Archive for Author: E Davis

Laura Davis

In July 2006, Kim Williams (Chicago) responded to my post on Elijah and Becky
Davis.  Since that time, it has taken us almost a year to actually talk and
share information. Kim was looking for a connection to a Morrell Marshall whose
mother was Laura Davis.  During the conversation, she explained that an aunt and
her daughter had passed away within a month of each other.  Unfortunately, we
did not find any family names in common to confirm a relationship.

A day later, I received an inquiry from a Jennie (Chicago) who had seen
the same post and was also looking for a connection to a Laura Davis.  I emailed
her my phone number.  Jennie called within two days and during the conversation
mentioned that her mother and sister had passed away within a month of each
other.  She was also looking for a Morrell Marshall whose mother was Laura
Davis.  Could this be the same family that Kim was speaking of?

Jennie had her mother’s phone book and stated that her mother had written
“cousin” by some of the names.  Jennie read a couple of names, Charles and Elisha “Honey”, and addresses. The addresses were the homes of my grandfather’s
brother and his son.  She then mentioned a name (Noble Davis) that I had never
heard. Since I knew Elisha’s daughter, Cora (80+), who also lives in Chicago
still at the same address that Jennie had, I did a 3-way call and asked her
about Noble.  Sure enough, she knew Noble as a family member.  Halleluiah!!
Cora’s confirmation connected our families to each other. I also learned that Kim and Jennie were related and that Kim was speaking of Jennie’s mother and sister as the person who had passed away.

A few days later, I talked to Kim again and confirmed that we were related.  I have
sent them my family tree, what I have written on Elijah and Becky and a picture
and story on Elisha. What a coincidence that two people from Chicago would
contact me via this post within a couple of days of each other looking for the
same person.  They have never visited Barbour County, AL. We have made a promise to talk again soon and to visit together.

The family line is as follows:
Elijah and Becky Davis had a daughter named Laura Davis.  Laura had a daughter
named Morrell Marshall (Father unknown).  Laura married Sam Boykin and Billy Booker. She moved to Meridian MS.  where she remained until her death.  Morrell Marshall married Ben Langston
(Langton) and had seven children (John Henry, James, Jessie, Willie Mae,
Benjamin Earl, Evalina and Laura.

We are still looking for descendants of sisters, Sama and Margaret.

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Elijah & Becky Davis

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. 

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Negroes Returning

   Notwithstanding that many of the Southern negroes who went North last winter, literally “caught fits” in the cold climate, and many died of pneumonia and other ailments, still some in the South are yet inclined to leave the only place where they will ever be treated kindly, and go North.  It was last Saturday that one or two Alabama counties reported that “labor agents” had worked up crowds of negroes who would go North as soon as those agents came with the transportation and “other inducements”  but read here a report which came out from Atlanta on the same date.

   The exodus of negroes from the south to the northern cities, where they have been lured by immigration agents holding out false promises of high wages and social equality with white people, seems to have reached the high water mark and is now receding, with a backswing of negroes, toward the south.  But hundreds of the poor victims will never return and extremely pitiful reports come from the chairity and social service organizations in northern cities, telling of the suffering and hardships endured by southern negroes who went from the warm climate of their native land to the bitter winter of the north.  The accounts of these hardships told by negroes who have been so fortunate as to get back to the south will probably do more than anything else to stop the northern exodus.

Union Springs Herald, 1917

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On An Ancestral Journey

In 1992 if anyone had told me that I would spend the next thirteen years on an ancestral journey I would have laughed at them. Like everyone else in
America, I too had watched the 1976 movie Roots by Alex Haley. The movie caused me to experience many different emotions; however, none of them ignited a desire to follow in the footsteps of Mr. Haley. As a matter of fact, I probably did not think it was a possibility for the average person. 

I’m not sure what it is about one’s personality that draws them to the art of genealogy and family research because it can be tedious, discouraging, dirty and expensive.  However, it can also be full of surprises and very rewarding. Whatever the reason, there is a very strong desire to discover who your ancestors were and to share information about them that no one else knows.  You begin to wonder if you look like any of them, did you pick up any of their personalities or skills, and what were their lives like during their lifetimes.  Read the rest of this entry »

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