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Dale Francis Davis
6 March 1929 – 17 January 2015

It is with sadness that we learn that we have lost one of our senior William Davis DNA Project members.
Dale Francis Davis, of the Benjamin Davis and Anna Lowing line, has passed away on Jan 17, 2015. He was 85 years old.

From all the William Davis DNA Project members, we send deepest sympathy and condolences to his wife, his children and their families. There are many to miss him: besides his wife and children, he had 24 grand children, 10 great grand children and 1 great, great grand child.

For more about Dale Francis Davis’ past, see the story of his Davis ancestry posted on the William Davis DNA Project website on Nov 26, 2013.

Obituary Dale Francis Davis
(Courtesy Davis & Schaefer Family Tree)

Dale Francis Davis was the ninth child of ten born to Orrin T. and Josephine (Sherman) Davis.  He was born March 6, 1929, in Ellendale, ND, and lived there until he was 13 years old.  He then moved to his sister’s farm (Bill & Pearl Harrison) in the Forbes, ND area to work.

In 1951, Dale entered the US Army and served two years in South Korea during the Korean War, where he was a motor sergeant on the front lines.
On July 3, 1956, Dale married Janet Schaefer and they bought his sister Cora (Fudge) Foist’s farm southwest of Ellendale, where they lived and had four children.  After selling the farm, they bought the Circle Bar in Ellendale in June of 1975 and renamed it “Dale’s Corner Corral”.  During this time in the bar business he was instrumental in bringing the PRCA Rodeos to town, which were enjoyed by many.

He married Margaret “Cook” Mikkonen on September 26, 1987.  After 22  years of working in the bar, Dale and Cook sold the bar in 1997.  Over the next several years Dale held jobs as grounds keeper at the Ellendale Country Club and taking care of the Ellendale City Parks and Ellendale Cemetery before finally retiring in 2009.  Following retirement, Dale continued to work at home planting flower gardens around the house; he was never one to sit still for more than a few minutes.  On May 1, 2014, he entered Prince of Peace Care Center, where he remained until his death.
Dale loved to work in the garden, watch rodeos and play cards.  He especially enjoyed visiting with family and friends.

Dale was preceded in death by his parents, six brothers:  Charles Davis, Warren “Shorty” Davis, Eugene Davis, Alfred Davis, Vernon Davis and Donald Davis; three sisters:  Cora (Fudge) Wahl, Pearl Harrison and Elsie Juencke; one niece, Janice Shuck; and one nephew, Thomas Davis.
He is survived by his wife, Margaret “Cook” Davis of Ellendale, ND; his children:  John Davis of Ellendale, Sherry (Mike) Bice of Aberdeen, Brenda (Shannon) Morris of Deadwood, SD, Kristy (Duane) Hegge Aberdeen, Tina (Blaine) Anliker of Chigiak, AK, Sonya (Jason) Beyer of Blaine, MN, Patrick (Carrie) Mikkonen of Mt Vernon, SD, Rheiff (Kim) Mikkonen of Rapid City, SD and Heather (Matt) Sylvester of Cambridge, MN; 24 grandchildren; 10 great-grandchildren; and one great-great-grandchild.

Obit card 1(To enlarge, click twice)

Obit card 2

Photo captions (top L, counterclockwise):

Dale, on leave from the army, with his mother, Josephine Sherman

Dale, on one of his many horses

Dale, growing a beard for the Ellendale Centennial, 1982

Dale, in nursing home for broken leg, about 2013

Dale and wife, Cook, at her son’s wedding, about 2000

Dale, at daughter Kristy’s wedding. L to R: son John, dau Sherry, Dale, dau Kristy, Cook (Dale’s wife), dau Brenda.

More Photos

MoonAndDaleFrancisDavisDale Francis Davis, on R (Courtesy Davis & Schaefer Family Tree)

DaleFrancisDavisKorea1951Dale Francis Davis, Korea, 1951
(Courtesy Davis & Schaefer Family Tree)

Davis pic 1951
Latest DAVIS match!
Seen here abt 1951 with his mother,
Josephine (Sherman) Davis

To all members of the Davis Family and interested DAVIS researchers: we have three new Davis matches! Let’s call that four, since we have a last minute update.

It appears that we have yet another new match, a fourth one, whose 12-marker test has just come in and who descends from the Greenbriar Billy/ Rev. Peter Davis line. More on him in a later post after the rest of his markers are posted.

Our latest 67-marker match is the son of Orin Thomas Davis, b 1875 Carlston, Minnesota. He is the grandson of Stanton Henry Davis, born 1844, New York. And he is the great-grandson of the famous, (in our tree), Benjamin Davis, the one with 19 children, with his third wife, Anna Lowing.

Stanton Henry Davis was the youngest of all 19 sons and daughters of Benjamin Davis5, who had three wives, Lydia Burdick, Sally Burdick and Anna Lowing. Stanton was 10 years old when his father died in 1854 in Watson, Lewis, New York. Eleven years later, Stanton is found on the 1865 Carlston, Freeborn County, Minnesota census at age 21, and then, a year later, he married Emaline Julia Bowen.

