Francis Asberry Davis


1821 – 1870

contributed 2007 by Kay W. Davis

Francis Asberry Davis was born August 21, 1821, in Indian Territory which later became Obion County, TN. When he was young, he moved with his family to Dade County, MO where he lived for many years. Other siblings and his parents’ names are unknown as of this writing. Family tradition claims he was an only child.

Around 1844, Probably in Dade Co, Francis (Frank, F.A.) married Mary Rebecca Kendall who was born in Indiana in 1824. Although “raised on the banks of the Wabash”, she too was partially raised in Missouri. They continued to live there for almost 20 years until the Civil War caused disruption in their lives. They raised crops, stock and children in or near Marion Township.

Frank and Rebecca’s six children were Mary Rachel (Davenport), Martha M. (Marable), Zacharias (who married Frances C. Martin), Henry Dee (who married Frances E. Kellis), Jefferson “Jesse” (who married America M. Reed), and a daughter Rebecca Ann who died in childhood and is buried in Pippenger Cemetery (1853-1855) in Dade Co.

According to other researchers reports, and multiple Dade Co., MO and McLennan Co, TX deed records, Frank owned about 2500 acres of land in Dade Co. until 1861 when Kansas Jayhawkers (anti-slavery guerillas) invaded the Davis family lands in Dade County. According to an autobiography by the eldest son Zachary, “they took 2 fine stallions, 15 saddle horses and robbed and pilfered the house of goods, furniture and bedclothing.” For the next few years, the Davis family lived in fear of being raided by the Jayhawkers, Union soldiers, or Indians, and by the winter of 1863 Frank herded his remaining stock to Texas in search of a new homeland.

In the winter of 1863, Rebecca loaded up her younger children in a covered wagon drawn by oxen, abandoned their Missouri property, and left for Texas as well. It is known that the eldest sister Mary Rachel stayed in Missouri and married Terry W. Davenport (31 Dec 1861- Dade County) a Union sympathizer. By 1883 the Davenports had moved to California. The rest of the Davis family moved south to Texas during the winter of 1863 where they began new lives.

Rebecca and her children stopped in Huntsville, AR, and rested for 4 weeks before weathering the rest of the trip to Texas. They stopped again and camped near Waco while trying to locate Frank and his herd. Soon Rebecca and son Zachary got a tip on Frank’s whereabouts, mounted horseback and rode 30 miles northeast to Ash Creek about 4 miles east of Bold Springs [now called West] in the face of a severe Norther. There they finally located Frank and soon, after they were reunited, the family camped near Waco for awhile.

The Davis family rented land in Hill County briefly and Frank returned to Missouri in the fall of 1864 to join the Confederate Army. He served in Shelby’s Brigade, Price’s Command, and fought in the Kansas-Missouri border wars. Family tradition claims he was a prisoner of the Yankees in 1864 for a short period of time but proof of this hasn’t been found.

In the fall of 1864, the family bought property in Bold Springs [West]. Frank returned to the area after the war but his wealth was never to reach the grandness it had attained before the war years. Documents show that the Yankees nullified his land ownership in Dade Co, MO and it was returned to the Union. On October 28, 1870 Frank died of pneumonia which he contracted while on a cattle drive near Baxter Springs, KA. He is buried in the Baxter Springs Cemetery probably less than 25 miles from where he was raised in Missouri about 50 years before.

Frank’s wife, Rebecca, stayed in Texas following his death, and on Sept. 12, 1873 she married W.M. Oliphant. They lived with her sons Hank and Jesse, and near son Zachary’s family and near daughter Martha Marable’s family until Mr. Oliphant’s death in 1886. Family tradition claims that the oldest daughter Mary Rachel married a Union sympathizer (T.W. Davenport) which was opposite the political beliefs of the rest of the Davis family. She continued to stay in touch with her family however, even after she moved to California.

