More genealogical and other info

James B. Davenport cabin in Jackson Co., MO
Gainesville, Texas long ago.

Edward is one of the heroes of genealogy, especially early times in Virginia.  His father, Mann S. Valentine (1824-1892) made a fortune with “Valentine’s Meat Juice” a health tonic from pure beef juice.  Mann created the Valentine Museum in Richmond in 1892.  Edward was a Mechanical engineer and worked in the family business, but had enough wealth to pursue other interests including archaeology and his avocation of Virginia history.  Edward’s grandmother was Elizabeth Mosby (1801-1872).  She was a descendant of Edward Mosby and Sara Woodson.

In his “early manhood” Edward became intensely interested in local and family history.  He started collecting information in all families “whose blood mingled in his veins.” He gave detailed instructions to people he employed to do his field work. He received weekly reports and organized the information. When he became ill and died in 1908, he was in the middle of his work. He donated the records to the Valentine Museum in Richmond, VA.

The museum hired one of his researchers, Clayton Torrence, to edit and publish the papers. He did additional research and abstraction of the information, but eventually decided he had to stop or he would never be done.  In 1918 the manuscript was ready for publication and he resigned. The four volumes were not published until 1927.

Edward had intended to write a sociological history of life in Virginia during the Colonial period, but all that was there when he died were the dry abstracts of facts – deeds, wills, church records, local government, Bible records etc.  This collection is a gold mine for anyone researching one of the 32 families that he indexed.  Mosby is one of the families with its own chapter.  All of the information has been scanned and available  on Ancestry and other web sites.


As America grew, it recognized the service of its citizens in the Revolutionary War. 

On September 16, 1776, the Continental Congress adopted legislation which provided land bounties to Continental Line officers and enlisted men who served for the duration of the war. Heirs and representatives of officers and men killed in action also were entitled to land under the Act.

In 1832 It granted pensions such as the one Hezekiah received.  Later it gave pensions to the survivors of  soldiers.

The amount of land to which claimants were entitled varied according to rank: enlisted men and noncommissioned officers were entitled to 100 acres; ensigns, 150 acres; lieutenants, 200 acres; colonels, 500 acres.

Many Revolutionary war records had been destroyed so the people wanting to claim pensions and bounty lands also had to furnish statements about their service.  These statements, such as the one I transcribed for Hezekiah are a great tool for historians and genealogists.

The government wanted to encourage the settlement of the territories west of the Atlantic coast so it gave land grants in Kentucky, Tennessee etc. to soldiers and their heirs.  The land needed to be surveyed and Nicholas Mosby was one of those pioneer surveyors.    There was a lot of fraud involved in the enterprise:  Conjuring soldiers, and selling the grants to speculators.


Lyman Copeland Draper (1815-1891) was a lifelong student of early American history. Although he was born and raised in upstate New York, Draper made it his life’s work to rescue from oblivion the history of the “heroes of the Revolution” in the South. He travelled the country talking to people – pioneers, settlers, soldiers about their experiences in order to preserve the oral histories.  His collections are in the library of the Wisconsin Historical Society.

The papers have been microfilmed and indexed, but not digitized.


The first battle of the River Raisin was fought on January 18, 1813 and 110 Kentuckians under Allen routed the British.  On January 22 at 6 am, the British and Indians counter attacked the outnumbered Kentucky soldiers.  290 of the 967 Kentuckians were killed and scalped.  Some died in battle, and many of the wounded were killed on the march into Canada.  644 were take prisoner, but later released and 33 escaped death or capture. The British paid the Indians a bounty on scalps.  

Almost every household in Kentucky suffered a death, and they wanted revenge. Nine months later the British Commander, Proctor, was defeated at the battle of the Thames in Ontario.  The soldiers then returned to Frenchtown to bury the dead.  The bodies were later moved several times in Detroit, and finally rest in Frankfort, KY.

The Kentucky Volunteers went on to fight the Battle of New Orleans in December of 1814 and January 1815.

The song sung by Johnny Horton in 1959 was written by Jimmy Driftwood, a school teacher in the 1930s to teach history.


The Constitution, adopted in 1788, requires that a census be done every 10 years.  The purpose was to apportion the House of Representatives.  All persons living in the United States territories, including presumably non citizens, were to be counted and also all enslaved people.  Each slave would count as 3/5 of a person for the apportionment.

The first census was done in 1790 and didn’t require much more personal information than the name of the Head of Household, usually a man, and the age and sex, within certain ranges, of the other people, including slaves.  From a genealogist’s point of view, this isn’t much to go on.

