Common Yellowthroats are warblers with a distinctive rolling, throaty song.
They stay low to the ground, preferring to take cover in thick brush and quiet fields, foraging for insects along the ground. They can adapt their foraging lifestyle to areas varying from swaps to pine forests, from grain fields to manicured lawns. Anywhere a grassy area with bushes nearby for refuge, this beautiful, adaptable little bird can be found.
Martha Jane Davis stayed close to the ground. She didn't brave an adventure to a large northern city to test her fate in the growing industrial area of larger cities. She didn't join the growing surge of rural folks, including African Americans, who poured into the tobacco industry towns of Winston-Salem, High Point and Greensboro. Instead, she stayed close to home, close to the grain, close to the ground 'she was used to'.
Martha Jane Cochran was the youngest daughter and last child of Zilphia Cochran Davis. Zilphia had been born in slavery and had lived back and forth, between Stanly and Montgomery Counties in North Carolina. She had been born to a slave woman named Aggy on the farm and lands of Abram B. Cochran. He had grown up in Montgomery County and had lastly settled near the town of Allenton on the banks of the Pee Dee River in Stanly County, where he is buried. After his death, his young widow had remarried to Captain James Gaines of the Zion Community in Montgomery County, taking her two young daughters, her inherited slaves with her, including Aggy and her children and grandchildren.
Zilphia had born 6 known children, 3 daughters and 3 sons, with various fathers. Martha Jane's father was uncertain. She was the only child of Zilphia born after emancipation, in 1865, not that they knew it at the time, so their circumstances were probably not much different than they had been at the moment. Zilphia had moved from Montgomery County, to Stanly County, around the Tyson Community, and so probably had Martha Jane.
The first record of Martha Jane was her marriage to John Davis, son of Jack and Nancy Davis. She is listed as the daughter of Ben and 'Zelphia' Davis, although at the time of her birth, Ben was living in a different county, with a different wife. Her mother had married Ben, and he was her stepfather, but I doubt that he was her actual father. They married on December 29, 1881. I could not find Martha in the 1880 census, but she was probably somewhere near the Davis family in Cottonville, and just missed in the count.
John had been married and was much older than she was. Both Ben, John, and his parents, Jack and Nancy, had been slaves of Job and Sarah Davis and their sons, from Tyson Township in Stanly County.
Her husband, John Davis, died before the turn of the Century, but despite that fact, he and Martha had created a large family together. Sadly, there was evidentally much tragedy as Martha is shown as having been the mother of 13 children, with 8 living.
She is living in Cottonville, near Julia Sibley Davis, widow of the oldest grandson of Job Davis, B. F. Davis. She is also living near her brother, Calvin Cochran. Her children listed were Mack, Walter, Lonnie, John Jr., Jack, Adam, Nancy and Adda. Martha is listed as a farmer.
Only actually about 35 or 36, Martha said her time in the sun was not over.
On August 2nd, 1904, widow Martha Jane Cochran Davis, married Ralph or 'Rafe' Gould. Of course the transcriptionist messed it all up, so just trust me on this one. His name was Ralph Gould.
Ralph Gould was a very interesting man. First of all, since his name was much less common in the area than Davis, and even Martha, his was much more easily traceable.
William Smith House in Ansonville
Ralph Gould was born about 1858 in Ansonville, Anson County, NC. During the years of his childhood, Ansonville was a quiet, Antebellum College town, with dusty streets, it's main path being the route from Salisbury, NC to Cheraw, SC. Large, beautiful Greek Revival and Federal style homes, mixed with typical Southern Mansions and interspersed with cottages of clerk, laborers, teachers, merchants and skilled craftsmen.
Ansonville was also home to a legendary and inspiring minister named Ralph or Rafe Freeman and a plaque in his honor exists in the little town. He was so beloved, the white townspeople and church people purchased his freedom. Much is written about Pastor Freeman, and his name, reputation and saintly nature have gone down in Anson County history.
Rafe Gould was the son of John L. "Jack" Gould, born about 1808 and his wife, Mary, aka Molly, Broadaway Watkins Gould. I wonder, however, if he was not named for the Rev. Rafe Freeman.
Born into slavery, from the plantation of Daniel Gould Jr. and his 3 sons, Rafe was working on the railroad by the tender age of 14. He would first marry, at the age of 19 in 1877, to Regina Spencer, 18, and they would have 5 children, Lizzie, Lauretta, George, Carrie and Annie. He would then marry the orphan Martha Burns, neice of David and Mary Austin, who was 15 years his junior. She is with him in the 1900 census. They would have 4 little girls in rapid succession: Jennie, Minnie, Julia and Lilly. This Martha probably died before 1904, when he married Martha Jane Cochran Davis.
