43rd Annual Family Reunion & Descendants Website

- June..29th. to July 2nd, 2018


Always a good time together Family Group Photo
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Family History


The Henry and Minnie Davis Family Reunion:
It's Meaning and it's Future

By The Late Samuel Davis, Sr.
Former Chairman Emeritus and Senior Advisor

As the senior member of the Henry and Minnie Davis family, I greet you in Christian love. It has been my pleasure to be involved in most of your lives since infancy. I have watched you grow and develop into fine young men and women. I write this to honor you for what you have accomplished in the past and to encourage you for what I'm sure you will do in the future..Being a member of the original Davis brothers who started this family reunion has been one of the greatest joys of my life. Just to be with the family, to see them grow and prosper and to try to keep up with the many grandchildren, great grandchildren and great great grandchildren of my mother and father is a blessing. Most of you have moved from requiring leadership to providing the best leadership. I look back over the years of our accomplishments and know that Mama and Papa are saying to themselves, "Well Done". 

What then can I say to you about the future of the Henry and Minnie Davis Family Reunion? I charge each of you to remain and work together as a family group. Things may not always go as you may like them to go, but rise above the differences, cooperate one with the other and complete you assigned task with love. We have shared good times together and we have experienced sadness, especially when we loose a family member. But God in His infinite wisdom uses these times to draw us closer together.

The first 35 years is merely the beginning of something much greater than we realize. We have established a heritage that can be passed down from generation to generation. The pictures, the booklets, the various speeches and writings will serve as an inspiration for those who will come after us. The peace and joy I leave with you is to move ahead and celebrate our 50th Anniversary and to share the love we have known with all members of this family, young and old.

God bless you,
Samuel R Davis, Sr.

A message from the Chairman

By Henry A. Walton

The past thirty-five years have been a gratifying experience. God has blessed us to be able to come together as a family and celebrate our love and compassion for one another. In the past years we have seen family, friends and loved ones who were instrumental in making this reunion a reality, leave us and take the journey into life everlasting. We all miss them! We hope that their spirits will dwell among us in this celebration.

We came together in the seventies with a lot of black pride, our polyester and double knit suits and afro-hair styles. A lot has changed since then, Nixon was impeached; Jimmy Carter was elected; and along came Ronald Regan with his trickle down economy; a lot of us are still waiting for a trickle. Then Bush did totally nothing. Mr. Clinton who has tried to give everyone a fair chance but the Republicans will not allow anything to happen without their hands in the pie. Then we had 8yrs. of  Bush Jr. with his weapons of mass destruction, 2 wars and the near collapse of our financial system..Now we have President Obama, who has instilled new hope for We The People. The Democrats act more like Republicrats, making good on their promise, to see this man fail..Only in America. Now here we are, seven presidents later with a new generation and a new identity, for we have changed from The Black Americans of the seventies to the Afro-Americans of the nineties. However, regardless of all the changes we are still The Henry & Minnie Davis Family Reunion and we must continue to celebrate in the coming  years of the new millennium as we have in the past.

We must start now to encourage our younger family members to become more involved, so that this gathering will be kept alive for the next generation and the generations to come. We should put a copy of this website on CD and some artifacts in a safe deposit box to be opened twenty-five years from now in the year 2035, so that our relatives living then will have a documented family history. I would like to thank each family member for his and her contribution to the reunion, be it monetary or otherwise. Whether you have attended one, two, three, ten, twenty, or the entire twenty-five years, it is important that you came. Everyone has the need for a good dose of family love and unity. The success of this reunion has not been due to the efforts of not one, but of many. This is a time for bonding and healing, to put away all of our indifferences, touch a family member's hand and tell him of her, I LOVE YOU AND THERE IS NOTHING YOU CAN DO ABOUT IT. Continue in that spirit of showing love and compassion for every family member.

Thanking you for your cooperation and continued support in the coming years.