Stanton Henry Davis and Emaline had 7 children, including one set of twins. Our current tester’s father, Orin Thomas Davis, was one of those twins and Orson Truman Davis was the other. They were born fourth and fifth.

But what was it in 1865 that attracted young Stanton Henry Davis from Watson, New York , some 1,173 miles away, along the Great Lakes, through Buffalo, Cleveland, Chicago and Wisconsin to Carlston, Minnesota?

Did it have to do with the civil war? Was it because Carlston Township was called “Stanton” township until 1858 in honor of an earlier settler named Elias Stanton? Did it have to do with the fertile soil that beckoned all farmers with a promise of bountiful crops?

It also might possibly have been love. One interesting fact is that Stanton Henry Davis’ wife, Emaline Julia Bowen, had a sister, Sarah Arvilla Bowen. Sarah married Stanton Henry’s nephew, Orville Elverton Davis, in Carlston, Minnesota, 6 months after Stanton married Emaline. Maybe it was something about those Bowen girls!

Orville and Stanton were more like contemporaries, rather than uncle and nephew, since Orville was only 5 years younger than Stanton. Orville was Benjamin Jr’s son. That is, Benjamin5, with the 19 children, had a son, Benjamin, Jr.6, and Benjamin Jr.’s son was Orville.

Opera Block, Ellendale, North Dakota, abt 1910

And what was it about Ellendale, North Dakota, that attracted Stanton’s son, Orin Thomas Davis, to move further west in 1914 or so? Ellendale was 225 miles due west of Orin’s home in Little Falls, Minnesota. Was it because Orin’s father, Stanton Henry Davis, had just died in 1914 in Minnesota?

Being that the town was named after Mary “Ellen Dale” Merrill, (the wife of S.S. Merrill, superintendent of the Chicago, Milwaukee & St. Paul Railroad), perhaps it was also the railroad stop in Ellendale, the first town to have a railroad in the entire region in 1882, that enticed this branch of the Davis family west.

Perhaps it was the rich, black soil and the Red River Valley “boom” that began in the 1880’s and established Fargo, North Dakota, an area 160 miles NE of Ellendale, straddling the Minnesota-North Dakota border along the north-flowing Red River, as a center for farmers.

Whatever reason brought them there,  Orin Thomas Davis and his wife, Josephine Sherman, had  8 of their 10 children born in Ellendale, North Dakota, and Orin lived there until his death in 1951.

Orin Thomas Davis, 1875-1951
Ellendale City Cemetery
Ellendale, Dickey, North Dakota

Update: photo of 10 of Orin and Josephine Davis’ 10 adult children, abt 1982.

10 Davis'sAll 10 of adult children of Orin T. and Josephine Davis, about 1982

Davis Pic 7
9 of 10 adult children of Orin T. and Josephine Davis, about 1986.

Our current tester, son of Orin Thomas Davis, left home at age 13 to live with his older sister in Forbes, ND. He went into the army in 1950 and served in the Korean War. When he returned, he married and bought his other sister’s farm and turned it into a dairy farm. In 1975, he sold the farm and bought the Circle Bar. He renamed it “Dale’s Corner Corral” and it became very successful. He was responsible for bringing the PRCA Rodeo to Ellendale until the city stopped sponsoring it. He sold the bar in 1997 and finally retired a few years ago. See more about his line at the William Davis DNA Project members’ tree. See more photos at the Ancestor Photos page.

CourtesyHock_venomAsh tray from Dale’s Corner Corral
Courtesy Hock_venom,

Other Matches- only 12 markers

Our other two new matches are only 12-marker matches so, without further markers, they won’t give us much genealogical information except to verify their lines.

1. The first 12-marker match, Living Davis, is the son of Stuart Edward Davis, 1911 WI-1981. His line is Stuart Edward9> Samuel Peter8>Samuel Parker7>Job Greene6>Joshua5 Davis.

Congratulations all you descendants of Stuart Edward Davis! You’re in the Davis clan!

This new tester’s ancestor, Samuel Parker Davis7, was the brother of Jerome Ahira7. Their ancestor in common, 4 generations back, was Job Greene Davis, born 1799 NY,  so we’d expect that #xxx088’s later markers, DYS 13-67, to closely match that of previous tester #xxx037, son of Ward Rexford10 Davis, who descended from Jerome Ahira7 Davis. We’ll have to wait and see.

2. The second 12-marker match is a brother of an already tested Davis member, #xx577,  who is tentatively placed on the line next to #xxx841, Hank Davis’ ancestor, Archie Eugene7 Davis. That line is : Charles7 (brother of Archie Eugene7)>Richard Robert6>David Rogers Jr5 Davis.

No real further information there except to verify, as expected, that the test results of the brothers, #xx577 and # xxx049, descendants of Gilbert Charles Davis, are exact duplicates.

Analysis of results

The Orin Thomas7/Stanton Henry6 Davis line stems from Benjamin5 Davis, b 1772 CT. Because Olin Cecil9 Davis also descended from Benjamin 5, that makes Benjamin5 an ancestor-in-common to both their lines.

