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James Davis (abt. 1730 - bef. 1824)

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James Davis
Born about in King William County, Colony of Virginiamap
Ancestors ancestors
Son of and [mother unknown]
[spouse(s) unknown]
Died before in Madison County, Virginia, USAmap
Profile last modified 21 Feb 2018 | Created 7 Jul 2012
This page has been accessed 506 times.



"Benjamin Davis (I) died in the town of Culpeper (first called Fairfax) in the summer of 1763. [CCMB 1763-1764, Prichard (1930)] No will for him has been found, but strong indirect evidence from primary records indicates that, in addition to Daniel Jarrell‘s wife Mary, Benjamin‘s children include John Davis (c1728-1808), William Davis (c1730-1823) [MISTAKE -- wrong William], James Davis (c1732-1824), Benjamin Davis (II, 1736-1797), and Sarah Davis (c1738-c1820, wife of Thomas Terry, c1730-1804).... The 1817 Madison County, Virginia will of James Davis does prove directly that the siblings include at least John Davis, James Davis, Benjamin Davis, Sarah Terry, and Mary Jarrell. [MadWB3:312 (*See General Report Notes regarding inline citation abbreviations.)]"[1]

James Davis appeared in the 1810 census in Madison County, Virginia as a single man over 45 with several slaves. Listed next to him were men with wives and children: Robert Davis, Walker Hudson Davis and James Davis, Jr.

James Davis appeared in the 1820 census in Madison County, Virginia as a single man over 45 with several slaves. Listed next to him was Walker Davis.

Walker Davis appears in the 1830 census in Orange County, Virginia.

Will of James Davis

Abstract: Will Written: 19 Feb 1817 Will Proved: 28 Oct 1824, Madison County, Virginia

Legatees: Nephew William Terry, niece Sally Terry, niece Lucy Rucker, nephew John Terry, Polly Gulley [great-niece], Elijah DeBoard, brother John Davis, "children of my brother Benjamin Davis", "children of my

sister Mary Jarrell", Slave George ―my negro ma emancipated

Executors named: Richard C. Booten, William Terry
Witnesses: Wm Jackson, Elijah DeBoard, John Rowzee, Jr., Ambrose Booten [Jr]


In the name of God Amen, I JAMES DAVIS of the County of Madison and State of Virginia calling to mind the uncertainty of life and certainty of Death do dispose of my worldly effects in manner following

Item 1st. I do hereby immediately after my decease SET FREE AND LIBERATE MY NEGRO MAN GEORGE from bondage on account of his extraordinary merit and good faith with which he has served me

Item 2nd. I give to my nephew WILLIAM TERRY one hundred and thirty [130] acres of land to be laid off at the north end of the tract on which I now live in which the orchard and buildings are to be included and two negroes Bob and Rose and the increase from the date hereof and one hundred dollars and one wagon and geer [gear] to him and his heirs forever.

Item 3rd. I give to my niece SALLY TERRY two negro girls Beck and Eve and their increase from the date hereof but if in case my said niece Sally should die without leaving issue my desire is that the above named girl Eve and her increase shall fall to my niece LUCY RUCKER and her heirs forever; but in case my said niece Sally should have issue then my desire is that Eve and her increase shall go to my said niece Sally and her heirs forever, but in either case it is expressly understood that Beck and her increase is given forever.

Item 4th. I give to my niece LUCY RUCKER one negro woman Milly and her increase from the date hereof and her heirs forever.

Item 5th. I give to my nephew JOHN TERRY one negro man Tom to him and his heirs forever.

Item 6th. I give to POLLY GULLY my bed bedstead and furniture and fifty dollars to her and her heirs forever.

Item 7th. I give to Elijah Deboard twenty dollars for partly building a house on my land.

Item 8th. My will and desire is that after my decease all the balance of my estate both real and personal of whatever nature or kind so ever it may be, be sold upon a credit of twelve months and the proceeds of such sale after paying all my just debts and the above legacies to be equally divided among my brothers JOHN DAVIS the children of my brother BENJAMIN DAVIS and the CHILDREN OF MY SISTER MARY JARRELL (that is to say my brother John to have one equal third part, the children of my brother Benjamin one equal third part, and the CHILDREN OF MY SISTER MARY the remaining equal third part to them and their heirs forever).

