Traces is a newsletter sent free to over 150 family, friends, and the many nice people we have met through years of research into the Davis families of Ulster County and vicinity. We hope it will help all of us learn more about our Davis ancestors.
Who we are:
Richard Davis of LaHave, Nova Scotia, and Diana Davis Deppe of Hudson Falls, N.Y., brother and sister and descendants of Moses Davis and Lydia Markle.
Barbara Davis Schaffer of Livingston, NJ, descendant of William Davis and Maria Kittle.
For information, comments or subscriptions:
E-mail Richard Davis at
or Barbara Schaffer at
Regular mail: Diana Davis Deppe, 28 Thomas Ave., Hudson Falls, NY 12839
More Davis Genealogy is available in our gedcoms, which are online genealogical databases:
Another Davis Family Tree
This Geographic Project is focused primarily on the Davis surname but is open to all families with roots in Ulster County, New York, and surrounding area. The purpose of this project is to provide a place where Y Chromosome DNA test results from this geographical area can be shown side by side so that family connections, and non-connections, can be easily seen.
Our goal is to use Y-DNA testing to firmly establish the relationships of the various early Ulster County area families, including the well known and documented family of Christopher "Kit" Davis, one of the earliest European settlers of what is now Ulster County, New York.
We encourage any males with early paternal line roots in Ulster County to join us. Females whose direct paternal line originates from this area can have a paternal side male relative test for this project.
For more information on how we've already used Genetic Genealogy, how we hope to continue using it in the future, and how to join us see the article "Genetic Genealogy, Finding Our Roots Through DNA", in Traces issue #4, October 2009.
It's been almost a year since our last Making Connections. We continue to receive inquiries from our readers who are looking for information about their Davis ancestors. If you recognize a name or two and would like to connect, please contact us for information.
Mary E. Davis b. 1829 Shokan, NY. Daughter of William F. Davis b. 8 Jul 1799 Marbletown, NY, and Wynchy Unknown. William’s father was Frederick Davis, b. 26 Jul 1758, Marbletown and d. 5 Jun 1831, Olive, NY. Mary E. m. Joseph Avery; their children were Josephine, Willard, Virgil, Rachel and Judson. Looking for a connection to Joseph Avery.
Charles Stanley Davis, b. 22 May 1888 in NY, NY. Family possibly from Rome, NY. Children: Joyce Agnes, Charles William, Harold Robert, Stanley Thomas, and Anita Catherine. Seeking information on Charles Stanley Davis.
Sampson Davis served in First Ulster Regiment Revolutionary War. Son Joseph Davis in same Regiment. Sampson> Joseph> Edward Osterhout Davis> William Edward Davis> William Henry Davis> Arthur Henry Davis. Looking to connect with descendants of Sampson Davis.
Miles K. Davis b. 1921 Twin Falls, ID. Supposed descendant of Kit Davis but DNA proves no connection: Miles> Miles W.> John B.> Alva Fuller> Col. John Bogart. Looking for any descendants of this line back to John Bogart Davis.
James Davis and daughter Phebe from Thompson, NY. James b. abt 1780 d. abt 1870 Rockland Sullivan, NY. Phebe (1810-1870) and Freelove (1817 - ). Looking for names of James’ parents and/or spouse.
Elizabeth Davis descendant of Kit Davis. Born 1898 d. 1963 Liberty, NY, m. William Ross. Elizabeth> Hiram> John> Hendrickus Peter> Petrus> Samuel> Kit.
Claude A. Davis b. 1908 d. 1975 Livingston Manor, NY, m. M. Arletta Davis. Claude> Abram> Hiram> H. Hiram. Looking to connect and update info.
Charles Robert Davis b. 1860, Marlborough, NY, spouse Mary Gibson b. NYC. Charles R.> Charles Gibson Davis b. 1895 NYC> Charles Gibson b. 1917 NYC. Looking for info about Charles and Mary.
Leroy Davis descendant of Kit Davis. Leroy> Asa Emesirh (b.1879 KY)> Benj Asbery Wayne> Jacob> Joseph William> James W.> James> James> Joris> Kit.
