Saturday, September 19, 2009

The Many Loves of James Quincy Davis




My paternal grandfather, James Quincy Davis, was born July 11, 1906 in Brown County, Ohio to James Ulysses and Rosa Ogden Davis.

Grandpa was married more than anyone else I have personally known - five times. He was first married at 20 years of age. The family story is that he divorced his first wife because she liked to play cards too much. I later learned that the young lady was only a teenager when they were married. So, I guess grandpa was married to a teenage card sharp.

Grandpa next married my grandmother, Jennie Esther Ballein. The story goes that they met at a store in Eastwood in Brown County, Ohio. There was a story in the Cincinnati Post several years ago about Freeman's store in Eastwood which, back in the day, was a popular spot for socializing. It is possible they met at Freeman's. My grandmother was visiting the store with her sister Freda and brother Oscar. My grandparents were married on grandpa's 25th birthday, July 11, 1931. They had two children, my dad Russell Lee Davis and my aunt. Whereas my grandmother was quiet and humble, grandpa was colorful and outgoing. Grandpa was active in church, teaching Sunday School for many years and later preaching.

After my grandmother died, grandpa married Mabel Hawthorne Love on November 24, 1965. Mabel would nurse injured birds back to health and allowed them to fly around her house. Her house always seemed immaculate, though I'm not sure how she carried this off with birds in the house. I also remember the vegetable garden grandpa had when he was married to Mabel. Mabel died December 22, 1976.

After Mabel's death, grandpa married Lissie Howell. She was ill most of the time they were married. Eventually, Lissie's daughter and son-in-law took both of them into their home in Batavia, Ohio. I only met her a couple of times, but she was a sweet woman. Lissie died in 1982 and grandpa continued to live with his daughter- and son-in law until . . .

Grandpa married for the fifth and final time in 1986. He met his fifth wife (who is living, so I won't publish her name) at the Williamsburg Church of the Nazarene, where he served as an usher and she taught Sunday School. She cared for him through his final illnesses and his battle with dementia. Grandpa died on November 29, 1996.

One final note. Although grandpa never seemed to have trouble finding himself a wife, his son (my dad) was in his mid-20s and had never been married. So, grandpa introduced him to my mom one Sunday at the Fairfax Church of the Nazarene. Dad didn't move quite as fast as grandpa, but he and my mom were finally married at the Fairfax Church of the Nazarene in 1962.

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