Stories from past live on
Published 8:18 am Wednesday, March 18, 2009
This is another article that I found in the 1976 volume of The Brewton Standard. It is yet another example of a majestic building being torn down for the sake of progress. This house once sat on the corner of McLellan and Douglas.
The history of the James M. Davison home at 434 Douglas Avenue, written by Miss. Rita Jane Boykin, is recopied from the August issue of the Escambia County Historical Society’s “Escambia Echoes.”
The order of the modern day seems to be somewhat of a paradox. Some old houses are demolished while others are restored. The old two-story house at 434 Douglas Avenue in Brewton is being demolished. Its absense there on the corner of Douglas Avenue and McLellan Street is another chapter in the history of the old residence.
The tract of land on which the Davison house was built has a history which can be traced back to a patent. A patent dated September 1, 1858, shows that the United States granted it to James Snowden. In 1866, the land was a gift from James Snowden to C.H. Snowden but the actual deed was destroyed by old Sparta. In 1870 the land was deeded by C.H. Snowden and wife, Mary, to C.L. Sowell. This deed was destroyed by fire at Pollard.
On May 15, 1880, for the sum of fifty dollars C.L. Sowell and wife, Ana, deeded the land to John T. Daniel. By then the price of land was going up, for on March 5, 1884, the land was deeded by John T. Daniel and wife, Adlin, to Cora L. Storts for the sum of seven hundred dollars. Cora Storts and husband, John Storts Jr., deeded the land to Blacksher Brothers on March 19, 1885, for the sum of $575. All of these deeds were duly recorded.
The land was to change hands again. On. July 1, 1885, David Blacksher and wife, Maggie E., and U. Blacksher and wife, Mattie, deeded the land to A.T. Douglas for a sum of $750. Now the price was going down, for on January 29, 1889, for the sum of $100 the land was deeded to G.B. Frierson. On Feb. 25, 1892, G.B. Frierson and wife, Kate Whitfield Frierson, deeded the land to John M. Rabb. This deed was signed by N.R. Leigh, Judge of Probate.
Mr. Rabb evidently bought the land for selling as the next deed is also dated March 2, 1892. On that same day the land was deeded to Sam E. Henderson, who was Mr. Rabb’s brother-in-law. Each description of the land states “two acres more or less” north of the “enclosed premises of Mrs. Mary Frierson Boykin in the town of Brewton.” Mrs. Boykin was a sister of Mr. G.B. Frierson, who sold it, and the Boykin lot (and home) continued to be next door to the Davison lot until 1967 when the Boykin property was sold.
On September 19, 1892, Mr. Sam Henderson sold the lot to Mrs. Annie C. Curry. Between 1892 and 1910 a house must have been built because deeds prior to 1910 described land only. A deed dated May 21, 1910 shows that Annie C. Curry and husband, Turner W. Curry, sold the lot to James M. Davison. This land description states “land lying north of enclosed premises of Mrs. M.F. Boykin…with the buildings and improvements and appurtenances thereunto belonging and appertaining.”
Thus, James M. Davison acquired the house in 1910. Records are on hand showing a complete abstract and 12 deeds on the property. Mr. Davison was a lawyer and kept accurate records of transactions. For the sum of $1,750 Mr. Davison acquired the “Curry House,” which from then on was known as the “Davison House.” Into the house moved Mr. and Mrs. Davison, three sons and six daughters.
The house became a hospitality house. Many friends and relatives have enjoyed it. There was always a beautiful vegetable garden in back and a beautiful yard full of flowers in front. The children grew up happy, healthy, active and loved. Each day began and ended with family prayer.
Three weddings took place in the spacious living room. Eleanor Davison married Volney Graham Philips, Adah McCaskill Davison married John Angus Beall, and her daughter, Sara Olivia Beall, married James Willett Weaver. Two babies were born in one of the downstairs bedrooms. Volney Graham Philips, Jr., and John Angus Beall, Jr.
The family were devout Presbyterians. They always fed the “visiting preacher.” They shared the garden produce with many friends and neighbors. Church “socials” were enjoyed there. No house contained more happiness, friendliness and spiritual uplift.
But the sons and daughters grew up and made home elsewhere. Lizzie Kate remained with her mother and father. Sadness came in the death of Mr. Davison in 1931 and then Mrs. Davison in 1939.
John Adah Mc Beall came back to live with Lizzie Kate in the old home. Yet it continued to be a haven for friends and relatives. On July 4, 1940, tragedy struck in an automobile wreck and the life of Adah Mc was ended while Kathleen was left an invalid.
By 1949 the old Davison house was too large to be kept up by Lizzie Kate with Kathleen an invalid. A smaller and more modern house was built next to it and they moved in. In 1958 Sallie retired in Birmingham and moved to Brewton with them.
Finally, the old house was sold to Mr. and Mrs. Ralph Smith. Some remodeling was done and the cupola on top was removed. After the death of Mr. and Mrs. Smith, the old house remained vacant for years. Today, in 1976, it has been sold to Bob McMillan and it is now in the process of being leveled. Keepsakes-mantels, carved doors, colored glass windows-have been preserved. The lot will remain as it was in 1858 but many memories and history will remain too. It will always be “where the Davison House was.”
I hope this brings memories to you. If you have any photos to share, please get in touch with me at The Brewton Standard by email at email@example.com, by mail at P.O. Box 887 or drop by the office at 407 St. Nicholas Avenue.