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Genevieve Davis Bennett Clark 1856 ~ 1937

 


Genevieve Davis Bennett Clark

Genevieve Davis Bennett, wife of Champ Clark, speaker of the House of Representatives, and daughter of Joel Davis Bennett and Mary McClung McAlfee, his wife, was born in Callaway County, Missouri; educated in the public schools and at the Missouri State University, and is a member in good standing of the Presbyterian Church and the Congressional Club. On both sides of the house, Mrs. Clark is descended from colonial ancestors. Her parents were both from Kentucky, her mother being born in Mercer County and her father in Madison County. Both sides of her family took part in the French and Indian War, the American Revolution and the War of 1812. In the Civil War, which divided the states, Mrs. Clark had first cousins on both sides. In one instance, she had two cousins, brothers, who served on different sides of the great struggle.

On her mother's side, Mrs. Clark comes of Scotch-Irish stock. Two of her ancestors, father and son, were at the battle of the Boyne; on her father's side she is descended from the first Colonial Governor of Virginia; collaterally she is descended from George Rodgers Clark and Joseph Hamilton Daviess. Her grand-father, George McAlfee, served in the War of 1812 and was at the Battle of the Thames, fighting in Colonel Dick Johnson's regiment Her great grandfather, George McAlfee, Sr., was with General George Rodgers Clark in his expedition against the British and Indians, and received for his services a grant of 1400 acres of land from Benjamin Harrison, then Governor of Virginia.

On her father's side Mrs. Clark's great grandmother, Margaret Dozier, wife of Captain James Davis, was the heroine of a dramatic incident during the closing months of the Revolutionary War, which has been handed down by tradition and told in all the histories of Kentucky. Captain Davis had placed his family, consisting of his wife and four children, a Negro slave woman and her child, an infant, at the fort (which was under the command of Captain Jesse Davis) while he went with a body of troops under the command of Colonel Floyd, of Virginia, to find and punish a band of marauding Indians for their depredations committed in the neighborhood of Blue Licks. While they were gone, the Indians surprised the fort, killed all the inmates with great slaughter and burnt the fort.

Mrs. Davis, Mrs. Clark's great-grandmother, escaped with her infant son, and the Negro servant also had the good fortune to escape with her child. Everybody else was killed but the three little Davis girls, Margaret, Rebecca and Martha or (as they were then called Peggy, Becky and Patty). These children, according to tradition were saved on account of their remarkable beauty, the Indians being actuated by the desire to extort a great ransom made them captive. In the meantime, the mother and servant with their children undertook to make their way to the nearest station to get someone to come and rescue her little girls, but they lost their way in the darkness and wandered around and were picked up after three days and taken to the station.

The Indians in the meantime had gotten such a start with the children that it was impossible to overtake them. They were taken to Detroit, and kept there for eighteen months under the care of Major DePeyster who was then commandant at the fort; the children were treated with every consideration. Major DePeyster was a man of considerable taste and accomplishments. His wife was childless and conceived a great fancy for little Peggy Davis and her sisters, and was anxious to adopt Peggy who was the oldest and promised her a life of luxury if she would consent, but young as she was she was not to be weaned from her home and country.

The children were finally returned to their parents in Madison County, Kentucky, grew up to womanhood and married three brothers, Joseph, Elijah and Moses Bennett, from Maryland, and from them have descended some of the most notable families in America. It is from Peggy Davis who married Joseph Bennett that Mrs. Champ Clark is descended.

Women of America

Source: The Part Taken by Women in American History, By Mrs. John A. Logan, Published by The Perry-Nalle Publishing Company, Wilmington, Delaware, 1912.

 

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