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Hi, My name is Vickie and to tell you a little bit about myself, I was born and raised in Kentucky and the majority of my ancestors have been in Kentucky since the 1790’s. I have always loved history, a good mystery and puzzles and that is what Family History Research is all about. As a child we would take day trips on Saturdays and head down some dirt road looking for old cemeteries. A lot of the time we weren't looking for anyone in particular, we just like to read the epitaphs. We would have a picnic lunch packed and have lunch at whatever cemetery we were at. If the weather was bad my Dad and I would go to a court house and dig through old records in musty old basements looking for our ancestors. So as you can see I have had an interest in Family History for quite some time.View my complete profile

Saturday, October 17, 2015

Robert Hosey Davis

This week’s ancestor is my 3rd great-grandfather, Robert Hosey Davis, from my Mom’s side of the family.  I wrote about his daughter, Anna Susan Hall Penninger Floyd, my 2nd great-grandmother on week 5, this year.  Robert Hosey Davis was born on November 20, 1825 in Wayne County, North Carolina and was the youngest child and son of William Davis and Lavina Hosey.

According to a history I found about Robert, he was one of ten children that his parents had together, but so far I can only find the names of two of these ten children, besides my grandpa Robert and they are the following:  George Washington Davis, 1815-1858, he married Elizabeth Hileman who was a sister to Susan Hileman, Robert’s first wife; and Mary E. Davis, 1821-after 1887, she married Elijah J. Cross in 1839.   The history said there were three of these ten children living in 1887, so I am assuming they are talking about Robert and Mary, but I don’t know who the third one was yet.  I have tried to locate a will for his father hoping to find children’s names listed, but so far I have not had any luck doing so.

The history I mentioned in the above paragraph, reads as follows and was taken from the "History of Gallatin, Saline, Hamilton, Franklin and Williamson Counties of Illinois"  -1887-  "Robert H. Davis, farmer, was born in 1824 in Wayne County, North Carolina the youngest of ten children (three living) of William and Lavina Hosey Davis.  The father, of English-Irish descent, born about 1765 in Georgia, left home at twenty-two, and went to North Carolina, where he married.  When our subject was three years old they went to Union County, Illinois and engaged in farming, but in 1828 finally settled in Alexander County, where he died two years later.  The mother, of English origin, born in North Carolina about 1775, then lived with her daughter, Mrs. Cross, in Union County, until her death about 1840.  Our subject was, after his father's death, hired out to squatters to support the family until he was eighteen, when he married Hannah Hileman and settled eighty acres in Union County.  Two of their five children are living------Elizabeth, wife of W. (William P.) Marshall and Mary, wife of L. (Levi Cowan) Pettinger (It is actually Penninger).  After his wife's death in 1852 he moved to Cape Girardeau County, Missouri where he bought a 100 acre woodland tract on the Mississippi River, near Hamburg Landing and established a wood yard for furnishing fuel for steamboats.  About a year and a quarter later he went to Pope County, Illinois and settled on 110 acres.  In 1860 he married Susan, daughter of Howard and Juliet (Pierson) Gaskins, near Harrisburg.  Their seven children are Levi; Harriet, wife of George Burnett; Juliet, wife of Augustus Bright; Ardenia, wife of John Smith; Florence; Delia and Warren E. and a boy and girl both deceased.  In October 1873, he traded his Pope County farm for his present farm of 110 acres, well improved, and has become one of the first farmers of the county from his beginning as a squatter's servant.  Formerly a Democrat, he has since 1860 been a Republican, first voting for Cass.  He is also a Prohibitionist.  In 1882 B. & Thomas Garner made him their manager for clearing and buying $7,000 worth of land, and he now has charge of 700 acres for them, 65 acres of which are cleared.  He has also loaned money for the Saline County Bank, with the same success in managing as he has shown in his other enterprises."