Henry A. Walton, Chairman

Finally, beloved, whatever is true is true, what ever is
honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure,
whatever is pleasing, whatever is commendable, if
there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of
praise, think about these thing. Keep on doing the
things you have learned and received And heard and
seen in me, and the God of peace be with you.
Philippians 4: 8-9

A Family Prayer

By Boyd Walton, Jr.
Spiritual Advisor

Dear Family Members:

A father to the fatherless, a defender of widows is God in his holy dwelling. God sets the lonely in families. Ps 68: 5,6a (NIV). Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; his love endures forever. Let the redeemed of the Lord say this: those he redeemed from the hand of the foe, those he gathered from the land, from east and west, from north and south. Some wandered in desert wastelands finding no way to a city where they could settle. They were hungry and thirsty, and their lives ebbed away. Then they cried out to the Lord in their trouble, and he delivered them from their distress. He led them by a straight way to a city where they could settle. Let them give thanks to the Lord for his unfailing love and his wonderful deeds for men, for he satisfies the thirsty and fills the hungry with good things. Ps 107: 1-9. (NIV)

Our Father and Mother God, your grace and mercy has brought our ancestors and us safely through. We are living this moment because of you. We want to thank you and praise you too; your grace and mercy have brought us through.

You have blessed us and the cloud of witnesses beyond the vale to gather for celebration of our corporate and individual family heritages for the 25th time. We thank you, as we remember that it was YOU that led us from our ancestral homelands. Through many dangers, toils, and snares, we have already come in full knowledge that it was YOUR grace that brought us safely this far, and that same grace will lead us home. We simply ask your continued blessing and sustaining power for the living generations of descendents of the many families represented here and those generations unborn who will carry the work so nobly began forward into your future for us and them. At this gathering we have been blessed with 145 years of our rich histories; and pray for the revelation of the earliest histories in existence for all of our families. Lord God of host be with us yet, lest we forget that we are blessed with a goodly heritage and keep us reminded that the only hope that we have had and can have is in Christ Jesus, in whose forgiving and redeeming name we pray. To God be the Glory, great things he has done. Amen.

How very good and pleasant it is when kindred live together in unity. Ps 133:1 (NRSV)

Prayerfully yours,
Reverend Boyd N. Walton,]r.

THE FAMILY EMBLEM & it's 2010 Re-design.

Joseph Davis, Sr.

 At each of our family reunion gatherings we have displayed the Davis logo or family emblem on programs, invitation, tee shirts posters, and other materials. Joseph Davis, the youngest brother, who served as a drafting instructor with the McDowell County school system, designed the emblem. We have accepted this emblem it in its entirety, and have viewed it as a symbol of our gathering. This writing addresses the symbolism of the emblem with the thought that when we shall leave this place, our eyes and heart will be opened to the reality of its significance. The family emblem is a tribute to the mother and father of the Davis children.

The design was selected as a wheel to signify the continuity of life. The wheel represents life with the spokes representing the Davis children. The hub represents the parents, and the axle, which passes through the center of the hub, represents God, our Supreme Being. Love forms a solid family reunion as represented by the outer circular ring connecting the spokes to the hub and to the axle. As the axle turns the wheel, so are the numbers of days of our lives determined. The parents of the Davis children instilled a love for each other, a love of work, and faith in God. The older members passed on to the younger ones ways of survival. They were exposed to all elements of life, some good and some not so good. As the children got older, the bonds of family grew. The older  members that went to work consistently remembered the needs of the family. As the children became adults and established families of their own, they own, carried some of the same ideals, experiences, and values into their new family life. In spite of problems, hardships, illnesses, the injury of Roy, and the death of James, the family survived and prospered. An early pattern of gathering at funerals emerged as a way of respecting the life of those who have passed and strengthening relationships with family. The emblem carriers the names of the Davis children who were alive at the inception of the reunion: Willie, Sam, Roy, Albert, Sylvester, and Joe Davis. Death has the lives of Roy, Albert, Sylvester Willie and Joseph. Their dates of birth and death have been inserted under their names on the emblem. This procedure was followed until the last brother Samuel Davis passed in 2004. NOW all have left this life and passed to the other side. After the date of the last surviving brother was recorded on the emblem, all the names were erased from the emblem and a permanent historical record made of the emblem.

The emblem remained blank for one year as a symbol of mourning. After that year, this websites builder Dwight Davis, the Eldest Son of Joseph L. Davis re-designed the now existing wheel in 2010, adding ALL the Davis brothers photos to the wheel for the first time. Just as life is continuous, the family emblem representing the Henry and Minnie Davis family will live on through future generations.

History of the Henry & Minnie Davis Family Reunion 1975-2014

The year 2010 represents the 35th anniversary of The Henry & Minnie Davis Family Reunion and the 110th anniversary of Henry and Minnie's settling in Coopers, West Virginia. Pipestem Resort State Park has been the site of 34 of our 35 annual family reunion gatherings. The single exception occurred in 1982 when our 7th annual family reunion was held at the Hilton Inn East, Columbus, Ohio. This reunion was hosted by Charles and Geraldine Hundley Sims and proved to be a memorable occasion.