Olin’s ancestor, William6, b 1810 NY, was the third son of Benjamin5 Davis (and first wife, Lydia Burdick). Stanton Henry6 Davis, b 1844, NY., was the twelfth and last son of Benjamin5 Davis (and third wife, Anna Lowing).

Even though they had 34 years between them and had different mothers, Olin’s ancestor, William6, was actually the older half brother of Orin Thomas’ ancestor, Stanton Henry6 Davis.  Being that both these testers, Olin Cecil Davis and Orin Thomas Davis’ son, had an ancestor in common in four generations on one side and three generations on the other side, you would think that their test results would be quite close to each other, wouldn’t you?

WRONG! Just to show how variable the DNA can be, Olin Cecil’s test, which should be genetically close to Orin Thomas Davis’ line, is instead measured as being five steps away in genetic distance. Yet another Davis member, #xxx037, who descended from a more distant relationship, is shown as being only three steps away, supposedly “closer” genetically.  This other line is descended from Benjamin’s uncle, Rev. David Rogers Davis, Sr. and they do not have an ancestor in common for eight generations! You would expect 8 generations would be further away genetically and show more change in markers than four generations, but not so in this case.

Take a look at the updated Proven Lines Chart on the William Davis DNA Project site to see a diagram of Olin’s and Orin’s lines, older proven lines and the relationships between them.

Lucky we usually know where to place these testers on the family tree without having to deduce it from the marker results.

Possibly, with more tests, a larger explanatory pattern, that we can’t discern at the moment, will emerge.

Analysis chart

This Analysis chart is an attempt to simplify the understanding of our testers’ differences. It tracks only the changing markers. The rest of the 67 markers are not listed because, at this point in comparison, they are the same for each tester on this chart. Duplicate testers or non-Davis surnames have been omitted. (Benjamin West DAVIS and Peter H. BURNETT lines are duplicates to #xxx841.)

Testers on this chart have been reordered in the sequence of when they occur on the family tree: oldest son and his descendants (far left of tree) are listed first; youngest son and his descendants (far right of tree), last. This allows testers descending from the same ancestor in common to be placed next to each other.

See on the Proven Lines chart how the lines descended from the first son are on the left of the chart and move to the right with the later sons.

Testers with common ancestors are shaded the same color. We would expect them to have identical or closely matching results.  Theory says that the less generations between a tester and an ancestor in common, the less time for marker mutations. So testers three generations from a common ancestor  probably, statistically, would have less marker changes than testers seven generations away.

Does that premise hold for our Davis testers so far? Look at the testers shaded the same colors and see the number of generations to their common ancestor. Count the number of markers that are different between them. Do those with smaller number of generations to an ancestor in common have less marker differences than those with a larger number of generations? Do you see any pattern in their results? Share your observations with a comment on this page if you’re inspired. (click on chart for larger view).


Summary of 2013 William Davis DNA Project Membership

We currently have 23 members of the William Davis DNA Project with matching tests (soon 24 members). This represents 18 distinct lines, two of which have different surnames and four of which are not positively placed on the William Davis family tree yet. Fourteen of these lines are descended from William Davis and his first wife, Elizabeth Brisley. Three of these lines are descended from William and his second wife, Elizabeth Pavior.

Thank you all for your cooperation with testing and sharing information about your lines. Hopefully we will begin to see clearer patterns with a larger number of testers.

To all you William Davis DNA Project members: if you have moved since you became a member, please contact me with your physical mailing address and look for some non-virtual (snail) mail to reach you soon.  Send any change of address to: jrmarkle at g mail dot com. Don’t miss out! 🙂

Best wishes to all you Davis cousins,

Jan Davis Markle, Director
William Davis DNA Project

More History: Anna Lowing, 1802-1889

Daughter of William Lowing and Anna Haight, step-daughter of William Vaughn, married first to Eusebius Sweet and married second to Benjamin Davis.


“Written on back of photo: ‘Grandma Davis, Grandma Maxson’s Mother.’ That would be Anna Lowing-Vaughn Sweet Davis 3rd wife of Benjamin Davis and her second marriage. Child of William Lowing & Anna Haight. Step-daughter of William Vaughn & Anna Haight.”
                                       –Courtesy of “My Family Story” by Weid427 and “Covel Family Tree” by jlrmvocel72 on

Anna Lowing was the youngest of 9 children of William Lowing and Anna Haight.  “Grandma Maxson” would be her daughter,  Susan Belle Davis who married S. S. Maxson.

According to the story “Lowing Genealogy,” William Lowing was by born James William McLaughlin in Kingston, Jamaica in 1758 but went by the names of”MacLaughn,” “Laugh,” and”Lowing.”

James’ father, a shipping captain, died when James  was 15 years old and James found himself apprenticed to a harsh captain. In running away, James, now going by William, found himself fighting indentureship of “orphans,” hence the creative invention of alternative names. After marrying, William and his wife, Anna Haight, and children lived in Vermont until they moved to Peru, New York where William died early at the age of 45. Anna Lowing, the youngest, was only 6 months old. Anna Lowing moved to Minnesota with her son, Stanton Henry Davis, and died there in 1889.

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