Item 9th. I constitute and appoint RICHARD C BOOTEN and WILLIAM TERRY executors of this my last will and testament hereby revoking all others. In witness whereof I have hereunto set my hand & seal this 19th day of February one thousand eight hundred and seventeen [19 Feb 1817] Signed Sealed & Delivered JAMES DAVIS


At a Court held for Madison County the 28th day of October 1824 [28 October 1824] This last Will and Testament of James Davis deceased was produced into court and proved by the oaths of WM. JACKSON, JOHN ROWZEE, JR, and AMBROSE BOOTEN. witnesses thereto and ordered to be recorded. And on the motion of RICHARD C. BOOTEN Exor. therein named, certificate of probate thereof in due form is granted him; he having made oath thereto and entered into bond with security according to law. WILLIAM TERRY the other Exor. having refused to take upon himself the execution of said will. [commonly only one executor served] Teste: Bellfield Cave CMC [Source: Madison County Virginia Will Book 3, pp 312-313, transc. by J. Horsley; caps, paragraphing, underlining, comments in brackets added, original spelling mostly retained.] - - - - - - - - - - Note: Research shows James Davis almost certainly had a son Robert Davis who lived near him in Madison County. Robert died July 1816, apparently rather suddenly at about age 60. Six months later James wrote the above will ―revoking all others, just as Robert’s widow and all his children with their spouses were selling off land and preparing to move to Kentucky in the coming weeks and months. As was a common practice, James probably gave gifts of inheritance to his grandchildren before their departure from the state, then wrote this revised will distributing his assets among his other family. Although James was obviously aware that his sister Mary and brother Benjamin had already died, he does not seem to know for certain that his brother John also was deceased in Pittsylvania County. (There are good reasons for this, which shall be left to other more pertinent research reports.) However, the effect was the same, in that John’s portion would then be divided equally among his children, as with the children of James’ siblings Benjamin Davis and Mary Jarrell.

James Davis did not die until 1824 at about age 92, seven years after writing this will. The sale of his estate was held in December of that year. Among the purchasers were Gibson Jarrell and Elijah Jarrell, two of the legatees of James’ will as ―children of my sister Mary Jarrell. Another purchaser was William Humphreys whose wife, Mary Jarrell’s daughter Polly, was also a legatee. (See estate sale record below) In 1824, Gibson, Elijah and William were living in Logan County, now West Virginia (formed that year in part from Kanawha and Giles), and there seems no other reason for traveling in December over 250 miles to James Davis’ estate sale in Madison County, where the Jarrell’s had not lived for 30 years, than their being legatees as ―children of my sister Mary Jarrell.‖ In addition to the fact that Gibson, Elijah and Simeon Jarrell witnessed the 1796 will of James Davis’ and Mary Davis Jarrell’s brother Benjamin Davis (whose children were also legatees named in James’ will), there is also ample support from the Culpeper/Madison deed and will records that James Davis’ sister Mary Jarrell‖ was Mary, the wife of Daniel Jarrell.

The Terry’s named as legatees of James Davis’ will, as well as Lucy Rucker (nee Terry), were children of James’ sister Sarah Davis Terry and her then-deceased husband Thomas Terry. Legatee Polly Gulley was Sarah Davis Terry’s granddaughter, whose mother Mary Terry Gulley died when Polly was young, and Polly probably was raised by her grandmother. The Terry’s lived adjacent to James Davis (and his brother Benjamin II) by 1775 at today’s Wolftown in Madison County, and with the possible exception of John Terry, all still lived next door to James when he wrote his will. James’ sister Sarah Davis Terry had her lifetime dower of Thomas’ land along with land she owned with lifetime rights with her son William Terry, so Sarah seems well provided for without a specific bequest from her brother, probably preferring the gifts go to her children.[2]


  1. The Jarrell Family of Early Virginia, by Joan Horsley (2009), p. 4.
  2. The Jarrell Family of Early Virginia, by Joan Horsley (2009), pp. 86-88.


  • WikiTree profile Davis-11285 created through the import of Hannah - Utts Family Tree.ged on Jul 6, 2012 by Marsha Hannah. See the Changes page for the details of edits by Marsha and others.

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