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 Murray County Museum  

The Oscar Davis Family

Rev. Oscar Davis has been remembered by many as the Free Hope pastor who fell from his barn loft and died from a broken neck. Because so many in his family had died of heart attacks, the family thought that Rev. Davis probably also died from one. No autopsy was performed. It is accurate to say that his body was found at the bottom of the ladder leading to the loft and his neck had been broken.

The 1930 Census listed the family living in Dalton. The family included E. O. Davis, age 46, Clevie C. Davis, age 23; Mattie Gene Davis, age 15; Albert Davis, age 14; Raymond Davis, age 11; Mabel Davis, age 9; Johnnie Davis, age 6; and Jefferson Davis, age 4.

When Rev. Davis became pastor of Free Hope Baptist Church, he moved his family to Gladden Springs, where they lived in the former Gladden homeplace.

The Dalton Citizen, reported two items concerning Pastor Davis in their February 1, 1934 issue. The first was in an obituary for Mr. Jim Greeson that immediately preceded that for Mr. Davis. On Tuesday afternoon, Rev. Oscar Davis had officiated at the funeral of Mr. Greeson in Spring Place.

Rev. Davis died early the following day. His obituary immediately followed that of Mr. Greeson in the newspaper listing. "Rev. Oscar Davis, age 50, died suddenly at his home near Spring Place Wednesday morning at 6:45." The article indicated that he would be buried in the Luffman Cemetery.

The Davis obituary did not name his wife. The 1920 Census listed Maud Davis, two years younger than Oscar, as his wife. Her grave-stone in Free Hope Cemetery indicates that she died April 24, 1929, nearly five years before her husband.

His tombstone was inscribed: "Rev. Oscar E. Davis, February 18, 1883, January 31, 1934. Dedicated to the memory of our beloved Pastor By Free Hope, New Prospect, Holly Creek, Hopewell Baptist Churches and Friends." Rev. Davis had also served as pastor of Smyrna Baptist Church.

Soon after Rev. Davis died, his sons moved to Whitfield County and the George McHan family moved into the house .

Six sons of Oscar and Maud Davis later served in the U. S. Armed Forces during World War II: Albert was in the Navy; Clevie was in the Navy; Jeff was a Marine; Johnnie was in the Army; Onnie was in the Army; and Raymond Davis was in the Army.

Johnnie was born in 1923. Before enlisting in the Army he worked in Dalton's textile industry. When he enlisted he was 5' 7" tall and weighed 119 pounds. He was 19, unmarried, and had no dependents.

Tragically, Johnnie was killed in combat in France, December 10, 1944. His commanding officer sent the family a letter stating that "Sgt. Johnnie" had served honorably and well as a member of that battalion for 22 months. He had been awarded a Purple Heart and a Bronze Star for meritorious service in combat. The letter reported that Johnnie had been buried in "northeastern France." After the war the body was exhumed and returned to his family. Following a funeral at Free Hope Church, with his brothers serving as pall bearers, Johnnie was buried beside his mother in Free Hope Cemetery.


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