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Old Pioneers of Van Zandt County

Van Zandt County Genealogical Society

This page will be devoted to the Old Pioneers of Van Zandt County. These stories have come from a variety of sources, some from old newspapers, some from descendants and some have been previously published in the Van Zandt County Genealogical Society's quarterly publication, "Our Heritage." Our thanks to Sue Wilkinson, quarterly editor, for permission to reprint these stories. All biographies are welcomed and if you have one that you would like to submit, just write it in your own words and send it to Sibyl and we will be very happy to post it on this website.

Davidson Family History

William Davidson and his son, John W., were two of the Davidson pioneers who settled in Van Zandt County. William was born March 10, 1798, to John and Martha Campbell Davidson in Anson Co., NC. He married Mary Kinsley in Warren Co., GA in 1820 and to them were born 8 children: John Wesley, Amy, Adam, Gideon, William Henry, Andrew Jackson, Lucinda, Francine, Lucretia and Henry M. John W. married Emaline Spence in 1841 in Decatur Co., GA. To them were born 10 children: John Felin, Littleton, Leaston, Archibald, James F., Mary Ellen, Florida Palmira and Savannah. In 1845, the two families moved to Gadsden Co., FL and resided there until 1853 when they left for Texas by wagon. The Davidsons traveled on the Tyler-Canton Road which ran by the Hambrick Plantation (now Roseland) and then veered north. They settled about 4 miles west of Edom in the year 1854. William was a carpenter and John W. was a farmer.

When the War Between the States began on April 12, 1861, John W. and his three older sons enlisted in the Confederate Army. John Felin, the elder son, is believed to have been killed in Tennessee.

Littleton, the 2nd son of John W., stayed in the settled area his entire life. He married Sabitha Carolina Hardee in 1866. The 1st Davidson cotton gin, one of the first in this area, was located a quarter mile north of the present Hwy 64 on present VZCR 4907. It was built in the late 1860's and could only gin about 4-5 bales of cotton per day. Littleton lived at this location until the late 1890's when he moved 2 miles to Primrose. A new gin was built located at the intersections of present VZCRs 4905 and 4907 and could gin 1-2 bales per hour. Along with his son, Asbury, Littleton operated a grist mill and a general store. A federal post office was commissioned there on January 10, 1902, located in the store and Littleton was appointed postmaster of Primrose, TX. The post office was abolished and (contents) moved to Ben Wheeler on January 31, 1910.

Leaston Davidson married (1) Mary Anna Germany in 1868, and (2) Virginia Germany (Anna's sister) in 1877. James F. Davidson married Fannie Rains in 1883. The two brothers built a new gin at a community they named "Davidson," three miles west of Edom. They operated a general store with a federal post office located in the store. James F. served as postmaster until the office (contents) was moved to Edom, TX. James F. founded the Alamo Institute, Ben Wheeler, TX, and served as schoolmaster and teacher. Leaston served as VZ County Judge from 1917-1920. His son, John Wesley, served as county judge from 1901-1905. Leaston was also in the store business with Gulledge in Edom and Ben Wheeler.

Archibald Davidson resided near Ben Wheeler and was a prosperous farmer. He married (1) Eugenia Hays in 1878 and (2) Susan Johnson in 1884. Mary Ellen Davidson married Buck Adrian in 1874. Florida Palmira Davidson married Benjamin Cates in 1874. Savannah married King Lollar Melvin Adrian in 1878.

So, the early Davidsons were carpenters, farmers, gin men, store owners, postmasters, and school teachers in the Edom area. They served on school boards, cemetery boards, worked in the Methodist churches and community organizations. Our home stands on my grandparents' homeplace. From 1854 until 2004, Davidsons have lived in this section of Van Zandt County. My Grandmother's flowers still bloom after all this time for me to enjoy.

Submitted by Leta Davidson Lantrip

Previously published in the Van Zandt County Genealogical Society's Our Heritage

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This page last updated 3 June 2007

Van Zandt County Genealogical Society Website maintained by
Sibyl Creasey