Davis Children

Davis Children
Ernest and Chessell's first 6 children...

24 July 2016

The other Harrison...

My Great Great Grandfather mentioned previously was Harrison Henry Davis. My Grandfather's youngest brother was named for him - Harrison Everett Davis - or as the entire family lovingly called him all his life, Baby Harry. It is hard to be the last of 16 children, following my grandfather who was the eldest, 22 years later. 

His elder siblings looked after him as large families are prone to do. His eldest brother thought the world of him and it is my belief that he was saddened that the age gap robbed him of some of the great times they would have had in youth if closer in age. It never stopped him from visiting and spending time with him every fall on the yearly trip home to Maine. 

Harry may not have ever realized how highly he was regarded by his siblings, or perhaps it was just that he would never let on that he knew. I repeatedly heard of how his WWII service affected his siblings. Not the service itself, as others served too, but the fact that he and his crew were shot down behind enemy lines.

He was the tail gunner on a B-17 bomber tasked with many missions over both France and then later over Berlin. 

I never heard him speak of his experience, I am sure it resulted in PTSD, but I hope he knows how much his whole family appreciated his service, let alone the rest of America.

24 January 2016

New Job...time to travel!!

So the new job has me traveling to Salt Lake City, UT to be trained on our machines and software packages. And...I will be moving to another location once that is complete. At first it was Memphis but now my new boss says maybe Charlotte, NC or Atlanta, GA instead. 

All this makes me wonder about the ancestors I know who moved long distances in their lives, from my Pilgrim ancestors making that heroic choice to go to the new world, to my GG Grandfather who decided to leave Maine and head to California to find a better life, while leaving my GG Grandmother and G Grandmother [born after he left] to fend for themselves in Maine. 

One of the benefits of going to Salt Lake is that the Family History Library is there - the largest repository of files, films and books needed to trace ones tree. I have been very lucky in finding lots of documents already scanned and available online. But I still have those unresolved ancestors I cannot find info on. 

Salt Lake will also afford me the opportunity to investigate a branch of my family who indeed were involved in the founding of the Mormon Church. It turns out that Joseph Smith, known as the Prophet, is my 3rd cousin, 5x removed. And one of my GG Grandfather's sister married a man who was also one of the original founders of the church and she eventually lived and died in the SLC area. So maybe a trip to the Church's Museum might be in my plans too. 

And maybe I will go to the rehearsal of the choir...because I can! 

10 September 2015

I have been remiss in not posting - some life circumstances changed and it has me a bit distracted from the work I had been doing, as well as laid off from the income producing work I was doing.

But this got me thinking... I wonder how these things were handled by my ancestors?  I know from some research that it appears that my 6th Great Grandfather - Capt Israel Davis - likely lost much of his once large business as a merchant due to the Revolutionary War. More on him later but he is a target of much of my research.

And my Great grandparents - the Davis', the Upson's how did they fare?  In the Great Depression the Davis' had to split up, farm some kids out to go find work to pay their taxes. They had an apple business and a freeze killed much of the orchard and the crop. My Great Grandfather Ernest went to Rhode Island and worked in a hospital to make money. 

My Great Grandfather Upson had been involved in the Railroad and Real Estate in Buffalo. He was old enough to have been retired during that time, but apparently was very involved still. His daughter- my grandmother- and my grandfather were obviously products of surviving that time. They wasted nothing - lived modestly and made due with what they had. Nothing was wasted.

I find myself these days thinking of them, hoping that my genes contain all of theirs. Hoping that my brain has absorbed the lessons passed down the branches of my tree. ANd hoping they are angels on my shoulders...

29 August 2015

Harrison -- Con't

The current DAVIS Family book [again written my my father George Davis and cousin Royce Miller] states Harrison was "a foot soldier"for the Union Army. Clearly, I think I have found that he is deserving of being classified a bit higher then that and in light of all the battles his artillery served in, prominent and horrific, I know the family will think of him a bit differently now.

Harrison was discharged in DC and returned to the little town of Liberty, March 1864. 

He met and married Martha Jane Boynton in January of the next year and they had a daughter Alice Julia in November of that year. She was followed by Laura Annie, Stanton Elbridge, Clara Adah, my Great Grandfather Ernest Augustus, Rose Emily and Harrison Everett Davis. 

My family will all recognize names that have been used in successive generations to pay tribute to their ancestors. My great grandfather Ernest named sons after his brother's [and father Harrison], his older brother Stanton Elbridge Davis having died at 25 from Tuberculosis when Ernest was 15. Sadly...the children named for him also died young, Stanton at the age of 5 and Ernest Chester [known as Chester tot he family] at the age of 4.  Many men in the family have one of those names as middle name tributes.  My name is just a coincidence - chosen by my mother but I like to think maybe a few Davis angels assisted....

Harrison would go on to live to the age of 73, eventually succumbing to heart issues - likely the same ones that got him discharged from his Civil War service.