Lauretta would go on to marry Martha Jane Cochran Davis's son Walter.
The younger couple married in December of 1904, while her father and his mother had married in August of 1904. It makes one wonder who introduced who. The marriage of Martha Jane and Ralph Gould didn't last long and ended in divorce. The Enterprise, a newspaper in Stanly County, NC published notice of the Divorce in the court records in their March 5, 1908 issue.
Just 5 years later, he was marrying Judith Lee McLendon, a widow with 4 children; Ada, Kay, Rosa and Eddie.
That marriage ended too, although Judie shows up with him in the 1910 census, by 1919, it's over and Judie has not passed on. In 1920, she's living along the Polkton Road in Ansonville with her son, Eddie. She's claiming to be a widow, but it's not from Ralph, because he's not dead. In fact, Juda outlives him. She appears in the 1940 census with Eddie and his wife, at age 80.
In 1919, Ralph marries his fifth and final wife, Anna Kirby Lindsey. Anna or Annie, is a midwife, daughter of Alexander and Adeline Kirby. She had married Washington Lindsey and had one son, John. Annie and Ralph are together in 1920, Ralph working at a sawmill but apart, although both note they are married in 1930, they are working in different places, Ralph as a laborer and Annie as "Child's Nurse" for the General Public.
Annie died in 1932 and Ralph in 1935. They are buried at the Pleasant Hill Cemetery in Anson County. But back to Martha.
The Laundress 1916
Artist: Robert Henri
Martha has moved to the City of Albmarle, the County Seat of Stanly County and is working as a Laundress. Her son, Jake, is living with her and managing a farm. It was checked that she owned her own home. It was also noted that she was divorced.
But Martha Jane was not done, oh no, she was not. One year later, just after Valentines Day, Martha married Dargon Cicero Pennington, 54. She fudged on her age a little. It says she was 40, but more than likely she was a little further into her 40's.
Dargon Pennington was a widower. He was the son of Henry and Parthenia Pennigton and had married Eliza Kirk some 34 years earlier, and they had 3 children together. He had lost his dear Eliza in 1908, so had been alone for 3 years. But Martha didn't like him none too good either.
Fast forward to 1920 and Dargon is working as a Drayman for a furniture factory and living with his daughter, Mattie. He claims to be widowed, but from Eliza, not Martha.
Dargon Pennington with unknown child
Dargon Pennington lived until 1933, when he died of a cerebral hemorrahage at the age of 82. He had been a beloved man about the town of Albemarle. Everyone knew him. Dargon was buried at the New Hope Cemetery north of Badin and Palmerville in the old Isenhour Community of Harris Township, where Martha's olderst brother, William M. Cochran lived.
In 1920, Martha has retained her Davis surname and is living in Kingville, not far from Dargon, with her grandson, Lacy and a 16 year old cousin, Odessa.
This is the last census for Martha Jane Cochran Davis Gould Pennington Davis (because she went back to the name). She died in 1924, at about age 60 and is thought to be buried at Sides Cemetery in Albemarle with her son , Andrew Davis.
Some of Martha Jane's children are still a mystery, but below is a list of her known children and what I know about them.
A) Mack C Davis 1878-1949 Married Lena Steed. Lived in Norwood.
B) Walter Davis 1883-1917 Married Lauretta Gould.
C) Lonnie Davis 1885- ? Married Bertha Haigler.
D) John Davis 1888- ? Married Tassie Fort.
E) Jacob "Jake" Davis 1890- 1959 Married Nora Boger and Virginia Lee. Lived in Albemarle.
F) Andrew D. Davis 1896-1919 Worked for Tallahasse Power and Died of TB at age 522. Unmarried.
G) Nanna b 1897 - probably before 1910.
E) Adda b 1898 - probably before 1910.
Martha Jane's youngest two, both daughters, were young enough, they should have been living with their mother in 1910, or at least nearby. They were not. Neither were they living with their older brothers. However, Andrew was also nowhere to be found in 1910, altough we know he lived until 1919. It's possible Martha had put her younger children in an orphange or other home for children when John died, and the girls married in a different county. Research is still ongoing. Either that or they passed away beofroe 1910. Childhood diseses abounded. Mysteriously, Andrew stated on his draft registration, that he was single, yet he was supporting three chldren. Were these his children, or younger siblings? Martha and John coud have had another child before John passed away between 1900 and 1910.
By staying close to the bone and making the land she grew up in her home, Martha Jane Cochran became a matriarch for a large number of local people who can trace their heritage through her and her husband, John, back to the slaves of Job Davis, the ancestor of mine for whom I named this blog.
Because of the DNA connection to my African -American neighbor and his mother, I know that some of them, through one oor more of his three sons, were also descendants of Job Davis and one of Job's Children.