1997-2000, Wallace L. McKeehan, All Rights Reserved

The Davis Families of the DeWitt Colony

At least five individuals with the name George Washington Davis appear in DeWitt Colony records. In addition to the Daniel Davis family described here who had a son and two grandsons with the name, G.W. Davis and his son G.W. Davis Jr. of the Cuero Creek area appear frequently in DeWitt Colony records. Therefore it is not clear which one or more are referred to since a G.W. Davis was present in most significant events in the colony prior to independence. It is believed that the G.W. Davis (m. Rebecca Gaston and stepfather of Alamo casualty John Gaston) of Cuero Creek was the major participant with the name in records about the Battle of Gonzales and the G.W. Davis (son of Daniel Davis below) is the participant referred to in records of the Battle of San Jacinto. According to Dixon and Kemp in The Heroes of San Jacinto, the George Washington Davis that served on the field at San Jacinto in Infantry Company D, 1st Regiment of Texan Volunteers under Capt. Moseley Baker was born in Tennessee 20 Mar 1806, was the delegate to the Consultation of 1835 from the municipality of Gonzales, participated in the Battle of Gonzales, was a member of Capt. John M. Bradley's Company at the Siege of Bexar and took part in the battle at Concepcion. Dixon and Kemp contend that a James P. Davis, who was a member of Capt. Karnes Cavalry Company of the 2nd Regiment of Volunteers, was a brother of the above G.W. Davis who came to Texas with him from Tennessee in 1831. According to the authors, James Davis died in BastropCo in 1847 and his heirs were granted bounty land for his service. An article in the Texas Telegraph & Register reported "George W. Davis was named administrator of the estate of James Davis, a deceased soldier, Bastrop Co., Nov. term of Probate Court, 1837."  An article from the Houston Post in 1985 based on family legends by descendant Elmo Schwab tells the story of both father Daniel and son George W. Davis who were fiddler's at the Battle of San Jacinto.  The article refers to Alamo casualty John Davis as the brother of Daniel Davis and relates that Daniel Davis was with the Mier Expedition at age 60.

If the Tennessee origin of G.W. Davis is correct, then Dixon and Kemp are referring to the G.W. Davis from the Daniel Davis family described here since G.W. Davis of Cuero Creek came from Green County, Kentucky. Dixon and Kemp's birthdate of 1806 for G.W. Davis is in between the 1797 for G.W. Davis of Cuero Creek and the 1817 below for G.W. Davis, son of Daniel Davis. If the latter is correct, then it is likely that the older G.W. Davis of Cuero Creek was the secretary of election and member of the Texas Consultations from Gonzales.   It is equally difficult to sort out which land records and transactions go with which G.W. Davis. The sitio grant in colony records on the Guadalupe River and Cuero Creek was clearly that to G.W. Davis of Cuero indicated by marital status, the size of his family and where he settled longer term. The multiple lots in the inner and outer town of Gonzales are more difficult to sort out although it is apparent that both G.W. Davis's owned lots in the town tract and one or more had businesses there.

The activities and fate of John Davis are equally unclear as described in the articles below. A John Davis was present in Capt. Kuykendall's Company in the rear guard of the Texas Republican Army camped at Harrisburg. A James P. Davis in the Daniel Davis family has not been identified.

Daniel, Elizabeth, George W. (son of Daniel), George W. (son of Zachariah), John, Zachariah.
The information below on the Daniel Davis family is adapted in large part from articles by Ruth Johnson Stuckey and Peggy S. Pate in the History of Gonzales County Texas [Verbatim sections reprinted with permission of The Gonzales Historical Commission]

Daniel and Elizabeth Davidson Davis and a child arrived in the DeWitt Colony 5 Mar 1831 according to land records. It is believed that Daniel and Elizabeth both were born in Tyrrell County, North Carolina. Daniel (circa 1782) was thought to be the son of Enoch and the grandson of immigrant John Davis Sr. from Wales. Elizabeth was said to have been the daughter of Andrew Davidson. The Davis, Davidson and Shinnault families as a group moved from North Carolina into Davidson County, Tennessee in 1795. Davidson County had two tributaries of the Duck River called Sinking and Rock Creek upon which the families settled. Daniel and Elizabeth were married in 1803. They had children: Zachariah (1804 Tennessee-1848 Texas); John (abt 1810 Tennessee-1836-1840 Texas) unmarried; Elizabeth (Eliza) Jane (1815 Tennessee-1880 Texas) married first Oran Guthrie and second John McKinney; George Washington (1817 Tennessee-1880 Texas) married Mary Caroline Pease and Elizabeth Ann McCullough.