24 August 2015


A family name, fondly used most often by calling him "Baby Harry", was my great uncle. Harrison was also the name of my GG Grandfather. Both fought in wars for our American freedom, the first shot down over Germany in WWII and the later in the Civil War. It is this later Harrison I will share info on.

Harrison Henry Davis - son of [Charles] Elbridge and Julianna [Dunton] Davis- was born in 1839 in the little town of Liberty, Maine in Waldo County. Per the US Census in 1860 he was living with his parents and siblings, working on the farm. In the family genealogy book my father and cousin Royce wrote they stated that he had the honor of shaking President Lincoln's hand. That got my research into high gear.  There is a wonderful site - Civil War Trust at CivilWar.org where much of my research took place

In 1861 he enlisted in the Union Army 14 Dec joining the Maine 1st Battalion, 2nd Light Artillery Battery. I sent off to the National Archives for his Civil War records - they sent me a CD of them, including his discharge for disability. Organized in Augusta and headed to Portland and Fort Preble -10 March 1861. They were stationed there until 1 Apr when they headed to Washington, DC. By the beginning of June they were in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia skirmishing with the confederates under Stonewall Jackson and eventually they ended up in the Battle of Cedar Mountain. The Union troops there were outnumbered 2 to 1 and it is the first battle where Clara Barton was officially allowed to care for wounded soldiers on the battlefield. The federals attacked first and a two hour artillery barrage ensued on the 98 degree day.  Harrison's wartime experience was not going to get easier.

Following this first action, his unit spent much time battling Jackson's Confederates through Virginia along the Rappahanock River. Eventually they wound up in the Battles at Groveton and Bull Run [known as the 2nd Manassas] before they got a break and worked defending Washington DC. 

From tha point on it was a build up to some very difficult time for his unit. They helped guard the railroad lines south of DC and camped at a place called "Brooks Station" It took me lots of reading letters to figure out that this referred to a place and the only railroad crossing to Fredericksburg and Richmond - Potomac Creek Bridge. But this also meant that his unit would be right in the middle of two horrific events - the Battle of Fredericksburg and the infamous Mud March in January 1863. They finally got a two month reprieve [mid winter] in Fletcher's Chapel, VA.

The rest would be needed as they then had to begin the Chancellorsville Campaign. Chancellorville Campaign really explains what occurred there and how. After yet another horrific loss it seems that they get a month long respit, which they will need. For on the 1st of July they are engaged and play a pivotal role in the Battle of Gettysburg. There is a monument erected in their honor on those hallowed grounds and the following artwork depicts their efforts. 

I wonder where it was that Harrison shook the hand of Pres Lincoln? He had reviewed the troops while Harrison was in Camp there before Gettysburg. Or was it at Gettysburg? Perhaps while in the hospital at Camp Berry in Washing ton before his discharge 4 March 1864?? Perhaps I will never know exactly. His units flag is at the State Capital in Augusta Maine. Harrison lost two brothers in battles in the Civil War - Charles and William - likely both fought at Port Hudson in Louisiana without knowing it.

I do wish I had known all of this when I lived in Arlington Virginia. And I went to Fredericksburg when I did an internship in college - saw the Civil War cannonball still embedded in the upper section of a house [yes, on the side the union was firing]. I had no idea then that my GG Grandfather was there 120 years earlier firing them. 

Harrison Henry Davis 1839-1913

23 August 2015


Ernest and Chessell [Bryant] Davis were married on  25 Mar 1900. They are my Great Grandparents and lived their lives in Waldo County, Maine. This photo is the second of the two that my Ancestry contact "KeriQueen"  had found. 

Conveniently, this was just before her aunt was going to be in the same town where these photos were taken, where the family homestead/farm is located and she was kind enough to return it to the family.

This is their wedding photo, never before seen by our family as far as everyone seems to know. We used it on T shirts for our family reunion in 2012.

The photo below...is them celebrating their 50th wedding anniversary, 1950. After 16 kids [only 13 making it to adulthood] and the trials of the Great Depression - family was the thing that was a common thread - and a strong one.  

Ernest & Chessell Davis - 50th Anniversary

The Photo...

The image I chose to use above is a story in itself. One day I was contacted through my tree on Ancestry asking if I would help identifying a photo that only had "Chessell's Children" written in pencil on the back. It was sent to me, digitally, and I immediately recognized my grandfather - Arnold Davis - as the eldest in the photo. 

He was born in 1900, lived to almost 101 but I really did not have many photos of him as a kid. Much of that was due to the family circumstance and location, taking photos in rural Maine was not convenient at that time nor inexpensive I presume. So finding, or being found more correctly, was great. I asked for help from my more senior family members, plus then was able to share it at the same time. 

So...the verdict was that the photo is L to R:
Arnold, Norman, Edna, Stanton, Chester and Theo  

taken before Stanton and Chester died in 1909. 

I do not know, yet, how this photo ended up with the woman who contacted me. She said it was in a collection of photos her aunt had. There is more to this story...stay tuned...