Davis: John Sr. and Abigail (Duncan)


John Davis Sr. and Abigail Duncan - Their Descendants
By John's direct descendants: Ann (Jobe) Brown and Cheryl (Davis) Holman
Last modified 30 May 2008


Cheryl and I are working together to compile a genealogy of the descendants of our ancestors, John Davis Sr. and Abigail Duncan. Cheryl descends from their son, John Davis Jr, and I'm from their son, Solomon Davis. By the way, we are also both Laurance/Lawrence descendants. We met about 3 years ago through the internet.

The link below is to a gedcom which is hosted by Rootsweb World Connect, and shows my direct surnames. These families, at one time, all lived together in the Hannah's Branch area, in what would become DeKalb Co., TN and are directly related to me.. This site will give a narrative, more-detailed history with pictures, records, etc of our Davis family.


Also, don't forget to visit my DeKalb Co., TN page, link at the bottom of this page, where you will find several other families and pages to explore. By the way, we would like to hear from anyone researching any of the early families of 'Pisgah or Hannah's Branch or District 12'.

JOHN DAVIS SR - What we know!

Though we have no actual proof, there are strong indications that our John Davis Sr. was born about 1776 in Faifax, Loudon Co., VA. In the Revolutionary War pension papers of Elijah Dunca, father of Abigail (Duncan) Davis, the birth of Elijah Duncan is recorded and said to be in the possession of John Davis of Fairfax Co., VA.

It is believed that John and Abigail married in the late 1790's in the vinicity of Rutherford Co., NC. So far a marriage record has not been found. We do find Abigail's parents on the 1790 Lincoln Co., NC Census. Then in 1800, we find Elijah Duncan and John Davis on page 107 of the 1800 Rutherford Co., NC Census. Also, at this time, we find a deed of a John Davis to Richard Allmon. It is known that Elijah Duncan sold his land in 1805 in Rutherford Co., NC. Sometimes shortly after this, both the Davis and the Duncan family moved to what was then Smith Co., TN. Both Elijah Duncan and John Davis appear on page 53 of the 1820 Smith Co., TN Census. Later census records does list TN for the birthplace of John's son, Joseph Davis who was born in 1808.

We find John in the following records:

June Term 1836 - Cannon Co., TN Court Minutes Book A 1836-1841
"Thomas LAWRENCE appointed guardian of Elijah DUNCAN who it has been represented to this court is so far impaired with old age that he is not capable of taking care of his estate; Laurence posted bond with securities JOHN DAVIS and Soloman DAVIS for $500."

Sept Term 1836 - Cannon Co., TN Court Minutes Book A 1836-1841
"On motion and upon the application of JOHN DAVIS, ordered by court that the sheriff summons 12 good and lawful men to wit: James TUBB, William WILLIAMS, Reuben EVANS, Faris LAWRENCE, Jonathan FUSON, Abner SELF.. .to proceed to ELIJAH DUNCANS then there to examine DUNCAN with regard to his state of mind and see whether or not in their opinion he is able to take care of his own estate and his own person." (My Note: Elijah Duncan was father-in-law of John Davis.)

Oct Term 1836 - Cannon Co., TN Court Minutes Book A 1836-1841
"JOHN DAVIS represents to the court that one Elijah DUNCAN of this county is very much in the decline of life and impaired in mind and in his opinion incapable of taking care of his person or estate; the court ordered that the sheriff summon a jury of 12 men to ascertain from the best means in their power the true state and condition of said Duncan and report to the present term of this court; which being done, the jury of inquist reports as follows: the undersigned after hearing all the testimony in our power to collect, believe that said Duncan is incapable of either taking care of his person or property; we also understand from the witnesses that the said Duncan has the following property, that is to say, about four acres of corn, one horse, 6 head of cattle and between 20 and 30 head of sheep, some 15 or 20 head of hogs, two beds and some other household furniture, and 124 (last number in fold of book) acres of land, /s/ Joseph CLARK, David D. HIPP, Jacob BERGER, Moses CUMMINGS, John EDDINGS, William F. GEORGE, Arthur WARREN, Thos. CAVATT, Daniel M. STEWART, James SMITH, and Robert BAILEY, jury of inquest. Whereupon the court ordered that JOHN DAVIS be appointed guardian of the said Elijah DUNCAN with power to sell (by Giving the legal notice) the whole or so much of the perishable property of said Duncan as he thinks necessary; whereupon the said JOHN DAVIS together with his securities Soloman DAVIS and Joseph DAVIS, gave bond for $1,000."

