By G-G-G-Granddaughter Esther Rancier. Below is a list of sources for this biography.
In the winter of 1800 an ox drawn sled arrived in Mexico, Oswego Co., NY bearing brothers, Phineas, Asa and Enoch Davis plus Asa’s wife, Polly (Herring) Davis. Phineas had brought his bride, Sally Smith to Mexico in 1799. In spite of her pregnancy, he had left her for an expected three-week trip to Hartford, CT, but five months had passed. Her baby died on 3 December 1799 hours after its birth. Sally’s husband had returned to a seriously unhappy wife living without adequate food, alone and ill.
probably thought that the arrival of his family would elate Sally.
Maybe it did eventually. Sally kept an excellent diary of Mexico’s
earliest days. Without this document much of the data about the town
would be unknown. But Sally didn’t always record her personal thoughts
or family matters. While she wrote at length about the leadership
of Phineas, his brother Asa received scant mention. (Enoch returned
soon to Rutland, MA, the family home.)
The Davis family began at Barnstable, MA as carpenters building the town. Then they moved on to Concord to build some more. Simon’s parents were Lt. Simon and Mary (Blood) Davis. American born in Massachusetts about 1636, he earned his title fighting Indians with the militia. His father, Dolor Davis, born in England about 1600, came to America about 1634 with his wife, Margary Willard and several children on the Elizabeth.
Asa Davis, the g-g-g-grandson of Dolor, coming from two hundred years of pioneers, became himself a military leader of early Mexico and the father of a remarkable group of children whose stamp would influence life in Mexico for the next century. His wife, Polly Herring, born 16 October 1773 at Dedham, MA, was the g-g-granddaughter of Thomas Herring, considered the first Danish immigrant to America. Thomas, in America by 1654, came from Hirring, Alburg, Denmark. Polly was possibly the first Mexico resident not entirely of English heritage aside from the Native Americans. Her father, Benjamin Herring, served on 19 April 1775 as a Minute Man in Col. Heath’s Regiment to stem the British troops.
Mexico teemed with wolves, bears, deer and other animals of varying degrees of dangerousness. Men carried guns with them at all times. The forest trees made a green overhead mat blotting out the blue sky. In the gloom, vigilance prevailed. The area was both beautifully untouched and a trap for the slow witted. Living in Mexico meant a stream filled with salmon while the soggy marshlike banks produced cholera epidemics.
As the son of a Revolutionary War Minute Man from 19 April 1775 at Cambridge, MA, Asa volunteered for the militia on 11 April 1805 when a regiment was formed of men from Mexico, Camden and Redfield. Jonathan Parkhurst was chosen Captain; Asa Davis, Lieutenant; and William Cole, Ensign. By the War of 1812 Asa had risen to Captain. Parkhurst became a Colonel. The group, known as Parkhurst’s Battalion, participated in the Battle of Sackett’s Harbor, Battle of Henderson Bay and several other encounters. Most of the Mexico group served after the Invasion of Oswego on 5 May 1814 until the end of the war. Some of these men were paid $8.00 per month for their service.
Asa’s lot 90 that he purchased in 1801 sat in an area which came to be called Lamb’s Corners. David Lam settled on lot 91 and the area came to be called after him. Many roads were later built through the place including Co. Rt. 58 which became the property’s official address.
William Augustus Davis, born 20 January 1806, built a new house for himself
in 1830 on lot 90. This house remained in the family until the turn
of the century when Fred Frey died in 1999. When the house was cleared
out prior to sale, an old loom was found. This loom was donated to
the Half-Shire Historical Society of Richland where it was placed on display
at the Richland School Facility. The loom was also shown
at the 2000 Oswego County Fair.
On 13 January
1820 “Wm. Augustus, Joseph Henry, & Benjamin Dean, children of Asa
Davis” were baptized according to the church records. Mary Davis
was baptized on 22 April 1821. William A. was made an elder in 1834
after he passed some required testing before the congregation. He
served this church leadership role until his death.
