Luke 4:18 The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised...

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

The Ancestry of Doyle Davidson

June 2008 during a Sunday morning Live Stream broadcast Doyle said, “God sent my ancestors to this country so I could preach the gospel.” He knew God was talking to him for he had never entertained such a thought. One of his aunts had done some research of the Davidson family and a cousin on the Miller side had researched the Miller line, especially their military history. “Frankly” Doyle said, “I was never very interested in learning about those people—I was busy living, making my mark on the world and believe me,” he says, “I had a lot of ambition.” God began leading him and others to research their ancestors and the information God has been revealing has continued to confirm those words spoken in June 2008.

According to research, the Davidson’s initially settled in Virginia in the 1600’s and from that time continued to push westward as did all his ancestors in an extensive family tree. It seems that so many of the families that formed communities which are reflected in old tithe and tax records and the early census’ made decisions to migrate together because the same names would again be found, recorded in the census books, living next to each other in the new county or state.

Information compiled by a family member states that Golden Davidson was a native of Virginia and his wife Sarah (possibly Wallace) was also born in Virginia. The family moved to Big Valley in east Tennessee about 1807 and later moved to Alabama about 1815. About ten years later, they headed north to Morgan County, Illinois in 1828, eventually locating near Quincy, Illinois in 1833. They are both buried about five miles north of the town that was there at that time.

Joshua Davidson, Golden’s son, was born in Virginia in 1792 moving with his family to Tennessee where he married Elizabeth Sharpe who was a native of North Carolina and daughter of Henry and Elizabeth (Mosier) Sharpe. Joshua and Elizabeth were married in Claiborne County, Tennessee. They lived in Alabama for a time, but eventually followed Golden north to Illinois where they are both buried in Macoupin County, Illinois.

Joshua’s son and Doyle’s great grandfather, James Madison Davidson was born in 1834 in Macoupin County, Illinois and married Louisa Mariah Norvell in 1858 in the same county. They moved to Jasper County, Missouri, being listed in Sarcoxie in the1870 Federal Census. Their son, Luther Albert Davidson was born in Sarcoxie, Jasper County, Missouri and married Georgia Long in Sarcoxie, Missouri.

The Sharpe family came to Tennessee from Pennsylvania in the early 1700’s and Henry Sharp (Sr.) and brothers and sons established Sharpe’s Station (in Union County) and according to historians, it was one of the first two settlements west of the Appalachian Mountains. Henry Sharpe (Henry Sr.) married Barbara Graves and her family also migrated from Pennsylvania to Tennessee. It is believed Henry Sr. moved to Preble County, Ohio and is buried there. His wife Barbara is listed as buried in Union County, Tennessee. Barbara’s parents are buried in Union County, Tennessee also. Henry and Barbara’s son, Henry Sharpe, Jr. and his wife Elizabeth remained in Tennessee at Sharp’s Station and are both buried there in Union County.

James Norvell, father of Louisa, was born in Sumner County, Tennessee in1804 and died in Modesto, Macoupin County, Ilinois where he is buried. He married Lavinia Elizabeth Harris in 1834 and Louisa their daughter was born in Illinois in 1839.

The Norvell family also settled in Virginia, it appears as early as 1635. They remained in Virginia, moving a number of times throughout the years until they migrated to Sumner County, Tennessee by at least 1803. William Norvell, James’ grandfather is buried in Sumner County. William Jr. married Mary Payne in Virginia, before the families moved to Tennessee. At least two of their children (including James) were born in Tennessee and they may have lived in Alabama for a time before moving to Illinois in 1828, according to Norvell family histories. Mary Payne’s family also came to Tennessee about the time the Norvells arrived in the state. Mary’s father, John Payne is also buried in Sumner County, Tennessee.

Georgia (Long) Davidson’s parents were Jefferson and Margaret (Whitaker) Long. Jefferson’s father, James Long was born in Tennessee, according to Federal Census records and married Sarah Greenwood, who was also born in Tennessee. The Greenwood family is also traced back to Virginia, information available reflects the family settled there in the late 1600s. James and Sarah were married in Illinois and James is buried there. At this time it is unknown if Sarah was buried in Illinois.

Margaret (Whitaker) Long was born in Tennessee. Her father, Thomas Whitaker was born in North Carolina but moved to Tennessee as a child. He married Mary Peery in 1836 in Maury County, Tennessee and they moved to Jasper County, Missouri in 1855 and six months later in 1856 Thomas died from a spinal infection or affliction of some sort. Both Thomas and Mary are buried in Reeds, Missouri. Mary( Peery) was born in Hickman County, Tennessee. Mary’s parents were John and Rebecca (Dickey) Peery.

