Thursday, July 30, 2020

52 Ancestors - LARGE: Living Large in Beldor

My great-grandfather Walter Davis
You’ve probably heard the saying “A son is a son till he takes a wife; a daughter is a daughter the rest of her life.” That is probably why I have more photos of Mary Frances Jollett Davis’s side of the family than I do of Walter Davis’s family. I have spent so much time on the Jolletts that I feel as if I actually knew her sisters and brothers.

I cannot say the same for Walter and his 14 brothers and sisters. They are just faceless names.

But that is beginning to change. The Virginia Legislature recently approved unlocking records on FamilySearch to remote users enabling me to find new information about my Davis line in Rockingham County. One name that makes a frequent appearance in land records is that of Walter’s older brother Amaziah Nathaniel (20 Feb 1858 – 22 Feb 1934).
Road into Beldor not far off the Skyline Drive
Stomping grounds of my Davis family
The sheer number of deeds makes Nathaniel appear to be a real mover and shaker, a wheeler and dealer, a man living large in the Beldor community in the eastern portion of Rockingham County, Virginia. One of the earliest deeds was dated December 1892. Nathaniel and Annie Long had been married about 13 years when the land that originally belonged to his grandmother’s brother Frederick Wyant was offered for sale by the heirs of a subsequent owner, Mary Gilmer.

The Frederick Wyant tract contained 123 acres. That was a good size plot of land for a farm at that time. Nathaniel paid $1000. I have read many a deed in my years of research and rarely have I come across that high a purchase price.

Rockingham County
Deed book 45 p 203
This Deed made this 15th day of December, one thousand eight hundred and ninety-two (1892) between William H. Hickle and Ella F his wife, Thomas A. Sellers, Oscar D. Sellers & Virginia Sellers his wife, parties of the first part and Amaziah Nathaniel Davis party of the second part, all of the County of Rockingham and State of Virginia,
Witnesseth, that the said parties of the first part for and in consideration of the sum of one thousand Dollars current money of the United States cash to them in hand paid by the party of the second part, the receipt whereof is hereby acknowledged, have granted, bargained, sold and conveyed, and by these presents do grant, bargain, sell and convey with general warranty of title unto the said Amaziah Nathaniel Davis, his heirs and assigns a certain tract, piece or parcel of land, and the appurtenances thereto belonging and is known as being a part of the “Old Frederick Wyant Tract of land” situate lying and being in the eastern part of said County, in the Blue Ridge, on the Simmons Gap Road, and is bounded as follows, Beginning at a Marked Chesnut by the side of the Simmons Gap road, thence S 70° E 164 2/10 poles to a Hickory in the line of the lands claimed by Franklin Davis, thence with his line S 26° W 32 poles to three Chesnuts one cut down, John Wyant’s corner and with the bearing of his land (under date of ~ ) as called for by his papers N 75° W 130 poles to a Locust stake on bank of Creek, corner to Dower lot of widow of Peter Wyant dec’d [Frances Wyant Davis, grandmother of Nathaniel Davis], and thence up the several courses of the South West branch of the Hawkesbill (said creek) to a stump, formerly a Sycamore thence S 7° W (by said John Wyant’s Survey) 166 poles to a White Pine in Lawson’s line, thence West 28.32 poles to a stake, thence N 17 1/2° E 257.12 poles to a Boxed Pine, thence N 8° E 56 poles to a marked pine, thence N 70° E 45 poles to the Beginning, embracing all the lands included in said boundary, supposed to contain 123 acres, be the same more or less. It is further covenanted and provided that the widow Elizabeth Wyant (Frederick Wyant’s widow) is entitled to the same privileges in this conveyance as are in the deed made by her and others to Mary M. Gilmger on the 10th day of November 1877. To have and to hold the said tract, piece or parcel of land and the appurtenances as aforesaid, to him the said Amaziah Nathaniel Davis his heirs and assigns forever,
Witness the following signatures

It’s a good thing Nathaniel bought that land. It saved him a couple times as we will see in the coming weeks of "52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks."

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. Interesting! Waiting for more. We need to ride to Beldor one weekend.

  2. I love it when they had enough money to buy and sell land. Those ancestors are so much easier to trace and there are some real gems in the land records.

  3. Waiting to hear the rest of the story. Still, 123 acres for $1000 seems like a bargain (but probably not for that time)