Sheila Davis

Sheila Davis stands under the pecan tree at the Anderson County Court House where she said God anointed her one day with knowledge to understand the legal jargon in documents needed to transfer property. 

Services for pioneer businesswoman Sheila Davis, 64, of Tennessee Colony, are at 10 a.m. Oct. 9 at Evangelistic Temple in Palestine. Davis died Sept. 28, in Arlington, Texas. Elder R.C. Emanuel is the eulogist.

The lifelong Anderson County resident owned Anderson County Abstract Company in Palestine, where she directed more than 400 property transfers, known as closings, each year. When Davis assumed the company’s ownership roughly five years ago, she was the only woman of African descent to fully own a title company in Texas.

Davis leaves behind three children, Tray Davis and Corey Davis, Sr., of Tennessee Colony, Mary Davis of Arlington, and six grandchildren.

Her son said she was a hard-working business owner, mother and friend.

“She was my superhero and my best friend and my mother,” Corey said.

Sheila began working in the title business as a clerk at Guaranty Title in 1984 and joined Anderson County Abstract Company, at 519 North Church St., in 1994. She gradually took on more important roles as her knowledge advanced.

She also bought shares in the company in 1998, becoming a co-owner with Cad Williams and the late Bill Bible. Bible sold his shares to Davis in late 2015, and she became full owner.

The title company is now owned and managed by Corey, who worked beside his mother for many years. Corey said his mother “unofficially” stepped down from running the business two years ago in semi-retirement but often came back to the office to help at the title company, which is now more than 100 years old.

“I’ve been taking care of stuff for the last two years so nothing is going to change in our service,” Corey said.

Sheila told Palestine Magazine in 2020 the company’s success was due to her commitment to customer service and capable support from the company’s 11 employees. 

A member of Bethel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Montalba, she credited her success in business to her strong Christian faith. 

“I don’t want to leave God out of the formula because I went from a girl typing cards to owning a title company,” Sheila said in 2020.

She sometimes shared a story she called “the anointing of the tree.” 

On the first day of researching legal records, Davis understood little about the terms and documents she was looking for. However, something happened when she crossed the street to the courthouse. Standing under a pecan tree on the courthouse lawn, Sheila said the Lord anointed her with knowledge to understand the legal records before entering the basement.

“When I opened up the books, God had anointed my mind. When I read it, I understood it,” she said. 

Though Sheila worked hard for many years — sometimes late at night or on weekends — her favorite hobbies were shopping, spending time with grandkids, and playing dominoes.

“She was always on the go, always moving around,” Corey said.

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