My Davis ancestors can be traced back to the 1870 Population Census for Barbour County, Alabama. On this census, Elijah is listed as 54 years of age, which would indicate that he was born circa 1816. The census further lists Georgia as his birthplace. Although Georgia is listed as Elijah’s place of birth, various family members have stated they heard that he came from the West Indies.
The slave trade with Africa was supposedly abolished in 1808; however, we know this was too profitable a business for some as well as a way to provide free labor to wealthy farmers. As a result, traders continued to bring slaves into the country via Cuba and South America.
The unknown history of my ancestors generate many questions for me. Was Elijah a slave or free person of color? Was he sold into slavery in Africa and bought to the West Indies or was he born into slavery in the West Indies? Was he sold to a slave trader or to a plantation owner? How did he get to the United States? Did he purchase his own freedom or was he manumitted? Did he become a free person with emancipation?
The 1870 census identifies Elijah’s wife as Becky, born in Virginia. This information also raises many questions such as how and where did they meet? But most importantly how did they end up in Springhill, AL (Barbour County-Township 12 Range 28)?
Elijah and Becky had at least six children born in Alabama starting circa 1855. They were Margaret, Laura, Henry, Sama, Charles, my great grandfather, and William.