In genealogical circles associated with “Davis” history there are several places where roadblocks exist. Sometimes this is due to no paper trail at some point, or lack of birth or burial dates, or simply a family not carrying down through the ages, the written record.
One such question revolves around “Aaron Davis” (1754 or 1758) who lived in Powell Valley, Claiborne County Tennessee. I am going to share today our research and how we have come to determine his ancestry further up his tree and why we believe he is our close cousin through Barnabas Davis versus distant cousin through Foulk Davis. I will share below all the documentable evidence that leads us to this linkage.
First, we can prove through DNA that the ancestor Foulk Davis (1590) and ancestor Barnabas Davis – our direct line – (1599) are DNA matches to my husband. Thus, these two are related by blood; but not in a contemporary period of time. Their relational link is before 1590 as no record shows how they are related. See the graphic below of our family where all three Davis lines are in fact one for us, two by blood and one through inter-marriage.
As of now, many have concluded our Aaron Davis is a descendent of the Foulk Davis line, running through Reverand Morgan Davis. It is posited that Aaron’s father is David, whose father is Evan, coming from Rev. Morgan Davis and up to Foulk. While we can confirm that Foulk Davis and Barnabas Davis are DNA matched kin, we believe from our research that Aaron Davis (1754) is indeed a David Davis son, but not through the Reverand Morgan Davis line but runs up through the Barnabas line (our direct line). Below I will present all the information we know that is in the public record. Secondly, we currently live in the exact location where Aaron Davis lived and have done research on the ground that reveals more to this story. Also, my husband was born where both lines of Davis’ ended up…in a small cemetery in Ione, Washington. John Harding Davis, descendent of Aaron Davis is buried next to Franklin Benjamin Davis, my husband’s grandfather, of the Jonathan Davis/Elizabeth Chaney line, both descended from Barnabas. That these two cousins would be buried next to each other 250 years later on the other end of this great country from where their whole journey started is also a factual element in our investigation into the direct lineage of Aaron Davis.
So, let’s begin.
Aaron’s story is so very interesting and worth knowing because it is his progeny that make such amazing history. They were some of the first to blaze the Oregon Trail in 1848, 1852/3. They were captains who shuttled 50 plus family members across the great expanse of this country early on. Even earlier Aaron’s sons went to California in search of gold, to which some came back wealthy. Aaron’s descendants also married into the Wallen family, of Elijah Wallen/Walling fame. Who is Elijah? He is none other than the first and most famous Long Hunter in American history. Long hunters were men who went away for a long period of time to hunt. They would move in small groups of about four men or less and seek out new land, hunting on the Indian’s hunting grounds, secretively going undetected. It was Elijah Wallen that first moved through the Cumberland Range pushing ever further west and many rivers, peaks and valleys were named by him and his team. Some of these locations to this day are named AFTER him. He was the first one, whom Daniel Boone later followed in his footsteps with already a knowledge of the land where Elijah had been. It should come as no surprise then that Elijah Wallen, Daniel Boone and Davy Crockett are ALL our kin – as we were some of the first wilderness men, explorers and long hunters in American history. Aaron’s descendants are those of Elijah Wallen’s blood and are the same boys who trekked west to California for gold and boldly led the wagon trains west. This family was the second family to settle Eugene/Springfield Oregon. The first family, well you guessed it….his first name was Eugene and how Eugene Oregon got its name. This Davis clan got to the area of Oregon within months of “Eugene”. Even previous to Aaron’s descendant’s, Aaron on his own led an interesting life. There is not much known of it, but we do know that a bunch of Davis kin were massacred at the Muddy Creek Massacre at the Greenbrier in what is now West Virginia (previously the Virginia Territory). We know that Aaron bought land here after the massacre took place (there was a ten year hiatus as the people who survived pulled back to other more civilized locations due to the complete destruction of the first Greenbrier community.). So, what did Aaron know about that whole area and that part of our Davis clan that were decimated where there are very few written records to know their stories and their brutal ending? He served as a Revolutionary War Soldier. He is #DAR and was an Indian scout after the Revolutionary War as the first prospectors came in to open up roads into that area so settlers could come in. He lived there eight years before there even were roads into that area. He knew the land well and was likely comfortable with the Indian ways as his great great grandmother was daughter of Chief Powhatan. An interesting twist, the Davis families of our kin who were murdered at the Muddy Creek Massacre where murdered at the order of Chief Cornstalk. Cornstalk is Powhatan. So were our Davis clan. Interesting right? Davis kin weren’t the only people killed at the Greenbrier. Many families were and/or taken captive. We will blog much on this side of our family later as there is so much to blog about. But first we want to be clear about the lineage so family can understand the relationship.
So indeed, our family really wanted to know why John Harding Davis was buried next to our Franklin Benjamin Davis 250 years later in a tiny little town in north eastern Washington.
Here is what we believe and then we will share the facts to support this. We believe that Aaron Davis is son of David Davis, who is son of Emory Davis who is son of Robert Davis and Margaret (Shaw). We believe our John Wyatt Davis who married Jemima Jane Jefferson Collins and Emory Davis are brothers both from Robert Davis and Margaret Shaw. This is DIFFERENT than what is currently stated in genealogical circles (though as mentioned above Foulk and Barnabas are related). We are not sure that Margaret Shaw and Robert Davis were in fact ever married. That appears to be her maiden name or remarried, as her will doesn’t have her as a Davis. No one has ever found a marriage to a Shaw or know anything about this woman. We approximate her birth to be around 1690 in Virginia. There is one tax record from Prince George County Virginia that mentions a Margaret Shaw around 1715 and lists her as having a mixed race child.
