Sunday, February 7, 2010

The Two Cent Piece

This afternoon I was looking through a notebook with some of my research notes and stopped on the page containing information on my great-grandfather, James Ulysses Davis.  A note from my conversations years ago with my dad, Russell Lee Davis, caught my eye.  My dad told me that his grandfather gave him an 1868 two cent piece.

My dad always kept a little maroon velvet drawstring bag with his coin collection.  He was mostly interested in silver dollars, but also had other assorted U S coins and a few foreign coins saved from his Air Force days in Europe.  He would occasionally take the bag out and show us his coins.  I hadn't seen the little drawstring bag in years and asked my family where the coins were.  We searched and located the coins and found the 1868 two cent piece.  As I compose this post, that two cent piece is on the desk in front of me.  It isn't in mint condition.  It isn't worth a fortune.  But it's quite meaningful to have this memento which was passed from a grandfather to his grandson.

James Ulysses Davis was born March 15, 1858 in Clark Township, Brown County, Ohio to Isaac and Lavinna Patton Davis.  He married Rosa Ogden on May 14, 1892.  They had five children, Lucy, Lawrence, Elsie, James Quincy (my grandfather), and Nelson.  He worked as a farmer and lived most of his life in or near Mt. Orab, Ohio.

My dad remembered his grandfather as a small man with a full mustache.  He chewed tobacco and had a spitoon by his rocking chair.  He used a cane and kept it nearby in case he needed to tap the floor to get attention.  My dad remembered one visit to his grandparents especially well.  My grandma was speaking to Rosa, who tended to speak loudly and laugh a lot.  James Ulysses was trying to speak to my grandpa, but grandpa couldn't hear him because Rosa was so loud.  James yelled to Rosa, "Woman!  Keep the noise down, would you?"  Perhaps this was why he needed to keep the cane nearby for tapping the floor.  James and Rosa Davis at pictured at right.

James Ulysses Davis died October 18, 1942 in Mt. Orab from "mitral insufficiency."  He is buried in the Warner Cemetery in Clark Township, Brown County, Ohio.  My dad remembered walking to the cemetery with his grandmother, Rosa, accompanying her on her visits.

I'll sign off for now.  I need to find a nice box for this two cent piece.

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