That changed in 1850 and later years when the names, sex, occupation and other information was added.  Original records for the 1790 and 1800 census were lost during the War of 1812. The 1890 census records were destroyed in a fire in 1921 so there is a 20 year gap from 1880 to 1900.

The census is quite reliable, but it has flaws:  The names could be transcribed wrong because of poor handwriting.  Ages may be wrong, women sometimes got younger.  People weren’t counted, especially in the backwoods of Kentucky.


The identification of William T. Mosby as the son of Robert and Hannah Mosby may not be correct.

I started on the quest for the Mosby ancestor with the name of Temple Houston Mosby (1899-1933).  He died young, and when they do that a lot of oral history is lost. By tracing the census records backward, I found his father John Edward Mosby (1870-1913), then his grandfather Thomas F. Mosby (1837-1878) the Scoundrel, then Thomas’ father William T. Mosby (1800 – 1864).  The 1850 census showed William in Nashville, TN with his wife and children including Thomas. It said he was born in Kentucky.  That is where I was stymied for years but chipped away and  added more each year as more information became digitized. 

The Mosby history written by James H. Mosby in 1971 had concluded that Robert, the son of Nicholas, was his ancestor, Robert Claiborne Mosby, who moved to Indiana and married Sara West. But in another area of his book it showed Robert as the husband of Hannah Hancock.  

I concluded that Robert Claiborne Mosby was the son of George Mosby and Sara (or Sally) Mosby.  That solved the problem, eliminated Robert Mosby as a possible polygamist, and left him open to be the father of William T. Mosby.  

I made that connection but other people making genealogies on have also linked him to different families.  Every once in a while I pick up the Mosbys of Kentucky and try to sort them out definitively, but haven’t succeeded yet.

James B. Davenport Sr. and Mary Evans had seven children.  Sallie married Thomas Mosby, Mary married Robert Bostick, James B. Jr. married Margaret Young.  


JAMES B. DAVENPORT Jr. of Cooke Co. Texas was born in Jackson Co. Missouri 20 August 1839 and at the age of 18 came to Texas with his father, with whom he lived until the outbreak of the war, when he enlisted, in 1861, in Capt. Wallace’s Company, Taylor’s Regiment, which afterwards became Steven’s regiment and then Stone’s Battalion.  He served through the entire conflict, and rose from the ranks to a captaincy.  At the close of the war he returned to Cooke Co. and resumed farming, he now owns 742 acres, of which 200 are under cultivation.  He began in mercantile business in 1888, and is also the owner of a large cotton gin. 

ROBERT BOSTICK, the husband of Mary Davenport, at 25 is in the 1860 census in a household with William Cloud 28, George Cloud 16, Isaac Cloud 14 and E. C. Peery.  Bostick said he was born in Tennessee, and the Clouds in Alabama.  Thomas F. Mosby murdered Wm. Cloud in 1868.

MARGARET YOUNG, James B Davenport Jr’s wife, was the daughter of Col. William Cocke Young (1812-1862) who was killed during the “Great Hanging”  He was also born in Davidson Co., Tennessee.  He fought Indians as a Texas Ranger, fought in the Texan war for Independence and did many other manly things.  Look him up.


In October 1862, Gainesville was the site of one of the worst acts of mob violence in American history until the Tulsa Race Massacre of 1921.

After Lincoln’s election, Texans voted on the issue of secession and Cooke County voted against it.  There weren’t many slave holders in the county, but they were influential people. After the people of Texas voted to support secession most in the area went along.  But the war required soldiers and taxes.  Some of the people in Gainesville didn’t want themselves or their sons to be conscripted and formed a “Peace Party.”

The local slave holders and others heard of the Peace Party and formed a vigilante group to arrest the dissenters for sedition.  Over two weeks, starting on October 1, 1862, 150 people were detained by this mob.

A “citizens court” was formed of 12 jurors who were from the slave holding class.  James B. Davenport, Jr. was the deputy sheriff at the time and involved in the imprisonment of these 150 people. When the trials started, a simple majority of the jury was required and the person would be hanged. 14 were hanged in this way over the course of a few days.  Some on the jury objected and the vote was required to be two thirds.  The hangings slowed down and some were released, but then Col. William Young, of the 11th Texas Cavalry was shot and the  mob outside of the “courthouse”  demanded more hangings.  And thus 40 men were hanged.  Two tried to escape and were shot, bringing the total to 42.

This gruesome event was mostly forgotten by the citizens of Gainesville.  It wasn’t until 100 years later that the memoirs of people involved were made public.