Charles Davis b. 1847 Ulster County m. Julia ? (name unknown). Son Elmer Davis b. 1877 in Turnwood, Ulster, NY. Elmer’s daughter Ruth Marie Davis Fronckowiak. Looking for info about Charles’ parents and Julia’s maiden name.
Alexander Devins (1826-1856) s/o Abraham Devins and Pamela Wyatt. Son Alexander “Andrew” m. Matilda Burr, their son Victor William m. Katherina Stalter in CAN. Their dau. Florence Mary Devins. Looking for information about Alexander or Andrew.
Kitteridge Davis b. 1760 Mansfield, CT, d. 1840 Enosburg, VT., wife Anna Beebe of Wilbraham, MA. Looking for Kitteridge’s father Thomas Davis of Somers CT and mother Mary (maiden name unknown).
Ferris G. Davis b. 1861 Marlborough, Ulster, NY. His father William H. married Emily T. (unknown). William's siblings are David (1833) Daniel (1838) and Ferris G. (1841). All fought in the Civil War. Their parents are Charles Davis and Susan Lounsbery. Looking for the names of Charles and Susan's parents.
Samuel K Davis b Dutchess County, 12 March 1817, d 27 June 1895, Brooklyn. Married, Susan Ford, 8 July 1837. Parents were likely Henry Davis, b abt 1773, and Anne Marie Wutenberg / Nightinbergh, b abt 1788. Siblings possibly Sara Catherine, bp 11 June 1812, Rhinebeck, Mary Margaret, bp 7 Nov 1813, Rhinebeck, Rachel Anna, bp 10 May 1821, Marbletown Reformed Church, William Christopher, b 8 Jan 1823, and John H., b March 1828.
Gary J. Davis
It is with deep sorrow we learn of the passing of Gary J. Davis who died December 10, 2011 in Cumming, GA. Gary is a descendant of William Davis and Maria Kittle of Wawarsing, Ulster, NY. Our thoughts are with his family.
Dorothy (Davis) LaForge
Aug. 14, 1936-Sept. 12, 2011
Descendant of Moses Davis and Lydia Markle.
Our dear sister.
-- Richard Davis, Diana Davis Deppe
Warren Davis, who wrote the article on the Davis Tavern in Traces #4, recently let us know that there was a settlement, finally, in the legal dispute over the property and that Nansi Nelson got the title back for the property. She hopes to be back there in the spring, fixing it and decorating it, possibly with antiques of the period of Isaac Davis. She said she was very excited to be the owner again.
Distant Cousins Meet
Philip Davis, on the right, an old-time resident of Rochester Township, Ulster County, traveled to Michigan to attend the 125th Davis-Losee-Erwin Cousins Picnic where he met his distant cousin, Judson, for the first time. Both are descendants of Kit Davis and his second wife, Maria Mertensen.
The 1940 Census, April 2!
The 1940 U.S. census will be released for free online by the National Archives on April 2.
Even if you aren't interested in genealogy, the census is an interesting look at your family's history. You may find the names of your parents, siblings or grandparents and, if you're 72 or older as of April 1, 1940, yourself in the 1940 census.
On April 2, go to www.archives.gov to see the census. There will not be an index right away, so finding your family might be a bit tricky. Knowing where your family lived in 1940 will make it easier. Then, find the enumeration district, or ED, for the city or town where they lived. There's a handy tool for that at www.stevemorse.org/.
Once you find the ED, it should be a process of flipping through the online pages to find your family.
What will you find in the 1940 census? The names of everyone in the household will be listed, along with age, gender, race, marital status, place of birth, employment status and industry, whether they owned a house or rented. Some new questions in this census include highest school grade completed, place of residence in 1935, and income.
In addition, about 5 percent of individuals named in the census were asked supplemental questions: birthplace of their parents, whether they were a veteran or wife or child of a veteran and of which war, whether they had a social security card and their usual occupation. Women were asked if they were married before, age at first marriage and number of children born alive.
