Daniel Davis (1782 - 1849)

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Birthplace: Tyrrell, North Carolina, United States
Death: Died in Gonzales, Texas, United States
Managed by: Lizzie Keitel
Last Updated:

About Daniel Davis

Daniel and Elizabeth Davidson Davis and a child arrived in the DeWitt Colony 5 Mar 1831 according to land records. It is believed that Daniel and Elizabeth both were born in Tyrrell County, North Carolina. Daniel (circa 1782) was thought to be the son of Enoch and the grandson of immigrant John Davis Sr. from Wales. Elizabeth was said to have been the daughter of Andrew Davidson. The Davis, Davidson and Shinnault families as a group moved from North Carolina into Davidson County, Tennessee in 1795. Davidson County had two tributaries of the Duck River called Sinking and Rock Creek upon which the families settled. Daniel and Elizabeth were married in 1803.

Daniel and Elizabeth and brothers George Washington and Zachariah and family left Tennessee for Texas via Mississippi arriving in 1831. They took with them fine-blooded Tennessee horses and later maintained a stud farm as a livelihood in Texas. Daniel Davis and family of 3 received a sitio on Denton Creek and the Guadalupe River on the current Gonzales and DeWitt County line. Daniel later purchased four city lots within two blocks of the Gonzales courthouse square and built three homes for himself and family members. The remainder of Daniel's land was sold in 1850 according to instructions in his will. Sons George Washington and John lived at home with Daniel Davis enabling them to earn a good livelihood. In 1835 Daniel assisted with forging iron shot for the "Come and Take It" cannon during the Battle of Gonzales.

Some claim that the Daniel Davis above participated in the Mier Expedition. Daughter Eliza Jane Davis Guthrie McKinney's descendants said he did go to West Texas in 1842 to the Rio Grande with General Alexander Somervell, but the group was turned back under government orders. Daniel would have been about sixty years old at the time. Other family members state that the Daniel Davis that was imprisoned at Mier was from Uvalde, Texas. The date of death of Elizabeth Davidson Davis is unknown, but occurred prior to that of Daniel Davis who died in 1850 in Gonzales. Both were buried in the original Gonzales Cemetery square which in 1984 was the site of the Episcopal Church. A historical marker was located on the site of the original cemetery square and stated that Daniel Davis participated in the Mier expedition and Daniel and Elizabeth Davidson Davis were buried in that cemetery. However, the remains of those buried in cemetery square were exhumed and transferred to a common, but unmarked burial site in the newer Gonzales City Cemetery.

Source: Sons of DeWitt Colony Texas

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Daniel Davis, Rolla's father had brought horses with him to Dewitt colony and he raised fine Bay horses, he also fought in many battles, The maurading Indians, then the Mexicans. In fact his horses were seized when they were forming the Army in Gonzales with Sam Houston, and he never got the reimbursement that was promised. Daniel was also held prisoner in Mexico for 2 years, when he was released and returned he never was the same. He had went, for want of a better word insane, because of his imprisionment and all the fighting. His father and his family go all the way back to Wales, where his forfathers were nobility. They first came to this country in service of the King. But his forfathers, fought against King Georges excessive levy of taxes, and forever became AMERICANS.

Source: Ancestry.com

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Daniel Davis' grandfather is believed to be John Davis (Sr.) who bought land in Tyrrell County, North Carolina before the American Revolution of 1772. John Sr is believed to have had four sons and two daughters: John Jr, Benjamin, Enoch, Zachariah, Roxanne Davis (Phelps) and Naomi Davis (Ansley, Alexander) however, there may have been additional children. John Sr., John Jr., Enoch and Benjamin went to Davidson County, Tennessee where they acquired land. Andrew Davidson, who is believed to be the father of Elizabeth Davidson Davis (Daniel's wife) moved his family to Davidson County, Tennessee from Tyrrell County, N.Caroline about the time John Davis Sr. and families moved there. When Daniel Davis married Elizabeth "Betsy" Davidson on 09 Dec. 1803, Enoch Davis, posted bond, therefore, it is surmised that Enoch was Daniel's father. At the time of their marriage Daniel and Betsy lived twelve miles Northwest of the present town of Shelbyville, Tennessee on a tributary of the Duck River, and their land was in Bedford County when it was formed in 1807 (from Davidson County). Daniel was listed in court record in 1828 and 1829 in Hardeman County, Tennessee. Emigration to Texas: Daniel and Elizabeth's son John (1810-1836), a young unmarried adult, left his Tennessee home in the early part of 1830 with a group of others to seek land in Texas and to help pave the way for his parents to follow. When Daniel and his family left Hardeman County for the Green DeWitt Colony in Texas, they stopped enroute for awhile in Mississippi. Daniel Davis, his wife Elizabeth, son Zachariah (and his family), daughter Elizabeth (and her family), and unmarried thirteen-year-old son George Washington Davis arrived at the headquarters of the DeWitt Colony in Gonzales on 20 Feb 1831 and Daniel received his league of land on 01, May 1831. 1840 Gonzales County Census:Daniel Davis had 4,882 acres of certified land; 4 town lots in Gonzales and was agent for John Davis to 553 acres of certified land. Zachariah David had 2,214 acres of land with clear title.

