The Mims/Davis family are Nancy's ancestors, her's mother's great-grandmother's people.
Linah Mims was prominent in Virginia politics in the early 19th century, then moved he and his wife Rebeccah Davis moved their family to central Kentucky about 1818.
The Mims Family
Linah's ancestors arrived in Virginia in the mid-17th century, but the details have proven difficult to ascertain. Mims research has been aided, but also confused, by the work of Sam Mims about 1960. He was a historian, doing research for a book, and gathered considerable information on the family from various records. He published his findings in a typescript titled “Leaves of Mims.” But, by his own admission, he was not a genealogist. Forty-five years of subsequent research by others has demonstrated that some of his conclusions from that data were erroneous. Perhaps his most significant error was to co-mingle two separate people as the immigrant ancestor of the Virginia Mims family. Later work has found that the records Sam Mims attributed to Thomas Mims were actually related to two separate people, Thomas Mines of Middlesex Co. and Thomas Mims of New Kent Co.1 It was Thomas Mims of New Kent Co. who it is generally agreed was the ancestor of the Mims family in Virginia.
This Thomas was probably born in England, where the surname is found with a number of spelling variations, including Mims, Mimms, and Mymms.2 He was likely one of the headrights claimed either by Robert Abrall for a 2 Apr 1651 land grant in York Co. or by Vincent Stanford for 1 Jun 1657 grant in Lancaster Co. (Thomas Mines of Middlesex was likely the other). His date of birth is unknown, and no documentation of his marriage has been found. Thomas Mims who married Mellyanne Martin in New Kent Co. 10 Feb 16993 is believed to have been his son, along with Lionel Mims who married Anne Martin 2 Jan 1707, also in New Kent Co.4 Thomas and Mellyanne had several children, including John, baptized 3 May 1705 at St. Peters Parish, New Kent Co. 5 Linah Mims' father, John Mims, is generally considered to be the son of this John Mims and an unknown wife. Nothing is known of the ancestry of Sarah Horn, Linah's mother.
The Davis Family
The ancestry of Rebeccah Davis, Linah's wife, is even less well documented. Little is known of John Davis, her father, but we know a bit more about her mother's side. Rebeccah's mother, Jane Clendenin, and her mother were captured by the Shawnee chief Cornstalk and a band of warriors who attacked the settlers in Greenbrier in 1763, killing Jane's father, Archilbald Clendenin and many others. Jane was held by the Shawnee for several years before being released. Little is known authoritatively about her parents' ancestry. Archibald's father, Archibald Clendenning, is reported to have been born in Scotland around the beginning of the 18th century, and died in Augusta Co., Virginia in 1749.6 He was apparently one of the many Scotch-Irish settlers who emigrated to Pennsylvania and then migrated southward into the Shenandoah Valley.
Reading More About Them
Several of Linah and Rebeccah's children did well in Kentucky, especially their son John who became a prominent merchant and investor in Eddyville. Two of their daughters married into the Cobb family from Vermont, early settlers of Eddyville and leaders in business there.
To read this family's stories you may choose to begin with those about whom we have the most interesting information. They include:
- The mysterious Lt. Governor, Linah
- Rebeccah's mother, Jane Clendenin
- Linah and Rebeccah's son John
- The husband of their daughter Julia, Johusa Cobb
- The husband of their daughter Cornelia, Robert Livingston Cobb.
If you prefer, you can look for specific people in the index on the left or explore the family in the Mims Descendants Chart, which offers links to each person's narrative. There is also a Map showing the principal locations where the family lived.
- [S1488] Blomquist, "Supplemented Leaves From The Mims Family Tree", cites Middlesex Order book mentions of Thomas Minns in 1674, 1680 1687 and 1690; mention of his plantation adjoining that of William Downing in Middlesex in 1688; and mortgage by Thomas Minns in Middlesex the same year as evidence that he continued to live in Middlesex while Thomas Mims was in New Kent.
- [S1488] Blomquist, "Supplemented Leaves From The Mims Family Tree", cites several entries in the 17th century Parish register for St. James, Clerkenwell, London, England.
- [S1473] Virginia Colonial Land Office Patents, 2:309, Robert Abrall, 1651, shows Tho. Mims as one of the four named headrights in a 1 Jun 1657 for 1000 ac. on the north side of the Rappahannock River in Lancaster Co., in part for transporting 12 persons to the Colony.
- [S1478] Chamberlayne, Vestry Book and Register of St. Peter's Parish, pg 413, marriage of Thomas mimms Ju& and mollyan martin.
- [S1478] Chamberlayne, Vestry Book and Register of St. Peter's Parish, pg 375, baptism of Jno son of Tho Mims.
- [S655] Chalkley, Chronicles of the Scotch-Irish, vol III pg 17, citing Will Book 1, pg 248.