I am running a little behind with this post, but better late then never.
My 5th week ancestor is my 2nd great-grandmother on my Mom’s side of the family and her name was Anna Susan Davis. Anna was born February 17, 1859 in Saline County, Illinois. I have never been able to find Anna on a census record with her parents or before 1900. The only reason I know her parents’ names is because they are named on the marriage registers in Illinois both times Anna gets married, as the daughter of Robert H. Davis and Polly Ann Tullum Hall.
Since I have never found Anna on census records before her marriages, I don’t know a lot about her early childhood. I am not even sure her parents were married either. I know her father, Robert Hosey Davis was married to four other woman and had children by at least two of them, four children with the first wife Hannah Hileman, none with the second wife Mrs. Martha Nash. Third, but I can’t find a marriage date, was to Polly Ann Tullum Hall and they only had the one child, the subject of this sketch, Anna Susan Davis. Fourth to Susan Gaskins and they had eight children and lastly to Mrs. Sarah Turner Travelstead and they had no children together.
So as you can see Robert had at least 13 children and at least 5 different women. Anna’s mother may have been married to Henry Seal around 1861. They had six children together, but again, I can’t find a marriage record for them, so I am not even sure she was married to Henry Seal either. Either way that means Anna had 18 half-siblings that I have found so far. A huge family to be sure but she is never with any of them in the census records. Why can I find so much on her brothers and sisters and so little on her? I know I am following the right lines because my DNA is matching up with the Davis and Hall families from Southern Illinois, plus I have other evidence as well to go along with what I am telling you about Anna and her family.
The following are the 18 half-siblings of my 2nd great-grandmother Anna Susan Davis. Luticia Jane Davis ca. 1845 - before 1887, Mary Catherine Davis 1847-1931, Elizabeth L. Davis ca.1851 and Caroline Davis ca, 1852 - before 1887; Levi Davis 1861-1922, Harriett J. Davis 1864-1911, Juliet J. Davis 1865-1919, Hardinia Davis 1867 - after 1919, Eli Davis ca. 1869 - before 1880, Florence Mana Davis 1872-1956, Delia A. Davis 1875-1962 and Warren Ewing Davis 1880-1905; William Fountain Seal ca. 1862 - after 1910, George Seal ca. 1868, Frona Seal ca. 1870 - after 1945, James Seal 1873-1898, Florence Marion Seal 1875-1959 and Lula O. Seal 1879-1968. All of these children were born in Southern Illinois in different but surrounding counties to each other, Saline, Pope and Union Counties. One of the Seal children’s death certificate states she, Florence, was born in McLean County, but I can’t find anything on them in that county.
I had found where Anna first married Miles Giles Penninger on July 26, 1878 in Stonefort, Saline County, Illinois. When she married Miles G. Penninger she said she was 19 years old and the daughter of Robert H. Davis and Polly Hall. I found her second marriage to my 2nd great-grandfather, John Henry Floyd on August 13, 1885 and again she said her maiden name was Davis, and that her father was Robert H. Davis and her mother was Polly Ann Tullum Hall. She also stated that she had been married once before she married John Floyd. On the marriage register to John Floyd she says her name was Ama Hall and that she resided in Cottage Grove and that she was born in Saline County, Illinois and this was her second marriage. When she and John were married they got married at George Joyner's and the witnesses were Martha Hall and Sarah Joyner and they were married by John C. Mahan. George Joyner was Anna’s mother’s brother-in-law and Martha Hall was his wife and Sarah Joyner was their daughter.
Until I went with my Mamaw, Daisy Loftis Fraley, to visit her Aunt, Ethel Lewis Floyd in Marion, Crittenden County, Kentucky I did not know anything much about Anna other than the two marriages and the children she had with my 2nd great-grandfather. Aunt Ethel was 100 years old, when we went to see her and was living in her own home and still taking care of things for herself for the most part. Aunt Ethel had been the wife of Volentine Hall Floyd who she had married in 1911 and therefore the daughter-in-law of Anna Susan Davis. Aunt Ethel had been in the Floyd family for almost eight years before her mother-in-law, Anna passed away.
After visiting for a little while, I started asking Aunt Ethel what she could remember and tell me about her mother-in-law, Anna. I told her about the marriage I had found to Miles Penninger and Aunt Ethel said she knew she had been married before but she had never heard his name till I told it to her. What she told us next my Mamaw and I had never heard before.
It was kind of funny, but Aunt Ethel leaned forward, looked around like she was afraid someone might hear and whispered, “She had a child before she married John”. Now the people she was talking about had been dead for many, many years, but she didn't want to speak ill of any of them even if they had been dead for over 50 years and the child had been born over 100 years before.
Aunt Ethel told us that Anna had a son who was named Frank Durfee who lived in Cottage Grove in Saline County, Illinois. She said her husband Vol and his little brother, Luther Floyd use to spend summers working for Frank on his farm near Cottage Grove. She also said that at least once, sometimes twice a year, John would take Anna across the river and she would stay for about a month with Frank and his family and then John would come back and get her and bring her back home. So my 2nd great-grandfather John Floyd knew all about his wife’s son as did her children, but for some reason my Mamaw and her siblings never knew about him and so I did know about him either.
