Lt Colonel Henry Davis

Don Henry Davis (1812 – 1887)

A survey of the life of Don Henry Davis leaves little doubt that he had an adventurous spirit. Born October 9, 1812 to his parents Wiley Oran Davis and Susan Parker Kitchen, he was known to his siblings George A., Jessie Kitchen, and Ann Oran as “Henry.” He was a young man when his father left home on “a trip out West,” never to return. That is, he traveled west of Hartburg, Haywood County, Tennessee.

In the absence of his father, Henry was about fifteen years old when he began an apprenticeship in the saddler’s trade that sustained him for several years. After moving to Leesville, Indiana, he opened a shop and invented the “Davis Spring Saddle,” the most comfortable saddle of its time.  Although his trade was prosperous, it was not his sole occupation.

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The Annals of a Family

Certainly much appreciation is due to my predecessor, Joseph Francis Thornton, the last child born to George Abram Thornton and Mary Amanda Braxtan, (b. 06 June 1864, Bedford, IN), named for mothers brother and father’s brother, both Union officers. His tireless commitment produced this family history book.
Published in 1940 his research was done entirely without the aid of modern technology. His efforts included collecting books, (some referenced earlier in this blog), visiting cemeteries in Indiana, Kentucky and other known parts of the country where ancestors where laid at rest. He examined court and library records in various counties and states, researched the ancient muster rolls of ancient battles, and lent his ear and pen to extended family.  Contributors to his work are acknowledged as Caroline T. Woolfolk, George Davis, George Abram, Jr., James Clay, Henry Clay Thornton, Louise Thornton MacDougal, Eddie Thornton Baylis, Paul, Henry, Frederic and Stanley Shaw, and Nina Davis Heck, Allie Braxtan Harris, her daughter, Nellie, and her son, Henry Harris, Frank and Samuel Braxtan, Alfred R.Orton (author of “The Family Tree,” c. 1916).

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A Tale of Families: The Thorntons

America is essentially a country of immigrants. Only two essential questions bracket the understanding of transplanted people groups. From whence did the immigrants hail from?  Where did they settle and raise their families? The heritage, history and beliefs that people bring is what shapes politcal movement, policy and eventual government of the new homeland. The history of migration is not unique to American shores.

map showing Ireland Scotland England Wales
and shorelines

17th century Ireland became home to Scots settled in the Northern parts of the island dubbed the Ulster Plantation and thereafter referenced to as Scots-Irish or Ulster Scots.

These transplants where welcomed and brought to the country economic growth with new industries and taming of wild lands. The natural course of events lead to a multi-cultural society with people of mostly English descent and those of mixed descent being English-Scot, or English-Irish or, as defined above, as Scot-Irish. The Scots also brought with them their spiritual heritage; Presbyterianism. Churches where planted and grew which soon found them in conflict with their Catholic and Angelican Church neighbors.

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A Tale of Families: The Braxtons

It is hardly without question that the roots of at least three branches of this family reach back to Colonial America; a time when the events that shape families where recorded in Bibles and legal contracts recorded the matters of the affluent. It is also evident that the family history becomes much clearer at the turn of the 19th century. A search of the census records verify the expanding tree.

One such branch is of the surname "Braxton," most certainly Scot-Irish in origin and derived from the old English words of "bracken," a fern hedge, and the suffix, "ton," or "tan," meaning an enclosed place or town in the more modern sense.

Thomas Braxtan I and his wife, Hannah Lindley became pioneer settlers of Indiana migrating from Orange County, North Carolina around 1811. It is believed that at least two generations of Braxtons lived in North Carolina before Thomas migrated north.

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