Category: Davis

Tombstone Tuesday – The Curse of the Chaneys

The Sunday Oregonian, August 8, 1920

Some families seem to have more than their share of tragic deaths. One such family is that of Phineas Benjamin Chaney and his wife, Josephine Welsh. Phineas was my fourth cousin 5 times removed through the Davis line. Phineas was born 8 January 1854 in Illinois, the son of Phineas, Sr., and Mary Jane (Berry) Chaney. Even before Phineas, Jr., was born, his parents had endured their own share of tragedy; of their eleven children, four died before their second birthday.  Another child, Emma, died shortly before she would have turned 22.

At least Phineas, Jr., did live long enough to marry; he and Josephine had a son, Fred Russell Chaney, born in March 1885, apparently in New York. At some point the family moved to Portland, Oregon; there, on 9 April 1895, aged 41, Phineas died of appendicitis. The Sunday Oregonian of 12 April 1895 reports the sad events:

“The funeral of Phineas P. Chaney, who died at the Portland hospital, on April 9, took place yesterday afternoon from his late residence at 1193 East Yamhill, a short distance from the Rosedale station, Mount Tabor railway. There was present a large concourse of the friends of Mr. Chaney. The services were conducted by C. B. Reynolds, of the Secular church. At 2:15, the choir began the services by singing the beautiful song, “Sweet Bye and Bye,” when Mr. Reynolds arose and delivered an eloquent address. The remains were buried at Lone Fir cemetery. Mr. Chaney had lived in his present home about four years, coming from Brooklyn, N.Y. He was 41 years old. He was an accomplished millwright, and constructed most of the gearing and machinery in the docks along the East Side. Only a week ago, he was taken sick, and was removed to the Portland hospital, where it was found, as a last resort, that the vermiform appendix would have to be removed. The operation was performed, but he was too far gone to recover, and inflammation ensued, which terminated his life. He leaves a widow and a little son.”

Phineas’s widow, Josephine, was 35 years old and became a schoolteacher. Later young Fred entered medical school at the University of Oregon. After completing his medical training, he moved to Alaska to practice medicine there. In September 1908, while he and three other men were climbing a mountain near the Valdez glacier, he slipped and fell 200 feet. He was apparently not killed instantly but was taken into Valdez, where he died. He was 23 years old; his body was returned to Portland and buried near his father.

Josephine, having lost both husband and only child, continued to teach. She appears in the 1900, 1910, and 1920 censuses, listed as a schoolteacher. In that final census, her address is listed as 415 Yamhill Street. There, seven months later at the Elton Court Apartments, the family’s final tragedy occurred.  At five o’clock in the morning, perhaps caused by a careless smoker, a fire started in the lobby of the apartment building and spread quickly, up both the elevator shaft and the stairs. Josephine was trapped on the fourth floor and, as firemen attempted to rescue her, fell from a window to the sidewalk below.  She died en route to the hospital. Two other women were killed after jumping from the second and fourth floors. Josephine, aged 60 according to some records, 54 according to the Sunday Oregonian, was buried in what is now known as Portland’s River View Cemetery with her husband and son.

Tombstone Tuesday – Knox to King


Pearl Ethel Wilson, my 2nd great aunt, was born 18 June 1892 in Creighton, Knox County, Nebraska.  She was the fifth child of six born to Wellington David and Lucinda Blanche (Davis) Wilson. Lucinda died, aged 35, when Pearl was only two years old. Her younger brother, then ten months old, was raised by his maternal aunt, while Pearl is found living with her maternal grandparents in Iowa in 1900.

By 1910 Pearl was 18 and living in Centerville, South Dakota. She was a boarder in the Turner Hotel run by Edward Mudie and his wife Jennie.


