January 5, 2014

James Medicus Davis

JM Davis Gravestone
Good Hope Baptist Church,
Youngsville, NC
My great grand uncle, James Medicus DAVIS, has one of the most colorful stories in my family history. And one of the saddest stories, too. 

He was born December of 1864 and died November 1932. He lived all his life in Granville County, NC. He did not marry, but that doesn't mean he didn't get around. He is reported to have two illegitimate children to show for his travels. 

Family lore has it that James Medicus' uncle Charlie DAVIS shot and killed his wife Alice while she held their newborn baby. Charlie was arrested and held in the Wake County jail. During a visit, Medicus mentioned that he had attended Alice's funeral. Charlie did not remember killing Alice and was distraught at the news of her death. That night, Charlie hung himself in his cell with a bed sheet. Med carried a lot of guilt for the rest of this life.

Family stories are great and give us clues to a family member's history. They can also send us on some wild goose chases. I haven't done so yet, but I'm planning to look for evidence of some truth in this story. However, my instincts tell me that I won't find much. Either because it's just not true or because documents, court records, etc no longer exist, etc. 

Which means we may never know, but wouldn't this make a great novel? Just when I think those DAVIS folks were just plain old farmers!

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