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clan davidson genealogies researched by John Lisle
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Family: Claiborne Albert Davis/Anna W. Kavanaugh (F7365)

m. Dec 1852


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  • Rev. Dr. Claiborne Albert DavisFather | Male
    Rev. Dr. Claiborne Albert Davis

    Born  8 Nov 1825  ____, Hardin Co., TN Find all individuals with events at this location
    Died  19 Oct 1867  Memphis, Shelby Co., TN Find all individuals with events at this location
    Buried     
    Married  Dec 1852   
    Other Spouse  Rebecca Robinson | F7385 
    Married  1850   
    Father  Chesley B. Davis | F7384 Group Sheet 
    Mother  Hannah [--?--] | F7384 Group Sheet 

    Anna W. KavanaughMother | Female
    Anna W. Kavanaugh

    Born  Abt 1830  ____, ____, MD Find all individuals with events at this location
    Died  Unknown   
    Buried     
    Other Spouse  Dr. William Dudley Digges, Jr. | F7364 
    Married  1 Oct 1846  ____, Lafayette Co., MO Find all individuals with events at this location
    Father  Archibald Kavanaugh | F1433 Group Sheet 
    Mother  Mary Anderson Ewing | F1433 Group Sheet 

    Charles W. DavisChild 1 | Male
    Charles W. Davis

    Born  Abt 1855  ____, ____, MO Find all individuals with events at this location
    Died  Unknown   
    Buried     

    Mary K. "Molly" DavisChild 2 | Female
    Mary K. "Molly" Davis

    Born  Abt 1856  ____, ____, MO Find all individuals with events at this location
    Died  Unknown   
    Buried     

    Harry N. DavisChild 3 | Male
    Harry N. Davis

    Born  Abt 1860  ____, ____, TN Find all individuals with events at this location
    Died  Unknown   
    Buried     

    Albert C. DavisChild 4 | Male
    Albert C. Davis

    Born  Abt 1864  ____, ____, TN Find all individuals with events at this location
    Died  Unknown   
    Buried     

    Anna L. DavisChild 5 | Female
    Anna L. Davis

    Born  Abt 1867  ____, ____, TN Find all individuals with events at this location
    Died  Unknown   
    Buried     

  • Notes  Married:
    • (Continued)

      The following is from the Memphis Bulletin of October 20:

      "The religious community were profoundly impressed yesterday by the announcement of the death of Rev. Dr. C. A. Davis, the beloved and regretted pastor of the Cumberland Presbyterian Church. At twenty minutes past four o'clock yesterday afternoon, full of faith, and with a hope of a glorious resurrection, his spotless spirit passed away from earth. Only a few days ago he was laid on a bed of sickness which ultimately proved a bed of death. His death-bed was, however, one of triumph, and made one ready to exclaim, 'O that I might die like the righteous, and that my last end might be like his!' During his last illness Dr. Davis had full possession of his mental faculties, and had for each one who approached his bedside a kind and cheering word. He frequently talked of all that the Saviour had done for him, and few that visited him in his last sickness will ever forget the angelic words which he uttered. Each day he lay languishing on the bed from which he was never to rise produced its series of sermons, so to speak; for he was ever full of good counsel, and spoke to his clerical and lay brethren almost like one inspired. He was perfectly calm and of tranquil mind on the morning of his death. He felt that his end was approaching; that he had fought the good fight; that he had completed his Master's work on earth, and was about to be called to receive his reward in those bright realms beyond the grave, and to hear the Master he had served so faithfully on earth say to him, 'Well done, good and faithful servant, enter thou into the joy of thy Lord!' Death had no terrors for him, for he frequently expressed himself satisfied with the will of God in thus taking him away so early from the field of labor, and in the fervency of his joy he exclaimed, just before his spirit passed away, 'O, is it possible that in a short time I will be with Christ and his apostles?' He then called his beloved wife and children around his bedside and delivered to them a brief parting address, in which he told them to be of good cheer; that although he was about to be taken from them, the separation would soon come to an end, and that in a short time they would all be reunited in heaven, where there was no sin or sorrow, and where they would meet to part no more. As these heaven-like words passed from his lips, he gently closed his eyes and fell asleep in Jesus. Thus died a truly Christian minister, one who was not only honored and respected by the clergy and laity of his own denomination, but also by many Christian virtues had endeared himself to many of the citizens of Memphis. He leaves a widow and family to lament the loss of him who was the kindest of husbands and tenderest of fathers.