Source: ancestry

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They Weren't Merely Fiddling Around

Family lore says no fife, drum at San Jacinto

by Elmo Schwab Jr.

(The Houston Post/Sun., April 21, 1985)

George Washington Davis name is on the San Jacinto Monument but that of his father, Daniel Davis, is not. However, according to longstanding and oft-repeated accounts amongst their descendants in the Davis- McCullough-Schwab family line, both were at the Battle of San Jacinto on April 21, fiddling their fool heads off.

Daniel Davis, born in 1782 in Tyrrell County, North Carolina, came to Texas as one of Green De Witt's original colonists in February 1831, and received as head of a family a grant of one sitio---4,428.4 acres---about 15 miles south of the present town of Gonzales. Arriving with Daniel was his son, Zachariah Davis and George Washington Davis. Daniel's unmarried son, John Davis (one of the volunteers who died in the Alamo) had arrived in February of 1830 and received a quarter-sitio since he was not the head of a family. The Davis men, who all maintained a family tradition as fiddle players, settled in and around Gonzales. Daniel and John could not write, but, along with Daniel's son George Washington, became renowned among area settlers as fiddlers.

Not even a flag

Daniel Davis was among the men from Gonzales who defied the Mexicans demands for the return of the little cannon the settlers used to scare off the Indians on Oct. 2, 1835, an event that made Gonzales "the Lexington of Texas" and signaled the start of the Texas Revolution. His son John, being single, volunteered to join a small band of 32 men from Gonzales who went to the relief of the Alamo. After the fall of the Alamo, Daniel and his sons, George and Zachariah, helped burn the town of Gonzales to keep it from falling into the hands of the advancing Mexicans. As other family members left Gonzales in a long retreat eastward known as the Runaway Scrape, Daniel and his son George went to join Sam Houston.

According to family history, Houston's ragtag bunch of poorly armed, untrained men, many of them burdened by concerns about their possessions and their families, had no fife or drum corps. There wasn't even a flag. They were mainly bound together by desperation over their common plight, fear of the Mexicans, and Sam Houston's iron will and personal magnetism. The only musicians in the bunch were Daniel Davis and his son George. They didn't know how to play a march---indeed most of the men had no formal military training and didn't know how to march.

Houston's plan on the day of battle was to deceive the Mexican sentinels into thinking that the gringo army was embarking on a sort of drill. His intemperate instructions (he was noted or his profanity) was to play something the Texans knew, but which the Mexicans wouldn't take as aggressive. So the "Davis boys" (as they were called, though they were father and son) played a crude love song---what should have been a waltz---at an awkward march tempo. The ragged troops lined up in two files behind the fiddlers and trod slowly in front of the Mexican lines just out of gunshot range, moving from left to right in a parody of a poorly staged parade drill. The officers were on horseback, on either side of the line, and tried to keep the men in order.

The strains of the then-popular frontier love song (which was based on an older English tune -- "Will You Come to the Bower?") was scraped out by the Davis men, and the long columns started from a clump of trees and proceeded (with many of the men snickering and cursing even though Houston had ordered shot anyone who did not keep quiet) to another grove of trees and brush nearer to the Mexican camp on its right. It was done to resemble an awkward exercise and was interpreted that way by the Mexican lookouts.

But upon reaching the far grove of trees, the columns halted and turned right to face the Mexican encampment. The officers behind the line had orders to shoot anyone who turned and ran. The fiddlers did not advance with the column, but stayed where they were told at the tree line, playing over and over the same retrains from the simple song they had often played many times before at more pleasant events. They were not near the two cannon, which were near the center of the line, and according to the family story there was neither fife nor drum present with the colonists.

No fife, no drum

The Mexican army did have a fife and drum group, as well its buglers. Once the Texans started a rapid march---almost a run---toward the Mexican lines, the Mexicans began frantic efforts to rouse the sleeping troops and organize a defense. Drums were played, bugles sounded, and there was a general state of confusion from their side. The parade, charge, and battle were over in less than 30 minutes

According to Davis family legend the account of there being a fife and drum playing "Will You Come to the Bower?" on the battlefield at San Jacinto is unfounded. It is speculated that the fife and drum story was the product of later historians who tried to fit their idea of the incredible victory into a more conventional, idealized account of the conflict.

According to the family story, Houston did have a black lad who beat on a rough tom-tom to sound the wake-up call for the camp each morning, but he was far from being a military drummer. Though there were some men in the camp who could play a "Jew's harp," a mouth harmonica, or simple, home-made wooden three-stop whistles, they were.far from being "fifers." There were drums heard that day to be sure and bugles also, but these sounds emanated from the Mexicans.

