James Davis of Acton Turville, yeoman, is primarily known through his will and the wills of other near family members. The parish registers of Acton Turville no longer exist in this time period making reconstruction of the family difficult. He was the principle heir of his mother's will dated 10 March 1587. He was the executor of his brother Thomas' will proved on 3 March 1623/4.
This John Davis has been identified as the father of James Davis of Acton Turville based on his will and the known children of James Davis. The first three children of James Davis were James bp. 1619, John bp. 1621 and Sarah bp. 1623. The will of his John Davis dated April 1626 names his son James, as well as his grandchildren by James - James, John and Sarah. James Davis was also named in the will of uncle Thomas Davis of Acton Turville. This will also proves James had another brother named Ephraim; James named a son Ephraim.
Born: Say 1560.
The date is a very rough estimate based the births of grandchildren and the rough estimated births of his own children.
Marriage and Children
Married:1st -Agnes Unknown say 1589. The date is a very rough estimate based on the estimated birth date of his son James c1590. Agnes was buried in Acton Turville on 23 January 1622/3.
Married:2nd - Sarah Reede on 17 July 1624 in Acton Turville.
A John Davis married Agnes Chandler 24 October 1577 in Frocester, Gloucestershire, England. They had one child Alice born at Forcester on 16 March 1577/8 and then there are no further records there for this couple. Frocester is less than 20 miles from Acton Turville which made this a possibility; however, his first grandchild by his oldest James was not born until 1619 making his likely birth date in the 1590's, they had another son born in 1601 and a third who was underage in 1626. A marriage date of 1577 is too early to be the marriage of John Davis of Acton Turville.
A John Davys married Agnes Samon on 15 October 1575 at Eisey, Wiltshire, England. Eisey is about 30 miles from Acton Turville. Though often said to be the marriage of John Davis of Acton Turville, there is no reason to think it true. Again, the marriage is too early to be the correct marriage of John Davis of Acton Tuville.
Children of John and Agnes Davis:
James Davis. He was probably born in the 1590s based on his marriage though he was said to be aged 96 at his death in 1679 (likely an exaggeration). He married Cicely Thayer and had six known children. They immigrated to New England by 1635. James died 29 January 1679 in Haverhill, Massachusetts.
Thomas Davis. Born about 1603 (deposed aged 66 in 1669). Named in the will of father and of his uncle Thomas. He is said to be the Thomas Davis who settled in Newbury, Massachusetts in 1635.
John Davis. Baptized on 16 April 1601 at Acton Turville. He was named in the will of his uncle Thomas. He is said to be the John Davis who settled in Newbury, Massachusetts in 1638.
Ephraim Davis. He was named in the will of his father and of his uncle Thomas. He apparently never left England, but is probably the Ephraim Davis mentioned in Massachusetts records as having married the sister of Robert Bills who died 15 December 1635. This Ephraim died before 8 January 1638 when his widow's second husband, the Rev. John Knowles of Watertown, was appointed administrator of Bills' estate.
Samuel Davis. Named in the will of father and of his uncle Thomas. Probably still underage in 1626 as he was to receive his inheritance after completing his "apprentis."
Died: Between April 1626 and 21 November 1626.
Dates his will was made and proved.
Will: of John Davis of Acton Turville.
- my son Samuel...
- my son Thomas...
- James and John Davis, sons of my son James...
- Sarah, daughter of my son James...
- Sarah my now wife...
- remainder of estate to son James who is to be excecutor.
Abstract of will of JOHN DAVIS, Acton Turville, 1626:
In the name of God Amen, I, John Davis of Acton Turville in the countye of Glouc., yeoma', sycke in bodye but of good and p'fect memory, do make thys my laste will and Testament in manner and form following. My bodye to be buryed in ye Churchyarde of Acton Turville aforesaide. It' I gyve unto my sonne Samyll in regard of one cowe whych . . . Item I gyve unto my sonne Thomas twelve pence. Item I guve unto . . . sonne twelve pence. Item I geve unto James Davys and John Davis my sonne James his sonness...shillings a peece. I gyve unto Sara my sonne James his daugher (ten shillings?). Item I gyve unto Sara my nowe wyfe on coffer. ffurther my will is that I...which I gyve unto my Sonn Samyll in regard of his...him bymy executor when he have served his apprentis...not then to remayne to my sonne James his children. It'l al the est of my goods moveable and unmoveable andye executorsyeare of my lease...my sonne James Davys whome I make my executor of this my last will and testament. Also I do Intreate and Apoynt will p'formed...Apryll 1626.
The marke of John x Davis. Wytness to this will John Sloper"
Davis, Edwin Pountney. Davis, of Acton Turville, Gloucestershire: The Ancestry of James, Thomas and John Davis, who Settled in Newbury, Massachusetts c1638. (São Paulo, Brazil : privately published, 1984).