By Barbara Davis Schaffer
James Wallace Davis, often referred to as J.W., Wals, or Wall, was the proprietor of the Davis Hotel in Livingston Manor, a small community in Sullivan County, NY. He was a Civil War veteran, race horse owner, and according to his granddaughter, Muriel Davis Wright, “…devoutly religious and always claimed that whatever you gained by work on the Sabbath, you lost in some way during the week.” Muriel recorded the stories about her grandfather as told by her father, James William Davis, and shared them with her extended family in 1935.
“My grandfather and Uncle Plym started early in life, for before the former was renowned in the woods, so old men have told my father as the finest driver of oxen in the country-side. He was also an accomplished lumberman. The logs were made up into rafts on the streams. When the freshets came in the spring, they were ridden down the Delaware to Philadelphia. Traveling back to New York the men would walk in large groups back into the mountains to protect the large sums of money which they had received for the lumber.”
James Wallace Davis, son of Henry Wooden Davis and Eunice Fisk, was born October 7, 1837 in the Town of Rockland, NY. He served with the 56th NY Regiment in the Civil War from 1861-1863 and was discharged for disabilities. In 1865 he married Hannah Jane LeRoy of Liberty, NY, and according to his Civil War Pension Application, had no children of his own "but two adopted . . . William Davis 21 years of age on the 25th day of Dec 1897--and Clara Davis who is married & whose name is now Woolsey aged about 25 years." William, also known as James William or "Dr. Will," was a physician in Livingston Manor. Clara Davis married Wellington Woolsey.
The Old Purvis Hotel, Jacktown, NY. Photo courtesy Harold VanAken, www.livingstonmanor.net.
In 1870 J.W. purchased the Old Purvis Hotel in Jacktown, the first of several hotels that he would eventually own and operate. But after one year he sold it back to the previous owner, James C. Purvis.
When the new Midland railroad (later the Ontario & Western) was completed in 1873, it made it possible to travel to the western Catskills from New York City in a matter of hours. The attractions luring visitors to Sullivan County were not only the beautiful mountains and valleys, streams and waterfalls, and forests with abundant wildlife, but the Beaverkill and Willowemoc Rivers that were stocked with thousands of trout each year challenging the most avid angler.
Speculating on the number of visitors who would be traveling by rail, J.W. purchased the manor house of the late Dr. Edward Livingston, founder of Livingston Manor, in 1874.
The Manor House was owned and operated by James Wallace Davis, 1874-1885. The small saloon next door was owned by his brother, Plymouth, 1885-1893. Photo courtesy Harold Van Aken, www.livingstonmanor.net.
The current owner had already begun converting the house to a hotel but it was J.W.’s foresight and entrepreneurial spirit that turned it into one of the most popular destinations in the area. Known as the Livingston Hotel, it became the meeting place for the town board and the commissioners of excise, even elections were held there. Years later, it was called the Manor House.
“My grandfather gave up the hotel (it was then about 1880) and took the farm on the hill opposite the Shandalee road above the John Day Woolsey Farm. When as he said, he had ‘spent all the money he had, trying to make it pay,’ he went back to Livingston Manor, probably about five years later. He ran the railroad restaurant, doing his buying in Middletown.”
J.W. sold the Manor House in 1885 and began building a new hotel across the street. Muriel told of an agreement that her grandfather had made with the man who was running the Manor House to build him a more modern hotel. On June 12, 1886 the Walton Reporter noted that “J.W. Davis has his new hotel at Livingston Manor nearly enclosed. The Times says it will be one of the finest buildings in that place. It will be three stories high with mansard roof.”
“When it was completed, the other man refused to carry the affair thru, so my grandfather went to A.P. Dubois [a successful merchant in Livingston Manor] stocked and furnished the place and went back into the business himself.”
The Davis Hotel was built by James Wallace Davis in 1885. It was renamed the Hotel Sherwood in the early 1900s. Photo courtesy Harold Van Aken, www.livingstonmanor.net.
