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Elizabeth Latta

Elizabeth Latta

Female 1797 - 1838  (41 years)

Personal Information    |    Notes    |    Event Map    |    All    |    PDF

  • Name Elizabeth Latta 
    Born 9 Feb 1797  ____, Mecklenburg Co., NC Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Gender Female 
    Died 14 Apr 1838  ____, Mecklenburg Co., NC Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Person ID I420  DNA Family 1 Genealogies
    Last Modified 4 May 2006 

    Father James Latta,   b. Abt 20 Aug 1755, ____, ____, Ireland, UK Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 29 Oct 1837, ____, Mecklenburg Co., NC Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age ~ 82 years) 
    Mother Jane Knox,   b. Abt 1775, ____, Lincoln Co., NC Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 1 Jul 1864, ____, Iredell Co., NC Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age ~ 89 years) 
    Married 12 Apr 1796  ____, Lincoln Co., NC Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Family ID F274  Group Sheet

    Family 1 Benjamin Wilson Davidson,   b. 20 May 1787, ____, Mecklenburg Co., NC Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 25 Sep 1829  (Age 42 years) 
    Married 1818  ____, Mecklenburg Co., NC Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Children 
     1. Robert Franklin Davidson,   b. 1819, ____, ____, NC Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. Unknown
     2. John Ramsey Davidson,   b. Abt 1821, ____, ____, NC Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. Unknown
     3. James Latta Davidson,   b. Abt 1823,   d. Unknown
     4. Col. William Lee Davidson,   b. 10 Feb 1825, ____, ____, NC Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 13 Aug 1899, ____, Chester Co., SC Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 74 years)
     5. Lt. Benjamin Howard Davidson,   b. 19 Feb 1829, ____, ____, NC Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 17 Sep 1862  (Age 33 years)
     6. Dr. Joseph Malcolm Davidson,   b. 1827,   d. Bef 1913  (Age 86 years)
    Last Modified 4 May 2006 
    Family ID F265  Group Sheet

    Family 2 Maj. Rufus Reid,   b. 1797,   d. 1854, Mount Mourne, Iredell Co., NC Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 57 years) 
    Married 1834 
    Children 
     1. Bettie E. Reid,   b. Abt 1836,   d. Sep 1861, ____, Fort Bend Co., TX Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age ~ 25 years)
    Last Modified 4 May 2006 
    Family ID F273  Group Sheet

  • Event Map
    Link to Google MapsBorn - 9 Feb 1797 - ____, Mecklenburg Co., NC Link to Google Earth
    Link to Google MapsMarried - 1818 - ____, Mecklenburg Co., NC Link to Google Earth
    Link to Google MapsDied - 14 Apr 1838 - ____, Mecklenburg Co., NC Link to Google Earth
     = Link to Google Maps 
     = Link to Google Earth 

  • Notes 
    • Betsy Latta

      Betsy Latta Davidson Reid was born on February 9, 1797, and was James' and Jane's oldest child, and according to her oldest son, was perhaps born on the plantation property, or in a house nearby. She was only three years old when the Latta house was built.

      Betsy attended the Salem Female Academy (now Salem Academy) in Salem, NC, from June 1808 until May 1811. The school was operated by the Moravian Church and was attended by many other wealthy young ladies, including Sarah Childress, wife of our eleventh president, James Knox Polk, and Mary Anna Morrison, "Stonewall" Jackson's wife. The school taught lessons in history, German, fine needlework, drawing, and music if the family desired. Each girl also had a plot of soil to work so she could learn how to do the kitchen garden, herb garden and flower garden. Betsy is said to have had beautiful gardens for both her homes at Oaklawn and Mount Mourne.

      In 1818, Betsy married Benjamin William Davidson, the youngest son of "Major John Davidson," one of the signers of the (often disputed) Mecklenburg Declaration of Independence. He was born on May 20. 1787, and his father called him Independence Ben because the Mecklenburg Declaration of Independence was signed on May 20, 1775. Benjamin was a large slave holder, owning 31 slaves at the time of his death, and also sold cotton through a factor in Charleston. No marriage bond has been found in Mecklenburg County.
      The beautiful home "Oaklawn" is said to have been a wedding present from Major John. It still stands in the midst of "Cedar Field," a housing community located on McCoy Road in Huntersville.

      Betsy was 5'4" tall, with blue eyes and the Latta "milk and roses" complexion. Benjamin was six inches taller than Betsy with black hair and brown eyes. They had six sons in eleven years, and both were members of the Hopewell Presbyterian Church.

      Sunday was strictly the "Lord's Day" in Betsy's home. No meals were cooked on Sunday. Her family ate cold meals on that day and attended church. According to the Hopewell History, families spent the day at church, had two sermons with a break for lunch and that was a chance to visit with others in the community. Betsy allowed no fire in her kitchen on Sunday according to her son, William Lee Davidson.

      Benjamin died in 1829 at the age of 42, leaving Betsy with six boys all under the age of 11. Betsy is said to have written in her utter loneliness a heart's outburst of sorrow, a most beautiful and lovely tribute to her husband. It is a shame we do not have this. But, according to other letters, Betsy wrote from her heart and always spoke of her great faith in God and her great love for her family.

      She stayed at Oaklawn for five years and is said to have mourned for Benjamin. She must have run the plantation with the help of overseers. She kept good records, several of which still remain. A small packet of notes, marked "Receipts for taxes, the church, preacher and newspapers" were preserved from her period of widowhood. Betsy gave $60 to Hopewell Church, according to a receipt signed by the Pastor, Rev. John Williamson, for the first brick section built in 1830. She also paid a "stipend" of $10 annually to the church.

      Betsy had been a widow for five years when Rufus Reid, her younger sister Nancy's widower had asked her to marry him. Nancy had died in 1833, leaving him with three little girls. At this time, the church still frowned upon a brother-in-law and a sister-in-law marrying. Rev. Williamson refused to marry them but could not upset the wealthy widow. So, he allowed the wedding in the church; a magistrate performed the ceremony and the Reverend attended.

      Betsy wrote a letter to her mother dated April 14, 1837, from her home in Mt. Mourne. In it, she says that she has many friends "near and dear to us both" and "still I have but one mother and you have but one child." At this time, both of her sisters and her younger brother had passed away.

      She asks her mother to visit because she needs to talk to her about her acid stomach, her new pregnancy and little Betsy, who is still nursing. She is afraid she will have to stop nursing because of her health.

      Betsy begs her mother "never to cease imploring at the throne of Grace," and "for mercy and grace to be given to me and my dear Rufus and to our dear children." She ends her letter with this prayer, "O! may an all wise and most merciful God who knows well the difficulties you have encountered through life, requite you my good mother, and give you for sorrow, joy and gladness and the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness and beauty for ashes."

      Betsy died on May 14, 1838, seven months after her father, when a abscess in her throat ruptured during childbirth, leaving the child stillborn. Both she and Benjamin are buried at Hopewell Presbyterian Church in Huntersville, NC.

      Written by Betty Pierce, Latta docent and member of the Mecklenburg Historical Association Docents Committee, for a past issue of Latta Leader, the newsletter for Latta Plantation volunteers