Son John Davis left his Tennessee home and parents with a group seeking land and new opportunity in Texas. A John Davis arrived in the colony 16 Feb 1830 and received one quarter sitio of land on the Lavaca River between current Hallettsville and Petersburg. John reported all was well and parents Daniel and Elizabeth and brothers George Washington and Zachariah and family left Tennessee for Texas via Mississippi arriving in 1831. They took with them fine-blooded Tennessee horses and later maintained a stud farm as a livelihood in Texas. Daniel Davis and family of 3 received a sitio on Denton Creek and the Guadalupe River on the current Gonzales and DeWitt County line. Daniel later purchased four city lots within two blocks of the Gonzales courthouse square and built three homes for himself and family members. The remainder of Daniel's land was sold in 1850 according to instructions in his will. Sons George Washington and John lived at home with Daniel Davis enabling them to earn a good livelihood. In 1835 Daniel assisted with forging iron shot for the "Come and Take It" cannon during the Battle of Gonzales.

Some claim that the Daniel Davis above participated in the Mier Expedition. Daughter Eliza Jane Davis Guthrie McKinney's descendants said he did go to West Texas in 1842 to the Rio Grande with General Alexander Somervell, but the group was turned back under government orders. Daniel would have been about sixty years old at the time. Other family members state that the Daniel Davis that was imprisoned at Mier was from Uvalde, Texas. The date of death of Elizabeth Davidson Davis is unknown, but occurred prior to that of Daniel Davis who died in 1850 in Gonzales. Both were buried in the original Gonzales Cemetery square which in 1984 was the site of the Episcopal Church. A historical marker was located on the site of the original cemetery square and stated that Daniel Davis participated in the Mier expedition and Daniel and Elizabeth Davidson Davis were buried in that cemetery. However, the remains of those buried in cemetery square were exhumed and transferred to a common, but unmarked burial site in the newer Gonzales City Cemetery.

Elizabeth Davis. A 1939 sketch of Elizabeth Davis was written by daughter Johnnie Elizabeth McKinney Thornton for the Daughters of the Republic of Texas.

George Washington Davis was born in Bedford County, Tennessee August 1, 1817, twenty years after the presidency of George Washington expired. He was the fourth child of Daniel and Elizabeth Davis. With his parents he moved from Bedford to Hardeman County, Tennessee when at the age of 13 he came with his parents via Mississippi to Texas in 1831. Young George Washington was excited about joining his brother John Davis who arrived in Gonzales in May, 1830. Young George Washington was taught the trade of horse-breeding by his family and carried out the trade throughout his life. In 1850 when father Daniel Davis died, his will specified that George Washington was to receive one fine-blooded bay horse among other concessions. According to descendants, George Washington Davis assisted in the Battle of Gonzales in 1835. After the standoff, he joined the volunteers from Gonzales for the siege of Bexar. He returned home to Gonzales and in 1836 joined Sam Houston in Gonzales and fought with him in the Battle of San Jacinto. He returned to Gonzales and along with the other Davis' rebuilt homes and ranches and resumed their horse-breeding trade. On 27 May 1840 George Washington Davis married Mary Caroline Pease, a young widow who was the mother of four children. Early research stated that her maiden name was thought to be "Kelly" and that "she was the widow of the brother of Governor Elisha Pease"; however, her first husband and fourth child, both deceased, were stated to have been named Lyman Pease. Mary Caroline may have been the wife of Lorrain Thompson Pease Jr., but that information was unproven and was not researched.

