Lee R. Davis Estate Papers:
The Lee R. Davis Estate Records contain original letters patents and information for lands granted out of the Milam District to Lee R. Davis, his assignees, and others from 1847 to1853. The Milam District was originally part of the Sterling C. Robertson land grant from the Mexican government in 1825. In 1850 McLennan County was carved out of the Milam District; Bosque County was officially formed from McLennan County in 1854.
Lee Roy Davis was born in Mississippi and arrived in Texas by 1835. He participated in the Siege of Bexar in December 1835. Military muster rolls indicate that he was under the command of Captain J. B. Chance, Washington County Guards, in April 1836. He enlisted in the Texas Army in October 1836 as a member of Company B, First Regiment of the Texas Rangers (Texas Army). Davis received several land grants as a result of his military service.
Davis married Catherine McLennan, the daughter of Neil McLennan, for whom McLennan County is named. They lived on the North Bosque River near China Spring with their nine children: William, Richard, Robert, Sarah, Thomas, James, Lee R., Jefferson, and Charles. Davis died in Bosque County by April 1871.
The Lee R. Davis Estate Records are comprised of original letters patent dated 1847 and 1853, a certified copy of an 1847 letter patent, photostat copies of the patents, estate partition documents, warranty deeds, tax sale deed with title abstract, proof of heirship, and field notes for 1150.5 acres in Bosque County. The acreage includes land formed from the Milam Land District and McLennan County. Documents refer to and describe a number of surveys including Lee R. Davis, Hugh H. Calvert, John Griffin, Jr., Samuel Bailey, Calvin Droddy, G. M. Roberts, R. Prewitt, Greece McCoy, Willie Bowens, Barron, Valdes, Isaac Richardson or Rabago, Joshua Taylor, and the I. Long surveys.
The Republic of Texas provided bounty land grants for military service during the Texas Revolution, 320 to 1,280 acres for each three months of service. Donation grants were issued for participation in specific battles. Soldiers who fought in the Siege of Bexar and the Battle of San Jacinto (including the baggage detail at Harrisburg), and the heirs of those who fell at the Alamo and Goliad, were eligible for 640 acres. Headright grants were issued to settlers according to their time of arrival in Texas. Davis received a number of headright land grants as the original grantee and as a patentee.
There are three original letters patent. The certificate for donation grant #90, for 640 acres, was originally issued August 7, 1838. Although the year of the patent is illegible, Texas General Office records indicate it to have been issued to Davis December 2, 1847, for entering Bexar between December 5 and December 10, 1835. Patent #282 is a bounty patent dated February 1847, issued to Jesse Hooker, assignee of William McFarlane, for land in the Milam District. According to Texas General Land Office land grant search, Lee R. Davis was the patentee of #282 from John Long in January 1851. It was recorded in Bosque County in September 1891. Patent #495, a bounty patent for 80 acres, was patented to Lee R. Davis and assignees in 1853. However, Rufus Charles was the original grantee as noted on the reverse side. This patent was recorded in Bosque County in August 1890.
The certified copy of letter patent #90 was recorded in May 1961. The photostat copies of the three original patents have been retained as they may assist in reading the documents.
There are three documents dated April 1871 to May 1871 which track the partitioning of the Lee R. Davis estate. In petition for partition 266, dated April 13, 1871, the judge assigned Neil McLennan, George Erath, and L. P. Standifer as commissioners. The petition was certified and filed in McLennan County in August 1885. The report of the commissioners, dated May 6, 1871, made recommendations for bequests to the Davis widow and children. It was filed in McLennan County, September 1885, and in Bosque County, May 1961. The report also includes a manuscript plat of the land division. The plat is very fragile and has been placed in its own folder. The judge approved the commissioners' report in the third partition document, dated May 8, 1871, filed and recorded in McLennan County in September 1885.
The collection contains three warranty deeds and a tax sale deed accompanied by an abstract. Two warranty deeds indicate an exchange of land in 1879 between two of the Davis children, T. J. (Thomas) and James. The third warranty deed records a sale of land from W. H. Cochran to James Davis in September 1883. The tax sale deed, dated April 3, 1883, transferred land to James Davis for payment of back taxes owed by O. L. Cochran. The accompanying abstract is dated September 17, 1883.
Additional documents include a proof of heirship, dated December 1954, signed by Mrs. Clifford D. Bird (Sarah Davis), sister of Tom Davis, on behalf of the Tom Davi™s heirs; and surveyor field notes regarding 1150.5 acres owned by the Lee R. Davis estate.
This collection is important for its original letters patents that relate to the formation of the Republic of Texas and the early years following Texas statehood. The partition documents provide information about early Texas settlers and their families as well as insight into methods of inheritance.
Permission to publish, reproduce, distribute, or use by any and all other current or future developed methods or procedures must be obtained in writing from Special Collections, The University of Texas at Arlington Library. All rights are reserved and retained regardless of current or future development or laws that may apply to fair use standards.
Gift from Jenkins Garrett, 1985
Lee R. Davis Estate Records, AR485, OS478, Folder Number, Special Collections, The University of Texas at Arlington Library.
Accessioned as number 88-6.
Finding aid prepared by Emily Galpin, May 2006.