By 1920 Pearl had moved to Hobson, Montana.  There, boarding with the family of Floyd McCowan, Pearl was employed as a schoolteacher. About 1921 Pearl married Ray Edward Ramaker. Ray and Pearl had three children, all born in Montana:  Mary Jo, Shirley E., and Nancy R. By 1930 the family had moved to Missoula, Montana, where Ray worked as a dentist. The home at 315 Daly Avenue where they lived in 1930 still stands; it was valued at $6500 in 1930 and $5500 in 1940. It was assessed at $165,877 last year. In 1940 Pearl and her daughters were still living in the Daly Avenue home, while Ray was living in Seattle.

By 1946 when their youngest daughter graduated from high school, it appears the entire family had moved to Seattle’s King County. Here, on 18 December 1969, Ray died, followed a decade later by Pearl, on 16 March 1979. Both are buried in Evergreen Washelli Memorial Park, Seattle’s largest cemetery.

Enhanced by Zemanta

Thriller Thursday – Winston Churchill

There is always a thrill in discovering a famous relative. In this case, the relative in question is Winston Churchill – can’t you see the eerie resemblance?! Winston Leonard Spencer Churchill, born November 30, 1874 at Blenheim Palace, was my half eighth cousin three times removed. I even visited Blenheim in 1994 while on a semester abroad program during my junior year at Sewanee (The University of the South). This was long before I discovered my familial connection to the Prime Minister through his American mother, Jeanette (Jennie) Jerome. Jeanette’s 6G-grandparents were William Gifford and Elizabeth Grant. William and his wife Patience Russell were my 10G-grandparents (William – Hananiah – William – Joshua – Ann – Joseph Davis – Cornelius – John – Lucinda Blanche – Carl Ozro Wilson – Blanche – Theodore Montgomery – me). Interestingly this means that Winston Churchill was also 6th cousin twice removed to another of my famous relatives: Lizzie Borden.

Blenheim Palace

Census Sunday – Life and Times of Lucinda Blanche Davis

Eldest 5 children of Wellington and Lucinda Wilson

On this Mother’s Day it seemed fitting to take a look at the life of Lucinda Blanche Davis, my great-great-grandmother.  A mother of six, she died at age 35 when her youngest child was ten months old. Lucinda was born March 16, 1859 in Allenville, Missouri, the oldest child of John H. and Celia (Murphy) Davis.  She appears in the 1860 census in West Union, Iowa:

June 25, 1860 West Union Twp., Fayette, Iowa
John Davis 19 M Farmer 50 Do [born in Ohio]
Celia Davis 19 F Missouri
Lucinda Davis 1 F Do [born in Missouri]

I haven’t located John and Celia’s family in the 1870 census; on August 31, 1879, Lucinda married Wellington David Wilson in Brush Creek, Iowa.  Lucinda was twenty years old, and Wellington just shy of that.  In 1880 the new family was enumerated in Eden Township, Iowa:

5th June 1880 Eden Twp., Fayette, Iowa 
Wilson Wm D.W M 21 x [married] Mail Carrier N. York N. York N. York
—Blanche L. W F 21 Wife x [married] Illinois Ohio Ill

Wellington and Lucinda’s first child, Maud Ethel, was born May 31, 1881; five more children followed over the next twelve years: Jerry Erving, Carl Ozro (my great-grandfather), Caroline Blanch, Pearl Ethel, and William David. Sometime between the births of Maud and Jerry the family moved to Nebraska; in the 1885 Nebraska status census, the family is enumerated in Niobrara, living next door to Wellington’s father Charles:

June 1 1885 Niobrara Precinct Knox Nebraska Page 2 Enum 467
13 13 Wilson Chas. W M 52 x [married] Farmer New York NY NY
—Lucy B W M 48 wife x Keeps house New York NY NY
—Eddie W M 19 Son x [single] Iowa NY NY
—Samuel W M 12 Son x x [school] Iowa NY NY
Barbara Anderson W F 20 x servant 3 Canada Can Can
14 14 Wilson David W M 26 x [married] servant New York NY NY
—Lucinda W F 26 wife x keeps house x [can’t read] Missouri O O
—Maud W F 5 Daughter x [single] x [school] Iowa NY Mis. [looks almost like Wis.]
—Jerry W M 1 Daughter [sic] x x x [can’t read/write] Nebraska NY O [?]
Davis Lizzie W F 19 x servant 6 Iowa NY NY

