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Benjamin DAVIS
Subject:  Benajamin DAVIS
Birth:  ca. 1716-18, Wales or Philadelphia, Philadelphia Co., PA
Death:  aft. 1743, bef. 1762? 
Father:  Evan DAVIS, Sr.
Mother:  Mary __?__
Keywords for search engines:  genealogy; UK, United Kingdom; USA, US, United States, Pennsylvania

Comments:

The lack of mention of Benjamin or his widow or heirs in the 1762 indenture (see below) has been taken to mean that not only was Benjamin deceased before 1762, but that he had died without marrying and without issue.  That one should not place too much emphasis on a single document, especially this document, is suggested by the fact that Evan Davis, Jr., his wife, and son are not mentioned in the 1762 indenture, either.

I don't believe anyone disputes that Evan Davis, Jr., was deceased in 1762; however, he did have a widow and son, and they should have been a party to the indenture .  It may be that Evan's siblings were unaware of the existence of his widow and son or that attempts to locate them had failed or one is reluctant to believe that they were simply willing to defraud her and her son of their rightful inheritance.  In any case, the fact that they weren't mentioned in the indenture cannot be used as proof they didn't exist, especially as we know that they did. 

Similarly, I cannot accept this document as proving that Benjamin never married or had children (ditto his brother Joseph).  For all we know, Benjamin migrated south or west and lost touch with his family.  Perhaps he married, had children, then died, and his widow lost touch with her in-laws; or she remarried making it difficult for them to locate her.  Any of a dozen scenarios could explain Benjamin's absence from the indenture. 

I think the matter of whether Benjamin married or had children must remain an open question until additional evidence proves conclusively one way or the other, though I will grant that his omission from the indenture does make it more likely that he did not.


Sources:

1.  Kirk Bentley Barb.  1971.  "Extract from Genealogy of Jefferson Davis."  Appendix III, pp. 488-508 in Papers of Jefferson Davis, Volume 1, 1808-1840.  Haskell M. Monroe, Jr., and James T. McIntosh, eds.  Louisiana State Univ. Press, Baton Rouge.  [Rev. ed. of 1991 not seen.] 

2.  Will of Evan Davis, Sr., 1743, in which he names his wife and children. 

3.  Indenture, 1762, in which William Davis buys out his siblings' interests in real estate bequeathed to them by their parents.  Benjamin Davis is not mentioned though, if he were alive, he should have been. 

4.  Haskell M. Monroe., Jr. & James T. McIntosh, eds.  1971.  "Genealogy of the Davis Family."  Appendix IV, pp. 505-529 in Papers of Jefferson Davis, Volume 1, 1808-1840.  Louisiana State Univ. Press, Baton Rouge.  [Rev. ed. of 1991 not seen.]

5.  Ernesto Caldeira.  1983.  "Davis Family Genealogy."  Appendix II, pp. 402-416 in Papers of Jefferson Davis, Volume 4, 1849-1852.  Linda Lasswell Christ, Mary Seaton Dix, and Richard E. Beringer, eds.  Louisiana State Univ. Press, Baton Rouge.

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