You will notice the above little bio does not mention all of his children by name, nor all of his wives, so I will do that now.  Robert’s first wife and I don’t have a date for this marriage but probably around 1843-1844 and possibly in Union County, Illinois was to Hannah Hileman, 1826-1852, and they had at least five children according to the history, but I only know the names of four of them all girls, named: Luticia Jane Davis, 1845-before 1887; Mary Catherine Davis, 1847-1931, married Levi Cowan Penninger in 1864; Elizabeth L. Davis, 1850-after 1918, married William P. Marshall and then Lyman W. Wilcox; and Caroline Davis, 1852-after 1860.  I am assuming that Hannah died in childbirth or shortly thereafter with their daughter Caroline.

Second, Robert married Mrs. Martha Nash, 1820-before 1858, on January 16, 1853 in Union County, Illinois.  Martha apparently died or they were divorced, but I know nothing else about her, maybe they had a child together and she died in childbirth too.

Third, Robert possibly married and then divorced, my ancestor Mary ‘Polly’ Anna Tullum Hall, 1839-after 1879, around 1858, and they had their only known child, a daughter who was my 2nd great-grandmother, Anna Susan Davis, 1859-1919.  Anna married first in 1878 in Stonefort, Miles Giles Penninger, 1857-1931, he was a younger brother to Levi Cowan Penninger who married Anna’s half-sister, Mary Catherine Davis, and they were divorced before 1885.  She then married second in 1885, to my 2nd great-grandfather, John Henry Floyd, 1853-1937.  Mary ‘Polly’ Anna Tullum Hall, was also supposed to have been married to Henry Seal(s) in about 1861, but again I cannot find a marriage record for her to him, but I know they had at least six children together, William Fountain Seal, George Seal, Frona Seal, Florence Marion Seal, James Melvin Seal and Lula O. Seal.

Fourth, Robert married Susan Gaskins, 1840-1890, on April 15, 1860 in Saline County, Illinois.  They became the parents of nine children according to the history, but I have the names for only eight of them.  These children were: Levi Davis, 1861-1922, married Mary Florence Clarinda Gaines in 1884; Harriet J. Davis, 1864-1911, married George Ewing Burnett in 1880; Juliet J. Davis, 1865-1919, married Augustus Henry Bright in 1884; Hardinia Davis, 1867-after 1919, married John Matthew Smith in 1884; Eli Davis, 1869-before 1880 (family stories say he wondered off into the woods and was never seen again); Florence Mana Davis, 1872-1956, married John William Lindle in 1899; Delia A. Davis, 1875-1962, married James Wise in 1893; and Warren Ewing Davis, 1880-1905, census records say that he was mentally handicapped in some way.

Fifth, Robert married, Mrs. Sarah E. Turner Travelstead, 1836-after 1900, on December 4, 1890 in Saline County, Illinois.  They did not have any children together, but she had at least eleven children by Mr. Travelstead according to the 1900 census anyway.

When Robert got married for the last time, he said he had only been married 3 times.  I only have marriage dates for three of these women, but there were at least five women he was with throughout his life.  How Robert had time to work with all the wives and children he had is beyond me, J  but he apparently did quite well for himself, for the time period and the area he lived in.

I am going to concentrate on my direct line and not all of the other children that Robert had, for this little bio.  In 1860, Robert is listed in Stonefort, the part that was in Pope County and Robert’s daughter Mary Catherine Davis and her husband Levi Penninger are buried in the Joyner Cemetery in Stonefort in Saline County.  The Joyner’s tie into the Hall family as George Washington Joyner married Martha Ann Hall, sister to my Mary ‘Polly’ Anna Tullum Hall.  These families definitely knew each other and when my Anna Susan Davis married, both times she said her father was Robert H. Davis on the marriage register.   I also have a copy of a letter written by William Marion Joyner, 1851-1946, son of George Washington Joyner and Martha Ann Hall that he wrote to Louise Floyd, daughter of Luther Floyd, and granddaughter of Anna Susan Davis and John H. Floyd, which was written on March 12, 1945.  William tells about the Hall family, where they were from and who was still alive of his first cousins in 1945.  He said he was the oldest living cousin and that Lula Seal, was the youngest living cousin.   I met Louise and her sister Helen Floyd at a Floyd family reunion in Kentucky in 1995 and she mailed me a copy of that letter that she had kept all these years.  If I hadn’t gotten this letter from Helen I would not have ever known about the Seal(s) children.  Following is the letter I am talking about.

