Descendants of the Myers and Davis Families of Iowa


For probably twenty years without success I have attempted to push back my knowledge of my great grandmother, Orpha (Davis) Vredenburgh's ancestors. Recenly (August, 2007) I subscribed to and in the process made connections with Dot Miller, and Holly Schrank - who were working on the same families. As a result I have been able to determine Orpha's great grand parents, Benjamin Davis and Mary Ann Elliott, and John Myers and Melissa Overton. This is still very much a work in progress. So this is a progress report.

Another key was a small photo that I had overlooked taken in the 1920s on the front porch of Mark and Orpha Vredenburgh's home in Blencoe, Monona County, Iowa. The inscription on the back of the photo from Orpha to her son Clifford in part reads:

"...these are our relatives from Des Moines, Mrs. Silver opposite mother [Orpha - bottom step on right] Mrs.Thornburg opposite Dad [Mark] Miss Lois Thornburg in front of Dad, Mrs Jack Arthur opposite Lois. All cousins of Mother [Orpha] and lovely people, we enjoyed them as much. Lois took this and sent it to me, but I know you would enjoy it..."

Mark & Orpha Vredenburgh and Orpha's cousins from Des Moines.

Note: right click photos to download a larger image!

For the purpose of reference on this page I will use Orpha (Davis) Vredenburgh - on the front right - has the focal point. The people described in the photo above are Mrs. Laura May (Thornton) Silver - Orpha's first cousin. One of Laura's daughters is Fern Lucy Silver. She married Clarence Thornburg - and is the Mrs. Thornburg standing opposite Mark. Fern Thornburg was Orpha's first cousin once removed. Fern Thornburg's daughter, Lois is standing in front of Mark, and of course Mrs. Silver is her grandmother. The Mrs. Jack Arthur standing above Orpha is another of Laura May (Thornton) Silver's daughters. Her name is Grace E. Silver she married John E. Arthur. Laura (Thornton) Silver is the daughter of Orpha's aunt Eliza Jane Davis and uncle Cyrus F. Thornton.

From this photo I was able to make connections to families that I had never been aware of. One researcher is Leland Thornburgh. He has also generously sent me photos and other material on the Thornburgh family.


The John C. Thornburg family. Front: John C., Ross, Ida Back: Rolla & Clarence

The John C. Thornburg family. Front: John C., Ross, Ida
Back: Rolla and Clarence.

Clarence married Fern Silver, Orpha's first cousin.


More Davis Family Connections

More photos. I have photos of other Davis family members I think I now better understand how these people connect.

Here is a photo of Orpha's Aunt Amanda Davis and her uncle William M. Davis (no he wasn't a cousin!) Amanda was born probably in the Des Moines, Iowa area in 1855. William was born in Massachusetts in 1856. By 1880 they had moved to Saunders County, Nebraska. They had three children, their youngest, Frank continued to live in the county. The photos below both are stamped Wahoo, Nebraska. Wahoo is in Saunders County. My grandfather Clifford identified the man standing as Frank Davis, but I believe he is wrong. Frank is probably on the far right. The older couple are most likely William and Amanda Davis. But your guess is as good as mine.

The William and Amanda Davis Family

The William and Amanda Davis Family

The Davis Home Wahoo, Nebraska

The Davis Home. Wahoo, Nebraska.

Frank Davis?

Here is another photo that my grandfather identified as Frank Davis. Is this really the son of William and Amanda?

Duke Wellington Davis was Orpha's brother. He was born in 1873. My grandfather, Clifford identified this as his second wife. His first wife was a woman Estella born in Kansas in 1882. His second wife was Daisy Olive Shepherd. They had one child, Elizabeth Maxine born in 1925.

Duke and Daisy Davis

Duke and Daisy Davis

The Myers Family

Orpha's mother was Elizabeth Rebecca Myers. Duane Mann has shared several photos of Rebecca's sister Emma. Emma married first George Vredenburgh. George died August 1897 at the age of 33. Within the next year or two she married widower, John T. Mann. This is their wedding photo.


Emma Myers and Johy Mann wedding photo about 1899


Elizabeth Myers

Elizabeth Myers and Andrew Davis

Elizabeth Myers and her first husband Andrew Davis
Wedding photo. About 1869


Elizabeth Myers and her daughter Orpha Davis about 1900

Elizabeth (Myers) and her daughter Orpha Davis
about 1900


Elizabeth Myers, Date Not Known

Portrait of Elizabeth Myers. Date Unknown


Elizabeth Myers and grandson Dwight LaRue about 1911

Elizabeth Myers and her grandson Dwight LaRue (1914-1987).
Fairfax, Missouri


More Resources:

Three Generations of Myers Descendants

Three Generations of Davis Descendants

County Biography of William LaRue and Elizabeth (Myers) LaRue

Shocking! Account of the murder of Grace Miller by her step brother "Cap" LaRue

Elizabeth Myers Obituary

Elizabeth Myers' Death Certificate

William LaRue Death Certificate

Dwight Moody LaRue Obiturary