Our First Davis-Bean Ancestors in America

Our founding family members here in America, as far as I have found to date, came primarily from England, with the bulk of our ancestors originating in Scotland, Ireland and Wales. But, recently the new Utterback line has provided our family with a link to Germany -- Bavaria!

I suspect that if I were able to find more information on the O'Bryan family, I would discover a direct connection back to Ireland through my great grandfather, Harry Rhodes O'Bryan. So far, I've had no great success in tracing back his O'Bryan side of the family before his father, William. However, I recently received some marvelous new information on Harry's mother's Ballard side of the family in Virginia,and now have a new family name to add to my research. I also located two sets of great, great, great grandparents on the Garvin/Lewis/Sherard line which do give a solid connection to Ireland, as well as possibly Canada. Filling in this missing data, along with other gaps I have, has often been accomplished with out-of-the-blue information generously shared by kind strangers who come across this website, contact me, and then very often turn out to be distant "cousins" bearing marvelous new family information. Also just this year (2009) I have inherited an Utterback family history book which provided a new batch of ancestral families to research further and add to this website -- Utterback and Hanks, which do most interestingly lead to the Lincoln family, although they're rather distant cousins.

From the hundreds of families I have in my database at the moment, some of the major families on which I'm concentrating my research right now are: Alden, Ballard, Bean, Davis, Fairchild, Garvin, Gregg, Hanks, Hilton/Hylton, Howland, Kingman, Lewis, Lumley, Marsh, McMillan, O'Bryan, Pierpont, Sherard, Stilson, Warfield, White, Wood and Utterback.

The Grand and Great Grandmothers who started the Family Genealogy and their Notebooks of Data that finally peaked my interest!

I first became just vaguely interested in finding out more about my ancestors during the 1960s when my Davis grandmother, Alice Marie Kingman, gave me a binder of typewritten genealogy data compiled mostly during the 1920s and 1930s by her mother-in-law and my great grandmother Rozina Phebe Fairchild. But I put the binder aside for another 10 years or so before looking at it again.

Then, in the 1970s, my mother, Margaret Bean Davis, her sisters, Barbara Bean Gale and Dorothy Bean Johnson, and brother, Alfred Garvin Bean, pulled together some Bean, family history, which includes O'Bryans and Hiltons, among others. A good deal of my original Bean/Hilton data was based on information gathered, also in the 1930s, by another great grandmother on the Bean side of the family, Ella S. Gregg.

It took me until the advent of the computer and genealogy software in the late 1980s to start to actually work on all this data, clarifying the information where I could and adding to it. Over the years I have worked sporadically on the family history, managing to fill some holes here and there, while in the process running across many new "live cousins," as well as new data on our mutual ancestors. This, of course, is an ongoing project which will probably never be complete; I still have more people to add, more research to do, and certainly more cleaning up of the data I already have, and therefore plan to update my web pages on a regular basis.

The border photos I'm using on my pages are of "the three Ms," Maggie, Mabel and Margaret. My mother, Margaret Bean Davis, is pictured here as a three year old in 1923. Her mother, my grandmother, Mabel Margaret O'Bryan, is the lady shown in profile, and the other lady looking off to the left is Mabel's mother, my great grandmother, Maggie Lewis O'Bryan (both photos were taken circa 1890-1900).


You will come across a number of different icons, and this is what they mean:
This butterfly designates all my own direct ancestors
In Surnames your will see this icon which means there's at least one photo to be found with this individual
If you click on small cameras like this you'll find more photos
Finding and clicking on an icon like this will take you to further related text documents

A Brief Overview of the Davis-Bean Family History

With a short overview of the Davis-Bean beginnings in America, I'm also providing some direct links to some of the main founding fathers and mothers of our family, as well as interesting or notable ancestors, hoping to give relatives visiting the website a start and some direction in looking at or for their relatives. You can also go to SURNAMES and find people that way; by clicking on the surname you're interested in you will be taken to an index of those folks who were or are known by that surname; click on the person you're looking for and you will be taken to his or her "person page." Another quick way to locate a small number of the relatives, is to click on PHOTOS on the menu bar -- if I have a photo of them under "Primary People Photos," it will appear there and if you click on that photo, you will be taken to the "person page" directly.

