Friday, March 6, 2020

52 Ancestors - STRONG WOMAN: Martha Davis

In my book, any woman who could birth and rear 15 children without sticking her head in the oven is a STRONG woman. Well-done, Martha Willson Davis!
Martha Ann Willson Davis
Martha Ann Willson Davis
Martha was my 2X great-grandmother. She was born in 1833 in Rockbridge County, Virginia and died in 1905 in Rockingham County at the age of 75. That was really OLD back then.

However, she was just a child of 13 when she married Mitchell Davis who was roughly 13 years older. He was a carpenter and farmer in the Beldor area of Rockingham County, which today is just off the Skyline Drive.

The 15 children were born over the span of 30 years. Sadly, 3 of the oldest children died within weeks of each other in 1863. Zedekiah, the oldest, was just 15. Ann, the 2nd child, was 13. Jerusha, the 4th child, was 10.  I do not know the cause of death, but it had to have been something they had in common, something like cholera or typhoid fever, injuries from a house fire, or from some other horrible accident.

Regardless of the cause, it had to have been devastating to bury a third of the children living in 1863. It took a strong woman to keep going.

Amy Johnson Crow continues to challenge genealogy bloggers and non-bloggers alike to think about our ancestors and share a story or photo about them. The challenge is “52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks.

© 2020, Wendy Mathias. All rights reserved.


  1. Oh wow! I can't imagine having those many children and losing those 3 children so close together! She truly had to be a strong woman to make it to the age of 75! I think grief would have killed me sooner!


  2. Yes, a very strong woman! I can't imagine having 15 children over a lifetime...many of whom were adults by the time she died. And if the first three died around the same time, she lived through whatever illness or crisis killed them...definitely strong!

  3. Your arresting first paragraph set the scene well for your profile of Martha. Women had to be so resilient in those days to survive all those births and the devastating deaths of her three eldest children. I take it no death certificates were available to establish cause of death, which is such a pity.