yesterday's tennessee

Yesterday's Tennessee

Lavenia Rushing

from the Research of Charles G. McKnight
Published 28 October 2005

This research is to provide more information about Lavenia Rushing, daughter of Burrell Rushing.

Burrell Rushing was born in Anson County, North Carolina in 1798. He migrated to Perry County, later Decatur County, Tennessee in the early 1800's. He gave 10 acres of land for the Decaturville town site after Perry County was divided and Decatur County formed in 1845. Burrell married Mary Elizabeth Rhodes in Anson County, NC, and they had the following children.

  1. Elizabeth Rushing Brasher (1825-1860)
  2. Caswell Rushing (1828)
  3. Nancy Ellen Rushing Harrington (1829-1896)
  4. Richard Burrell Rushing (1830-1900)
  5. Lavenia Rushing Davis McKnight Pearcy (1830-1903)
  6. Rebecca Rushing Harrington (1832)
  7. Leonidus Rushing (1833-1900)
  8. William Franklin Rushing (1836-1903)
  9. Phillip Rushing (1832-1862)
  10. Malvina Rushing (1838)
  11. Andrew Jackson Rushing (1834-1875)
  12. John Wesley Rushing (1850-1916)

Lavenia Rushing first married in 1848 Green Berry Davis (1826-1850) and had several children. The only surviving son was Joel Asberry Davis. Second, Vina (Lavenia) Davis married John McKnight on 8 December 1856 (Decatur County TN Land Deed Record Book 3, p 315-316) and they had one surviving son, Elijah White McKnight. In the 1860 census we believe Lavenia is listed incorrectly as S. McCann with child, A. Davis, age 11, and E. W. McCann as age 1. In January 1860, Vina (Lavenia) McKnight signed a land deed record along with Mary Watts Tuton (Decatur County TN Land Deed Record Book 5, p. 29-31). Third in 1865 she married John H. Pearcy and they had daughter Nancy (1866- d. bef.1880 census), Granville Holly Pearcy and Oliver S. Pearcy. Reference 1870-1880 census records. After John Pearcy died in the spring of 1887, Lavenia and her four sons and their families sold their land in Decatur County and migrated to Hunt County Texas.

In the 1900 census Lavenia had a total of 16 children. In the fall of 1887 when they migrated to Texas she had only four living sons.

  1. Joel Asberry Davis (1849-1912)
  2. Elijah White McKnight (1859-1912)
  3. Granville Holly Pearcy (1869-1942)
  4. Oliver S. Pearcy (1872-1941)

The 1900 Hunt County, TX census shows Lavenia in the household of son, Granville Holly Pearcy along with her younger son, Oliver S. Pearcy. The Hunt County Death Records show Lavenia died in November 1903 of cancer.

Joel Asberry Davis married Penelope E. Rushing, 1876, Decatur County, TN, and had a total of 11 children:

  1. James H. Davis (1876-1876)
  2. William A. Davis (1877-1911)
  3. Thomas M. Davis (1878-1878)
  4. Myrtle Davis Masters (b1879)
  5. Troy Lee Davis (1880-1964)
  6. Jessie F. Davis (1882-1909)
  7. Theodus E. Davis (b 1884)
  8. Clara N. Davis (b 1887)
  9. Anna M. Davis (b. 1891)
  10. Gilbert R. Davis (b. 1892)
  11. Green Berry Davis (1896-1992)

Joel Asberry Davis, Penelope, and William A. Davis are buried at Twin Oak Cemetery, Cumby, Hunt County, TX. Joel still has a grandson, son of Troy Lee Davis, Earl Leo Davis (1915-Living), in Dallas, Texas.

Elijah White McKnight married Laura A. Blount (Decatur County TN Marriage Record Book) August 6, 1887 shortly before they migrated to Texas. [see also, The Blount Family] They had seven children, three unnamed who died at birth or shortly thereafter.

  1. Austin H. McKnight (1888-1907)
  2. Bessie McKnight Strickland (1890-1919)
  3. Freddie L. McKnight (1894-After 1900)
  4. Arbon Grady McKnight (1897-1976).

