Davis Family History

The Davis family history is taken from family records and then cross-referenced to numerous independent sources to verify the information.

Born 1680
Died 06/16/1760

Richard Davis was born about 1680 and died June 16, 1760 in North Carolina.

Born 1726
Died 2/21/1811

Cyrus Davis was born in 1726 perhalps in Wales or Virginia. He Married Sarah Harris. He died February 21, 1811 in Kentucky.

Born about 1775
Died 09/16/1818

Robert Harris Davis was born about 1775. He maried Mary Lewis Robards December 27, 1797 in Mercer County, Kentucky. She died September 6, 1829 in Kentucky. Her parents were William Robards and Elizabeth Pleasants Cocke.

He died September 16, 1818 in Boyle/Mercer County Kentucky. His will was dated February 2, 1811 and is listed in the Mercer County Kentucky Wills and Estates records. Nothing else is known at this time.

Born 02/14/1799
Died 07/02/1852

Cyrus Addison Davis was born in Mercer County, Kentucky. He married Diana R. Montague sometime prior to 1824. The marriage produced eleven children, ten of which reached majority. The children were Virginia, Elizabeth, Mary, Robert H., James M., John C., Samuel W., George W.,Ophelia, Harvey H.,and William.

Diana R. Montague, wife of C. A. Davis, was born in the State of Virginia on June 02, 1806 and moved to Kentucky with her parents. It was here that she later met and married Davis.No date has been located yet as to when the Davis’ were married, however it was learned that their third child (Mary) was born in 1825.

Cyrus and Diana moved to Greene County, Illinois in 1832. For a time he tried his hand at farming in Richwoods Township. However it was reported that he moved to Carrollton a few years later to resume his practice of medicine.

In the book History of Greene County it is reported that Dr. Davis was fond of hunting and was quite good at it. On October 10, 1835 C. A. Davis and four other gentlemen laid out plots for the village of Woodville in Greene County, Illinois. On March 26, 1836 the tiny village was recorded at the county clerk’s office. Prior to this being done a general store was erected.

In 1835 C. A. Davis entered the political process and ran unsuccessfully for County Recorder. He placed second in a four man race. David Pierson won with 670 votes and Cyrus received 486 votes.

In 1836 Cyrus Davis again ran for office and was elected as a representative in the state legislature from Greene County. Election results recorded the following vote totals.

Representative – Greene County
Franklin Witt 1518
Cyrus A. Davis 1118
Revel English 990
William Carlin 888
John Drum 627
William Holiday 366
Sherman Gross 58

In 1834 Abraham Lincoln was first elected to the Illinois legislature. By 1836 Lincoln had become a powerful figure in the Whig party and was easily reelected to a second term in the legislature, which met in Vandalia, Illinois. The 10th general assembly would meet on December 5, 1836, adjourning on March 6,1837. A second session was from July 10, 1837 to July 22, 1837. Cyrus traveled by horseback to Vandalia in late November or early December to join Lincoln and others to tend to duties in the House.

Several major issues were to be voted on by the House during that term. One of the most notable issues was a ten million dollar public improvement act to improve railroads and rivers within the state. Lincoln was a big supporter of the bill and Davis, along with other representatives from Greene County, voted against the bill. Greene County received no direct benefit from the legislation.

Another issue voted on during the tenth general assembly was the moving of the state capital from Vandalia to Springfield. Lincoln and others from the Springfield area pushed hard for the move to Springfield. This will be covered in more depth while covering votes in the Tenth General Assembly.

On Monday, December 5, 1836 Cyrus Davis took his seat with two other representatives from Greene County. In reviewing the journal for the house activities, a few of the votes will be listed as an example of how Davis voted. For historical interest they will be compared with Lincoln’s votes on the issues since he went on to serve many terms in the Illinois House, U. S. Congress and as President.

On December 15, 1836 legislation was introduced to repeal an act to improve the breed of cattle. On the question, shall the bill be read a second time?, the motion passed. Davis and Lincoln both voted yes.

On Friday, December 16, 1836 on a Motion by Mr. English of Greene County to amend a bill, Lincoln called for a vote of the yeas and nays. The motion passed with Davis voting yes and Lincoln voting no.

The above motion had to do with receiving moneys from a surplus of the federal government. The next motion was to have the Treasurer of the State of Illinois rather than the Governor receive the money. It went on to state that in case the Treasurer had resigned or died to make arraignments to receive the money. The motion passed with both Lincoln and Davis voting in favor.

During the afternoon session the following was Resolved by the General Assembly, (two-thirds concurring), that at the next general election for representatives, that the electors vote in favor of a convention to amend the Constitution of the State. Davis was in favor, Lincoln was opposed.

Between the 16th and 29th, the act to repeal an act to improve the breed of cattle was read a second time. A motion was made to refer the bill to committee was made and voted down. Lincoln favored sending it to committee Davis did not. The vote was overwhelming, 71 to 13 not to send it to committee.

The next item of business was on the question, shall the bill pass? It was decided in the affirmative with both Lincoln and Davis voting yes. The negative votes went from 13 to 4.