The wail of the Texas fiddlers was apparently pretty well overwhelmed by the sounds of the battle after the Texans began their charge. But the ethereal sound of the Davis fiddlers, sawing away at the old love song, was distinctly heard by most of those on the left side of the Texas line right up until the first shots.

Only played the fiddle

After the battle, the fiddlers moved about the campfires the evening of San Jacinto, playing, drinking. and listening to accounts of the melee. Neither Davis, however, fired a shot that day. George Washington Davis received a veteran's grant from the Republic of Texas for his participation at San Jacinto. His father, who always claimed he didn't really do anything that day but play the fiddle and the whole thing didn't last that long anyway did not apply for a bounty---and his name is not listed on the monument.

Daniel Davis lived an adventuresome life of the sort that movie script writers love to immortalize. He participated in the ill-fated Meir Expedition at age 60. In 1842, luckily drew a white bean at Salado, and returned to Gonzales completely broken in health after two years of imprisonment in the Mexican fortress of Perote. His will, disposing of his one slave and his land, signed with an "X", is among the earliest probate records still on file in the Gonzales County Courthouse. George Washington Davis served in the Civil War and died in 1880.

Both of them, father and son, are buried in the graveyard named in their honor, Fiddler's Bend Cemetery, near Yoakum.

The name Fiddler Bend Cemetery was correct back in the mid-1800s, which was located on property originally belonging to Daniel Davis, a portion being located at a bend on the Guadalupe River near the Gonzales/DeWitt County line. However, that name has been lost and the latest records now indicate it as the Davis Cemetery; George Washington Davis and many Davis descendants are buried there. Daniel Davis, who died in 1849 in Gonzales was not buried in this cemetery; he was buried in the original Gonzales Cemetery square. The remains of those buried in cemetery square were exhumed and transferred to a common, but unmarked burial site in the newer Gonzales City Cemetery around 1984.

Source: Ancestry

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Tennessee State Marriages, 1780-2002

about Daniel Davis

Name: Daniel Davis

Spouse: Betsy Davidson

Marriage Date: 9 Dec 1803

Marriage County: Davidson

Marriage State: Tennessee

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Texas Land Title Abstracts

about Daniel Davis

Grantee: Daniel Davis

Patent Date: 1 May 1831

Acres: 4167

Adjoining County: Gonzales

District: Goliad; Gonzales; Victoria

County: Dewitt

Patent #: 251

Patent Volume: 12

Class: Title

Adjoining Acres: 1240

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Texas Land Title Abstracts

about Daniel Davis

Grantee: Daniel Davis

Patent Date: 1 May 1831

Acres: 4167

Adjoining County: Dewitt

District: Gonzales

County: Gonzales

Patent #: 251

Patent Volume: 12

Class: Title

Adjoining Acres: 2927

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Texas Land Title Abstracts

about Daniel Davis

Grantee: Daniel Davis

Certificate: 278

Patentee: Daniel Davis

Patent Date: 27 Oct 1841

Acres: 177.10

District: Gonzales

County: Gonzales

File: 248

Patent #: 526

Patent Volume: 1

Class: Gonz. 1st.

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Burial - Daniel Davis, Elizabeth Davidson Davis1849 , Inner Town Square, Gonzales Texas

Both Daniel Davis and his wife, Elizabeth Davidson Davis (as well as other early settlers) were buried in the original Gonzales Cemetery which was located in the inner town square designated in 1825 as a cemetery. In 1984 this area was declared "public land" by the City of Gonzales and the remains of those buried in the old cemetery were exhumed and transferred to a common unmarked burial site in the newer Gonzales City Cemetery. Historical markers are located on the site of the original cemetery square and also at the newer Gonzales City Cemetery.

          Historical Marker at Original Gonzales Cemetery:   This block of the Inner Town was designated in 1825 as a cemetery. Traditionally the burial ground for Nicholas Peck, a soldier of San Jacinto; Daniel Davis, a soldier in Mier expedition, and his wife, Elizabeth; along with other early-day residents. 
         Historical Marker at the Newer Gonzales City Cemetery:     By tradition, remains of early settlers buried at first in Cemetery Square, inner town of Gonzales, rest here in a common grave. Others buried here include key men in Texas Revolution, Dr. George W. Barnett, Maj. Valentine Barnett ( quartermaster ), and Matthew Caldwell. 
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Daniel Davis's Timeline

1782
1782
Tyrrell, North Carolina, United States
1803
December 9, 1803
Age 21
Davidson, Tennessee, United States
1804
1804
Age 22
Bedford, TN, USA
1811
1811
Age 29
KY, USA
1811
Age 29
Kentucky, United States
1815
May 15, 1815
Age 33
Bedford, TN, USA
1817
August 1, 1817
Age 35
Bedford, TN, USA
1849
October 25, 1849
Age 67
Gonzales, Texas, United States
????
Gonzales, Gonzales, Texas, United States