The Pipsteem Lodge setting is strikingly similar to the surroundings in which Henry and Minnie began their lives in Coopers. They made their home a boarding house for some of the ancestors of the other families, which comprise this reunion (Heath's, Walton's, Holt's, Bennett's, Hundley's, Pannell's, Dunn's) until they could establish homes of their own.

In 1974 the family got together to bury the last surviving sister, Bertha Davis Clemens. During this gathering it became clear that the family should get together more often that just for funerals and illnesses. It was at this gathering that the Henry and Minnie Davis Family Reunion was born at the Honey In the Rock Motel, Beckley, West Virginia. Present at that historic gathering were Sylvester Davis, (deceased) , Lloyd Davis, (deceased) , Dr. Charles Davis, (deceased) and Henry Walton.

The Davis brothers and Henry Walton donated the seed money for the first reunion held on July 2, 1975. They also covered the financial shortfalls out of their own pockets, until such time that the reunion became self-sustaining. Other family members, including but not limited to, the late Howard Walton and the Hundley family, have been consistent contributors above and beyond the cost of their annual participation fees.

Until 1986, planning, coordinating, programming, communication, and logistics were carried out nearly singlehandedly by Samuel Davis, Sr., who was assisted by elder brother, Willie Davis (deceased), his brother Sylvester Davis (deceased), Isabel Davis (Sylvester's widow), Henry and Carol Walton, Helen (deceased) and Teresa Davis, Betty Dunn (deceased ), Ramona Nelson, Geraldine Sims, Samuel Davis, Jr., Judy Smith, and Janice Young.


Planning and related functions were subsequently delegated to an Executive Committed pursuant to the recommendation of Sam Davis, Sr. and the parent body. The executive committee, chaired by Henry (Buddy) Walton, has met in Hagerstown, Maryland, annually on the 3rd weekend in March, to plan the upcoming reunion program and to develop the agenda and recommendations for the upcoming reunion. Further planning was historically done at the reunion during a business meeting that followed the family memorial service on Sunday morning. As of the past few reunions, the traditional Sunday bu siness meeting has been waived and family business that is not compelling was held until the March meeting in Hagerstown. The meeting was moved to Columbus, Ohio last year. For the Columbus as was Hagerstown meeting, members of the executive committee pay their own travel and lodging expenses for the committee meeting and the parent body pays the cost for their meals during the meeting. These planning meetings are open to any family member who wants to participate. These meetings have also served to strengthen family ties and have made for many successful reunions.

Over the past 35 years, family themes and reunion activities have focused on spirituality, family love & unity, encouragement of excellence in education, recognition and exhibition of family talents, recognition of contributions and accomplishments of individual family members, and memorializing our deceased family members. Overall, the activities weekend activities are always well rounded. In 1998, we even roasted a whole pig.

Each reunion has revealed a wide array of talent, skill and competencies needed by the next generation to keep the spirit of our forefathers ongoing. When we started the reunion in 1975, Joseph Davis designed the family logo. Music was arranged and played by the late Helen Davis. Reverend Boyd Walton, Jr., handled the duties of the ministry. Roy Davis, Sr. served as our toastmaster. Succeeding reunions grew richer due to varying degrees of additional family support. In some years past we even featured a family talent shows, dance contests, African dress fashion shows, and other fun filled events that are to numerous to mention.

In 1986, Ramona Nelson and Rev. Boyd Walton collaborated to publish the first edition of the Henry and Minnie Davis Family history. The expense of this publication was borne by the parent body.

Over the years, our fundraising activities combined with donations from family and friends have provided the funding for our annual scholarship awards. Special fundraising events included Tshirt sales with the family logo, headed by Ramona Nelson, and a Raffle chaired by Henry and Carol Walton. The raffle included prizes hand made (knitted) by the late Lucille Holt-Woodruff along with other donated items. The late mackinaw Goods, until his passing in 1996 chaired the scholarship committee. As of the date of this writing, Bertha Washington chairs the committee.

For years, the late Betty Dunn assembled and provided a souvenir West Virginia bag of assorted favorites for each family member attending the reunion. She remained a loyal supporter of the reunion and to Sam Davis, Sr., until her passing in 1989. Her daughters, Gloria Jean, Janet, and Jacqueline also participated in the reunion. She continues to be greatly missed by all. The reunion has been the occasion of the renewal of wedding vows. In 1988, Rev. Boyd and Eddie Walton renewed their wedding vows after 35 years of marriage. The Mill Creek Baptist Church provided the music.