On December 29, 1836, On a motion by Mr. English of Greene County, Mr. Davis was granted a leave of absence for ten days. No reason is given for the leave.

Some days later, Cyrus Davis was named to a committee to look into petitions from citizens from Greene and Morgan Counties in relation to internal improvements.

On Monday, January 9, 1837, a bill to make Clerks of the County Commissioners, Courts and County Treasurers elective by the people was read a third time and passed into law. Davis and Lincoln voted with the majority 61 to 7.

On Wednesday, January 11, 1837 a vote on whether to conduct an investigation of the State Bank of Illinois and its branches was held. The resolution passed 57 to 24. Davis voting in favor and Lincoln against. Davis was named to another committee to study and report back on whether to located a state road from Carlinville to Grafton.

On Monday February 13, 1837, on a motion by Mr. Witt of Greene County, Mr. Davis was given a leave of absence. Again no reason was given And this time no time limit is shown.

On February 28, 1837 the issue of where the State Capital of Illinois should be located, Davis was back and his votes ares listed.

In a joint session of the House and Senate, the issue of where the seat of government should be located was hammered out. As stated earlier it is well documented that Lincoln and others from Sangamon County wanted the site moved to Springfield.

On the first vote, Springfield received 35 votes, the top vote getter. Nineteen other locations also received votes. Davis and two other representatives from Greene County voted for their county seat (Carrollton), however their member of the Senate (Allen) voted for Jacksonville. Other cities in the Greene County area receiving votes were Alton (15) and Hillsboro (1).

Since no one city received a majority, a second vote was taken. Lincoln and his friends kept up the pressure and Springfield’s total raised to 43 with Senator Allen voting with Lincoln. The other three Greene County men stuck to their votes and Carrollton again received three votes.

Once again no majority was received and a third vote was ordered. Springfield again gained ground receiving 53 votes with Carrollton staying at three. it was interesting however that Davis and English who had voted for Carrollton each time continued their support. However this time Senator Turney of the Senate joined them, but they lost the vote of Witt to Springfield. Even with the increase Springfield still fell short and a fourth vote was taken.

On the fourth vote Springfield got enough votes (73) and Carrollton lost all her support. Davis now voted with Lincoln to move the Capital from Vandalia to Springfield.

The number of issues where Davis and Lincoln voted the same are few, however on an amendment by Mr. Witt of Greene County to continue a branch of the Central Railroad in the direction of Hillsboro then continue on to the Illinois River near Columbiana in Greene County they voted together. The railroad was to run through Hillsboro, Carlinville and Carrollton. The motion failed with Lincoln and Davis both voting for the measure.

On July 10, 1837, A special session was held and again Davis was seated with his cohorts from Greene County. Lincoln did not report until the following day for duty.

After one term Davis returned to Carrollton and resumed his practice of medicine.

Politics once again entered the picture in August of 1843 when Cyrus ran for Greene County Recorder. He ran against J. D. Fry, who received 1489 votes. Davis received 325 votes.

In 1849 the election results were better for Dr. Davis when he successfully ran for Trustee in Carrollton. The election, held June 23 of that year, showed Davis was the top vote getter with 53 votes. He was then appointed president of the newly elected board. It would appear that Davis served one term in that office. It should be noted that several of his children were involved in the political process at both the county and state level.

The following information is printed about Dr. Davis in the History of Greene County.

In addition to President of the Board for the town of Carrollton, he also served on the Carrollton Schools Board of Directors. The first public school opened in Carrollton in the fall of 1850 and an announcement on fees by the board showed the directors to be Z.A. Morrow, C. A. Davis and L.W. Link

According to the History of Greene County, Davis was a very successful physician and was highly thought of. He took a prominent part in the temperance cause in the county and was very active in the Free Masons. He was elected Master of the local lodge in 1851, but died prior to the end of his term.

Cyrus and Diana Davis grave markers

Cyrus and Diana Davis grave markers

Dr. Cyrus A. Davis died on July 02, 1851 and was buried in the original portion of the Carrollton, Illinois Cemetery.

Photograph on right shows the headstones for Diana and Cyrus Davis in the orginal potion of the Carrollton, Illinois City Cemetery.

The History of Greene County indicates Diana died on December 24, 1879. According to a Carrollton Gazette newspaper article published January 30, 1880:

“Mrs. Diana Davis, widow of Dr. Cyrus A. Davis who died many years since, died last Sunday. Age 73 years raised a large family all living except 2 girls and 1 boy. About 25 grandchildren and one great-grand child.”

The White Hall Register, article dated January 3, 1880, read as follows:

Born: 10/02/1828
Died 06/08/1885

James M. Davis was born in Boyle County, Kentucky and was the fifth child of Cyrus and Diana (Montague) Davis. James arrived in Greene County, Illinois in 1834.

At age 17 he enlisted in Company H, Second Regiment, Kentucky Infantry and served in the Mexican War.

He was listed as serving in the war in the Carrollton Gazette, May 22, 1892 edition, under the heading of Mexican War. His was one of nine names listed.

