Tuesday, December 9, 2014

The Davises of Tompkinsville, Kentucky

First, obviously, I took some time off from writing this blog, but I didn’t realize it had been 6 months! I never intended for it to be that long, but this summer was just to nice to be indoors working on anything. Then, my sister, Cindy, and I made a genealogy trip back out to the Family History Library in Salt Lake City in October. And now, here we are and it’s almost 2015! Procrastination may have played a part in this delay, too. So, now it’s time to get back to work on this blog.

Charles P Davis
Sarah Percy Davis
The Davis family is one that I really never heard much about while growing up. I remember my grandma, Edna Shepherd Happekotte mentioning “Grandpa Davis” [pictured on the left] occasionally, but not much more than just mentioning…. or maybe I just wasn’t listening very carefully. Grandpa Davis was Charles P Davis who was born in Tennessee probably DeKalb County and later lived in Tompkinsville, Kentucky and for a long time in  LaGrange, Missouri. Monroe County, Kentucky is located in south central Kentucky and is situated on the Kentucky-Tennessee line. Tompkinsville is the county seat and that was the home of our Davis branch of the family. My mother’s notes mentioned Pumpkinville and we found my great grandma Mary Davis Shepherd’s obituary that said she was born in Pumpkinville! That’s close enough sounding to Tompkinsville that I believe they are one in the same.

Charles married Sarah Jane Percy [pictured on the right above] in Clay Co., Tennessee on October 27, 1878. They moved to Tompkinsville by December of 1881 because that is when and where their first child, Daniel, was born. They didn’t have to move far because Clay County, Tennessee borders Monroe County, Kentucky on the south. Their second child, Mary Elizabeth [my great grandmother], was born in Tompkinsville on October 7, 1882. By 1886, the family had moved to Linneus, Linn Co., Missouri because their third child, George William was born there on January 11, 1886. A fourth child, Charles Lee, was born on February 22, 1888 in Gregory, Clark Co., Missouri. I have no primary source confirmation of that as of yet. Charles Lee was a little more than two years old when he died on October 12, 1890. Their last child, Lillie Belle, was born in LaGrange, Lewis Co., Missouri on February 15, 1899. Her grandson, Keith Jones, has been a treasure trove of information and stories about her, about her husband Cornell (Jack) Allen, and about Charles Davis. I have so enjoyed listening to his stories. We are sharing information about the Davis family. We know that Charles’ father was Henry Lee Davis [more about him in a future blog], but tracing back to Henry Lee’s father is proving to be a challenge.

Sarah Jane Percy Davis died on January 16, 1923 in LaGrange. She was just six days shy of her sixty-first birthday when she passed. Charles survived about thirteen more years. He was still in LaGrange according to the 1930 US Federal Census, but sometime after that he moved in with relatives in Quincy, Illinois which is just a few miles south of LaGrange. I suspect the relatives he was living with would have been his daughter, Mary Davis Shepherd, who was living in Quincy. Charles died at the state hospital in Jacksonville, Illinois on August 24, 1936. He had been there for eight months. I have yet to find out why he was there.

Charles had worked for the railroad most of his life. Keith Jones told me that is probably why they moved from Kentucky to Missouri. It would also explain why they moved often.

Oh, and if you look on the map of Monroe County above, you will find a town called Bugtussle! For those of you who remember the show “The Beverly Hillbillies”, you may recognize the name. It was the hometown of the Clampetts! Well, so far, I haven’t found any Clampetts in our background, but if I do, you may never find out!