Surname Saturday: Davis

Genealogy frustration continues with more of the surnames from my mother's side of the family. Which is worse?  Having Irish who leave no records prior to 1850 or having names like Jones and Davis in your line?  :-)

Part of my problem here is I just need to get out East to do some research and/or find some people who actually know which of the many Robert Davis lines truly are the ones that end up in Iowa.  Probate records?  can't find them; gravestones?  nope, obituaries, no luck.  Land records?  there are so many by the same name!  and no dates to distinguish father/son/nephew/uncle.

You would think I would have another connection to the DAR here given these time frames!

There are 33 trees that say they are researching Robert Davis & Jane Jopling.  None of them have sources except each other.  For the Robert Davis who married Jane Jopling, people have various birth dates of 1722, or 1743, but all have the same death date of  May 18, 1780 in Cumberland, Kentucky.

As I've mentioned earlier,'s autosomal test has not helped, and I am awaiting the info from

Robert Davis (1743 - 1780) married to Jane Jopling (1738-?)
Marriage date thought to be around 1758
is your 5th great grandfather
Robert Davis is mentioned in 1842 Casey County court papers: "Robert Davis was many years ago killed by the Indians and Jane the mother of the ---? (children?) Robert, Landon, and Hannah has departed this life many years ago."  I also received this note: You are correct that there were two Robert Davis'. The Robert Davis who married Jane Jopling was the Robert Jr. He bought land in 1779 in Lincoln County, KY (later Jefferson, later Bullitt). This land is now part of Fort Knox.... the land was purchased with a Virginia Treasury Warrant with Robert's name and one that Robert bought from William Deal for a total of 900 acres, but apparently Robert did not live long enough to claim the land. The actual patent was acquired by Robert's son Thomas as "heir at law" in 1787. In 1782, Thomas appoints his grandfather, Thomas Jopling, as his power of attorney to settle his father's estate and lay claim to Robert's land in Montgomery Co, VA. In this power of attorney, Thomas Davis lists all of his siblings (the same names you have listed as Robert and Jane Davis' children. Thomas Jopling is also listed in the Amherst court records asking to be appointed administrator of Robert's estate and it mentions Robert's wife, Thomas Jopling's daughter Jane.... Hannah Smith is Robert Jr.'s daughter, sister to Thomas Davis. She married in Lincoln County, Kentucky, William Clames Smith, 29 Jan 1785. Lucy Jopling did marry a Powell, so you are probably correct that Lucy was Robert Davis and Hannah Smith's aunt. I have the marriages for the Robert's other daughters as well."

I was also told of this book:  The Wilderness Road":
I went to my local library and checked out the book "The Wilderness Road". Many of the Davis researchers have Robert, Jr. (married Jane Jopling) dying in 1782 or abt 1782. The book actually pin-points this a little closer, I believe. Starting on page 155 (instead of 156) the book reads: 

Pages 155-156 
'Weary from his labors and spent with illness, Colonel Fleming started back along the Wilderness Road for his home early in May 1780. A party of twenty men had gone ahead. He caught up with them on a small stream flowing into Dick's River near English's Station, a new settlement recently begun three miles east of Crab Orchard.... Fleming and his party followed a new road to Skaggs Creek and joined another group of fifteen men. They crossed Rockcastle River and encamped on Raccoon Creek three miles from its mouth. Here they saw the graves of the Davis family who had perished in the cold in December. They observed the huge rock which sits like a castle on the ridge by Rockcastle River. It is from this immense boulder, still plainly descernible from Highway 25 a few miles south of Livingston, Kentucky, that the river and county are named. 

'After passing Hazel Patch where the Boonesborough road came into the trail the party continued to Raccoon Spring, seven miles south of the present town of London. Here they camped a half mile from the place where two men had been killed and a Negro taken by Indians a short time before. 

'In the neighborhood of Cumberland Ford, Fleming and his fellow travelers met three white men and a Negro -- the survivors of a party of twelve men from Lexington ambushed five miles ahead. In silent marching order, Fleming and his men rode on to the scene. They found the bodies of John and Robert Davis of Amherst lying scalped and mangled on the road. Two war clubs lay by the bodies, and on one of them was a figure of a lizard, which Colonel Fleming believed belonged to Chief Spring Lizard of the Chickamauga. The travelers buried the bodies and continued their journey across Cumberland Gap and camped near Walker's Creek in Powell Valley. 

'Joined by another man from the scattered Lexington party, Fleming continued up the valley and camped eight miles beyond Martin's Station, then he followed the main road to the Holston settlements, passed Glade Spring, present site of Jonesville, Virginia. Two more men from the defeated Lexington party after he had crossed the Wallins Ridge. On May 19 Fleming noted in his journal...' 

The note in his journal just goes on about the travels, but I find it interesting that he leaves early in May, finds the bodies of John and Robert and the next entry is May 19. Do you think this ties the date down a little better? I also find the entry about the 'graves of the Davis family who perished in the cold in December' interesting as well.
Robert IV Davis (1778 - 1846) married to Sarah Smith (daughter of Martin Smith and Hannah Stephens)
My great-great-great-great grandfather
Son of Robert
This information comes from the Prairie Trails Museum files in Corydon, Wayne County, Iowa.  I don't know what was at the Chicago library...a book?  a file? 


Abigail Davis (1799 - 1870) married William Martin Jones Jr,
18 December 1817 Casey County, Kentucky.
My great-great-great grandmother
Daughter of Robert IV

This is from the 1878 History of Appanoose County, Iowa

Also was given this family group sheet by Larry Allen (deceased), who was a frequent contributor to the Iowa Genealogical Society and a family historian for the Jones-Davis-Morlan families.  Unfortunately, when Larry died, his rooms full of research disappeared.