Nine years later, on September 29, 1894, Lucinda died in Bloomfield, Nebraska. Shortly thereafter Baby William David was adopted by Lucinda’s sister Anna and her husband Irwin Hubbard. Around 1895 Wellington David was remarried, to Betsey Olsen; at about this same time he moved from Nebraska to Sisseton, South Dakota.  He and Betsey had three children of their own: Beulah, Warner, and Gladys. Wellington died in Sisseton June 17, 1923.

Surname Saturday – Nimrod Canterbury Murphy

You have to love a name like Nimrod Canterbury Murphy, but to date, my information on our Murphy branch of the family is limited.  Nimrod was born about 1809 in Kentucky. On June 24, 1830 in Jacksonville, Illinois, he married Cassandra Waters. Between 1831 and 1832 he served in the Black Hawk War.  In 1840 he is enumerated in census records in Carlinville, Illinois, and in 1850 in Gentry County, Missouri. He and Cassandra (born probably January 8-9, 1814 in Casey County, Kentucky) had 13 children: Lucinda, Joseph, Celia C., Margaret, Richard, Elizabeth, Nimrod, Paulina, W. Jackson, James Henry, Louisa, Greenill, and William Waters. Nimrod died September 11, 1860 in Allendale, Missouri, and is buried either there or in Morgan County, Illinois.

Cassandra lived nearly 40 years more. In 1860 she is enumerated in Washington, Missouri, listed as a weaver. In 1880 she is living in Franklin, Illinois. She died June 3 or 4, 1896 in either Murrayville or Pisgah, Illinois, and is buried in Pisgah’s Union Cemetery.

Nimrod and Cassandra’s daughter Celia, born May 16, 1842 in Illinois, married John H. Davis sometime between 1857 and 1860 and moved to West Union, Iowa.  They would remain in Iowa; according to the 1910 census Celia had given birth to 12 children, only 5 of whom were still living.  Their oldest child, Lucinda Blanche Davis, was born March 16, 1859 in Allenville, Missouri, and married Wellington David Wilson.  Lucinda and Wellington’s son Carl Ozro, was my grandma Blanche Wilson’s father.

Wedding Wednesday

Apparently I am not the only one who sometimes has trouble finding genealogical things to blog about. The Geneabloggers site contains an entire list of prompts to help idea-challenged bloggers. Wedding Wednesday seems like a good place to start.

Edwin Henry Burdick was my fifth cousin four times removed.  He was born July 28, 1894 in Boulder, Colorado, and married Alice Elizabeth Tatlow on August 6, 1918, in North Loup, Nebraska.  Most of my information on this couple comes from the Find-a-Grave website; additional information can also be found about the Seventh-Day Baptist Church where Edwin and Alice were married.

My connection to Edwin is through the Davis branch (Blanche (Wilson) Montgomery’s paternal grandmother’s line): my eighth-great-grandfather, John Davis (b. 1692) was Edwin’s fourth-great-grandfather.

But really, I just think Alice’s dress is cool.

Dalen Davis and Beulah

Information gathered from the 1920 and 1930 censuses on Darlen/Dalen/Dalan Davis, fifth cousin of Blanche Agnes Wilson:

Darlen/Dalen/Dalan Davis (son of Claud Duval and Ruhama Bird), born May 1895 in West Virginia, married Beulah M. (b. between 1895-1896 in West Virginia) between 1910-1920. Darlen was a carpenter in 1920 and was living with Beulah in Grant District, Doddridge County, West Virginia that year. By the time of the 1920 enumeration the couple had three children, Graden F., Ruth F., and Edith W. By April 1930 the family had moved to Salem, Harrison County, West Virginia, and had five children – Graden’s name now appears as Bradon, Edith W. now appears to be listed as Yvonne, and two new children, Dalen Jr. and Naomi appear, as well as Ruth.

