Elizabeth Jane McKinney (Davis) (1815 - 1892)

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Nicknames: "Eliza", "Eliza Guthrie", "Eliza McKinney"
Birthdate:
Birthplace: Bedford, TN, USA
Death: Died in Charco, Goliad, TX, USA
Managed by: Lizzie Keitel
Last Updated:
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Immediate Family

About Elizabeth Jane McKinney (Davis)

Elizabeth Davis Guthrie McKinney. The following was published in the History of Gonzales County, Texas by daughter of Elizabeth Davis Guthrie McKinney and granddaughter of Daniel and Elizabeth Davis, Johnnie Elizabeth McKinney Thornton:

I have written this short historical sketch of my life this 30th day of December, 1939 at the request of the Daughters of the Republic of Texas Chapter of Texas. In the eventide of my life, of my eighty second year, breathing space, comfort, and contentment, I record with pleasure the recollections of my earlier days. My memory carries me back to the sweet face of a Christian mother with the dauntless courage of a true pioneer; for hers was a life of hardships, bravery, and sacrifices. She, Elizabeth Davis, came from Kentucky to Texas on February 20, 1831. The family of her father, Daniel Davis, and the Darst family, were among the first colonists of the DeWitt settlement. They too drank of the waters of the "Old Blue Guadalupe" and thought it a good place to live despite the wilderness and the marauding Indians. My uncle John Davis responded to the call of the Alamo and was one of the immortal thirty-two that never came back. My mother was in the Runaway Scrape, well known in Gonzales history. In 1854, at Sweet Home, Lavaca County, she married John McKinney, a man of sterling and fearless character. He came from Mississippi to Texas in 1846, traveling on the Belle of Red River to New Orleans, then to Texas by Prairie Schooner, and located near the place where Hallettsville now stands. He was the first sheriff of Lavaca County. In this capacity he served admirably for two terms; for all the privations incident to the sturdy pioneer of the early days of the Republic of Texas were experienced. To the union of John McKinney and Elizabeth Davis were born two children: Kate, in 1855, and I, Johnnie Elizabeth, in 1858. 1 recall with pleasure the happy days of my early childhood spent at Old Moulton. I could never forget our gay and happy home, noted far and wide for its true Southern hospitality. And neither could I forget the accompanying vicissitudes and sorrows of those by-gone days. The Civil War came. How we watched, and waited, and suffered as the years dragged by. Then the Reconstruction era and the carpet baggers stirring up strife among the Negroes. Sometimes there was no flour; coffee, scarce at one dollar a pound; and Confederate money, then the medium of exchange, was a scrap of paper. Yet undaunted, we pressed on and managed to live through it all. Educational advantages were few in the days of my youth. I was tutored at home by my half sister until I was fifteen, when I was sent for two years to Concrete College, (now near Cuero, in DeWitt County). It was founded and conducted by Rev. J.V.I. Covey, who was the Baptist minister of the Concrete community. In 1874, 1 became a charter member of the Ladies' Order of the Masonic Lodge, called at that time the Good Samaritan, taking the degree also Master Reliance, at Moulton, Texas. A year later, on December 16, 1875, 1 was married to Wiley Thornton, a young man of trustworthiness and dependability. It was quite a coincidence that the same man that conferred on me the Masonic degree, baptized me (at the age of fifteen) and performed our nuptials, Rev. A.S. Bunting. After the wedding ceremony dinner was served to approximately one hundred guests, who arrived by buckboard and horseback. We then lived for seven years on the farm of my father-in-law, James Ash Thornton, who had come from Athens, Georgia, and settled in Lavaca County. Incidentally, he built and operated the first cotton gin in that county. In 1883 we purchased our own home and farm in the Big Hill section of Gonzales County. Our dwelling was located on the main traveled road which was close to the only church for some twenty miles around. Therefore our home was a stopping place for all the circuit riders whom we entertained with pleasure. For many years my husband was church secretary and Sunday School Superintendent of the Live Oak Baptist Church. We lived on this farm at Big Hill until 1900 when we moved to Gonzales to educate our children. We were blessed with seven children: two boys and five girls, all of whom are living. Mr. Thornton died in 1905, his death being the only great sorrow in my married life. While I have not accumulated any material wealth down through these years, I have stored up riches in the fact that God has been good to me and blessed me with an abundance of health, kind, loving children, and faithful friends. I have lived and I am still living happily and contented. Johnnie Elizabeth Thornton. Reprinted by permission of the Gonzales County Historical Commission).

Source: http://www.tamu.edu/ccbn/dewitt/miscmemoirs.htm#davis

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She and her husband Orin Guthrie were in the "Runaway Scrape" and the burning of Gonzales in 1835. She set fire to her home, and left on horseback with her husband and their children in their laps. A black man with an ox wagon followed them with as much of their household goods as they were able to gather up in a hurry. They spent the night with the Braches (that was as far as they were able to go the first night). Then, they went on to Sweet Home in DeWitt Co. (now Lavaca Co. Orin was a Primitive Baptist preacher, and in poor health. He died in 1848. She never heard from either of her brothers after she left Gonzales. John died at the Alamo, and George died at San Jacinto. Later (1855) she married John McKinney, the sheriff. He had 9 children of his own (one dead), and they had two girls.

THE HISTORY OF GONZALES by the Gonzales Co. Historical Commission (Article by Ruth Johnson Stuckey)

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Elizabeth McKinney's Timeline

1815
May 15, 1815
Bedford, TN, USA
1829
January 23, 1829
Age 13
Hardeman, Tennessee, United States
1854
1854
Age 38
Lavaca, Texas, United States
1892
March 23, 1892
Age 76
Charco, Goliad, TX, USA