THOMAS DAVID CHAVIS AND FAMILY
Thomas David Chavis was born August 26,1886. He didn't let any grass grow
under his feet; he was a evry active and hard working man. Tom Chavis was
the second child born to Cain and Isabella Carter Chavis. Tom was born in
NC. and traveled with his family from Robeson County, NC. and setteled in
Santa Rosa County, Fl. sometime before 1910.
In April 1910, Tom and his older brother, Rufus, were living at John S.
Nowling's farm in Coon Hill. Rufus had been married to one of the Nowling
daugthers, Mamie, for one year and Tom was a hired farm hand. On January
22, 1911, Tom also married one of the daugthers, Bertha Mae.
Tom amd Berths Mae Chavis had eight children, John Cain (J.C.), Luther D.,
Vergus Lee, Nellie B., Levoghn, Emily Ruth, Dorothy Mae and Alvin David.
Tom and his family moved many times. Usually the move was because Tom
was in search of work to support his growing family.
In 1912 they sold 20 acres in Santa Rosa County. By 1920 they were in
Escambia County, Kupfrians Park and West Pensacola. Tom worked at the
After 1920 they moved to Louisiana. Tom work in the oil fields as a carpenter
and the family lived in a tent. Their fifth child, Levoghn was born in
Haynesville, LA.in 1921. The family moved back to Santa Rosa County by the
end of 1921 or early 1922.
They returned to Pace. in August 1926, Tom and Bertha sold 20 acres in
Santa Rosa County, 1/8 mile frontage on State Road No. 1, known as the
Spanish Trail. Their next move was to Milton
In February 1928 they sold a house on Stewart Street in Milton. Tom bought
a service station and grocery located on US 90 in Milton. The family lived in a
small house behind the station.
Bertha became very ill in 1929 and passed away on September 11th. She is
buried at the Jay Cemertery.
Tom married Willie Mae Nowling, in October 1931 their child Betty Jean was
born. Then in 1033 they had a son, Cliffton Lee. Willie Mae gave birth to
athird child in 1935. The child only lived for a short time and Willie Mae
became ill and passed away within days of the child's death. She was buried
october 1935 at the Jay Cemetery.
Tom was again a widower with seven of his children still at home, ranging
from two to sixteen years of age. It wasa difficult time for the whole family,
but he kept his family together.
During Tom's life he had many jobs. He was responsible for all the cattle dip
vats for Santa Rosa County. He was also instrumental in working with his
brother Oscar(W.O.) Chavis in forming Chavis Construction in Pensacola. He
worked as a laborer at the Navy Yard in Pensacola in the early 1920's, he was
a brick mason, a carpenter building homes, he worked in the oil fields of
Louisiana, the shipyard in Mobile during the WWll, and operated a service
station and grocery.
In later years, after Tom's youngest child Cliffton was becoming a young
man, he married Liz Booth. They lived at 1724 E. Hatton in Pensacola.
Even when life for him should have begun to slow down, he was still active at
66 years of age. He was in the process of building four houses when became
ill and was hospitalized. Tom never recovered and died on September 28,
1952. He was buried at Jay Cemetery. His son Levoghn completed the
Thomas David Chavis was a man who cared deeply about his family and
worked hard to support them!
His family lovingly remember him.
This also was given to me by Cherie Gurley
Written by Betty Mitchell Bush
Daughter of Dorothy Mae Mitchell
4315 Shalom Creek
Spring TX. 77388
July 24, 2001