Guy Davenport's Notes

Guy Davenport's Notes on the Davenport Family

JOHN DAVENPORT 1795 - 1886

I don't know too much about him. I'm reasonably certain I've found his marriage record in Wilkes County, North Carolina, and his presence on the 1830 census in Iredell County, North Carolina. Also the tax record of Iredell County for 1837 - 1838 and 1839 may be him. I don't know the parents of either John or Ann. The census taker seems to have missed the family in 1840.



He was born in North Carolina, and as a child lived alongside the Yadkin River. My grandfather, Dillard Davenport, told me that he had heard him speak of standing in the yard and throwing rocks in the Big Yadkin River and the Little Yadkin River from the same spot. There is a South Yadkin River in Iredell County, North Carolina and it joins the Yadkin in present day Davie County. That may be where they lived. However, there is a stream called the Little Yadkin in Surry County, North Carolina so that can't be ruled out.

John, David and Daniel Davenport joined the Confederate Army July 3, 1862, Company B, Fains Regiment, Georgia Infantry. The three were enrolled at Camp Nelson (I dunno where) by Capt. Morris. I have their war records and it says they enlisted. Don't you believe it. They were heavily recruited, and John, at least, was a reluctant Warrior. I don't know if it was their intention to desert from the beginning, but by the following spring they were planning it. My grandfather told me that for the last several weeks John took care not to fire his gun in any way that he could possibly hit anyone. That was because David and Daniel being single, intended to join the Union Army and he didn't want to shoot them. All three deserted, our John on 25 June 1863, from Kingston Tenn. - that's near Knoxville, maybe 100 miles from home.

John went in just 6 days before your Grandmother Martha Alice was born on 9 July 1862. He deserted and headed for home just 9 months & 17 days before Aletha was born. Daniel & David knew he was going but they wanted to join the Union Army. All three were Republicans and in the Democrats Army. Also David & Daniel were unmarried at the time. They slipped away & surrendered to the Union forces 12 August 1863. They spent considerable time in a P.O.W. camp but were enlisted in the Co. C 5 Reg't, Tenn. Mounted Infantry on Sept. 12, 1864. That was in Cleveland, Tennessee.

I don't know how much fighting they did, not much I think as they worked on a railroad. They were probably guarding & maintaining the railroad between Chattanooga & Atlanta. They were mustered out 16 July, 1865, and returned home. One odd thing was that on their enlistment papers in the Union Army David was stated as born in WITH Co., N. C. There isn't any such county but it may have been meant as Wilkes County, N.C. Neither of them could read or write, or count either, it seems.

To get back to our John, he went home and started working the farm wearing a poke bonnet and a granny dress so that anyone seeing him would think it was Lively. He didn't go anywhere, not even to church. Of course such a secret couldn't be kept indefinitely. Word did get around. He was captured once by two armed men on horseback. After tying his hands behind his back they started off with him on foot, one horseman in front and one behind. He was in a tough spot. At the edge of the farmyard was an outbuilding beside the road with a thicket of trees with low hanging branches growing just beyond and with an embankment or slope running down to a fence. He ducked under the branches, down the slope and over the rail fence into the woods and was gone before the front horseman could react. The rear horseman couldn't shoot because he was around the corner of the building out of sight, and neither horseman could readily follow down the slope, through the thicket and over the fence. He got away and I'm glad. If taken in he stood a good chance of being a featured guest at a necktie party. If that had happened, I wouldn't be here. He made his way to a friendly neighbor who untied his hands and later arranged to get his gun from home and leave it where he could pick it up. The last winter he had to hide out & sneak into the barn at night for food that Lively left there for him.

After the end of the War he sued a neighbor (if I ever heard the name I have forgotten) for stealing the last horse from the farm, all for highly patriotic (Confederate) purposes. He won the case and was awarded $40.00 damages. The horse was dead but the defendant did have a mule which he offered in settlement because he didn't have the $40 either. Our John said, "I'll allow you $25.00 for the mule". The man objected, saying that the mule should cover the full award without any $15.00 cash. John said, "The $15.00 is for my wife having to carry corn to the mill on her own back." He got the mule. I don't know about the $15.00.