In 1889 son Henry (Hank) moved to the Sterling City, TX area in what was still Tom Green County at that time. Son Jefferson (Jesse) died in Bold Springs, TX at age 33, 12 days before his 7th child Jeffie was born in 1894. He and his child are both buried in the Bold Springs Cemetery. Son Zachary moved with his family to San Angelo, TX in 1901 where he and his wife later died and they were buried in Fairmont Cemetery. The mother of all, Rebecca Kendall Davis Oliphant moved to Snyder, TX to live with her second daughter, Martha (Matt) Marable. Rebecca died on February 18, 1903, and she and the Marables are all buried in Snyder Cemetery. Mary Rachel and the Davenport branch lived and died in Riverside, California.

Research Notes:

Bibliographical Memoirs of Bell, Coryell and McLennan Counties (1893)

1850 Dade Co, MO Census Records

1860 Dade Co, MO Census Records

1870 McLennan Co, TX Census Records

1880 McLennan Co, TX Census Records

1900 Sterling Co, TX Census Records

1900 Scurry Co, TX Census Records

1910 Sterling Co, TX Census Records


Milling around Sterling County

Missouri 1850 Mortality Schedule

Dade Co, MO Deed Records

McLennan Co, TX Deed Records

Davis Family Bible

McLennan Co. Marriage Records

Delinquent Land List of Dade Co, MO

Davis, F. A. Twnsp 31, Range 28 — 80 (acres?) s hf sw 5 5.28

BLM-GLO Land Records

Davis, Francis A Mo, Dade 41.41 acres 6/1/1859 Springfield

“ “ 121.41 5/15/57 “

“ “ 80 5/15/57 “

“ “ 40 5/15/57 “

“ “ 40 6/1/59 “

“ “ 40 6/1/59 “

“ “ 40 6/1/59 “

“ “ 40 10/1/60 “

Family notes:

Francis Asberry Davis – b. 21 Aug, 1821 Obion Co, TN; d. 28 Oct 1870 Baxter Spgs, KA; buried Baxter Springs Cemetery in Baxter Springs, KA.

Married (ca. 1844 MO?) to Mary Rebecca Kendall – b. 31 Jul 1825 Near the Banks of the Wabash, IN; d. 18 Feb 1903 – Snyder, Scurry Co, TX while living with daughter. Buried in Snyder Cemetery, Snyder, TX

Rebecca Kendall Davis married second to Wm. M. Oliphant (12 Sept 1873 – McLennan Co, TX)

Children of Francis Asberry Davis and Mary Rebecca Kendall:

Mary Rachel Davis – b. 14 Jun 1845 – Dade Co, MO; d. 9 May 1918 – Riverside Co, CA; buried Olivewood Cemetery in Riverside, CA

Married (31 Dec 1861 Dade Co, MO) to Terry Whitset Davenport

Martha “Matt” Margaret Davis – b. 20 Jul 1847 – Dade Co, MO; d. 3 Jan 1913 – Snyder, Scurry Co, TX; buried Snyder Cemetery in Snyder, TX

Married (ca. 1865 – McLennan Co, TX) to Thomas Edward Marable, Jr.

Zacharias “Zackry” Davis – b. 15 May 1849 – Dade Co, MO; d. 25 Jul 1933 – San Angelo, Tom Green Co, TX; buried Fairmont Cemetery in San Angelo, Tom Green, TX

Married (13 Jun 1871 – McLennan Co, TX) to Frances C. Martin.

Rebecca Ann Davis – b. 18 Oct 1853 – Dade Co, MO; d. 31 May 1855 – Dade Co, MO;

Buried Pippenger Cemetery – Sect. 2 in Dade Co, MO.

Henry “Hank” Dee Davis – b. 31 May 1857 – Dade Co, MO; d. 18 Mar 1954 – Sterling City, Sterling Co, TX; buried Sterling City Cemetery in Sterling City, TX.

Married (11 Aug 1881 – McLennan Co, TX) to Frances Elizabeth Kellis.

Jefferson “Jesse” Davis – b. 25 Mar 1861 – Dade Co, MO; d. 12 Mar 1894 – McLennan Co, TX; buried in Bold Springs Cemetery, McLennan Co, TX.

Married (15 Aug 1881 – McLennan Co, TX) to America Mary Reed.