Davis Family study

The Family of Thomas Davis and Jane Donnell

Husband:   Thomas Davis
Born:  20 December 1809 in Tennessee
Died:  3 August 1867 in Bethel Cemetery,Frisco, Collin County, Texas


Wife:   Jane Donnell
Born:  11 June 1810 in
Died:  4 November 1888 in Bethel Cemetery,Frisco, Collin County, Texas



Child Sex Birth Death
Cynthia Jane Davis F 15 November 1833 3 April 1868
Samuel R. Davis M 4 July 1844 22 December 1905
Sarah A. Davis F 9 August 1837 20 February 1917
Elizabeth Davis F 8 March 1831 5 June 1917
Eli P. Davis M    

Thomas Davis married Jane Donnell and brought their families to the Denton County area. Perhaps it was on the word of his daughter, Sarah, who had married Mr. Andrews and had already moved to the area. Thomas Davis’ son, Samuel Davis, had not been popular in Missouri, some say it was  for being named a spy for the Confederacy.

Most of all of this DAVIS family is now buried in the Bethel Cemetery in Frisco, Collin County, Texas.

Sarah A. Davis Andrews gave birth to several children; however, the only ones that appear to be have grown to adulthood were Janie who married Nat Rector and Bessie who married Matt Hogue. W. L. Andrews died leaving Sarah to manage her small children. Interestingly, census records and his tombstone show him as W. L. Andrews though numerous references are made to a Bob Andrews. Sarah later married Achilles Quisenberry and had one son named Will Quisenberry. Achilles Quisenberry often went by the name of Killis Quisenberry. Sarah must have led a life somewhat different than many of her peers for she and her niece Edith Donnell are found listed on several deed transactions in Frisco.

Samuel Davis, the brother of Sarah was an accomplished stock farmer and Vice President of the First National Bank in Denton and he may have helped Sarah and Edith to acquire those purchases.

Edith Donnell went on to marry Erasmus Dow Baccus as his second wife and his home currrently (2009) stands on Oak Street in Frisco. Edith was the daughter of Cynthia Jane Davis, older sister to Samuel and Sarah.

Cynthia Jane Davis married William Wilson Donnell. In further study William Wilson Donnell also married an Edith Harris and Josephine. The family has numerous family ties as Jane Donnell is the mother of each of these Davis children.

 Another Davis daughter was Elizabeth. Elizabeth married William Woodrum and they are also buried at Bethel Cemetery in Frisco.

While it has always been a popular belief by Friscoites that the ROGERS family donated the land for Bethel Cemetery, it was Matt Davis’ recollection that his family donated land for Bethel. From study of the resources available to Mr. Davis and the manner in which such dominant tombstones were placed at the graves of most of the Davis family it does seem to be an interesting question.


The Family of Samuel Robert Davis and Ora Elizabeth McKinney


Husband:   Samuel Robert Davis
Born:  4 July 1844 in Hickory County, Missouri
Died:  22 December 1905 in Lebanon, Collin County, Texas
Father:   Thomas Davis
Mother:   Jane Donnell


Wife:   Ora Elizabeth McKinney
Born:  11 November 1852 in Alexandria, Louisiana
Died:  1 January 1931 in Bethel Cemetery, Frisco, Collin County, Texas
Father:   Matthew McKinney
Mother:   Mary

Married:  1 October 1872 in Texas


Child Sex Birth Death
Thomas Eli Davis M 10 July 1874 31 March 1907
Mary Robert “Robbie” Davis F 27 November 1875 4 June 1966
Frank C. Davis M January 1878
Nat Davis M 18 April 1882 20 December 1882
Matt McKinney Davis M 24 June 1884 14 January 1944
Ginney Ora Davis M 28 June 1887 11 October 1918
Twin Daughters F 28 September 1889 28 September 1889

Sam_R_Davis_webCrop.jpg Samuel R. Davis made a good life in stock farming and many called him wealthy, but he must have gained most of his true wealth with the friendships he made in his lifetime. Samuel Davis was a generous man who often shared his home. Not long after Samuel came to Denton County. he met Miss Ora E. McKinney and her sister Emma, they were from Alexandria, Louisiana. It was October 1, 1872 when Samuel married Ora Elizabeth McKinney, a former school teacher in Denton County. It is said that Miss Ora rode a horse 60 miles to Gainesville to buy her new wedding dress. Thankfully, the day she was to marry Mr. Davis, Henry Hill loaned them his new buggy and horse to go to the wedding. Samuel brought his new bride back to his farm about one-half mile southeast of Little Elm. They were blessed with nine children though only 5 lived to be adults.**

It was, Samuel’s son, Matt McKinney Davis, that told the story of why his father came to Texas. As Matt recalled, seems that Samuel had been a spy for the Confederacy under John Morgan and that he had been all but “run out of town” for aiding the South, so Samuel’s father, Thomas Davis and their families left Hermitage, Missouri.

While there seems to be some question as to exactly where Samuel Davis’ land was located in Denton County, it appears to be in an area known as Rector, he is also listed as an earlier settler to the Teel Settlement which may have been further east. The Davis family was said to have had a large home that housed many visitors and ranch hands. It was on one ‘bitter’ cold February morning in 1905 that their home was sadly destroyed by a fire. Only a very few months later Samuel’s death came as a surprise. On that December day, just before Christmas, Samuel had gone to visit his sister, Sarah Quisenberry, and as he sat talking to her son, Will, he became ill and keeled over and died.

It was noted that Samuel Davis was the Vice President of the National Bank of Denton and a prominent Odd Fellow. Samuel was buried at Bethel Cemetery in Collin County. His large shining black stone speaks of his strength. He is buried beside his wife, Ora Elizabeth McKinney Davis. Ora Davis is well remembered for her contributions to the Rebekkah’s and she was a member of the DAR.

** (While the recorded memory is that there were 9 children, I have only found the these listed children) Currently, my study of 2006 shows Thomas Eli who married Mattie; Robbie who married a Dr. John William Matlock of Frost, Navarro County, Texas; Frank C. who married Ruth Taylor and Matt McKinney Davis who married Olive Mae Hill; Ginney Ora who married Martha; and the twin baby girls and Nat Davis all buried at Bethel as infants.)

The Family of William Wilson Donnell and Cynthia Jane Davis


Husband:   William Wilson Donnell
Born:  24 October 1823 in Wilson County, Tennessee
Died:  12 September 1887 in Bethel Cemetery, Frisco, Collin County, Texas


Wife:   Cynthia Jane Davis
Born:  15 November 1833 in
Died:  3 April 1868 in Bethel Cemetery, Frisco, Collin County, Texas
Father:   Thomas Davis
Mother:   Jane Donnell

Married:  17 December 1846 in Hickory County, Missouri


  Sources: 112 years in Little Elm, Harris pages 144-146; US Federal Census Records: Obituary of Samuel R. Davis (currently posted on Collin County Genealogical Society site); History and Reminiscences of Denton County by Ed. F. Bates; Texas Death Index; Navarro County History-Vol II-page 300; Frost Cemetery Records, Navarro County, Texas (RW-OL)

 Compiled and written by Claudia Fields Kraemer (2006)

For corrections or additionsplease comment below… 

This entry was posted in Families. Bookmark the permalink.