If you like the stories about the ancestors, here is one more:

County Court sessions in the rural South a century or more ago were a big event. Nearly everyone went to the county seat to be a witness, a juror, or just to share in the excitement. There was often horsetrading, horse racing, peddling of goods, and just a high old time. Also, sometimes there were fights and John Davenport, (our gt. grandfather), was in one. I don't think it was in the courthouse, more likely outside. I don't know if they had been sampling some peddler's wares or what the fight was about, but they were wallering around and the other man got a hand on gt. grand dad's face. Our John Davenport managed to grab a little finger in his teeth and hung on - well, not for dear life, but probably for dear eyesight as the other man was likely going for the eyes to blind him. He hung on and mangled that finger till the other man gave up. He lost a finger as well as the fight. Gt.-grand dad must have had good teeth.




She was a small woman. I remember seeing her when I was a child. My Dad said that all her children & grandchildren called her "Mother". Everyone else, kin or not called her Aunt Lively, just as the obituary did. She did doctoring in the community treating aches and pains, fevers and snake bites. She had a herb garden near the house & probably gathered wild herbs as well. I don't know if she did mid-wifery too, but I expect she did.

Did you watch the "Beverly Hillbillies" T.V. program? I thought Granny on that program was a lot like my great grandmother. I'm probably over-dramatizing the similarities, but they were both small and spunky. I heard a story about great grandmother as follows: One of her grandsons, I've forgotten just who, was a long, tall teen ager interested in girls. One Sunday at church he jumped up at the last Amen and headed for the door, pulling his pipe and tobacco out of his pocket as he went. He stopped just outside the door and was filling his pipe, but looking back into the church for a girl he wanted to walk home. He didn't see his grandmother approaching. She was so short and he was tall and looking over peoples' heads at the girl further back. My great grandma slapped the pipe out of his hands out into the yard. "WHAT THE - oh!" he said, as he saw who did it. She had spunk as well as all the other virtues.


Her son Elisha told another story: The Thomases were Democrats - deep dyed ones. The Davenports were Republicans even before the Civil War, so he said, "So after the marriage Dad had to convert her before any of the kids were born." I suspect that story did a little growing over the years and the re-telling. The Thomases were Democrats as were the Poteetes as well. Our John Poteete didn't go to war in the 1860s. He had a family it is true, but so did our John Davenport. I expect his politics kept the recruiter from leaning on him like he did on the Davenports.

Mrs. Lively Davenport Passes to Her Reward

The death of "Aunt Lively" Davenport at the home of her son, Mr. E.L. Davenport, in Dooly District on Sunday evening, November 13th, has brought deep sadness to her great host of relatives and friends.

She had reached the ripe age of 95 years and 5 months when the Master called her from the cares of this life to dwell in the city where we will never grow old. She was among the oldest and most loved ladies of this county. "Aunt Lively" was born in Yancey County, North Carolina, coming to this county with her parents, Mr. and Mrs. Hosea Thomas, when she was only a small girl. Around the age of 18 years she was married to Mr. John Davenport, and to this union 13 children were born, ten of whom now survive her. Her husband preceded her to the grave something like 39 years ago.

At an early age she united with the Baptist Church, and had been a faithful member of the same during 80 years of her life. Despite her ripe age she was able to go about until only about a week before she was called to her reward. When her health would permit she was always ready to go about rendering assistance to those in need of her services, spreading sunshine and good cheer to those about her. She lived a sweet and sociable life and will be sadly missed by all who had the privilege of knowing her. She often said that all was well with her soul and that she was ready to meet the Master, who had taken care of her for these many years.

She was laid to rest in Mr. Zion Cemetery on Tuesday morning, Rev. John E. Cook conducted the funeral services, paying a beautiful tribute to her long and useful life.

Surviving her are six daughters, Mrs. J.O. Cobb; Mrs. Jess Hayes; Mrs. T.K. Cook of Hemp; Mrs. George Thompson of Canton; Mrs. Alcie Foster and Mrs. Nora Thompson, of this county; four sons, William, James, Dillard and Elisha, of this county; two sisters, Mrs. Martin Low and Mrs. Matilda Cearley, and one brother, Mr. John Thomas, all of this county; approximately 65 grand children, 123 great grandchildren and 5 great great grandchildren, residing in various sections of this country. Members of five generations being present at the funeral services.



She died before I was born so I never saw her. Her husband, James Allen Poteete died in Ga. in 1917, and I remember seeing some of her children. The child I knew best was Marcenia who married James Mull. Marcenia died 13 Dec. 1982. I saw Bethenia once. She was so small, almost a midget. Marcenia was of average size and of dark complexion - from the Hudgins' connection. Bethenia was very fair. They weren't about to be identical twins. In fact, they were so different that Martha Alice called them her nigger baby and her white baby. The dark complexion of Marcenia, my mother, myself and some of my brothers and sisters comes from the Indian which we get from Rebecca Hudgins. Did the Indian show up in any of your California relatives? ........I have a picture of John and Rebecca. John had such a big, full beard that you can't tell what he looked like. Rebecca looked like she escaped from an Indian reservation – with straight black hair–it is still showing. My brothers and sisters are from very blonde to very dark. Only none of them are anything near my size. Do the Cal. Poteetes vary all over the lot in coloration?