At the 1989 reunion we featured the exchange of wedding vows between Stacy and Ruth Washington Walton. A most beautiful event held at the Pipestem Resort Lodge.



Over the past 35 years death claimed ALL of the founding Davis brothers: Roy (1987), Albert (1989), Sylvester (1990), Joseph (1994), Willie (1996). Samual (2004)..We continued to send more family home to our Lord as their work here in this world is completed. We will forever miss: Helen Fleming Harris Davis (1980), Mary Davis (1981), Lloyd Davis (1978), Dr. Charles Davis (1980), Mildred Harris Davis (1982), Lucille Hundley Brown (1990), Gilbert Hundley (1998), Joseph Boyd (1999), Roosevelt Davis (2000). Ralph Davis (2002).

Isabel Davis has assembled and maintained a family pictorial album reflecting the images of our revered deceased family. Some of these same pictures are contained in our 15th and 20th Anniversary Commemorative Souvenir Program Booklet. The 25th Commemorative booklet sought to amend the pictorial experience of the past quarter century with updated photos of both past and present.

In 1999 our family developed a website which can be accessed from the World Wide Web (www) by entering DwightDavis.net. Dwight Davis of Charlotte, NC, created this website and maintains it on a regular basis.Through this website our family history is maintained along with hundreds of family pictures, many which are from past family reunions. Through the Internet we are able to keep in regular contact with just a few short keystrokes. As of the date of this record at least 70 family members regularly communicate on-line via the Internet and this number is on the rise.

This history, as is the case with all histories, is only as complete as the memories and recollections of the family members from whom it was obtained, and the space limitation place on the publisher. Regrettably excluded from this writing is no doubt other information that may be equally significant, along with events and names of persons. Any omissions on the part of this writer are unintentional and not meant to exclude anyone or any event.

HENRY & MINNIE DAVIS FAMILY HISTORY

Henry and Minnie Davis were born on farms in Pittslyvania County, Virginia, near Danville in the third quarter of the 19th century. Henry's father was reported to have been a Caucasian medical doctor. His mother, Harriet Brandon, who lived to be 97, was of African-American and Native American descent. Minnie Hundley Davis was of African-American and Native American descent. The Hundley family, relatives of her mother raised her, after her mother moved to St.Louis, Missouri, in search of work. Minnie lived with the Hundley family until she married Henry Davis. In prior family reports it had been believed that Minnie and Rucker Hundley were first cousins, however, research conducted since the last family publication reveals that the had the same mother, Emma Hundley Wells, but different fathers (further discussion on this issue is found in the Hundley Family History section).

Emma Wells, Minnie's mother, married and raised another family in St. Louis, but maintained some degree of contact with Minnie until her death. The rapid growth of Minnie and Henry's family prevented Minnie from traveling to St. Louis to visit with her other mother. Contact between them was subsequently lost. It is hoped that contact can be made with her desendents in the near future, based on research being conducted by April Kelly and Dwight Davis, so that they may one day participation in this family reunion.

Henry, Minnie, and their eldest son Robert Davis, Sr., came to Coopers, West Virginia from Danville, Virginia in the year 1900. Henry is believed to have been recruited by the coal mining operators who traveled through the South looking for strong men, particularly from Virginia and the Carolinas to mine coal and lay railroad track. The Cooper family, founders of the coal-mining town of Coopers, West Virginia, first employed him as a gardener. He later, with their aid, formed his own coal contracting firm. Within a short time, he bought property and started to build the family home himself. He and Minnie shared their home with family members and friends who came to Coopers from Danville, to establish new homes in the coal mining community. Henry and Minnie were later to board family members and other friends who were to come later. Within the decade, his mother, Harriet Brandon, his sisters; Maude, Mamie and Marie, Minnie's brother; Rucker Hundley, and the Holt family came to West Virginia at
Henry's invitation. With Henry's help they soon obtained jobs and established their own homes.