George Washington and Mary Caroline lived in Gonzales, Texas until 1850. They had eight children in eight years, namely: George Washington Jr. (1842-circa 1860)-infant (1843 deceased); Daniel (1844-1878) married Amanda Harper and had Georgia, Bell, Robert Winfield, Daniel Jr. and two others; Zachariah (1845-1925) was a deaf mute and min (1847) married Susie Sparks and had William Gray, Aizora and Benjamin; Ann Elizabeth (1848-1881) married William McCullough and had Jennie, Willie, Ophelia, Dora, Della, Lilly, Joe and Fidelia; James Rhode Davis (1849-1914) married Mary Francis Vick. The Pease children were: Caroline (circa 1836) married William Harper and had Alice, Sue, Minnie, Dora, Marshden, Marlin and Samuel; Samuel Kelly (1837-1894) married first Mary Ann Downs and had George Washington, Ida, Sarah, Mildred, Lyman, James and Robert and married second Susan Laster and had Wright, Sue A., Naomi, John, Edward, Wiley, Henry, Leslie and Samuel Kelly Jr.; Mary Ann (1838-1919) married first William R. Light and had Daniel, Nancy, Caroline, William and five others and married second W.D.W. Peck and had Ellen.

In 1850, following the death of his parents and the sale of their land and property as specified in Daniel's will, George Washington received one-third of the estate. He purchased the ranch home and 1000 acres of land from the widow Rosanna of his brother, Zachariah Davis. George Washington and his family moved onto the Daniel Davis league on the Gonzales-DeWitt County line. The property was so near the Gonzales County line between Hochheim and Cheapside that mail service was routed from Gonzales. Mary Caroline died some time between the birth of her last child December 23, 1849 and September 12, 1854, the date of George Washington's marriage to his second wife Elizabeth Ann McCullough, a widow and mother of two sons: William McCullough who married Ann Elizabeth, the only daughter of George Washington and Mary Caroline, and David McCullough. No issue occurred during George's second marriage. In 1855 George Washington Davis deeded and recorded in DeWitt County one-half acre of land on his homestead for the Davis Cemetery, he died November 15, 1880 and was buried in the Davis Cemetery. A the foot of his grave was an olive branch granite marker; the inscription read, "Citizen Soldier who served Texas in its struggle for independence, 1835-1836." Davis, McCullough and Kuykendall descendants continued to be buried in the Davis Cemetery. The San Jacinto Monument has the name of George Washington Davis inscribed on its base and there is a large picture in the museum of an elderly George Washington Davis. Descendants of Daniel and George Washington Davis continued to live on parts of their land through several generations. They included George Washington's son James Rhode, his son James Robert, his daughter Loma Means and her daughter Mrs. Marvin (Ethel Lena) Yaws. They also maintained the Davis Cemetery through the years. Ruth Johnson Stuckey (In large part adapted from The History of Gonzales County, Texas by permission of the Gonzales County Historical Commission).

An additional George Washington Davis arrived in Gonzales County February 20, 1831 with his parents Zachariah and Rosanna Shinault Davis and his grandparents Daniel and Elizabeth Davidson Davis. He descended through several American-born generations of early Welch immigrants who had settled in Virginia, North Carolina and Tennessee. George Washington Davis was born in Hardeman County, Tennessee February 14, 1826. George Washington was a young boy when the war for Texas independence took place. On May 6, 1848 he married Amanda Jones, daughter of William Patrick and Zilphia Jane Dalton Jones. They lived in the Rancho community near Nixon. When the Civil War began, he joined the Confederate forces and was away from home the entire four years of the war except for a period of a few weeks when he went home on sick leave. Amanda died soon after his return August 1, 1865. He then married Sarah Humphries who died one year later. In 1870 he married Mary Milsap. She died January 24, 1897. There were no children from either of the last two marriages. He died December 21, 1907. It was said that he was a tall, slim, proud man with a white beard and white hair. He was buried in Asher Cemetery in southeast Gonzales County. Amanda was buried in Sandies Chapel Cemetery.