      "During his last illness the deceased was daily attended by Rev. Dr. Steadman, Rev. Mr. Graves, Rev. Mr. McPherson, Rev. Mr. Johnson, Rev. T. D. Witherspoon, and other clergymen, with many of the members of his congregation, both male and female.

      "The attending physicians were Drs. Snyder, Avent, Chandler, and Mallory, all of whom did everything in their power, or which medical skill could suggest, but it was unhappily of no avail."

      I quote also from the Memphis Bulletin of October 21, in relation to the funeral-services:

      "Few deaths have occurred in Memphis for a lengthened period which have caused so profound sorrow as that of Rev. Dr C. A. Davis, whose demise, after a short illness, on Saturday afternoon, was referred to in the Bulletin of yesterday. The funeral-services took place yesterday forenoon at eleven o'clock, in the Cumberland Presbyterian Church, and were largely attended, the sacred edifice being crowded to its utmost capacity. Eleven o'clock was announced as the hour at which the funeral-services would commence, but long before that hour the pews were occupied by the sorrowing members of the congregation who had come to pay the last mark of respect to the remains of him whom they had so much loved and respected, and under whose ministrations they had sat with so much profit while he preached to them the glad tidings of salvation. At the hour above mentioned the coffin, containing all that was mortal of the esteemed divine, was borne into the church and placed in front of the altar. As the coffin, on which were several wreaths of beautiful flowers, was borne up the aisle, audible sobs could be heard arising on every side, while many strong men were observed to shed tears at the great loss all have sustained. The church was appropriately draped in habiliments of mourning. Behind the pulpit festoons of black cloth were pendant from the pilasters. The pulpit, reading-desk, altar, chairs, and gasaliers, were all covered with the same material, while wreaths were pendant from the chandeliers, and from the front of the chair-gallery. On the pulpit platform were the following clergymen: Rev. Dr. Steadman, Rev. Dr. Ford, Rev. Dr. Guilford Jones, Rev. Mr. Graves, Rev. Mr. Sample, and Rev. Mr. McPherson."

      The funeral-services were conducted by Rev. Mr. McPherson, of the Cumberland Presbyterian Church, and Rev. Drs. Steadman, of the Presbyterian, and Ford, of the Baptist Church. The two latter made appropriate and impressive addresses. I quote a passage from the address of Dr. Ford. It is an account of the exercises of Dr. Davis the last day, and a few of the last hours of his life:

      "On Saturday morning," said Dr. Ford, "his physician called upon him. He asked him: 'Is there any hope for me? Do you think I am going to die?' The answer was silence, accompanied with tears. Rev. Dr. Steadman, Rev. Mr. Witherspoon, and Rev. Mr. Graves, had now arrived. He told them he was going to die, and repeated aloud the whole of the twenty-third Psalm. Prayer was then offered, and he joined in it with a calm resignation. This was about ten A.M. Through the lingering hours of the day he frequently asked the time, and to each one who entered addressed himself with calmness, recommending the religion he had preached to them, and exhorting them to meet him in heaven. 'Tell your people,' said he to Rev. Mr. Graves and myself, 'that I die in this faith-faith in Jesus.' 'It may seem singular,' said he, 'to some people, that a professor religion and a minister of the gospel, dying, should express himself as I feel, that I am a poor sinner deserving nothing; but this is a part of religion. Religion may be said to have two halves to it: one half to know and feel yourself a sinner, the other half to know that Christ is your Saviour.' He repeated with touching emphasis the fifty-first Psalm: 'Have mercy on me, O God, according to thy loving kindness;' and when his memory failed in repeating it, he called on me to read the remainder, while he made remarks most striking and affecting on almost every verse. I then turned to the twenty-seventh Psalm, and read down to the words, 'Wait upon the Lord and be of good courage,' when he interrupted me, saying, 'Now let us wait-wait upon the Lord. Lord, I wait for thee; I shall soon be in glory.' He requested, naming the page in a hymn-book from memory, that a favorite song with him should be sung. I asked him what tune. He answered, 'Mear;' and said, '

