George's earliest known Munson ancestor was his
great-grandfather, Jesse, about whom
little is known. In the 1780s, he and his brother Robert were living in South Carolina, and in
1787, both obtained land grants in the Natchez District of New
Spain. They arrived in Natchez with their families by flatboat in
April 1792, and the same year they were listed in the Spanish
census as residents of Villa Gayoso. Although records indicate
they lived in the Natchez District, Mississippi Territory, the
remainder of their lives, their lands actually lay in the Spanish
District of Feliciana in the Orleans Territory of New Spain.
Jesse had three sons by two unidentified wives. The sons were Micajah, Henry William and half-brother, Jesse. In 1813, Henry William was a member of the McGee-Gutierrez Expedition and narrowly escaped death at the Battle of Medina , the bloodiest battle ever fought on Texas soil. He returned to Louisiana, and in Rapides Parish, met and married Ann Binum Pearce. In 1824, every known living descendant of Jesse Munson moved to the Trinity settlement, Atascosito District, then in the state of Coahuila and Texas, Republic of Mexico, now Liberty County, Texas. Henry William served as alcalde, and in that capacity signed the famous Atascosito District census of 1826. He, Micajah, and their wives and children were enumerated in the census. The younger half-brother, Jesse, had apparently moved back to Louisiana. Micajah died shortly thereafter.
Henry William was unhappy with his situation in the Atascosito District almost from the beginning. When after four years the Mexican government still had not issued a clear title to his claim, Henry William traveled to the Austin Colony, and in a private transaction bought land from Stephen F. Austin. In November 1828, the family and nineteen slaves traveled by barge to their new land on Gulf Prairie in what is now Brazoria County, Texas. Henry and Ann named their new home Oakland, and to this day, none of it has ever been sold.
Henry William died in 1833, traditionally of yellow fever, but more likely of cholera, and is buried in the Peach Point Cemetery where his friend Stephen F. Austin was buried several years later. He was survived by Ann, age 32, and four young sons. William Benjamin, the oldest surviving child was eight; Mordello Stephen, the first Munson child born in Texas, was seven; Gerard Brandon, the first child born at Oakland Plantation, was almost four, and the youngest, George Poindexter, was just sixteen months old.
In 1835 Ann married Major James P. Caldwell, and to this union were
born two children, Robert Milam and
Mary Jane, the latter of whom died
unmarried at age 16. James took over the operation of Oakland and
built it into a successful cotton, sugar, cattle and hog
plantation. In 1847, William Benjamin married, and the following
year he and his wife died leaving no children. Mordello married
Sarah Armour in 1850, moved to land he
bought on Bailey's Prairie, and to them were born six sons and
two daughters. Many descendants still live in Brazoria County. In
1852, because of Ann's failing health, she, James and their two
children moved to the Texas Hill Country near San Marcos. The two
youngest Munson boys, both single, were left in charge of
Oakland. Gerard married Ann Westall in
1856, and in 1864 he was killed by Confederate soldiers who were
stealing hogs from the plantation. After Annie's death several
years later, their four orphaned children were raised by Mordello
and Sarah at Bailey's Prairie. Gerard had two grandchildren,
surname Brown, and one known great-grandchild, surname Daniels.
George married Agnes Davis in 1866 and died
in 1878 leaving a young widow and three children, George II, Mordella "Maud"
and Sarah, who were also raised by Mordello
and Sarah after their mother died in 1882. George married
Louise Underwood and had seven
children. Maud and Sarah married their half-first cousins, sons
of Robert Milam Caldwell and Mary Elizabeth
House. All have descendants living in Brazoria County.
Traditionally our Pearce ancestry in America dates back to William Peirce who left England in June 1609, in company with Sir Thomas Gates and Sir George Somers on the Seaventure, flagship of the largest expedition ever sent to Virginia, and was wrecked en route on the Somers Islands (Bermuda). His wife Joane had sailed in the same expedition, but aboard the Blessing which, although encountering the same storm that wrecked the Seaventure, steered a different course and reached Virginia safely by mid-August 1609. When William actually reached Virginia is not known, but he rose to prominence in the colony. Although records exist in which he mentions having children, only his daughter Joane, who became the third wife of John Rolfe, is proven. It is believed he had a son named Thomas, and there were probably other children as well.
