Saturday, March 13, 2010

J.W.A. and Annaliza Davis

Annaliza Morrow Davis
and husband, James William Anderson Davis

A marriage license was issued to Wm. A. Davis and Miss Anna Eliza Morrow on Saturday, October 25, 1879 in Itawamba County. They were married the following day by W. P. Reeves, and stayed together for nearly 47 years, until Annaliza's death in 1926.

A year after their marriage, J. W. A. - or Billy, as he was known - and Annaliza bought from Pleasant Cates 100 acres southeast of the small town of Fulton. On the map, this land is located right about where the Timbers Subdivision is today. The deed references the tract of land that lies east of the "South Eastern Road" which is most likely the road we know as Wiygul Street, where it runs into Country Club Road.

Five years later, Billy and Annaliza bought another 80 acres, again from Pleasant Cates, located below their current property. If you know your Fulton geography, you know that this land pretty much encompasses the entire Fulton Country Club property. I'm sure that Billy and Annaliza probably had cows grazing on what eventually became the club's golf course.

The 1908 Itawamba County News included an entry on September 2 that indicated "Mr. W. A. Davis, who lives a mile south of Fulton, had a very severe chill Monday but has improved." My topo map shows that it is about a mile's distance from the courthouse in Fulton to the southern end of Wiygul Street.

Cousin Jim Spencer shared with me this week, a copy of The History of First Baptist Church, Fulton, 1909-2009, written by the church's history committee. We both were surprised to learn that W. A. and Anna Eliza Davis were charter members of the First Baptist Church when it became organized on October 29, 1909. The couple transferred their letters of membership from Sulphur Springs Church, a church that I know nothing about but would love to learn more. In 1912, J. W. A. Davis along with A. D. Graham and M. C. Benson, acting as Trustees on behalf of the Fulton Baptist Church, purchased a lot upon which the future sanctuary would be built, and where the church would remain until moving in 2001 to its new building south of Fulton.

In 1924, the county newspaper included the following statement, "Mr. Tobe Morrow and family have recently moved to his father's old home, and Mr. Jas Davis and family moved to the home that was occupied by Mr. Morrow." I don't know if Mr. Jas [James] Davis was James William Anderson Davis, or his son and my great-grandfather, James Kelly Davis. Tobe Morrow was J.W.A.'s brother-in-law, and Tobe was moving to his "father's old home" probably because his mother, the former Mary Caroline Ford, was ill. She died later that year at the age of 85. Her daughter, Annaliza, died two years later in 1926 at the age of 65.

James William Anderson Davis was born at Cropwell in St. Clair County on October 28, 1858. He was 76 years old when he died of "influenza and myocarditis" on March 6, 1935, and was laid to rest next to his beloved wife in the Fulton Cemetery.

I'm quite proud to finally have this picture of Billy and Annaliza, my great-great grandparents. It was shared with me, and you today, by another cousin, Melissa White Harwell. Thank you, Melissa. The picture was probably taken 1925, definitely before Annaliza became too ill with cancer, on their front porch. Annaliza is holding what appears to be a newspaper, and Billy has a book in his hand. It seems to me that my great-grandfather, J. K. Davis, took his looks from his mother as he very much resembles her in this picture.

Somewhere, there must be an earlier photograph of Billy and Annaliza. Melissa earlier shared a photo of their sons, taken about 1901 or so, which I posted at this link. Surely there is a similar picture of the daughters of the family, as well as photos of Billy and Annaliza, and perhaps the entire family together. Hopefully, one will turn up!

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