Another Mystery?

by Timothy W. Davis

Recently, owners of several family trees have listed a “Caleb H. Davis” (1746-1820) as a son of Thomas “William”2 Davis, son of William1 Davis, our immigrant ancestor, and his second wife, Elizabeth Pavior.

However, both Susie Davis Nicholson in her book “Davis, The Settlers of Salem, West Virginia”, and G. Maria Davis Johnson on her website “Davis and Allied Families”, list only Thomas, Jr., Lydia and Joseph as the children of Thomas “William” Davis. The trees listing Caleb as Thomas “William” and Bethiah’s son are without sources, except for one. The one source, with attached record, is a West Virginia Estate Settlement, dated 1823. Caleb died in West Virginia on 12 Mar 1820, consistent with this record.

Interestingly, what we know about Caleb is that he was born in 1746 in Cedar Hundred, Sussex, Delaware. Thomas “William” and Bethia Maxson’s  other children, Thomas Jr., and Joseph, born before Caleb in 1738 and 1740 respectively, and Lydia, born after Caleb in 1749, were all born in Rhode Island. Does this mean Caleb is from a different family? Is it possible that Caleb was born in Delaware while his siblings were born in Rhode Island?

In 1746, the year of Caleb’s birth, Thomas and Bethia apparently traveled to Pennsylvania to live with Thomas’ brother, Joseph. It is possible that they traveled by boat and, while in route, stopped at Sussex, near Lewes, Delaware and Caleb was born there. It is not “inconceivable” that Caleb, who was born in Delaware, could be their son.

And what if Caleb H. Davis was the son of Thomas “William” Davis and Bethia Maxson? If so, we will have traced the first line of a son, other than James, of William Davis and his second wife, Elizabeth Pavior, to a living male descendant. See chart below to follow Caleb’s line. (Click on chart to enlarge.)

Also, if so, we should be able to determine if it is James or his half-brother, Rev. John Davis (son of William Davis with his first wife, Elizabeth Brisley), who has the mutation that distinguishes their lines at DYS YCA IIb.  So far, all of the Y-DNA participant descendants from John have 20 alleles at DYS YCA IIb, whereas all descendants from James have 22 alleles at DYS YCA IIb.

There has been no record found yet that makes reference to Caleb as a son of Thomas “William” Davis and Bethia Maxson.

Nevertheless, we will find out if Caleb H. could be the son of Thomas “William.” DLMD, who is a descendant of Caleb and Caleb’s  wife, Leah Basnett, has agreed to participate in our William Davis DNA Project. His Kit #176019 (Y-DNA67) results should be arriving about May 7, 2010.

Will DLMD match us and add a previously unknown branch to our William Davis family tree? Will his YCA IIb alleles be 20 (John)? or 22 (James)? Or,  a completely different number?

Or, adding more mystery, will DLMD be a member of a different Davis family tree?