Descendants of Darlen Davis
1. DARLEN10 DAVIS (CLAUD DUVAL9, ELIJAH8, ABSALOM7, PETER D.6, WILLIAM5, THOMAS WILLIAM4, JOHN3, WILLIAM2, WILLIAM1) was born May 1895 in West Virginia. He married BEULAH M. Bet. 1910 – 1920. She was born Bet. 1895 – 1896 in West Virginia.

January 8-9 1920 Grant District Doddridge West Virginia Sup 3 Enum 35 Sheet 5B
Fm 95 101 Davis, Claud D Head O F M W 46 M yes yes West Va West Va West Va yes Farmer General Farm 55
—Ruhama B Wife F W 52 M yes yes West Va West Va West Va yes None
96 102 Davis Dalan Head 1 M M W 24 M yes yes West Va West Va West Va yes Carpenter Rig building 56
—Beulah M Wife F W 24 M yes yes West Va West Va West Va yes none
—Graden F Son M W 4 S West Va West Va West Va none
—Ruth F Daughter F W 3 S West Va West Va West Va none
—Edith W Daughter F W 1 S West Va West Va West Va none

April 14, 1930 Salem, Tenmile District, Third Ward, Harrison, West Virginia Enum 17-38 Sup 5 Sheet 20A
George Street
94 474 485 Davis Dalen S Head 0 1800 R No M W 35 M 19 No yes West Virginia West Virginia West Virginia 75 yes Tool Dresser [?] Oil OOXV W yes No
—Beulah [Bealal?] Wife-H v F W 35 M 19 No yes West Virginia West Virginia West Virginia 75 yes None
—Bradon Son v M W 14 S yes yes West Virginia West Virginia West Virginia 75 yes None
—Ruth Daughter v F W 13 S yes yes West Virginia West Virginia West Virginia 75 yes None
—Yvonne Daughter v F W 11 S yes yes West Virginia West Virginia West Virginia 75 yes None
—Dalen Jr. Son v M W 10 S yes yes West Virginia West Virginia West Virginia 75 yes None
—Naomi Daughter v F W 8 S yes West Virginia West Virginia West Virginia 75 None

Census: 1920, Grant, Doddridge, West Virginia
Occupation: 1920, Carpenter

Marriage: Bet. 1910 – 1920

Children of DARLEN DAVIS and BEULAH M. are:
i. GRADEN F. DAVIS, b. Bet. 1915 – 1916, West Virginia.
ii. RUTH F. DAVIS, b. Bet. 1916 – 1917, West Virginia.
iii. EDITH W. DAVIS, b. Bet. 1918 – 1919, West Virginia.
iv. DALEN DAVIS JR., b. Bet. 1919 – 1920, West Virginia.
v. NAOMI DAVIS, b. Bet. 1921 – 1922, West Virginia.


I’ve come to the conclusion that I am not writing as many posts as I ought to! Since my goal here is to keep everyone up to speed on all my genealogy and family history discoveries, I plan to write more often about my research progress even if I haven’t received any earth-shattering revelations. So what am I up to now? My major addiction is my current “Census Project”–using the census images at to trace all our family branches from 1850 (the first year that every individual in a household was listed by name) to 1930 (the most recent census available). I am working my way very slowly through the Davises right now, many of them located in Doddridge County, West Virginia. My target family today was Anderson G. Davis and his wife Millie (or Mollie) Dotson. All the West Virginia research is made easier by the fact that one of the databases contains information on West Virginia marriages prior to 1900–this really simplifies the process of tracing an individual from their childhood home to their own home and family after marriage. This particular branch of the Davis family also contains quite a few unusual names–among the siblings of Anderson Davis were Zacharias, Elvira, Donmanuel, Elijah, Elkana, Sylvanus, Penelope, and Vandelee. All the unusual names help with the tracking process–especially with a common surname like Davis. Sometimes I wonder if I will ever see the end of the Census Project–and then I realize I don’t really want to!