Thursday, July 31, 2008

Which Davis Is Which?

There is often plenty of material to sort through when researching early New England ancestors. Abigail (Davis) Richmond is no exception. Several persons claim her as an ancestor as evidenced in this link to GenCircles. It appears that the identity of Abigail's father is the disputed among researchers. Many claim that Abigail Davis Richmond's father was James Davis; others identify him as William Davis the Locksmith.

Apparently Savage's account of William & Mary (Joan) Davis's family indicated that their daughter Abigail died at the age of four. However, a quote from Savage, embedded in a "Davis" citation, stated that "In many instances, some of the above nam. are spelled Davies, as well as Davis; and the utmost care, in arranging relationsh. betw. parties with a name so wide. diffus. will sometimes be at fault."

The key element is the Davis connection to John Cowdall. Most (if not all) researchers acknowledge John Cowdall as Abigail Davis's step-father and it was he and her mother, Joan (Mary) Cowdall, who forced Abigail into a marriage with Richard Ussell, which was later documented by the Rhode Island colony. That marriage was eventually annulled and Abigail then married Edward Richmond as she first intended.

Because of Abigail Davis's documented familial relationship to the Cowdalls, and the Cowdalls' relationship to William Davis, both Junior and Senior, it appears to me, unless evidence can be found to the contrary, that William Davis was Abigail's father.

According to Savage,  "The Book of possessions in early days shows W. sen. and W. jr. in
Boston, but wh. was f. of these ch. is to be determin. I fear, only by conject. One was a
gunsmith, and one was d. 10 Nov. 1655, when Isaac Collamore gave in the inv. of his
est. only £7. His wid. Mary soon m. John Cowdall."

Documentation in this book documents the relationship between the Cowdalls and William Davis/Davies, Junior (William Davis the gunsmith). Property Wm Davis, Jr., inherited from his father was confirmed by the lower house 7 Oct 1645 (Record of the House of Deputies):...petition of William Davies, sonne to William Davies, deceased, upon acknowledgement of...(the Cowdells). "So William the gunsmith had full title to the house and lands in Oct. 1645". "In 1650 William Davis, of Boston, gunsmith, mortgaged the house to James Oliver, merchant,...dwelling adjoining to Mr. Harding's." The same book indicated that on April 12, 1658, the house passed out of the Davis family forever. Apparently one historian tied the Boston lot owned by the Davis family to the first "Bunches of Grapes" Tavern. William Davis, Jr., moved to Barbados.

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