Michael Dickson

by admin on October 17th, 2003

Born: Oct. 6,1777
Died: Dec. 23,1859, Nashville, TN

Buried: Nashville at the Old Cemetery
Married: Sene Williams in North Carolina

  • Sene Williams was reputed to be the half sister of Samuel Davis who was Jefferson Davis' father.2

Michael and Sene settled at Jones Creek, having moved to Dickson with his father and brothers around 1800. He served o­n the first jury in the county

Children of Michael Dickson and Sene Williams

  • Abishai, b. 1802, killed at Goliad, TX in the Texas War for Independance
  • Louis, died at Tallahatchie Pine, MS
  • Hugh, died at San Antonio, TX
  • John, died in AR
  • Pricilla
  • Jacob W.
  • Lizzy
  • Anna D.
  • Michael Jr.

Reference:
The Primal Families of Yellow Creek Valley by William J. Nesbitt, c. 1985

2. Email update from Diana Gale Matthiesen Jan. 21, 1999

First of all, there is no evidence that Samuel DAVIS had a half-sister. Samuel DAVIS had two half-brothers, Isaac and Daniel WILLIAMS, whom Jefferson DAVIS himself mentions in his papers. Samuel DAVIS even named o­ne of his sons Isaac William DAVIS. Some have claimed a half-sister, Anna, but it has never been proven.

But there is a more compelling reason why Sene WILLIAMS can't possibly be Samuel DAVIS' half sister, and that is her age. Her birthdate isn't given at the web site, but I presume she was born little if any earlier (and probably later) than her husband, Michael DICKSON, who was born in 1777.

Evan DAVIS married the Widow WILLIAMS (nee Mary EMORY) ca. 1754. Any “WILLIAMS” children of Mary's had to have been born *before* she married Evan DAVIS, so Sene WILLIAMS was born at least 20-25 years too late to be Samuel DAVIS' half-sister. At best, Sene WILLIAMS might have been a child of either Isaac or Daniel WILLIAMS, but WILLIAMS is o­ne of the most common surnames in the U.S. (more common than JONES), so making solid connections to WILLIAMSes — or DAVISes for that matter — requires solid primary evidence.

There is also the problem of geography. There is no evidence that Evan DAVIS was ever in North Carolina, except possibly passing through. And no possibility that he was ever in Tennessee. When Evan and his brother, Joseph, came of age, they received a lump sum of cash from their father's estate. They then left Philadelphia and went directly to Charleston, SC (most likely by ship). There was a huge colony of Welsh Baptists who moved from Philadelphia to Charleston, and that is the presumed to be the reason for them having gone there (as opposed to somewhere else). Evan DAVIS met and married Mary (EMORY) WILLIAMS there in SC and, shortly afterwards, they moved to Georgia where Samuel Emory DAVIS was born (between 1755 and 1758 — Evan died ca. 1758).

As I said, it's really none of my business, except that sooner or later the family is going to find out that Sene WILLIAMS is not a “half-aunt” to Jefferson DAVIS, and it's going to be a big disappointment. And the longer they've believed she is, the more crushing the disappointment is going to be. In my opinion, it's better not to perpetuate the myth. And much better to set about looking for Sene's real parents. Who knows what you're missing?

With the best of intentions, Diana

P.S. The most authoritative (and, in my opinion, the o­nly reliable) genealogy of Jefferson DAVIS is the o­ne written by Kirk Bently Barb, as Appendix III in Vol. 1 of the “Papers of Jefferson Davis” published by Louisiana State Univ. Press, Baton Rouge.

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