Now I know that by 1885, Miles Penninger was living in Kansas and married to a woman named Mary Catharine Boynston and they had three daughters. Their first daughter was born in Kansas, but their other two daughters were both born in Stonefort in Saline County, Illinois in 1889 and 1892, so he did come back to Illinois for a little while. So far I cannot find a divorce from Anna or a marriage date for Mary. I do know that Miles left Illinois before 1900 and went to Missouri for a short time, before moving to Beaumont, Texas where he died in 1931.
John Franklin Durfee was born January 16, 1883 in Pope County, Illinois. Anna, his mother had been married to Miles Penninger in 1878 and in 1885 married John Floyd. So I don’t know if Frank Durfee was Miles son or someone else’s and Aunt Ethel didn't know either. She did know that Frank had been raised by and took the surname of Lewis Durfee and his wife Elvira Lydia Parker. Lewis and Elvira never had any children of their own that lived and the 1900 and 1910 census states that Elvira was the mother of two children but none living. Now just to make this a little more interesting is the fact that Elvira Lydia Parker Durfee was John Floyd’s aunt, his mother’s half-sister. Aunt Ethel speculated that Lewis Durfee may have been Frank’s father, but I have no proof of that either.
Now when Frank Durfee died in 1959, his obituary stated that he was survived by two half-brothers and four half-sisters and I know they were: Vol Floyd, Luther Floyd, Eliza Floyd Sullenger, Amy Floyd Loftis (my great-grandmother), Telia Floyd Yates and Sarah Floyd Yates. I had meet and known all of these people except Eliza, Telia, Luther and of course Frank. The following is a picture of Frank with his half-sister Eliza, which one of Frank’s granddaughters sent to me.
Anna and her husband John Floyd moved almost immediately after their marriage across the river to Crittenden County, Kentucky and lived in the Sisco Chapel area of that county where all of their six children were born. Volentine Hall Floyd 1887-1977, Eliza I. Floyd Sullenger 1889-1968, Amy Susan Floyd Loftis 1893-1968, Telia Jane Floyd Yates 1895-1961, Sarah Elizabeth Floyd Yates 1901-2003 and Luther E. Floyd 1904-1960. John and his sons ran a well digging company and dug wells for people all over Western Kentucky and Southern Illinois and farmed on the side. Anna raised her family, saw her son, Frank a couple of times a year, but no one in our family ever really knew anything about her parents, their families or Anna’s 18 siblings.
Anna and John were married for almost 34 years when one cold January morning Anna died from what they figured was a massive heart attack. My Mamaw’s oldest sister, Marguerite Floyd was living with her grandparents Anna and John, she was not quite 5 years old when it happened and told me the following story many times.
Friday, January 31, 1919 - started out just another typical day for Anna. She made breakfast for the men before they headed out to dig a well across the river, they were planning on being gone at least two days. She cleaned up the kitchen and then headed out to feed the animals and milk the cow. She had promised her granddaughter, Marguerite, that she would show her how to milk the cow this morning, now that she was getting to be a big girl. The mist was just starting to burn off the ground, as they made their way to the barn, but colder then blazes, as Aunt Marguerite recalled. Anna ask Marguerite to go and get a fleck of hay for the cow as she placed her in the stall, placed the pail down and set on the milk stool. Marguerite ran to get the hay, then threw it over the stall and came around to where her grandma should have been setting. Anna was laying on the ground beside the cow and was not moving, Marguerite tried to wake her because she thought she was sleeping. Marguerite told me why she thought she was sleeping she will never know, she thought maybe it was her defense against actually realizing the truth.
It was bitter cold and Marguerite laid by her grandma in the barn all day trying to stay warm until someone got home. She eventually went in the house either that day or the next she couldn't really remember how long before she did, and got a quilt off one of the beds and came back out to the barn and covered herself and her grandma up. Every now and again she would shake her grandma trying to get her awake, but unfortunately she never did. My Aunt Marguerite never forgot about laying there beside her grandma on a couple of cold January days, when she was just a little girl. I believe I would have never forgotten something like that either.
Other family members have told me that it was two days later that John and Luther got back from their well digging job. When they pulled their wagon up in the yard, they knew something was wrong, for there was no smoke from the chimney and the barn door was wide open and the cow was making a lot of noise as well. Luther ran to the house and John ran to the barn, I am sure seeing his wife and granddaughter laying on the ground by the old milk cow about made his heart stop to, I know it would have made mine stopped. Anna’s funeral was held the next day at the Sisco Chapel Cemetery just down the road from their home, she was just 59 years, 11 months and 13 days old. Here is a picture of the graveyard and her marker that I took a few years ago.
Aunt Marguerite told me there used to be an big oval framed picture of her grandma, Anna, hanging in the front parlor of the house, but when Marguerite was around 12 or 13, the house caught fire and everything was lost, including that picture and I am sure quite a few more. The first time my Aunt Marguerite saw a picture of my daughter Rachel, she said, “that is my grandma Floyd, she looks just like the picture of her that hung in the parlor”. The following is a picture of my daughter Rachel, taken about the time my Aunt Marguerite saw her picture and Rachel is with her great-grandma and my Mamaw, Daisy Loftis Fraley, and Marguerite’s half-sister. I would like to think that my grandma Anna looked a little like both of them.