Daughter Lucy Davis, born Rutland 18 July 1796, married George Sampson, born in Massachusetts 18 February 1804, a Mayflower descendant of Pilgrim Henry Sampson (Lewis5 John4 John3 Stephen2 Henry1). George, a farmer and schoolteacher, attended the Pratham Church. Their children were Asa Lewis Sampson and William Augustus Sampson who died 28 January 1859. Lucy died 1 May 1859, age 61. George died 6 November 1889. Husband and wife were placed in graves at the Primitive Cemetery. Their son, Asa Lewis, born 13 December 1828, married Elvira M. Porter in 1852. They had 8 children of whom 2 died before 1903. Orville A. resided in Troy, PA; while Mrs. Martha L. Wilson lived in Shortsville, NJ. The others, Ernest S., William A., George H., and Charles E., all lived in the Mexico in 1903. William A. Sampson became the second husband of his cousin, Ann Eliza (Davis) Spoor. Asa L. died 10 January 1903. In the “Grip’s” book there was a picture of Asa L. on p. 62 plus pictures of 3 of his sons on p. 62-63. By 1936 Ernest lived in North Syracuse, NY.
Polly C. Davis, born 18 October 1803, wed John Morton whose father built and owned the Eagle Tavern. In the spring of 1834, 11 years after their marriage, the couple sold their farm in Mexico on lot #88 to Jeffery Greene from Rhode Island and went by wagon to Syracuse, the Erie Canal to Buffalo, steamship to Detroit and wagon to Cambridge, Lewanee Co., MI. In the 1850 census for Cambridge, MI John was age 44. Their son, George was age 8. This child died young. John Morton died 16 November 1892 thirteen days short of his 90th year in Adrian Township, MI. He operated a sawmill at Cambridge from 1834 to 1876 when he moved to Adrian. He was laid to rest in Oakwood Cemetery. After his death Polly Morton returned to Mexico and lived with her nephew, Asa Lewis Sampson, son of her sister, Lucy. Polly died in 1897, age 94.
Augustus Davis married Lucy Sampson, a Mayflower descendant, daughter of
Lewis and Mary (Weston) Sampson. This couple had 4 children:
Charles Herring Davis, born 20 November 1831; Althea R., born 28 March
1835; Ann Elizabeth, born 9 June 1845 and George W. Davis, born 27 August
1848. In the 1850 census this family lived with Lucy’s mother, Mary
(Polly) (Weston) (Sampson) Blount, age 80 and her second husband, Jared
Blount, age 81. Mary Blount was buried in the Primitive Cemetery
along with her grandchildren: George W. Davis who died young 16 January
1866 and Althea R. who died 1 February 1859, age 24.
Joseph Henry Davis, born 19 August 1811, married Catherine Rider, born 1817. Joseph bought the Eagle Tavern in 1834 from John Morton, Sr. operating it until 1839. In many records Joseph H. was called Henry. In the 1860 census his children were Mary J., age 20 and Amos R., age 17. Amos at 36 in 1880 census was still unmarried. Joseph H. died 3 March 1882, age 71. He just fell over on the hay mower while alone. His wife who usually was called Katie died in 11 March 1906, age 90. In her newspaper obituary her daughter was reported as living in the west. Amos survived his mother, but he was later buried in the Primitive Cemetery near his mother. Both lie in unmarked graves. This Amos may have been the last direct descendant of Asa’s bearing the Davis name in Mexico.
Dean Davis, named for his maternal grandfather Benjamin and his wife, Miriam
Dean, was born 19 April 1815. He married Orinda Buell, a woman who
apparently hated her name for she didn’t always use it, making it unclear
what her official name was. She was a great weaver and owned her own loom.
Plus she smoked a clay pipe in the outhouse. The clay pipe is still owned
by the family. In 1846 B. D. was elected a trustee of the Pratham
Church. In the 1850 census this couple had two children: Asa D.,
age 6, and Emma C., age 8 months. By the 1880 census Ella J., age
25 had been added. The 1850 and 1880 censuses both referred to Orinda
as Rachel L. In 1860 she was listed as Marinda [sic]. Her nephew,
Charles H. Davis, who kept family records for posterity, gave her name
as Miranda [sic]. Many family documents call the couple Uncle Dean and
Aunt Orinda. Her shared tombstone in the Primitive Cemetery said,
“Orinda 1819-1894” and “B. Dean Davis, 1814-1906.” They were buried
close by a stone for “Emma Charlotte, Oct. 30, 1851.” There remains a photograph
of the house taken in 1888 showing Orinda, B.D. and Ella standing alongside.
The original picture still hangs in the living room. Daughter Ella
wed Albert Dean Field. This couple took up residence in the house
of her parents. Ella learned to weave alongside her mother.