Thank you for your information and I do want more. I will be sharing it with Mrs. Pitts in Atlanta. She never had any children and has sort of adopted all the Poteetes everywhere. She is trying to collect them all. I'm trying to help in my small way because she helped me. She may do a book.........

...........I do want to continue this correspondence. I hope I haven't scared you off. I think you are already one of my favorite cousins. Show this around. Take yourself plenty of time but I do want you to send me what you can on the rest of the Cal. Poteetes.


The Poteete Name

This material was copied from a newspaper column written by a John C. Downing:


This is an English nickname derived from the Old French ......... This descriptive term was added to a common given name, such as John, for more exact identification. Examples would be John petit, John gross (large), John lang (tall), etc.

In England, Aluric Petit is listed in the 1036 Domesday Book as living in Hampshire. John le (the) Petit lived in Essex in 1226. Roger Petyt of Norfolk, Homole Petit of Suffolk and Robert Petit of Yorkshire were living in 1273. Richard Petytte and Philippa Turke were issued a marriage license in London in 1550. Josiah Petit and Elizabeth Petit were married in St. Michael's Church, London, 1671. Thomas Petit's funeral was held in St. Antholin's Chapel in London in 1712.

In Ireland, the names of Petit, Petite and Petty were Anglo-Norman settlers who arrived in Ireland in the thirteenth century. Some of these families became feudal barons in Dunboyne and Mullignan.

Bastian Petite sailed for St. Christopher's Island on the sloop Amitie in 1635. George Potteete arrived in "Charles River County", Virginia, in 1638 and Ann Poteete arrived in 1639.

The 1790 North Carolina census records the following spellings: Pettit, Peetite, Pettitt, Poteete.


Guy Davenport's Notes on the Poteete Family


John Nelson Poteete was a man with a full beard. From his picture he appears to be a man of average size. He farmed in Union County, Georgia. He also had a saw mill. I don't think that he was ever a full time saw miller, probably he did saw milling in the winter only. He built the house where my mother was born and where she was married. The site is now under Nottley Lake. John Nelson Poteete himself lived in an earlier house, built by his father, while his children were being born. He was not in the Civil War. I don't know why. He was of an appropriate age. He was married and had children, but so did John Davenport. The Poteetes were a step above the Davenports economically and probably socially and politically. They didn't own any slaves, but his father-in-law, John Hudgins, owned two. I think that John Poteete had connections that protected him from the pressure that was put on John, David, and Daniel Davenport. William Allen Poteete, a brother of John Nelson, did not serve either. He was unmarried and normally would have been expected to serve. I think they had connections.




He donated the land for Mt. Zion Baptist Church. Also the tract nearby for a school. I have a picture of William and Elizabeth taken about 1870. He was a little man and she was a big woman. Most Poteetes I've seen were small to medium in size. William Poteete was also a Justice of the Peace in Union County. The Thomas Lance who married Mary E. Poteete was a son of Thomas Lance on the historical marker below. The William Thomas on the marker is a brother of Hosea - not the son of Hosea who married Aylsee Catherine Poteete. Also William and Hosea Thomas did not arrive in Georgia until after the 1850 census.

Revised 3/20/92

This is the text of an historical marker in Union County. The three underlined names are common ancestors of ours. Geo. Loudermilk was one of mine.

Davenport Mountain

Davenport Mountain in view to the east is named for John Davenport who came to this section in 1838. He built his 40 foot long log house mi. to the east, over the peak of the mountain. It survived until removed in 1942 to make way for Nottely Lake. William Poteet came to this section about the same time and settled near the junction of Camp Creek and Nottely River. William and Hosea Thomas took up homesteads at the west about 7 yrs. later. George Loudermilk built his home on Camp Creek.

Thomas Lance, another pioneer, settled 4 mi. west at the foot of Lance Mountain.

(On the road circling south from Nottely Dam opposite Davenport Mountain.)