Elijah and Laura had a difficult and tragic life. By 1900 Laura had already lost two children at birth. They tried farming in the East Texas area around Cumby, Hunt County, and then moved to Dallas, TX where Elijah was a teamster/over seerer for the farm hands and Laura was a matron at Buckner's Orphans Home. After 1900 Freddie died of an accident while playing on a swing with other children and Laura had lost another child. In 1906, Bessie, their only daughter, married Marvin Strickland who was a grocer in Lone Oak, Hunt County, TX. In 1907 Austin was kicked in the head by a horse and died of his injuries. In October 1907 Elijah and Laura's first grandchild, Marie Strickland, was born. Their second grandchild, Leland Strickland was born in 1911. In the spring of 1912 Elijah died after a lengthy illness.

Around 1916 Bessie, Marvin and their children moved to Amarillo, TX to open a grocery story along with Marvin's brother, Robert Strickland, and his wife Lorena Cox Strickland. Bessie wrote many letters to her mother in Lone Oak, Hunt County, TX, relaying their day to day life experiences and home sickness. In July 1919, Bessie, her two children, and her sister-in-law, Lorena Cox Strickland, died of yet another tragic accident. They were on a picnic at a ranch north of Amarillo on the banks of Amarillo Creek. While Marvin and Robert were hunting, the children were playing in the creek. One child stepped off into a sink hole, the other child went in after the first, Bessie went in after her two children, and Lorena went in after all of them. They drown in a sink hole about 10-12 feet deep. Their bodies were recovered and shipped by train back to Greenville, Hunt County, TX, and they are buried together at Friendship Cemetery, Cumby, Hunt County, TX.

My father, Arbon Grady McKnight, married Elouise Horton in June 1928 and they had the following children:

  1. Charles Grady McKnight (1929-Living)
    1. Charles Terry McKnight (1954-Living)
      1. Logan Elizabeth McKnight (1985-Living)
      2. Kelsey Ann McKnight (1986-Living)
      3. Michael Charles McKnight (1987-Living)
    2. William Grady McKnight (1960-Living)
      1. Emily Marie McKnight (1985-Living)
      2. James Edward McKnight (1988-Living
  2. Hugh Douglas McKnight (1932-Living)

Arbon and Elouise lived their lives in Dallas, Texas Arbon died of cancer in March 1976 and Elouise died of Alzheimer's in 1996. They are buried at Restland Memorial Park, Dallas, Texas.

Laura Blount McKnight left a legacy of over 100 letters from friends and family dating from 1906 until her death in 1941. She corresponded with her half brother, Joseph Martin Blount, in Decatur County, TN, brother, Millard Blount while he was working in India, sister, Fannie Blount Hale, and half sister, Flora Burns McLemore Davis who was in Ensley, Alabama.

Elijah White McKnight and wife, Laura A. Blount McKnight are buried at Pleasant Mound Cemetery, Dallas, Texas.

Granville Holly Pearcy married Mary Ellen Rhodes (1871-1929) in 1889 in Hunt County, TX and they lived just outside Cumby, Hunt County, TX. They had the following children:

  1. John Sherman Pearcy (1894-1932)
  2. Leslie Floyd Pearcy (1899)
  3. Opal L. Pearcy (1903)

John Sherman Pearcy married Eva Ross and died in an oil well fire in 1932. Opal L. Pearcy married Lenice Claud Johnson in 1921 and they had one daughter Oleta Johnson who married a Tindle.

Granville Holly Pearcy, his wife, Mary Ellen, and son, Sherman, are buried at Friendship Cemetery, Cumby, Hunt County, TX.

Oliver S. Pearcy married Ida Belle Pickle in 1904, Hunt County, TX and they had the following children:

  1. Wilmer Leon Pearcy (1907-1985)
    1. Wilmer Joe Pearcy (1929-1986)
    2. Donna Gean Pearcy Dingess
  2. Edward Glenn Pearcy (1910-1986)
    1. Mike Pearcy
    2. Len Pearcy
    3. Glenna Pearcy Barr

Oliver and his wife, Ida Belle, are buried at Forest Park Cemetery, Greenville, Hunt County, TX.

We have not found any record of Lavenia Rushing Davis McKnight Pearcy's final resting place, but believe it to be next to her son, Granville Holly Pearcy at Friendship Cemetery, Hunt County, TX. Granville and his wife's graves had been marked with Bois d ‘Arc logs until granite markers were placed on them in the last 30-40 years. There is another Bois d' Arc log next to his grave that we suspect is Lavenia.

Submitted by:

Charles G. & Susan J. McKnight
1919 Rocky Court
Corinth, Texas 76208-5193

Charles and Susan also submitted The Blount Family.

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