Thomas Whitaker’s parents were Jacob and Mary “Polly” (Reading) Whitaker who were both born in North Carolina and were married there. It appears all their children were also born in North Carolina therefore it seems it was during their later years they moved to Tennessee where they are both buried in Maury County. Thomas and Mary’s daughter Susan wrote: “My father’s mother, Polly Redder [Mary “Polly” Reading] who had the Indian blood moved to Murray [Maury] County, Tenn. from North Carolina and died there.” She also wrote about her maternal grandmother: “I saw my mother's mother [Rebecca (Dickey) Peery] who was the Indian. She lived in Murray [Maury] County, Tenn.” Available information lists both John and Rebecca Peery are buried in Maury County, Tennessee.

Susan Whitaker Stevens’, (sister to Margaret (Whitaker) Long) writings were posted on a memorial in Find a Grave, stating that she was of Cherokee heritage:

"I am 58 years of age; was born in Murray County, Tenn. I claim Cherokee Indian blood through my father and mother. I have been taught all my life that I had Cherokee blood. My father was born in North Carolina and my mother in Hickman County, Tenn. I never saw my father's parents. I saw my mother's mother [Rebecca Peery] who was the Indian. She lived in Murray County, Tenn. My father's mother, Poly Redder [Mary "Polly" Reading - wife of Jacob J. Whitaker] who had the Indian blood moved to Murray County, Tenn., from North Carolina and died there. My father [Thomas Whitaker] moved to Missouri in 1855 and died in 1856. My father nor mother never received any Indian money from the government. I have never gotten any Indian money from the government, never tried to get any before this time. I never got an allotment from the Dawes Commission." - Susan Whitaker Stevens [daughter of Mary (Peery) Whitaker].

During the process of researching, Doyle received records that had been hand copied from a Whitaker family bible, by his aunt, Neva Davidson Dodson. When Neva was twelve, she went with her grandmother, Margaret (Whitaker) Long-Renfro to visit John A. Whitaker and copied the family genealogy and signed her name. [See attached photo.] The note was recopied in 1947. Her handwritten record confirms and substantiates information from other sources including the source note written by Susan Whitaker Stevens.

Research also revealed that the Millers can be traced back to Rhode Island, where it was discovered that a number of founders of the state of Rhode Island are ancestors of Doyle Davidson and David Kaspareit. These men and their families arrived in America about 1636, having left their homes and possessions to come to a country where they could escape religious persecution and obey the doctrine of the Lord Jesus as they understood it.

Stukely Westcott, Ezekiel Holliman, John Warner and Samuel Gorton are ancestors that both Doyle and David share. Plus others of this group, Obadiah Holmes, John Crandall, Chad Brown and William Wickendon are also David’s ancestors. Gorton came to Boston from England, and in his own writings he stated: "I left my native country to enjoy the liberty of conscience in respect to faith towards God, and no other end."

David Kaspareit learned in his research of his ancestors that he was descended from sixteen Mayflower passengers, two of those have been documented and accepted by the General Society of Mayflower Descendants: Captain Miles Standish and John Howland. Sadie Peters has also joined the Society, proving her lineage to William Bradford. Kathie Davidson and others are also proving their lineage to the Mayflower. In the process we have learned the Pilgrims or Separatists, as they called themselves had with much difficulty left England to settle in Leiden, Holland to escape the persecution from the Church of England. Holland was a much more religiously tolerant place. The Separatists did not accept the king of England as head of the church, nor “all the popery” and they did not believe it was possible to remain and stay true to their beliefs. Because of the influence of Dutch society on their children and the tremendous harshness of life in the Netherlands, they again left all that was familiar and sailed to America, landing at Plymouth in 1620. Out of 102 passengers, nearly half of them died the first winter.

By the 1630s, the Puritans began arriving in America and one of the largest groups was led by John Winthrop on the Arabella along with eleven other ships. The Puritans are often confused with the Pilgrims or Separatists who came on the Mayflower. Puritans wanted to remain with the Church of England and change it from within. William Bradford, Governor of Plymouth wrote, “It was the Puritan's aim to reconstruct and purify not only the church, but individual conduct and all the institutions men live by.” What seems most amazing, they left England seeking religious liberty, and upon arriving in Massachusetts, immediately set up a new church government as strict and severe as in England The Pilgrims at Plymouth, who practiced a greater liberty were soon overwhelmed by the influence of the Puritans and by the time Roger Williams, Samuel Gorton and the others arrived in New England, they found the liberty they sought wasn’t here, the liberty practiced was only liberty for the ruling magistrates and not for their fellow Christians. Samuel Gorton wrote: "I left my native country to enjoy the liberty of conscience in respect to faith towards God, and no other end."

