the Obituary, as 1833 was not the year Job died. She did have 8 children, Jordan and John W. Howell predeceased her, and all were members of the church at that time, except my line, Henry, who had become a drunk and gambler.

The Southern Christian Advocate was a newspaper published in South Carolina in the 1800's, that was the official publication of the Methodist conferences in many of the Southern States.

The August 21, 1856 issue gave the following obituary for Grandma Sallie:

Mrs. Sarah Davis - formerly Winfield - was born in Meclenburg Co., (sic), Va., Feb. 7 ,1773 and died in Stanley (sic) Co., N.C. July 10, in the 83rd year of her age.  Joined the M. E. Church when 13 years old. About 1790 she married Richard Howell, and was left a widow in 1802. She married a second time in 1804, to Job Davis, and a second time was left a widow in 1833 (incorrect as Job passed away in 1852), mother of 8 children, two of whom have died in the faith, and the rest, but one, are members of the church. 

Rest in peace, Grandma Sallie, I will remember you this Mother's Day.

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