I’ve been told by those in Russell County, VA…
“if you meet a JESSEE – you’re probably related; if you meet a DAVIS – you’re probably not.
Genealogy is not for those who are gratified by the completed task because family historians are always in search of the next perfect piece to fit the puzzle. Little more than 30 years ago, after a lifetime of practically ignoring my family, I became interested in my ancestors. The journey began, as most genealogists suggest, by asking question of your parents. I discovered a good bit of first-hand information from Dad about his side of the family. Mom however, knew very little about her lineage probably because she was the eighth born in a family of ten children. Her DAVIS grandfather had passed away in 1899, long before her birth and her grandmother Nancy C. “Nannie” (Jessee) Davis passed away when her namesake, Nannie Lucille Davis, was only four. I have no pictures of Doctor Caleb Davis (1853-1899) and only the one of Nannie. (below on right)
As I began to ask questions of Mom’s sisters, my elderly aunts , I quickly learned that – like most families – there was something to hide! Aunt Jo Ella (Davis) Mace told Mom it was not a good idea for me to start digging into our family history, “she might find a horse thief – or something.”
Well, Aunt Jo was wrong about the horse thief, but she was right about diggin’ up a lil’ somethin’. I discovered that my great-grandmother had 5 dear men in her life.
1) As a young girl still living at home and with her *widowed mother, Sarah Fuller Jessee (3/1833-1922) , Nannie become pregnant “out of wedlock”. She had her baby in 1871 at the age of 16. At first glance this seems to be such a shock for the days in which she lived from 1854-1925, however, the more I meet other researchers, I now know that this is not uncommon, even in those days. We’re not too sure what happened to the young *basque, but Abner Smith (Smythe) left Russell County, VA and died in Blountville, TN. Nannie reared her first born son, William Albert as a Jessee.
*Sanford Lea Jessee (10/23/1832-1/10/1862)
*from southern France – northern Spain region
2) On July 4, 1872, Nancy C. Jessee married Doctor Caleb Davis and less than three months later delivered their first son, Samuel A. Davis on September 26, 1872. This marriage was obvious stable for the young couple since they were parents to 12 children.
1. Samuel A. 9/26/1872
2. Jefferson Bonaparte 3/29/1874
3. Charles Henry “Keen” 7/7/1876 (WORKED ON THE N&W)
4. Mary A. 12/19/1877
5. Sarah Ellen 9/9/1878
6. Manerva Josephine “Josie” 8/3/1881
7. David P 12/1879
8. Vance P.
9. Asa C. “Acie” 1/7/1883 (SECTION FOREMAN ON THE N&W)
10. Ida E. 5/21/1885
11. Nannie K.
12. Polly M. abt 1886
My great-grandfather, Doctor Caleb Davis died in 1899.
3) Nannie married Joseph White on July 4, 1901. White died 3/9/1911.
4) Nannie married J.A. Elkins about 1912. Elkins died 4/13/1919.
5) Nannie married a Mr. Lowe about 1920. I have no records of Lowe, but Nannie died in Cedar Bluff, VA on February 16, 1925. I cannot find an obituary or record of her burial. Please contact me if you have either. email@example.com
Above – Mary, Asa, Ida & Josie
Sanford Lea Jessee and Sarah (Fuller) Jessee married in 1851 in Russell County VA.
Aunt Jo Ella (Davis) Mace 9/10/1911 – 8/25/1996