The Greenbrier Historical Society (GHS) maintains a helpful resource for researchers in the form of MARRIAGE BONDS. These bonds are available for $4 each.
I ordered a marriage bond for a collateral of one of my ancestors & found a great deal of information in two sheets of paper. My greatgreatgrandmother was named Dora Littleton. There was a very small cluster of Littleton's in GC. (not more than 10 - 15). I knew that the matriarch and patriarch of this entire clan were Cook and Maria Littleton. However, I could not figure out the relationships between the various remaining Littletons despite having found them on a few early GC censuses (1870 & 1880). The marriage bond advised that Eliza Ann Littleton was the niece of Mary Ann Littleton Hughes & James Littleton. It was in the form of two affidavits. In the first affidavit the affiant was Mary Ann Hughes who swore that Eliza had never been "legally married to Abram Ellis or anyone else" & that there was "no reason why" ... she should not be issued a license to marry John Davis. In the second affidavit the affiant was James Littleton and he swore that he was the uncle of Eliza & that she had never been married to Abram Ellis and she should be free to marry John Davis.
The GHS published the names of the subjects of all of their marriage bonds in Appalachian Springs (Volume 10, No 3, 2004) & I believe this information (the list) can also be obtained via the net. (I'll try to give a link in a future housekeeping note)
Eliza Ann Littleton (possibly Ellis) Davis was also known as Eliza Ann Ellis and Elizabeth/Liza Davis. She was the wife of John "Jack" Davis & as I mentioned above she was the niece of Mary Ann Littleton Hughes and James Littleton. She was the mother of Mary Ellis. She was born in 1846 in GC (at a time when it was still the State of Virginia). She appears on the 1870 census as "Eliza Ellis" a BF, age 35, keeping house, and enumerated with Andrew Ellis. (His name is really Abram Ellis although he is enumerated as Andrew). John "Jack" William Davis married Eliza on 9/29/1876 (See the Greenbrier County marriage ledger maintained by the GC County Clerk). At the time of this marriage she was 30 y.o. & Jack was 54 y.o. (Larry Shuck records her marriage in his Marriage Records, pages 105 && 598 although he has her marrying an M. Davis from Augusta and then a John William Davis, age 54). Eliza shows up in the 1880 census in Lewisburg (in town) as a BF, age 45, with Jack Davis (55). Both of her parents are listed as having been born in Virginia. Also in the household is the Ellis family: Mary (19), Charles (16), Willie A. (4), & a child not yet named born 3/1880. The Ellis children appear to be Eliza's children as Eliza is the mother of Mary. (We know Eliza is the mother of Mary Ellis b/c she shows up on Mary's death certificate - See WV Death Certificate # 15537, GC, 1927. On the death certificate she is listed as Liza Davis). In 1900, Eliza is listed as a 50 year old Black Female (BF), born in Virginia, married for 30 years to Jack Davis. She is reported as having 3 children with 3 still living . In 1900 she is enumerated as Elizabeth. I do not yet have death information on Eliza Ann Littleton (Ellis) Davis though I am sure her death is registered in the Greenbrier County death records which are located in the Clerk's office in the courthouse. Note that there is also an Elizabeth Davis on the 1870 census in Greenbrier County at the Fort Springs District who is a Black female keeping house with John Davis. This begs the question as to whether she was between households at the time b/c she is enumerated twice in 1870, both with Abram Ellis and John Davis.
Eliza's daughter, Mary, appears to have been married but she retained the name Ellis. She had a son named Luther Ellis. In the 1880 census she is indicated as unacknowledged/illegitimate (actually they used another word which I'm not inclined to use here). She is listed as the stepdaughter of Jack Davis & the daughter of Eliza. Her death certificate (WV DC # 15537) indicates that she died on 12/19/1927 at 70years 2months 18days (70y2m18d). She was a widow at the time of her death. She is listed as a housewife and the daughter of Abe Ellis of GC & Liza Davis of GC. The informant was her son, Luther.
Eliza's son Charlie Ellis married a woman named Elizabeth around 1899. They had at least 4 children - Harry A., Charles W., Howard, and an infant born in/around 1910. Charles' wife Elizabeth later married John Campbell and her children became his stepchildren (see 1920 census entry for John Campbell).
I don't have further information on the female child Willie A. Ellis who was enumerated with Eliza and Jack Davis in 1880.
So, another way to research in this area is to locate marriage bonds. The marriage bonds appear to be information (in the form of affidavits) given at the time of the marriage to satisfy a marriage requirement. In this case it would have been to show that Eliza was free from any impediments of marriage.