Records received from the United States National Archives show James enlisted in the second Kentucky Volunteers on June 9, 1846 and was discharged in July 28, 1847. He was enrolled at Louisville, Kentucky.

On his return to Carrollton he began the study of medicine with his father. After a year of study he enrolled at Missouri State University (Medical Department) in St. Louis, Missouri. He graduated in March of 1852 and returned to Carrollton, Illinois to begin his medical practice.

In 1857 Dr. Davis married Sarah A. Vedder, daughter of Francis P. Vedder. They were married on May 7 and the marriage produced five children, Francis A., Edgar L., Nellie, Nettie and Anna Belle. In many publications Anna Belle is listed only as Belle.

Sarah Ann Vedder was born April 26, 1837, the daughter of Francis P. and Wilmina Vedder.

Sarah was born in Lysander, New York. At the age of one her parents moved west and they first settled in White Hall, Illinois. They stayed in White Hall until 1846, when they moved to Carrollton, Illinois. Sarah lived the remainder of her life in Carrollton.

Sarah Davis resided almost all of her adult life at 204 North Fourth Street in Carrollton. This three story brick house still stands today (2000) and great-grandson John Clark and her great-great-grandchildren, Alan, Alice and Andrew Clark resided in the same house during the 1950’s and 1960’s. Her daughter, Belle, was married at the foot of the stairs in that house.

Dr. Davis was, like his father, involved with the Masonic Lodge. He also had a fleeting interest in politics, but did not fare as well as his father or his brothers. He was the Republican candidate for state senator, but was defeated in the general election. He lost by a vote of 2244 to 977.

The Carrollton Gazette carried a story dated April 23, 1864 which read

“James M. Davis and Company successors to S. A. Vedder dealers in drugs, medicines, paints, oils, dye-stuffs and perfumery.”

The same newspaper carried a story on June 25, 1864 which read as follows:

“Dr. J. M. Davis has purchased the stock of goods owned by Silas Wilson, and has disposed of the to Z. A. Morrow and Company. Mr. Davis we learn intends using the store room himself. Having purchased it from George Wright.”

In 1878 Dr. Davis was a special commissioner selling real estate for the Morfoot estate at public auction. This was reported under the 40 years ago column in the Thursday, November 21, 1918 Carrollton Patriot.

The 1879 Edition of History of Greene County Illinois, reports James M. Davis was one of the founders of the Greene County National Bank in 1858. He also served on the bank’s board of directors until his death.

The June 13, 1885 edition of the Carrollton Gazette carried the obituary of Dr. Davis. Dr. Davis died on June 8, 1885. According to the Greene County Clerk and Recorders records he was 56 years old when he died. The cause of death was listed as Tuberculosis and the disease had a duration of two years with complications for the past two months.

He was buried in the Carrollton, Illinois Cemetery. An oddity is that he has three grave markers, sitting side by side. One bears the proper date of death of June 8, 1885, another shows the date as July 8, 1885. The third is engraved Jas. M. Davis, Co. A, 2 Ky. Inf., Mex War.

The Carrollton Gazette article read as follows:

“Dr. J. M. Davis died at residence on Fourth Street, Monday evening. Brother of Senator R. H. Davis and George W. Davis. Was trustee of the Blind Asylum at Jacksonville. In 1857 married to Sarah Vedder, daughter of F. P. Vedder. Five Children. Funeral at Presbyterian Church under the direction of Masonic Fraternity. Buried in Carrollton cemetery.”

The Carrollton Gazette reported in the June 8, 1888 edition

“Mrs. Sarah A. Davis has been granted a pension of $8.00 per Month. Her husband the late Dr. James M. Davis was a Mexican War Veteran.”

Born: 04/26/1837
Died 02/16/1923

Sarah died on February 16, 1923. The Obituary in the Carrollton Patriot dated February 22, 1923 read as follows:

“Mrs. Sarah Davis Dies, 85”

“Mrs. Sarah A. Davis, aged 85 years, died last Friday evening at the home of her son, Edgar L. Davis, on South Main Street. She was the Widow of Dr. James M. Davis and a member of one of the oldest families in Greene County. Sarah A. Vedder was the daughter of Francis P. and Wilmina Vedder, and was born April 26, 1837, in Lipander, (Lysander) N.Y. When she was a year old her parents came West, settling first in White Hall and eight years later came to Carrollton, and having been here ever since.”

“She was married to Dr. J. M. Davis May 7, 1857. Five Children were born and four of whom are living. Frank A. and Edgar L. Davis of this city, Nettie M., wife of P. C. Eldred of Fort Pierce, Florida and Belle D., wife of O. H. Vivell of this city. She also leaves one brother, O. J. Vedder of Oklahoma, six grandchildren and two great- grandchildren.”

Click Here to read James M. Davis Mexican War pension for Sarah Davis.

Born: 07/21/1869
Died 08/30/1946

Anna Belle Davis, who was always known by Belle Davis, married Oscar H. Vivell of Carrollton, Illinois on August 24, 1893. Further information on Belle Davis is in the Vivell Section.