William "Greenbrier Billy" Davis

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William "Greenbrier Billy" Davis

Also Known As: ""Greenbrier Billy"", "Greenbriar Billy Davis", "Greenbrier Billy Davis"
Birthdate: (86)
Birthplace: Shrewsbury, Monmouth County, New Jersey
Death: January 6, 1845 (86)
Greenbrier Run, Salem, Harrison County, Virginia (now West Virginia), United States
Place of Burial: Salem, Harrison County, West Virginia, United States
Immediate Family:

Son of Rev. T. William Davis and Tacy Davis
Husband of Elizabeth Davis (Johnston)
Father of Mary E. Fitz Randolph; Rev. Peter Davis; Benjamin L. Davis; David L. Davis; Jacob Johnson Davis and 9 others
Brother of John Davis; William Davis; Rev. Nathan Davis; Elisabeth Sutton; Mary S. Reed and 4 others

Managed by: Private User
Last Updated:

About William "Greenbrier Billy" Davis

DAVIS, THE SETTLERS OF SALEM, WEST VIRGINIA, by Susie Davis Nicholson, Salem, West Virginia, 1992. p. 11, 22

DAVIS, WILLIAM JR DAR Ancestor #: A030723

  • Parents: William Davis, Tacy Crandall
  • Service:  NEW JERSEY    Rank: PRIVATE
  • Death:  1-6-1845     NEW SALEM HARRISON CO VIRGINIA
  • Pension Number: *S5329 Service Source: *S5329
  • Residence 1) City: FREEHOLD TWP - County: MONMOUTH CO - State: NEW JERSEY
  • Spouse Number Name  1) ELIZABETH JOHNSON  
  1. Event: Migration 1789 New Salem, Harrison Co., WV
  2. Military Service: Revolutionary War Patriot
  3. Event: Military Served on Staff of Gen George Washington


From "The Settlers of Salem, West Virginia" (Nicholson 1992)

William's and Elizabeth's first four children were born in New Jersey as is recorded on the 1850 Census. George J. was recorded as born in Virginia and Rachel as born in Pennsylvania. the rest were born in Virginia, (now West Virginia). From this and other information, William and Elizabeth were in the 1789 migration.

William served in the New Jersey Militia during the Revolutionary War and received a pension for that service. He is registered as a Patriot with NSDAR by a descendant, several years ago.

After the threat of Indian attack had ceased, William moved his family to a farm on Greenbrier Run near Salem, thus acquiring the name Greenbrier Billy Davis.

The original sandstone marker still stands to mark their final resting place in the Salem Seventh Day Baptist Cemetery, however, a new government marker was placed and dedicated by Gladys Davis Norris on 30 May 1976. For the curious: Therer were no unusual circumstances that brought an end to their lives on the same date. He had been ill and she cared for him during that illness. Elizabeth was the daughter of Elisha Johnston and his second wife, Catharine Mitchell.

Source- http://www.doddridgecountyroots.com/bk6html/f15037.html

 Husband: William "Greenbrier Billy" Davis    
               Born: Mar-21-1758          in Shrewsbury, Monmouth Co, NJ  1
               Died: Jan- 6-1845          at Greenbrier Run (Salem), Doddridge Co, WV  1
             Buried:                      in Seventh Day Baptist Church Cemetery, Salem, Harrison Co, WV  1
             Father: Thomas William Davis   (1719 - 1791) 
             Mother: Tacy Crandall   (     - 1795) 
               Wife: Elizabeth Johnston 

Source: (1) Susie Davis Nicholson, Davis - The Settlers of Salem, West Virginia, Gordon Printing Co, Strasburg OH, 1979 (Revised & Enlarged) < www.wvgenweb.org/harrison/books.htm >, p. 13.

William Davis, S16097, NJ Line, sol was b 11 Mar 1754 in Middletown Twnshp in Monmouth Cty NJ & sol lived in Shrewsbury Twshp in Monmouth Cty NJ at enl & sol moved from there to Washington Cty PA for 2 1/2 yrs then moved to Harrison Cty VA for 38 yrs then moved to Champaign Cty OH & a few mths later he moved to Clark Cty OH & sol appl there 4 Oct 1832 a res of Pike Twnshp OH, sol m a daughter of John Havens (she wasn't named), a son James Davis was b 1 Apr 1774 & he stated in 1833 in Clark Cty OH that he & his mother lived with her father John Havens in Shrewsbury Twnshp NJ while his father was a prisoner of the British, the son James & his father William srv together in 1794 under Capt Bogard & Col Wm. Lowther, another son of sol was Jonathan Davis who testified in 1834 in Champaign Cty OH, the following were mentioned but no relationship to sol was stated, to wit: in 1833 Joseph Davis was a witt in Clinton Cty OH, in 1834 Phenias Davis knew of sol's srv, in 1834 Lebe S. Davis was aged about 48, Silvester Davis was aged about 40, Gideon Davis was aged about 31, Reuben Davis was aged about 30 & Calvin Davis was aged about 26 & they testified for sol in Clark Cty OH. [Genealogical Abstracts of Revolutionary War Pension Files; Abstracted by Virgil D. White; Vol. 1, Pg. 913]