Oct 22, 1836 - DeKalb Co., TN Deed Book A, pp. 188-189
"JOHN DAVIS to Lewis LAWRNECE 150 acres on Hannah's Branch of ...and including the plantation whereon the said Lewis now lives" (My Note: Lewis Lawrence was married to Elizabeth Davis, d/o John.)

Feb Term 1837 - Cannon Co., TN Court Minutes Book A 1836-1841
"JOHN DAVIS, guardian of Elijah DUNCAN, returned at account of his guardianship and qualified same; the court ordered the same do spread upon accord in the proper Book."

Oct Term 1838 - Cannon Co., TN Court Minutes Book A 1836-1841
"Saml. J. GARRISON, clerk of the court, presented to the court a statement of settlement made by himself with JOHN DAVIS, Guardian of Elijah DUNCAN, from 3 Oct. 1836 up to 3 Oct. 1837"

April 10, 1841 - DeKalb Co., TN Deed Book A
"JOHN DAVIS, SR. to John DAVIS, Jr. five tracts of land on - Creek." (My Note: This is a father to son transaction.)

1843 - Dekalb Co, TN, Administration Book B, p l42
"Solomon DAVIS administrator of JOHN DAVIS dec'd"

Nov 17, 1843 - Dekalb County Book Estate A, pp. 255-257

Sale of JOHN DAVIS, dec'd, personal property by Solomon DAVIS, administrator
--buyers: John DAVIS, Joseph DAVIS, Aren DAVIS, Abigail DAVIS,Milton WARD, Lewis LAWRENCE, Newton MURPHY

John's grave has not been found though he is believed to have been buried on the Old Davis homestead in a private family cemetery.


In 1850, Abigail, age 67, is living with a Katharine, age 65, who we believe to be her sister. They are listed in District 12. It is not know exactly when she died, but we do not find her on the 1860 census.

She was the daughter of Elijah Duncan and Cate Cloe 'Catherine' Cole who married about 1800 probably in Morgan District, Lincoln Co, North Carolina. From Elijah's pension application, which is quite faded and illegible in spots gives us a bit of insight into the life of Abigail's parents and early childhood.

Duncan Banner

ELIJAH DUNCAN, Rev. Pension Application S-3309 (FHL film 970,863)

Born April 1757 in Fairfax Co. VA; died 14 Dec. 1840 Smith Co. TN. Lived in Caswell Co. NC in 1777. He was a pvt in the Continental Army commanded by Capt. Wilson of 10th Regt., under Co. Lytle, NC. Enlisted in Caswell Co. NC for 3 yrs served 18 mo's himself and the balance of time served by a substitute. Heirs, living in 1840: no widow, Elijah DUNCAN, Jane KIMBIL, Nancy BAN, Catherine OWEING, ABBY DAVIS, Richard DUNCAN. JOHN DAVIS of Virginia had the family Bible giving age of Elijah DUNCAN. Elijah "lived in Caswell Co. NC when he enlisted in 1777, lived in Rutherford Co. NC for some time, thence to Smith Co. TN for about 26 yrs" statement 15 Oct. 1833.

Witnesses: Jacob FITE, Augustine ROBINSON, Rev. John J. BENNETT, Thomas TERRY.
Jonathan FUSON, adm. of estate.