In 1607, Capt. James Davis, who may or may not have been the son of Englishman Sir Thomas Davis came to America. James Davis was master of the "Mary & John" which sailed to America from England in 1607. He wrote "The Relation of a voyage unto New England begun from the Lizard, ye first of June 1607," which gives an account of that voyage. He was Captain of Fort Sagadahoc, the new, but short-lived English colony settled at the mouth of the Kennebec River in what is now Maine but then was considered to be northern Virginia. Captain James was also one of the original settlers of Jamestown, Virginia.

Thirteen years later, in 1620, "The Mayflower" arrived at Plymouth, bringing more of our Davis-Kingman ancestors to America: among them were John Alden, Priscilla Mullins and her family, as well as John Howland, his soon-to-be wife Elizabeth Tilley and her family; both young couples were married soon after arriving in Plymouth. More of our ancestors on this Davis side of the family arrived on "The Anne" in 1622, such as the Mortons, Woods, and Jennys, still to be researched and added to the database.

A year after the arrival of "The Mayflower," in 1621, ancestors on the Bean-Hilton side of the family, William Hilton, and his brother Edward Hilton, arrived on "The Fortune" at Plymouth where they found only half the passengers from "The Mayflower" had made it through the winter. William and his family, who arrived the following year on "The Anne" (as did ancestors on the other side of my family), left Plymouth to settle first in Dover, New Hampshire and then in Kittery and/or York, Maine. Edward and William are considered to be the first settlers and founders of Dover, New Hampshire.

I find it very interesting to see that the two sides of my Davis-Bean family appear to have been rubbing elbows as far back as the early 1600s in both Massachusetts, Virginia and Maine! Who knows, perhaps some of them actually knew each other and the two sides met long before my parents Kenneth Davis and Margaret Bean met and married.

The Hilton brothers, by the way, are a link to one of our royal connections, being the great, great, great, grandsons of Edward IV, King of England. When Edward IV's illegitimate daughter, Princess Elizabeth Plantagenet, married Sir Thomas de Lumley we actually gained royal connections through both of them (their daughter Sybil married William Hilton). By way of Thomas de Lumley we can go back to one of my favorites, John of Gaunt, and back further still to people like William the Conqueror; any Bean descendant of my generation would be one of his 27th great grandchildren. Fun facts, for what they're worth!

Note: Our Hilton family has absolutely no connection to the "jet-setter" Hilton family of hotel and other dubious fame and/or infamy -- their immigrant ancestor came from Oslo, Norway.

Sir William Hilton, Baron of Hylton, is an interesting ancestor to check out. He's the fellow who built Hylton Castle by the River Wear in Durham, England in about 1400. The castle, while a bit of a ruin, still stands today and gets many visitors.

Another Hilton ancestor with a rather fascinating story is Margaret Stilson who, along with her mother and brother (and perhaps a sister), was kidnapped by the Indians in Maine about 1688 when she was around 9 or 10 years old and sold to the French in Canada. Her mother and brother were released after a few years, but she wasn't set free until she was a young woman of about 21. It appears she returned home and fairly quickly married William Hilton, one of many in the family, and they settled in Massachusetts.

Another ancestor on the Hilton side with an interesting story, of whom I have only recently become aware, is our very own Salem Witch, Ann Alcock Foster, an elderly woman who died in Salem Jail in 1692 before they had a chance to hang her. She had been unjustly accused of and condemned for practicing witchcraft. Although she did admit she was a witch, it is more likely she was simply senile and didn't know what she was talking about.

I can now add the Ballard Family of Virginia to my family tree having finally made the all-important connections through my O'Bryan family line. My great-great grandfather William O'Bryan married Margaret Ballard, a descendant of Thomas Ballard, Sr., who has been called the founding father of the Ballards of Virginia. He was an early resident of Middle Plantation, later to be called Williamsburg, and he was very much involved in the government of that young town, living there nearly 60 years from 1630 to 1689. His son Thomas Ballard, Jr. carried on in the same vein as his father, helping found Yorktown and in 1693 selling a tract of his land in Middle Plantation to the trustees who built the College of William and Mary.

Jumping back to the Davis side of the family, one descendant of that first Davis to arrive in America, Captain James Davis, was Thomas Davis (born in 1669), who with his wife Mary Pierpont were founders of the Davises of Anne Arundel and Howard Counties, Maryland. They had thirteen children and one of those, Richard Davis and his wife Ruth Warfield also had a large family -- between them they seem to have propogated a huge number of descendants living across the United States today.

One further link I'd like to provide here is to my father, Kenneth Davis, who I consider to be one of our more notable 20th/21st century family members!