According to tradition, at the time of the Revolutionary War, William worked in his father's shipyard. They had been Royalists until their shipyard was burned, William having guided the British fleet through Hell Gate Channel into New York City at the time of its capture. After the loss of the shipyard, William took his wife and children to her parents' home and joined the Army of the Co Colonists and fought for the American Cause. (Viola Trainer Manu). William migrated to Washington Co. Pennsylvania 1789 and to Harrison County Virginia 1792 (Pension Record). He bought all the bottom land east of Salem, where Bristol is now located and from that acquired the name Bottom Billy. He was at one time Sheriff of Harrison County, Virginia (West Virginia). About 1832 or 1833 he and his wife and several of their children migrated to Clark County, Ohio. It is believed that she died in Clark County, 1834, and he died in Clark or Shelby County, 1834 or 1840.[Davis--The Settlers of Salem, West Virginia; Susie Davis Nicholson]

Biography: Sketches of Pioneers. William Davis. William Davis is supposed to have been born in New Jersey, and came to Harrison County some time after the war of the Revolution. He settled in the Bottom land between Salem and Bristol. Was a large owner of lands, removed to Ohio and died there some time in the thirties. He always signed his name William Davis 'Bottom' to distinguish him from two or three other William Davis' who lived in the neighborhood. Tradition says that he had been a sailor and that during the Revolution he was loyal to the King and that he piloted the British fleet through the Hell Gate Channel, under the command of Lord Howe, at the time New York was captured in 1776, and for his services on that occasion he received a large bag of gold. After the close of the war and upon his return home, he found it a little unpleasant for persons of his political opinions, and emigrated to the western country as it was then called, where some of his relatives had come before. Deeds executed by him show that he lived in this county as late as 1825. His father resided near the Battlefield of Brandy Wine, and rode out from home, on a white horse, to see the battle, and the color of his horse attracting attention, he was fired on and killed. [History of Harrison County, WV, by Henry Haymond, pg. 369]

Story: William was a ship carpenter. One day he went into a ship yard looking for work. The boss said to him " Can you make a pin?" He says "I can try." The boss gave him a new hand ax and a piece of timber for a pin and led him to the "hack block" which proved to be a large stone. He finished his pin without touching the block with the edge of his ax greatly to the surprise of the boss, and raising his ax high into the air, struck a tremendous blow into the face of the rock as though he took it for an ordinary hack block into which he was accustomed to stick his ax after finishing a job. "Thad will do", says the boss. " I will give you $30 a month." He worked here but a short time, shortly after being a sailor on the high seas. At the beginning of the Revolutionary War he was a Tory and joined the British Army. It is said that he ran the first British gunboat through Longg Island Sound to New York. The following story is told as related by him. "one day while consulting with the British Officers, concerning the strength of the Colonists, it began to thunder and not a cloud in sight, we took a spy-glass and discovered a small black cloud not larger than a man's hand rising in the west. It kept getting lsrger until we could see it with the naked eye. It came up and settled over the vessellying at anchor nearby and a flash of lightning struck her magazine which blew up completely destroting the vessel." He believed it was an act of providence, which convinced him that he was fighting on the wrong side. He deserted the British and joined the American forces. After the close of the war and about 1789 0r 90 he moved from Shrewsbury NJ to Harrison county Viirginia and settled on a treact of land near the moouth of Cherry Camy Run. The viilllage of Cherry Camy was afterward built on this farm. He built the first mill in that vicinity. The foregoing is an illustration of the sterling worth and character of the man. He had strong likes and dislikes and was ready to fight for that which he believed was right. The following historical facts prove his patriotism and courage in fighting for his country when comvinced that the then present authority was in the wrong. William Davis of Monmouth County, New Jersey, Private in the detachment of Monmouth County NJ Militia enlisted at Monmouth, July, 1776, served one month as guide. Private under Lieut. Colonel Auke Wykoff's third regiment for one month. Served as private in Capt. Dennis' Co. 3rd Reg. Monmouth county militia. While enroute to Philadelphia, PA he was taken prisoner by the British and was confined to New York for two months. He was private in Capt. Stephen Fleming's Co. 3rd Reg. one month. Was engaged in the battle of Sandy Hook, NJ. He furnished as a substitute in the same company, Joseph Bishop. While serving as private in Capt. John Dennis; company, 2nd Reg, Monmouth County Militia he was shot in the breast in an engagement at Somerset Courthouse. He resided in Clarke County, Ohio, 1832 to 1834. The wound in his breast was from a rifle ball, which was removed, leaving a large scar for the remainder of his life. James Davis, the oldest son of William, appeared before the President at Springfield, Ohio, where he lived, June 28th, 1833, and testified that he was a son of William Davis and was born April 1, 1774, that he remembered well when his father left home, and that he and his mother went to live with her father, John Havens of Shrewsbury, NJ and he remembered distinctly when his father returned home from captivity, when he was five or six years old and that afterward he went away again to serve in the Militia. William Davis 1663-1745 And Descendants Compiled by Thomas Clayton Davis as published in The Alfred Sun, Alfred, NY, 1945-1948]

(bio by: [fg.cgi?page=mr&MRid=47080020" target="_blank Juli)]

Inscription: PVT NJ Militia Rev War (DAR marker also)

Note: husband of Elizabeth Davis

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William "Greenbrier Billy" Davis's Timeline

March 21, 1758
Shrewsbury, Monmouth County, New Jersey
March 3, 1782
Age 23
Shrewsbury, Monmouth County, New Jersey, United States
September 16, 1783
Age 25
Shrewsbury, Monmouth, New Jersey, USA
December 14, 1785
Age 27
Shrewsbury, Monmouth County, New Jersey, United States
September 10, 1787
Age 29
New Jersey, United States
Age 29
February 7, 1790
Age 31
Monongalia County, Virginia (now West Virginia), United States
July 25, 1792
Age 34
Pennsylvania, United States
May 27, 1795
Age 37
Virginia (now West Virginia), United States