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August 02, 2007
Since photographs of the Davises and Hurds will be displayed this month, I thought perhaps that this blog could be a lesson in genealogy. No, I am not related to these families, and you may ask why I am writing on these two families. These two families were early settlers in this area, both large families, both large landowners. These people are ancestors of Anne Copeland, Assistant Branch Manager at the Historical Center. So, Anne is putting her family in my hands, so to speak.

Who was Letitia Ann Davis Hurd, the lady in this photograph. This lady was Anne Copeland's grandmother, daughter of Laban J. and Letitia Ann Pedigo Davis, and wife of Charles Robert Hurd. Their daughter, Mary Gould Hurd, married Eugene Herman Copeland, Sr., the parents of Anne.

Charles Robert Hurd was the grandson of Jonathan Davis who was the brother of Laban J. Davis. Laban and Jonathan were sons of Peter Davis and Mary H. 'Polly' Heard, Polly being the daughter of William Heard and Jane Hickey Heard. (Note the change in the spelling of Heard and Hurd, but still the same family.) Jane Hickey was the daughter of John and Mary Hickey who were mentioned in June's 'History Corner' being the owners and operators of an ordinary in Henry County.

Peter Davis, born 13 August 1786 in Charles County, Maryland, married Polly Heard on 6 December 1807 in Henry County. They had 12 children, two of which were Laban and Jonathan, both of them being great great grandfathers of Anne.

Father of Peter Davis was Charles Davis who was born ca. 1740 and served in the Revolutionary War. Charles married Sarah Moreland on 11 May 1762 in Charles County, Maryland, and they had 5 children. His second wife was Ann Dent who was the mother of Peter Davis, the Davis who came to Henry County.

Davis land encompassed the Reed Creek area, along 220N to Roanoke, and included land on which Henry Memorial Park is located. Since Laban J. Davis was the father of Letitia Ann Davis Hurd, we shall talk a bit about him.

Laban was born 28 December 1826 in the Reed Creek area, and he died in 1897 in that same area. Laban was a farmer and served in the Civil War as a teamster in the 24th Virginia Infantry alongside his brother, Peter Perkins Davis. Both Laban and his wife, Letitia Ann, were buried in the Davis Cemetery in Reed Creek near the ruins of the old log cabin that Laban built before the Civil War.

Called the 'Old Davis Place' the cabin was owned in the 1950s and 1960s by another grandchild, Frank Bullock of Bassett, who is now deceased. The cabin was a sturdy structure with lots of character, and was a two-story dwelling with two big rooms downstairs, two more upstairs. The logs in it were 24 inches square, and it took 18 men to put up just one log over the top of the door when it was built. The cabin had two fireplaces and was certainly of significant historical value to the many family members who still live in this county. This cabin was burned to the ground on 14 October 1963. Arson was suspected.

Is family genealogy confusing? Yes, at times, but so interesting, and certainly never boring. Of course there is much more to the Davis and Hurd stories, as this is just a part Laban's story.

So, come to the Historical Center and find out more about your people, your family and their stories, the settlers who came to Henry County to live, work, and to have their families.

Pat Ross

'The Roots that make Us One are Stronger than the Branches that Divide Us.' Author unknown








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