Children of G.W. and Amanda Davis were: Lemuel (February 21, 1852); Jane (January 12, 1854); Rosanna (August 1, 1856); Zachariah (October 7, 1858); Nancy (1860); and George Washington (February 28, 1864). Lemuel Claude Davis was born at Rancho and married Francis Polan December 4,1873. She was the daughter of Granberry and Mary Gloss Polan. Their children were: Martha Jane (October 24, 1874); Amanda (April 19,1876); Lemuel Claude Jr. (February 20, 1878); George Washington (May 30, 1880);Andrew Jackson (June 25, 1884); Callie Dora (June 13, 1886); Fannie (March 28, 1887); Cory Greenleaf (May 23, 1888); and Thomas Leslie (June 28, 1899). Lemuel was a farmer, but he went several times up the Chisholm Trail with his brother-in-law John Duderstadt taking cattle to the Kansas railheads. He belonged to the Forest Home Alliance and was a Mason, a member of Lone Star Lodge at Smiley. He died January 23, 1891 of pneumonia and was buried in the Seidel Cemetery near Smiley. After Lemuel's death, Francis married Zack Pearson and they had one son John L. born August 28, 1898. She died August 3,1939 and was buried in the Nixon Cemetery. Andrew Jackson Davis married Mary Rosella Carpenter June 26, 1909. She was the daughter of Wiley and Anne Hoggett Carpenter. He was a farmer and lived most of his life near Nixon. They had six children: Ruby (January 11, 1910) weighed only two and one half pounds at birth, married James D. Smith, and had two children, James Daniel Jr. and Peggy Sue; Owen (July 16, 1912) married Genevia Worthy, had two daughters, Kathryn and Arline; Andrew (November 12, 1914) married Anne Young, had three children, Joan, Bobby and Andy who died at an early age; Gracie (March 22, 1917-May 17, 1919); Joy Lee (February 25, 1919-March 2, 1919); and David E. (December 18, 1926, died the same day). Andrew Jackson and Mary Rosella were buried in the Nixon Cemetery. Peggy S. Pate (In large part adapted from The History of Gonzales County, Texas by permission of the Gonzales County Historical Commission).

The identity of John Davis, son of Daniel and Elizabeth Davis, in later life is unclear and surrounded by controversy among descendants and historians. He is probably the "Jack Davis" referred to in an incident in 1836 in Nichols diary, Now You Hear My Horn.  A John Davis was a voter in the election for delegates from Gonzales to the Texas Consultation of 1835, a John Davis was present in Capt. Kuykendall's Company in the rear guard of Houston's Army at San Jacinto and a John Davis was a member of the Gonzales Alamo Relief Force who died in the Alamo. Sister Eliza Jane Davis Guthrie McKinney [also reflected in memoirs of her daughter Johnnie Elizabeth Thornton] insisted to her death that her brother John Davis was the Gonzales Ranger that joined the Alamo Relief force and was killed in the Alamo. Others believe that John Davis went to Harrisburg during the Runaway Scrape, held power of attorney over John's estate and sold his land in Lavaca County to Oran and Eliza Jane Davis Guthrie in 1848.

Eliza Jane Davis McCoyZachariah Davis was born around 1804 near the Duck River near Shelbyville, Tennessee and his wife Rosanna was born June 15, 1805. She was the daughter of Isaac and Margaret Chinault and a descendant of Estienne Cheneau, a French Hugeunot who arrived in America in March, 1701 with his wife. Descendants described Rosanna as a beautiful, petite woman with dark curly hair and sparkling eyes. The family of 6 received a sitio of land west of Hallettsville on Mustang Creek in Lavaca County arriving 20 Feb 1831 according to land records. In 1844 Daniel Davis sold 2000 acres along the Guadalupe River to his son Zachariah. After the defeat at the Alamo, the Davis' Gonzales properties were burned. According to descendants, the family destroyed the improvements on their ranch and farms, took their best bloodline horses and joined the Runaway Scrape and fled toward Houston, Texas to return later after Texas independence. Zachariah and Rosanna Davis had daughters Elizabeth Ann, Susan and Eliza Jane who married Prospect, Green and Joseph L. McCoy, respectively, all sons of Joseph Hill and Catherine Clark McCoy.

DAVIS. According to colony land records, James C. Davis arrived as a single man 28 Mar 1829 and received a quarter sitio land grant on the Lavaca River near the Zumwalt Settlement in current Lavaca County south of Hallettsville and Petersburg. He served as alcalde and treasurer of the Gonzales Ayuntamiento of 1834. He married Eliza DeWitt, oldest daughter of Empresario Green DeWitt. Under his leadership, the Ayuntamiento made numerous ordinances and promoted activities stimulating the economic and commerce activity of the community. His name was commonly on deeds related to purchases of lots within the Gonzales town tract in the period. He was killed by Indians in current Lavaca County in 1834.