      I will start it.' He did so, with a calm and steady voice, and we joined with him in singing it. In the course of the evening Rev. Mr. Graves read to him the eighth chapter of Romans. He anticipated the reading, repeating much of it himself. When the fifteenth verse was reached, 'For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again unto fear, but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father,' he exclaimed, 'I would not give that glorious doctrine for worlds!' He soon after complained of darkness; his sight and hearing began to fail; but he retained his memory and general consciousness clear until four o'clock P.M. At fifteen minutes after four he turned himself, and seemed to be in great agony. We all prayed in deep anguish that he might be relieved from the agony, and might be permitted to die without a struggle. Our prayer was answered; he breathed calmly, and evidently without pain, and in entire silence for about ten minutes, and then, without a struggle, and apparently without a pang, he sweetly fell asleep in Jesus. 'Blessed are the dead that die in the Lord.'"

      At the risk of seeming tedious, I must be allowed to make two more extracts. In the Memphis Avalanche of October 22 we have the following, so truthful that it must not be overlooked:

      "Death discloses the human estimate of character. The weeping crowd at the Cumberland Presbyterian Church on Sunday last, the festoons of mourning, the sad pageant which wended its way through our streets, clad in the habiliments of grief, with the learned, the noble, and the good mingling in the train, were but the honest tribute of hearts that loved and respected the Rev. Dr. C. A. Davis. We have already announced in these columns the death of this eminent divine-a death which has spread a general gloom over the public mind. We join in the universal grief which pervades the community, and feel unwilling to let this good and talented citizen pass away without a brief but heart-felt expression of our appreciation and admiration of his character. The death of a private citizen, endowed largely with all the attributes which adorn life, and possessed of a pure and lofty nature, is regarded as a great loss; but when these qualities are united with useful talents, with experience in Christian labors, with a temper suited to successful execution, and an ardor of industry in promoting the welfare and happiness of the people, their possessor becomes a public property, and his death is a public as well as a private calamity. These were some of the elements of the character of Rev. C. A. Davis, and hence his funeral was one of the largest that has ever taken place in this city, and hence the general grief to which we have alluded. . . . It is almost useless for us to speak of the character of Mr. Davis. He was certainly an eloquent, learned, and upright Christian. He was beloved by all who knew him. His grave and stern dignity of character, his want of deceit and palaver, and his detestation of hypocrisy and humbuggery, did not make him a favorite on a casual acquaintance. But he had the nobility of character, the solid worth, the steadfastness of mind, which fixed the admiration and bound his friends to him with hooks of steel. The characteristic of his great mind was solidity. He cared nothing for the meteoric flashes of oratory, and there was more of strength and energy in his style of speaking than of eloquence. He had that energy which always indicated honest sincerity, and hence he forced the assent of his hearers, instead of stealing their admiration. There was no subject beyond the grasp of his powerful intellect, and no theme, however complicated, that he could not unravel by his analytical powers. He possessed the reasoning faculty, in its practical application, in an eminent degree. As he thundered great and eternal truths in the ears of sinners, his stern and solemn accents seemed tolling the knell of immortal souls. He talked plainly, like a fearless man, confident of the truth of what he was saying, and ready to stake his life on the issue. . . . In the moral qualities which constitute firmness and decision of character, he had no superior among all his contemporaries. He never sacrificed the true to the expedient, right to policy. . . . His name ought to be inscribed in the magnificent church which was erected through his energy and piety in letters as imperishable as his greatness is fadeless. Like a true soldier, Mr. Davis died at his post. His nodding plume never led a column into victorious battle, but he blazed out a hero in the vanguard of the world's grand march to eternity. If not mighty in arms, if not invincible in battle, he girded himself for a far nobler struggle, and won upon the vast field of religion and humanity the proudest triumphs. How appropriate to the sublime heroism of his glorious life the truthful language of Milton:

      'Peace hath its victories,
      No less renowned than war.'"