For $3.21 one could take the train from New York City to Livingston Manor and find overnight accommodations within a short distance from the station. The following listing appeared in Summer Homes among the Mountains on the New York, Ontario & Western Railway in 1888:
Occasionally, news about the Davis Hotel appeared in the local papers. On July 10, 1891, the Middletown Daily Times reported that “A trip made by a few of the Excelsiors yesterday to Livingston Manor was a pleas[an]t one and will long be remembered by those who made it. When the party arrived at its destination their appetites were in good condition for a hearty meal and this they had at Davis' Hotel.”
“Many references are made in the Livingston Manor Times during these years to the guests entertained there. One in particular, I remember is of George Gould and a large party, going to the Gould Estate in the Catskills, who stopped there with several wonderful horses.”
On January 30, 1892, the following appeared in the Walton Reporter: “We note that the popular “Hotel Davis,” J.W. Davis proprietor, is most liberally patronized by the traveling public. This is a fine hotel, heated throughout with steam, and has a copious supply of pure spring water on every floor, and a fine bar in the basement. Mrs. Davis is a veteran in the culinary art, and everything about the house is in perfect order and the verdict of the guests who patronize this house is that for comfort, cleanliness and hospitality of host and hostess, cannot be excelled.”
Owning a hotel was not without consequences, however. On November 24, 1892, the Middletown Daily Times ran an article titled, Hotel Keepers Arrested, Alleged Violators of the Excise Law Will Be Prosecuted. It reported, “…..A large number of witnesses were sworn, most all of whom swore that they drank nothing but weiss beer and orange fruit in the town since May 1.” It continued, “On Tuesday Justice Hawkins issued warrants for the arrest of W.L. McPherson, J.W. Davis, John Lyden, of Livingston Manor….” and concluded, “These gentlemen were brought before the justice and all plead not guilty. The trial is set down for the week commencing December 19th at Rockland.”
"He took great pride in running an orderly place, and while as was the custom, a bar room was connected to the hotel, no man was allowed another drink after he showed the effects of drinking. When a drunkard whom my grandfather had taken in when he had been turned out in the night during a dreadful snowstorm, fed and given carfare to his home in Liberty, and to whom more liquor was refused, was run over by a train and was persuaded to name my grandfather as one of those responsible, he said he was thru with such a business. He sold the hotel for $10,000 and built the house on DuBois Street where the McCunes now live.”
After J.W. retired from the hotel business, he continued to sell and buy horses which he raced at Margaretville and Westtown. He once purchased a fast trotting mare at the Madison Square Garden horse sale, but when his favorite horse, Cricket, was killed in a railroad accident, it was the only time J.W. was ever known to indulge in alcohol.
On February 13, 1912, J.W. dies as a result from a fall near the O&W railroad crossing in Livingston Manor. His granddaughter, Muriel, fondly wrote:
"He died when I was six, and I remember him well. Tho at that time, 75 years old, his hair was still black. Not a tall man, he was well built and I can see him in a brown suit, with the sides cut more curved than is the fashion today. He was devoted to us children and I have always recalled him with the deepest affection."
For nearly twenty years, James Wallace Davis catered to travelers wanting to experience the great outdoors and fish the crystal clear streams and rivers of Sullivan County.
We have some very interesting DNA news to announce in this issue of Traces. After a very long and difficult search we finally found a living Davis who we are about 95% certain is a descendant of Joris Davis, son of Christopher "Kit" Davis and his first wife, Cornelia DeVos. Our newest Davis descendant was excited to hear about our research and eager to participate in our DNA project. We were all thrilled to see he has a perfect 37 for 37 marker match with two descendants of Isaac Davis, son of Kit and his second wife, Maria Mertensen. This is near proof Joris and Isaac were half-brothers, and that the DNA numbers they share were handed down from Kit, the earliest common ancestor.