The earliest proven Pearce ancestor is Stephen who was born in Virginia and moved to North Carolina where he married. His wife is traditionally said to have been a Miss Lanier of the family of Georgia poet Sidney Lanier. Stephen had three known sons, Stephen, Joshua and William Leigh, the latter of whom distinguished himself by his bravery in the American Revolution, was a Georgia delegate to the Continental Congress in 1786-87, and in 1787 was a member of the Constitutional Convention. Joshua, with his wife (presumably Hannah Green), six children and Negroes, moved from North Carolina to Effingham County, Georgia, in 1768, and in 1769 he received a Royal grant from King George III in St. Matthews Parish. When Screven County was created from Effingham and Burke counties on 14 December 1793, the Pearce land fell into Screven.
the oldest son of Joshua and Hannah (Green) Pearce, was a
Revolutionary War soldier in the Georgia troops. In 1780 he
married Sarah Bray who died in Georgia in
1801, and in 1803 he and their seven children moved from Screven
County to Rapides Parish, Louisiana, where he established
Lunenburg Plantation on the west bank of Bayou Boeuf about two
miles above the present town of Cheneyville. In Louisiana he
married as his second wife Elizabeth Chafin and they had a
daughter. His youngest child by his first wife was Ann Binum Pearce who married Henry
William Munson in Rapides Parish in 1817.
George Davis, a London Jew, came to America in 1809 accompanied by his wife Rosetta and two or more children. The family moved around for ten or so years before settling in Alabama, first in Tuscaloosa where he ran a store and hotel, and then in Mobile where he was primarily an auctioneer. In 1822 in Tuscaloosa, he made two deeds of gift in consecutive months to five minor Davis children, Betsey, George Jr., Adeline, who he calls "my amiaboe little daughter," James and Isaac. It is believed that the last named is the Isaac S. Davis who was born in New York City in 1815, married Matilda Blakely in the Catholic Church in Mobile in 1841, and who abjured Judaism and joined the Catholic Church in 1842. Marianne Gilbert of Phoenix, Arizona, who deserves most all of the credit for what we know of the Davis family, is quick to point out, and rightly so, that no direct evidence has been found to date that proves the relationship, but the circumstantial evidence is overwhelming. This evidence is discussed in detail on their individual person pages.
Of Isaac and Matilda (Blakely)
Davis' seven children, only two, Leo and
Agnes, survived childhood. After losing a
"fortune" in the depression that followed the financial panic of
1857, the family moved from Mobile to Texas. They were apparently
living in Galveston in the spring of 1861 when following
secession, Isaac raised a company to defend that city. He was
soon ordered to the Rio Grande where he was commissioned
1st Lieutenant. He was seriously ill when he left
Galveston, and survived only a few months. Leo also enlisted in
the Confederate Army, and Matilda and Agnes lived at the Ursuline
Convent in Galveston. Matilda died in 1862, and Leo in 1863.
Sadly, in less than two years, Agnes had lost her entire family.
She was educated at Ursuline Academy, and tradition tells us that
Agnes was hired by Mordello and Sarah Munson to tutor their
children at Ridgley Plantation, the Munson home at Bailey's
Prairie. There she met Mordello's younger brother George, and in 1866 they were married at Oakland
Very little is known about the Blakely family. George, the father of Matilda Blakely who married Isaac Davis, lived in Montreal, Quebec, and perhaps Mobile, Alabama. In one record he is called "Councilia," and in another, "Colonel." It is written that he was "nearly connected" to General Ross, perhaps Major General Robert Ross who is famous as the British general whose troops burned Washington in 1814. The Blakely surname is undoubtedly Scots-Irish. How Matilda, who was born in Montreal, ended up in Mobile is not known. In the newspaper announcement of her marriage, her father is called "late of Quebec." This could be taken to mean that he had either died in Quebec, or that he had moved from Quebec. No trace of him has been found in Mobile.