She continued using the loom after her mother’s death. Ella died
before 1908 when Albert married Julia I., age 58. With Ella’s demise there
was likely no further use of the loom in the upstairs bedroom. Asa
D., only son of B.D., died from disease at Key West during the Civil War
on 31 August 1864. In August 1862 he enlisted in the 110th NY Infantry,
an Oswego County unit which only lost 14 men in battle, but 192 died from
disease. For years it was believed he fell in battle at New Orleans, but
the official records say otherwise. In 1872 Rachel O. Davis applied and
received a Civil War Pension #275,689. After her death in 1894
Benjamin D. Davis also received a pension #430,736. When he died
29 March 1906 his obituary said he was “an earnest and genuine Christian,
and ever sought to walk upright before God and man…. Three years ago he
had a shock and since that time had been confined to bed and tenderly cared
for by his daughter, Mrs. Field.”
George Spoor died
16 August 1878. Ann Eliza remarried on 9 June 1879 to her cousin,
William A. Sampson, born Mexico 31 March 1859. “Uncle Will” was a great
favorite in the family. He served as President, 1920-25 of the Village
of Mexico. His wife brought her mother, Lucy (Sampson) Davis into
their home in her final years. After the death of Ann Eliza in 1908
he continued to make a home for his stepdaughter Grace on Lincoln St.
He died in November 1936. George Spoor and Ann Eliza were buried
together in the Mexico Village Cemetery.
Upon his 1999 death there was a huge cleaning job. The contents were sold or given away. The Oswego County Historical Society came with a camcorder to take pictures. Everything remained in the house since it was built. Many furniture items were taken to the Richland School’s domestic arts exhibit. One correspondent wrote regarding the exhibit, “We have seen Dorothy’s living room suit & a lot of her old cooking pots & pans & her old oil stove. It sure brings back a lot of memories.” The farm was sold to a retired Navy man who fell in love with the peg construction of the house and barn and who will preserve it. Many furniture items were kept by the Rose children who treasure the family history they represent.
The Rose’s son, Percy (27 August 1901- 6 February 1983) married Beulah Rude who resides in St. Cloud, FL. Percy ran a large and successful Mexico dairy farm. Two children were born. Donald R. (25 April 1935-4 December 1990) married Louise (Sherman) (Armstrong) from New Haven, NY on 19 September 1959. They had 4 children: Carol Ann, Ronald Robert, Allen Donald plus an adopted child, Peggy, all of whom are living. It was a brother in-law of Peggy’s that bought the 1830 house. Donald’s sister, Dawn Marie was born in Syracuse, marrying 8 October 1966 Clifford Lewis La Flamm. The La Flamm’s have 2 children who are living.
Gertrude May Rose (24 January 1904- May 1989), the youngest daughter, married on 19 November 1939 Ishmael Victor Dorsey (29 February 1904-March 1984). Gertrude and Ish continued the running of his family’s diary farm. They remained childless.
daughter of William Augustus Davis was Ann Eliza’s sister, Althea R. who
died at age 24, but she had married Charles D. Porter on 24 June 1854.
They had 2 children, Frances A. Porter, born 15 December 1856 and Martha
H. Porter, born 23 March 1855 who died before 1860. Frances A. married
C. H. Churchill. They had Marvin, Gertrude and Owen Churchill.
Charles H.’s middle daughter, May married on 7 February 1883 Theodore Ray Greene from an old Mexico family. They lived in the Eddy District on the original Jeffery Greene farm until 1911 when they moved into Mexico on Cemetery St. and finally had gaslights and lace curtains. May died 6 April 1914 from Bright’s disease. She had been the mother of 3 sons and 2 daughters. May, her son, Glenn (1897-1901) and her daughter, Helen May (Greene) Rancier (1901-1981) lie in a row together in the Mexico Village Cemetery.
H. died 2 November 1908 at the home of his daughter, Lula Burlingham. His
wife, Elvira had died 7 September 1886, age 51. She had been active
in the Presbyterian Church all her life. In 1888 Charles H. married again
to Lydia Hollister who died in 1905. He was buried with Elvira in the Mexico
Village Cemetery. There are dozens of Asa’s living descendants via May
(Davis) Greene. None remain in Mexico. They live in California,
Pennsylvania, North Carolina, Florida, Virginia and various other places.
Some have participated with the U.S. military. Others work at NASA
facilities at Cape Canaveral. They have attended universities achieving
academic careers. The religious side continues with laypersons and
a pastor now active in the pulpit. Their interests span from the traditional
farming, housekeeping, construction and nursing to computer programming
and database administration.
2002 Esther Rancier