WHERE THE DAVIS FAMILY LIVED - Hannah's Branch and Pisgah

The map below was sent to me in the summer of 1973 by Carrell Dutt, a descendant of Solomon Davis and his first wife, Sarah L. Pistole through their daughter, Telitha B. 'Tellie' (Davis) Priday.
Where Davis Family lived in DeKalb Co., TN
Traced in pink is the main higheway 20 and 70 from Smithville. The blue circle is Salem Baptist Church near Liberty and to the right of it is Dowelltown. This should give a general idea of where in DeKalb Co., TN that our family lived. The red circle with the dot is where Solomon Davis lived and is probably the farm that originally beloned to John and Abigail 'Abbey'. Just to the left of it, on the road traced in green, you can see where the Pisgah church and cemetery is located.
Pisgah Church in the 1990's
Many of John's descendants including my 3rd gt grandparents (Solomon Davis and Anna Kelley) and 2nd great grandparents (Thomas Jasper Davis and Delia A. Laurance) are buried here. Cheryl's 2nd gt grandparents (John Davis Jr and Elizabeth Laurance) and her gt grandparents (John D. Davis and Martha C. Fite) are also buried here.

Thomas Laurance and his wife, Susanna Pafford (my 3rd great grandparents and mentioned in several records with John Davis Sr) are also buried here. Their daughter, Delia A. Laurance/Lawrence married Thomas Jasper Davis, s/o Solomon Davis and gs/o John and Abigail.

The link below, will take you to a transcription of the cemetery which I did on a visit to DeKalb Co., TN in 1969. There is also some tombstone pictures. The church is still active today.

Pisgah Cemetery Transcriptions - most of Davis Family buried


When one researches DeKalb Co., TN, you quickly learn to keep a close watch on the neighbors. More than likely they are kin to you in some way. From this 1850 agriculture census page of District 12, you get a quick glimpse of the families of this area. I made a note of the families that I have already proven a connection to me and as you can see there are several. Since my family would remain in the area for another 35+ years, there would be many more to come!

As I stated earlier, both Cheryl and I are also Laurance/Lawrnece descendants through intermarriages with the Davis family. Thomas Jasper Davis, s/o Solomon Davis and Anna Kelley, would marry Delia A. Laurance, d/o Thomas Laurance and Susanna Pafford.

1850 Agriculture Census, District 12, page 745 - enumerated Sept 11, 1850


Though we don't have this family complete, since John died intestate without a will, we do know a bit about the children. Some of these children are carried further, so click on their names to continue.

  1. Daughter Davis

  2. Daughter Davis

  3. Solomon Davis
    -b. Aug 23, 1801 Rutherford Co., NC and d. Jan 23, 1883 District 12, DeKalb Co., TN)
    -m/1 Sarah L. Pistole Jan 3, 1822 probably Smith Co., TN
    -m/2 Anna Kelley Oct 1, 1834 probably Smith Co., TN

  4. Elizabeth Davis
    -b. 1802/03 Rutherford Co., NC and died 1870's District 12, DeKalb Co., TN
    -m. Lewis Laurance/Lawrnece abt 1823 probably Smith Co., TN

  5. Aaron Davis

  6. Joseph Davis
    -b. abt 1808 probably Smith Co., TN - d. after 1850
    -m. Elizabeth ? abt 1828 probably Smith Co., TN

  7. Lewis Y. Davis
    -b. abt 1809 probably Smith Co., TN
    -d. abt 1893 probably Wilson Co., TN
    -m. Nancy Fite

  8. John Davis Jr.
    -b. abt 1815 probably Smith Co., TN
    -d. Aug 4, 1892 District 12, DeKalb Co., TN
    -m. Elizabeth Laurance abt 1838 probably Cannon or DeKalb Co., TN

Somehow these daughters are related to Milton Ward and Newton Murphy. If you know of ANY connection between these two men and why they would be listed with the John Davis Sr. estate, please drop me a line!

Ann (Jobe) Brown ***Contact US*** Cheryl (Davis) Holman

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