The Davis family increased by five members during their first decade in West Virginia. Henry built rooms onto the family home to accommodate his growing family. He and Minnie were eventually to become the parents of fourteen children, 6 girls and 8 boys, including twins who died during infancy. As of this writing, Samuel Davis, Sr., is the only surviving child. Their descendents inherited their fortitude, values, and strong sense of determination; and have all achieved prominence in their chosen fields. Three sons, Willie, Albert, and Sylvester, saw combat during World War II, in both theaters of operation, and were decorated for heroism. The other brothers, Robert, the eldest, Samuel and Joseph supported the War effort as civilians in the coalmines of Southern West Virginia and Virginia. The great depression, following World War I and its end brought only the nations entry into World War II. Both wars displaced some of the Davis children from Coopers to other parts of the state; Willie to Fairmont, West Virginia, Mary Emma, eldest daughter, and Bertha to Beckley, West Virginia, and Geraldine Pegram, to Ansonia, Connecticut.

The end of World War II, and the decline in demand for coal brought more displacement. Roy and his family settled in Bluefield, while Samuel and his family moved to Charleston. Henry and Minnie's grandchildren relocated to other sections of the country in search of work. Several entered the armed forces. Many were not to see each other again for years until death and illness drew the families together, only to separate until the next death or serious illness.

In addition to operating a successful coal contracting business, employing as many as 40-60 worker, Henry also farmed to support his family. Except for staple foodstuff, such as sugar, flour and corn meal, the farming provided for their needs. Henry and Minnie along with their children provided labor to the farming efforts.

The large and spacious home, the well stocked smokehouse, large pigpen, the ISO-foot grape arbor, fruit trees, Henry's homemade wines and Minnie's cooking became community conversation pieces. They also kept a cow. Many friends from all races, joined around the large circular dining room table to eat Minnie's delicious home cooked meals.

In 1929 the stock market crash and the great depression, which followed, combined with the upsurge in union activity in the coalfields, made coal contracting much less lucrative. Henry, who by various estimates, had amassed capital exceeding $500,000.00, suffered a number of reverses early in the depression including the embezzlement of a substantial sum by a partner and close friend.

Henry disbanded the firm in 1931 and became a full-time miner until his retirement in 1946. He and Minnie enjoyed 11 years together in retirement and lived to nurture their great-great grandchildren.

Henry and Minnie had four daughters who all died before the inception of the reunion. Mary Emma (died 1968), Arleatha, (died 1969), Viola (died 1970), and Bertha (died 1974). Their eldest son, Robert also passed before the reunion started. As mentioned earlier, it was Bertha's death, 3 weeks following Robert's death that gave rise to the first
Henry and Minnie Davis reunion.

Mary Emma, the oldest daughter remained single and as such shared her life, love and gifts broadly across the family throughout her adult life. She was a registered nurse and also did private duty. She retired from McKendree State Hospital to care for the sons of her widowed youngest sister Viola, Boyd, lr. and Henry (Buddy), during Viola's hospitalization in 1949 and 1950. Mary Emma's life was characterized by generosity to her family, church, finds, and community.

Bertha attended Stoner College, Harpers Ferry, West Virginia, and was married to Roy Clemens of Beckley, West Virginia. She joined him in several of his business ventures and later operated nursing homes until she died in 1974. Bertha and Roy had no children together, however, they opened their home to foster children and later legally adopted Patsy Moss. Bertha also cared for her father Henry and her sister Mary Emma until they passed. She was highly recognized by her community and received several citations.

Arleatha was the mother of James Wilson, and the stepmother of Dorothy and Geraldine Pegram through her marriage to Eugene Pegram. Eugene was a railroad maintenance employee, church man and gospel singer. Arleatha and their daughters shared a radio broadcast with him up until his death in 1946. Arleatha was widely known for her culinary skills, and used them to supplemented their income. After Eugene's death, she married Charlie Shavers of Ansonia, Connecticut. She moved to Connecticut with her husband and until a terminal illness caused her return to West Virginia. She passed in 1969.

Viola married Boyd Walton her high school sweetheart and coal miner in 1930. Boyd Walton passed in 1948. Boyd, Jr. and Henry Walton are their descendants. Viola's life was characterized by devoted service to her parents, her family, and community. While maintaining her parent's home, she was employed as Henry's bookkeeper. She married three times. Her second husband was David Covington of Spicertown. He died in 1955. Viola later married Leslie Nowlin of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and moved to Pittsburgh. They divorced and she became self-employed doing childcare work and preparing cooked meals for businesses and her community. She later returned to West Virginia to live with Bertha and alternately with her sons and their family's until she died while living with Bertha on September 7, 1970.

The Davis Family

Anthony Davis and son allong with Joe Sims (1999) Roy and Helen Davis Roy Davis Sr., Roy Davis Jr. Willie & Mary Davis