Deed for Land for Mount Zion Baptist Church as Granted

by William Patton Poteete

Deed Book "G", Pg. 647, UNION COUNTY, GEORGIA

This is to certify that I William P. Poteet of my own freewill and choice for the regard I have for the church of Christ and his cause at Mount Zion have give and granted and by these presents do give and grant unto the Deacons of Said Mount Zion church for the time being and to be perpetuated to their successors in office a small Boundary of land situated lying and being in the 8th district and 1st section in the north west corner of No.92 beginning on a small black oak on the north line of said lot and running south to a spanish oak below the spring including the Schoolhouse thence crossing spring branch and running southwest to a post oak on the west line of said No. 92 supposed to be two and one half acres all mineral and mining privileges excepted and reserved unto the said William P. Poteet on said described boundary of land which he has given and granted unto the Deacons and church at Mount Zion for the purpose of building a church house upon and other religious privileges so long as the church of Mount Zion shall continue to remain on said above described boundary or parcel of land and I the said William P. Poteet for myself my heirs and assigns will warrant and defend the rights and title of the above described boundary of land against the lawful claim or claims of all and every person claiming under me unto the deacons of the Baptise Church at Mount Zion for the time being and their successors in office to the proper use of the said Baptise Church at Mount Zion and for their religious worship and devotions so long as the said Baptist Church at Mount Zion shall remain thereon. In witness where of I have hereunto set my hand and seal this 12th day of August 1854.

W.P. Poteet (Seal)

Signed Sealed and

Delivered in the presence of

John Prewit

George Cearley. Recorded June 8th, 1900

James L. Haralson C.S.C.

Will of William Price

Died September 1807

Franklin County, Virginia

(Editors note: William Price was the father of Catherine Price who was the mother of William Patton Poteete. Typed from a handwritten copy made by Guy Davenport from the original. )

In the name of God Amen I William Price of Patrick County being of sound mind and memory and in consideration of the uncertainty of Life I make and ordain this my last Will and Testament in form and manners as follows.

First my desire is that my body be decently buried then my funeral expenses and all my just and lawful debts be first paid. And the residue of my estate be [word illegible] and divided as follows.

1st I give and bequeth to my son Richard Price a Negro man named Sam that he has in his possession and four schillings sterling.

2nd I give and bequeth to my daughter Joice Lewis a Negro woman named Sal.

3rd I give and bequeth to my daughter Katharine Poteet a Negro girl named Charlotte.

4th I give and bequeth to my son William B. Price a Negro boy named Moses.

5th I give and bequeth to my daughter Nancy Lewis a Negro woman named Lettice.

6th I give and bequeth to my daughter Sally Lewis a Negro girl by the name of Rose.

7th I give and bequeth to my son Bernard M. Price a Negro girl named Sal.

8th I give and bequeth to my daughter Elizabeth Foster a Negro boy named Harry and [?] schillings sterling.

9th I give and bequeth to my daughter Lucy Noe a Negro girl named Jude [?] her lifetime and after her decease to belong to her children.

10th I give and bequeth to my daughter Lorany Price a Negro girl named Cloe.

11th I give and bequeth to my good son Natty [?] Proctor Price a Negro boy named Jim.

12th I give and bequeth to my son Larkin Price a Negro woman named [?] and one feather bed and furniture.

13th And lastly I constitute and appoint my friend Col Peter Saunders and Lewis Foster Executors my last will and testament, revoking and making void every will or wills heretofore by me made, but publish and declaring this my last will and testement. As witness my hand and seal this nineteenth day of April (1807) one thousand eight hundred and seven. Signed and acknowledged my last will and testement in the presences of

Wm Adams Wm Price [Seal]

Wn Massey

[Note: He signed his own name and apparently wrote his own will. No wife mentioned and no land mentioned. In fact very little mentioned beyond 12 slaves. A very strange will.--Guy Davenport]

Further notes on will made by Guy Davenport:

At a district court held at Franklin Courthouse the fifteenth day of September 1807.

This last will and Testement of William Price deceased was produced in Court and proved by oath of William Adams and Warren Massey the witness hereto and ordered to be recorded.

And at a District Court held at the said Courthouse the 15 day of April 1808. On the motion of Peter Saunders Sr. one of the executors herein named who made oath as the law directs and together with John Halo and Flemming Saunders his sureities entered into and acknowledged bond in the penalty of four thousand dollars------conditioned according to law certified and granted him for obtaining probate in due form and Liberty being reserved to Lewis Foster the other executor in this will named to join the probate when he shall------

[Note: Some of this especially near the end I couldn't make out. Apparently Lewis Foster was unable to perform as executor. Perhaps he was in ill health. That may be the reason the will was in court on 2 occasions--15 Sept 1807 and 15 April 1808. --Guy Davenport]