This is very exciting news indeed, but the 5% of uncertainty is due to the fact we have one link in the paper trail of this new line that we have not yet been able to prove conclusively. Jacobus, son of Solomon and great grandson of Joris, had a son Daniel who was baptized 13 June 1779. Little has been known about this son, but Peter E. Gumaer, in his A History of Deerpark, published in 1890, states that the children of Jacobus Davis, "all removed into the western part of this State (NY), excepting some of the daughters." We were able to find a Daniel Davis in Onondaga county that matches the son of Jacobus and Elizabeth, and, though we have a great deal of circumstantial evidence, we have been unable, so far, to find solid proof that he is the son of Jacobus and Elizabeth. We continue to work on this and will have more in an upcoming issue of Traces.
Another new member of our DNA project is a descendant of Joseph Davis from Ulster County, whose father was Sampson Davis from Philadelphia. Sampson and Joseph served in the First Ulster Regiment in the Revolutionary War. We were hoping that DNA might show a connection between this Davis line and one of the Ulster County Davis families, but the DNA results show no connection.
We also have two new members with roots in Montgomery County, both of whom believe they are descendants of Isaac C. Davis and Sarah Smith, who were originally from the Marbletown area of Ulster County. One member is a descendant of Mathew Oliver Davis who is suspected to be a yet unknown son of Isaac and Sarah. Their DNA results have come back and they are a near perfect match with our other Kit Davis descendants, so there is a connection, but we continue to try to find proof of Mathew's parents.
The other is a descendant of Henry Davis, who married Jane Van Patten, and whose birth date closely matches that of Hendricus, the known son of Isaac and Sarah. All 37 markers have come in and they are a perfect match with the other Kit descendants. We continue to piece this Davis family together and expect to have more to report in a future issue of Traces.
Also, in the last issue we mentioned waiting for new results from a descendant of Jacobus Devens, but, unfortunately, that person has withdrawn from the DNA project, so we continue to search for a descendant of Jacobus Devens, son of Terrence.
Three Davis Brothers
in Westbrookville Cemetery
By Diana Davis Deppe
William, Thomas and George Davis are sons of Thomas Davis. The senior Thomas Davis was born in 1853 in Ulster County. He married Louisa Rose. Thomas Davis died in 1913 when struck by a train and killed. (See "Killed When Work was in Sight" at left.) His obituary said he was buried in "the family plot" in Otisville. According to funeral home records, he is interred at Mt. Hope Cemetery.
William, Thomas and George had two other brothers. Moses, born 1886, died at age 10 in 1897. He is buried in Granite, where his mother, Louisa, was buried after her death the following year. Selah, born in 1888, was killed in World War I and is buried in France. They also had five sisters: Ida, Mary, Emma, Lilly and Edith.
The family lived in Ulster County in the towns of Rochester and Wawarsing, then in Haven, Sullivan County, and finally in Otisville, Orange County.
The Westbrookville Cemetery is located on Route 209 north of Westbrookville, just over the county line in Sullivan County.
There are two Davis family plots. One, located near the front of the cemetery contains Thomas and George. The William Davis plot is farther back in the cemetery.
Thomas and George family plot:
Thomas Davis, 1884-1912
Edith VanInwegen Davis, (his wife) 1887-1916
George W. Davis, 1889-1971
Susan Wheat, his wife, 1890-1984. (Susan was his second wife. His first was Edith, widow of his brother Thomas).
William Davis plot:
William Davis, Nov. 10, 1877, Jan. 15, 1967
Adeline Davis, (his wife) July 3, 1881, Dec. 30, 1965
Roy Davis, Nov. 2, 1905-Jan. 8, 1980
Viola B. (Simpson) Davis, (his wife) Mar. 26, 1911-Mar. 3, 2006
Roy W. Davis Sr. (their son), Dec. 21, 1932-Oct. 14, 2005
Howard D. Davis, Feb. 7, 1912, Nov. 25, 1997
Lois (Hurst Davis, his wife) Jan. 20, 1915 -
Agnes Davis, Nov. 22, 1914, July 28, 1935 (drowning)
William Davis Jr., Aug. 3, 1917-Dec. 24, 1992
Ida Davis, July 17, 1922, May 10, 1925