The majority of those that eventually founded the area of Rhode Island separated from Massachusetts Colony, either voluntarily or by banishment because of the doctrine they practiced and their commitment to liberty for all men. They believed in baptism by immersion for believers, those who confessed Jesus and rejected infant baptism. This belief was complete heresy to those of Puritan beliefs.

Samuel Gorton, Stukely Westcott, Ezekiel Holliman, John Warner and others, initially joined with Roger Williams, founder of Providence Plantation and also established what became known as the Six-Principle Church, established on Hebrews 6:

1) Therefore leaving the principles of the doctrine of Christ, let us go on unto perfection; not laying again the foundation of repentance from dead works, and of faith toward God,

2) Of the doctrine of baptisms, and of laying on of hands, and of resurrection of the dead, and of eternal judgment.

They formed friendships with the Indians of the area, purchasing land from them rather than taking it by force. There continued to be continual strife and harassment both within the communities and without. The Puritans of Massachusetts Bay Colony were determined to stamp out what they considered heretical doctrine and they continued to pursue all those who disagreed with them. Samuel Gorton, Roger Williams, John Clark and others did not believe the government could dictate the conscience of men; civil authority had to be separate from the church.

Many of these men were arrested, beaten and jailed numerous times and it didn’t seem to matter how many miles they put between themselves and the Massachusetts Bay Colony’s legal jurisdiction, the harassment never ended. Their livestock were confiscated, their homes burned and it finally came to a place where a number of them were arrested and convicted—though the final charge was heresy. They were actually sentenced to death, but there was such a public outcry that they ended up being sentenced to hard labor. One man died from the hardship, the others were eventually released, but only because the authorities were forced to concede to public opinion. They were threatened with death if they ever returned but that meant no matter where they went because the ruling government of Massachusetts was determined not only to completely eradicate what they considered heretical doctrine, but they saw the wealth of that area and thought nothing could stop them from claiming it for Massachusetts.

Samuel and his colleagues were welcomed back to Shawomet by their Indian friends with great rejoicing. Gorton was a brilliant and well educated man, though self-taught and he had brought an extensive library with him from England. He knew English law better than any who were trained as lawyers. He and the others knew they would never be able to live peaceably without a charter from England and Samuel Gorton, John Green and Randal Holden, sailed to England to make their case. Samuel Gorton returned to New England four years later with a charter for Shawomet in hand and in honor of the Earl of Warwick, he changed the name of the settlement to Warwick. Roger Williams had earlier secured a charter for Providence Plantation which included Providence, Portsmouth and Newport. The odds that they could thwart the plan of larger Massachusetts Bay Colony, highly favored in England, seemed impossible, but the little group believed their cause was just and God surely upheld them and delivered their oppressors into their hand.

This group of men in Rhode Island were advocates of religious freedom and the separation of church and state. One historian is quoted as saying that the government that had originally been formed on Aquidneck Island by Gorton and associates at Portsmouth, “operated like leaven in diffusing itself through the minds of the masses and formed the nucleus out of which sprang the Declaration of Independence.” Samuel Gorton was a leader, not only in civil affairs, but also in spiritual matters—he was a student of the bible and one cannot read about his life and not consider that God had raised him up for that hour. History has recorded: but for the tenacity and perseverance of this group of men, in the face of tremendous persecution, our government and nation might look very different.

In June 2008, when Doyle spoke those words, “God sent my ancestors to America so I could preach the gospel,” Soon after that, the Spirit of God also ministered out of Kathie’s heart, Mathew 21:

“Therefore say I unto you, The kingdom of God shall be taken from you, and given to a nation bringing forth the fruits thereof.”

God took the kingdom of God from Israel and gave it to the Body of Christ in America and His purpose for this nation is to minister the gospel to the world according to Mathew 24:

14) “And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come.”

For more than thirty years Doyle has proclaimed publicly on radio, television, satellite, and short-wave radio throughout the world that the gospel is Jesus died, He was buried, and He rose again the third day—that is the gospel.

Kathryn Currier
Researcher/writer/publisher @ Water of Life Ministries

Sources: The Life and Times of Samuel Gorton by Adelos Gorton; Neva Davidson Dodson family history.

Excerpt from Neva Davidson's records

Thomas and Mary Whitaker's Gravestone

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