      From the Memphis Christian Advocate:

      "His dying hours were full of trust, peace, joy, and victory, and while with others we stood by his bed listening to his eloquent expressions of faith and hope, we felt the truth of what Dr. Steadman then said to the dying servant of God: 'You are to-day preaching the greatest sermon of your life.' That sermon will stir the souls of the preachers who heard it to their latest day. The funeral-services were held Sabbath-morning, in the Cumberland Presbyterian Church-Presbyterians, Methodists, and Baptists suspending services, and joining a sister Church in a sincere tribute of esteem, love, and tears, for a beloved pastor and able minister of Christ. The services were conducted chiefly by Dr. Steadman, of the Presbyterian Church, and Dr. Ford, of the Baptist Church, and the occasion was exceedingly impressive and mournful-a season of deep grief for the loss of a prince in Israel. As we write lying on a sick-bed, we cannot say all we would, and will only add, that in the death of Dr. Davis our city has lost a representative man, and the Church of Christ, a strong, noble, useful, and faithful preacher."

      I have chosen to let others speak thus far of Dr. Davis rather than to speak myself. I add, however, a few words to what has preceded. My acquaintance with him was limited. Our fields of labor were distant from each other, and our ages were different by something more than a quarter of a century.

      The first time I ever saw him was at the General Assembly of 1850, at Clarksville, Tennessee. He was a member of that Assembly from Platte Presbytery. Nothing unusual occurred to attract attention to him on that occasion. He had a youthful appearance; his bearing was rather lofty than otherwise-not, however, by means, offensively so. He was spoken of as a young man of promise. I met him at the Assembly of 1852, at Nashville. On that occasion he preached, perhaps more than once. In the course of the proceedings of the Assembly he made a short but appropriate speech in favor of the establishment of the Theological School which now exists at Lebanon. I saw him at the Assembly at Huntsville, Alabama, in 1858. His preaching there attracted unusual attention, and most probably led to his being called in the course of the following summer or fall both to Lebanon and Memphis, and to his settlement in Memphis in the fall or early winter of that year. He was a member of the Assembly of 1860, and had come to be considered one of the most prominent preachers in the denomination. On that occasion he preached on Sabbath in the First Presbyterian Church a strong, earnest sermon on the "witness of the Spirit." In the meantime he had assisted the pastor of the Lebanon Congregation in a protracted-meeting of several days' continuance. I was surprised at his pulpit performances. They were strong, spiritual, and powerful. His preaching was greatly admired. The war came up, and men from the Southern section of the Church were practically excluded from attendance upon the General Assembly.

      In 1866, I met Mr. Davis for the first time after the meeting in 1860. The meeting at Owensboro was a memorable meeting. I have always since regarded it as the crisis of the Church. It was so regarded at the time by all serious men. Mr. Davis was one of the leading actors in the trying scenes of that occasion. There were honest and very decided differences of opinion upon one or two important questions, not only of ecclesiastical polity, but of moral principle. All those then present who may have survived, and may read this, will recollect his great speech upon these vexed questions. I have called it "his great speech." I so denominate it thoughtfully. It was one of the finest efforts of the kind that I ever witnessed in a deliberative assembly. The ability displayed would have been creditable to any man in any of the high places of the country. I should have so said, and felt, in relation to the merits of the production on whatever side of the troublesome questions under discussion I may have stood. It was afterward published, but the printed copy fell far short of the interest and power of the original.

      I never saw Dr. Davis after that meeting. In a year and a few short months a mysterious Providence removed him under such circumstances as have been described from his post of great usefulness. He was great by nature, and greater by grace. In the prime of life; in the vigor of strong manhood; in the midst of a people regarding him with a feeling kindred to idolatry, the earnest pastor, the husband, the father, is cut down. Resolutions of condolence came up from all sides, but these, however well meant and proper in their place, were but a feeble and unsuccessful effort at filling up the terrible space which had been made vacant by his death. Our last and only true consolation in all such cases is, a trustful conviction that God reigns.

      [Source: Brief Biographical Sketches of Some of the Early Ministers of the Cumberland Presbyterian Church. Second Series. By Richard Beard. Nashville, Tenn.: Cumberland Presbyterian Board of Publication, 1874. Pages 380-408]