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Reviewing a record

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When I get stuck on an individual or just run dry on research, like I am right now, I go back, pick an individual and reexamine what I know about that person. Sometimes if I am lucky, new information has been posted on the web and I am off and running.


Last night I took another look at Daniel E Davis. Daniel was my third great grandfather on my mother’s side of the family. I think that I know his father’s name, John, but that is as far back as I can get with the Davis side. Daniel was born in Middletown, Dauphin County, Pennsylvania on October 14, 1814. Research on Middletown shows it just southeast of Philadelphia.


I have the newspaper clipping of his death, kept by his daughter-in-law, my great-great-grandmother, in her bible that states that Daniel and his wife had moved from Middletown to Somerset, Pennsylvania.


“In 1839 Mr. Davis and his wife came, by the then slow and irksome means of travel, from Middletown, Dauphin County, to Somerset.”


Research on Somerset hasn’t turned up a reason for a move of 145 miles that today would take a bit better than two hours and with a horse a buggy, a lot more. Somerset is south east of Pittsburgh. Reviewing the census records doesn’t show a family move of brothers and sisters living in the area.


Not only does this tell me the year of their move but also tells me that he was married before 1839. Margaret W Bush was my third great grandmother and her mother Nancy would be listed as living with them in the 1850 Census.  I would find Daniel in the 1840 Census listed in Somerset, this helps verify the memory of the one responsible for the obituary. The newspaper article also verifies that he never moved from Somerset and died there.


The census would list him as a laborer but according to his obituary he was a shoemaker and had been appointed as a court crier.


“He was appointed court crier by Judge J. S. Black, and served as such in the old stone court house, and for many years after the new temple of justice was built.”


Today’s court criers are responsible for:

  1. opening and adjourning the Court and maintaining order in the courtroom;
  2. assembling and making proper distribution of case briefs and records;
  3. preparing the journals of the Court and of the Prothonotary;
  4. maintaining a list of the Cases Book, which shall contain the date of argument or hearing, the judges present, and the names of counsel for the parties;
  5. coordinating security in the courtroom;
  6. performing related work as required by the Court.

Information can be found on Judge Black. The Judge was a member of the Church of Christ, as was my grandfather and this could possibly be part of their connection with each other.

“He was formerly a member of the church of God, or Winebrennerians (Baptist); later a member of the Methodist Episcopal church, and for probably the last fifteen years a devoted member of the Disciple church (Protestant).”

By Daniels death September 29, 1892 only 5 of the 8 children that Daniel and Martha had would still be alive. From the 1900 Census for Martha there would only be 3 of those five still living. Daniel’s son William, my great-great-grandfather would move to Mercer, the only one of the children to leave Somerset, meet Elizabeth McKim and get married. They would move to Bradford, PA and raise their children there.

Reviewing didn’t answer any questions for Daniel this time. It always helps me get a better understanding of each individual when I review them and their place in history.


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