DAVIS. J.K. Davis arrived in the DeWitt Colony as a single man in 1830 according to land grant records. He received a quarter sitio on the east bank of the Guadalupe River northwest of Gonzales next to grants to Green DeWitt and W.W. Arrington. He was deeded two lots in the inner town and it is unclear if he improved or lived on them. According to Eggleston family records, he helped build their "dog-run" home in the 1840's in Gonzales that is a current historic landmark in Gonzales. Davis was a private in Capt. William H. Patton's company, 2nd Texas Regiment under Col. Sherman in the Battle of San Jacinto.

Jesse Kincheloe Davis was born in Kentucky January 11, 1802, the son of Warren Davis and his wife Molly Kincheloe. Both the Davis and Kincheloe families were in Kentucky before the American Revolution when it was a county of Virginia. It was not known when Jesse K. Davis and a number of his relatives left Kentucky but his name appeared on many legal documents in Booneville, Missouri between 1820 and 1830. While in Booneville Jesse joined the Masonic Lodge and was made secretary. It was recorded in his hand in the minutes that he and Warren Davis, who could have been either his brother or his father, resigned the lodge. Later he presented himself for membership with the Masonic Lodge No. 30 in Gonzales, Texas. In 1832 Jesse K. Davis received a Spanish land grant in DeWitt's Colony. He married Eliza Davis May 5, 1835 in Brazoria County, Texas. She was born May 11, 1819 in Alabama, the daughter of Kinchen W. Davis and Frances Pleasants who were married in Wake County, North Carolina July 29, 1815. Kinchen and Frances Davis had a Spanish land grant in Brazoria County in Austin's Colony dated 1828. It was in 1833 an epidemic of cholera killed both Kinchen and Frances Davis. Jesse Kincheloe Davis answered the call to arms and fought for the independence of Texas. While he fought in the Battle of San Jacinto, Eliza, his wife, watched from the vantage point of a tree. She had left their first-born, a son one month old, on the ground with a nurse.

There were twelve children in all born to Jesse and Eliza Davis: Thomas Jefferson (February 29, 1836-1850); Kincheloe Kompton (October, 1838-1841); Frances Marie (1840) married Doctor McGahan; Warren (1842); Stephen Tippett (July 13,1844-April 3, 1919) married Sarah Jane Hodges December 26,1867; William (November 1845-1848); Louise Adaline (December, 1847) married Doctor Edward P. Belieu; Pelina (April or June 1849-July, 1849); George Tennelle (March 17, 1851-March 4, 1935 Roswell, New Mexico) married Ado Byron Wildy in 1888; Henry Carroll (August 9, 1853) married Addie Bouldin; John B. (March 1856-1858); Jesse William (1861-1864). Jesse Kincheloe received several allotments of land from the Republic of Texas for services to the Republic. He died at his home December 28, 1869 and was buried in the Gonzales Masonic Cemetery where the State of Texas placed a marker in 1936 in his honor. Eliza Davis died January 11, 1875 and was buried at his side. Naomi Dobson Mangum. (From The History of Gonzales County, Texas. Reprinted by permission of the Gonzales County Historical Commission).

In 1932, Mrs. B. B. Hindman, daughter of Jesse Davis, of Cost, GonzalesCo, Texas wrote L. W. Kemp:

"Dear Mr. Kemp:  Here is the tale as it was told to me, during the battle father, Jesse K. Davis, had some trouble with his gun. He sat down on a fallen log to repair it. There was fighting every where and much noise and confusion. As he was hurriedly working with his gun, Deaf Smith yelled, "Look out Davis, that Mexican will get you."  Father whirled around grasping the barrel of his rifle. A Mexican officer was advancing on him with a drawn sword. He hit the Mexican a terrific blow on the side of the head and left him as he fell. He took the sword since it was better than a broken gun and on with the battle.  This sword is still in our family. My elders in telling this tale always remarked, "Deaf Smith, although he had married a Mexican woman was a mighty good soldier."  Jesse K. Davis fought in the Mexican war and was also a Confederate Veteran, though I do not know whether he ever left Texas, during the Civil War."

1997-2000, Wallace L. McKeehan, All Rights Reserved.