I know that my direct line wife, Mary ‘Polly’ Anna Tullum Hall, lived in the Stonefort area in Saline County, Illinois and Robert also lived in the Stonefort area for a time, but he ended up in the Texas City (Plainview area) area of Saline County by 1880.  Now when you map quest these two little towns they are only about 26 miles apart, Stonefort is in the southwest corner of the county and Texas City is in the northeast corner of the county.   The following map shows just Saline County and the major towns in that county as well as a state map showing all the counties circled in red that Robert lived in.

Why my Anna Susan is never with her father, Robert Hosey Davis, on census records I do not know.  She is also not with her mother on the 1870 census either when her mother is with Henry Seal and their first two children.  I have found a Mary Hall on the 1860 census that would work to be my Mary Hall, but she doesn’t have my Anna Susan with her there either, if that is indeed her.  I have my Anna Susan’s two marriage records and I have her on the 1900 and 1910 census and her 1919 death certificate, but other than these records and the old letter, I really don’t know anything about her childhood or her parent’s exact relationship.  My grandmother was not quite two years old when her grandmother, Anna Susan died, so she did not remember her and really did not know anymore then what I have found.

Robert acknowledge and named nine of his children in the little bio that was published in 1887, but if the totals were correct in that bio he had 12 children, since he said that three of them were deceased at that time.  However, with all of the children I have names for, plus the three deceased ones mentioned but not named, he ended up having at the least 13 or 14 children with all of his wives, but he only acknowledge having children with wife number one and wife number four.  This makes me believe that he may not have ever been married to my, Mary Hall and that may be why she was never listed with him on the census records.

While I was getting ready to write this bio, I always do some more digging first to see if any new records have come to light since my last searching for an individual on the different ones I have written about this year and so I did the same with Robert.  I am glad I did, because I did not know when Robert had died, except that it was before 1910 in Texas City.  I found him listed on www.findagrave.com with this picture of his tombstone and the full dates on the stone for his birth and death.  I knew he was born in November of 1825, now I know the day was the 20th and now, I also know that he died on March 15, 1902.  He was living in Texas City at the time of his death and was buried at the Poplar Church Cemetery which is located just across the Saline County line in Gallatin County, Illinois up by Texas City.   His fourth wife, Susan, and at least four of his known children, a son-in-law and a daughter-in-law are also buried there.  Thanks goes to those who go through cemeteries across the country and post these pictures and information, it is very much appreciated.

Sometimes we have a hard time finding information, sometimes we find things we wish we hadn’t and sometimes we find things that make us scratch our head and wonder what in the world were they thinking.  But if things were all straight down the line and no one ever did anything wrong or out of the ordinary we probably wouldn’t keep looking, and so it is with my Robert.  He apparently didn’t like to be alone, so he would up and marry almost before the last one was cold in the ground.  But you do have to take into consideration the fact he was left with little children, some just babes in arms and so he had to do what he had to do and if that meant marry almost immediately, that is what he did and maybe for whatever unknown reason he didn’t marry my 3rd great-grandmother.  I at least hope they loved each other at the time and that it wasn’t something else that may have happened.  Somethings I guess are best left unknown or to the imagination.


  1. Hi Vickie,
    I was thrilled to find your blog this evening as I was trying to track down Lavina Hosey mother of Robert H. Davis who is my 2nd great grandfather. His son Levi Davis and Mary Florence Clarinda Gaines were the parents of Robert Thor Davis, my grandfather. My dad was Bill Jack Davis. My name was Jill Marie Davis before I married.
    Now I'm an author living on Kauai, Hawaii, sitting up in the middle of the night trying to untangle the mess people have created on Ancestry.com. I find folks have tried to attach a whole different William Davis family to poor Robert H. but something wasn't clicking until today I stumbled across the History of Gallatin, etc. and found out I was on the right track. Now to sort out Robert H's parents.
    Any help would be appreciated.
    Jill Marie Davis Landis

    1. Jill, I would love to talk to you about this family. You can email me directly at: DreamingofKentucky@gmail.com

      I look forward to hearing from you.