What we know about Aaron is there is no actual record of who his father is. But we do know through evidence that he is inextricably linked to John Wyatt Davis, but not his direct line. So, HOW IS HE RELATED?
Let’s begin. The documented history reveals the following:
- Aaron first shows up in 1776 when he is the witness to a land purchase that John Wyatt Davis (1728) made in Edgecombe, NC. He would be either age 18 or 22 due to two different birth dates being listed for Aaron. * Note that Emory Davis, John Wyatt’s brother is the oldest son and the plantation is in his name. John Wyatt Davis is actually running George Jefferson’s plantation.
- Emory Davis (1715) is also in Edgecombe during this time.
- The next year, (1777) Aaron buys a 280 parcel of land on Deep Creek, from John Wyatt Davis.
- Next Aaron shows up buying land over in Greenbrier, WV on Muddy Creek in 1775 and appears to be there until 1797. In that period of time, you see our Jonathan Davis show up on the 1792 tithable list showing assets but not holding land. Jonathan is likely on Davis land but not in an ownership position.
- Next, in 1755 we find a Edgecombe N.C. will from a Margaret Shaw, who is willing to her beloved son John Wyatt Davis her belongings. In her will we note that several witnesses to the will are named Samual and N. Ruffin. We see that later Emory’s daughter marries a Ruffin. So I is obvious that Emory and Margaret Shaw are connected and Margaret is John Wyatt’s mother.
- Meanwhile, in 1795 in Edgecombe N.C., Emory passes away and leaves his plantation to his oldest son David Davis (his will lists all his other children with their allocations as well). We believe Aaron is David Davis’s son.
- In John Wyatt’s will in 1799, Aaron is the Executor.
- So, why would Aaron be executor? Emory is the oldest son thus has the plantation. John Wyatt runs one of the Jefferson Plantations and marries Jemima Jefferson. John Wyatt is the youngest. Emory gives the plantation to his oldest son David when he dies as typical succession went back then having the whole land go from oldest son down to oldest son. Well, David dies before John Wyatt (his uncle) dies. So, now the oldest son of the oldest male would be David’s son, who we believe is Aaron. This would explain why Aaron was the executor to John Wyatt’s will. Emory, John Wyatt’s older brother was dead. And, Emory’s oldest son David had also died. Thus, Aaron would be the oldest in line and would serve as his executor.
- Aaron isn’t seen in N.C. again, only come in to be the executor of the will in 1799 because he has been over at the Greenbrier in W.V. It is important to note these families had numerous plantations and likely spread folks out to run them. So, Aaron was over in the Greenbrier.
- He has a legal dispute over taxation at the Greenbrier and loses. He is upset, sells his land and it is in the late 1790s where Aaron Davis and his wife Rachel show up in Powell Valley, Claiborne County TN. This is when they start Davis Creek Primitive Baptist Church on Aaron Davis’s land in Powell Valley.
- So, John Wyatt Davis and Jemima Davis have children, one being Thomas (1755) and one being William (1756). Thomas has a daughter named Jemima Davis (1784). William simultaneously marries a widow Margaret Hensley. Margaret’s boy Daniel Hensley marries Thomas’s daughter Jemima Davis. This is weird but William’s niece also becomes his step-daughter in-law. Aaron Davis gives a piece of his land in Powell Valley to Jemima Davis and Daniel Hensley. This parcel is located directly next to Davis Creek Primitive Baptist Church and by the old Hunter Cemetery. We visited there…Here is the street sign.
- And last piece of data is of course the reality that Aaron Davis and John Wyatt descendants are buried at the same cemetery in Ione Washington six generation later.
In conclusion, there are so many ties between John Wyatt and Aaron Davis that it appears they are closely related. The fact that Emory would be John Wyatt’s older brother and with the death of David (Emory’s son) before John Wyatt’s death, why Aaron would be executor. You also see that the Ruffins link Margaret Shaw and Emory and Aaron is known to have had a father David. The fact that the other genealogical predictions of who Aaron’s father is (being Davis, then Evan then Rv. Morgan) don’t show on the ground evidence of any connections.
The data above seems to show the close engagement, relations and proximity of this Aaron to our Jonathan from the early 1700s into the 1900s on both sides of our country.
If other genealogists can show us evidence of Aaron being tied to other Davis kin we’d love to see it. But, from everything we see — Aaron plugs in to this David Davis, father Emory, Father Robert/Margaret Shaw and makes Emory and John Wyatt brothers and Aaron therefore son of David from Emory. Therefore, Aaron’s direct line would lead up through Barnabas as is our Jonathan’s, not Foulk Davis. But, once again we know that Barnabas and Foulk are both kin as our DNA proves, however, they line up pre-1500s. For kin who wish to get this lineage correct from generation to generation, we believe from data on the ground, this is the correct lineage for Aaron.
Thanks and we hope you enjoyed this blog.