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William Davis

Birthplace: Frederick, Virginia, USA
Death: October 05, 1841 (100)
Threemile, Yancey, North Carolina, USA
Place of Burial: Davis Cemetary, Avery Co., North Carolina
Immediate Family:

Son of William or John Davis and Elizabeth or Unknown Smallwood Davis
Husband of Mary Davis and Frances "Frankie" Weatherman / Davis (Carpenter)
Father of Betsy Cantrel; Mary "Polly" Browning; Sarah "Sally" Rowan; Catherine "Kate" Mangum; Nancy Hill and 7 others

Occupation: R W S
Managed by: Patti Kay Gourley
Last Updated:

About William Davis


William Davis (c1730-1841) was a well known pioneer in Toe River Valley Region of Western North Carolina. He and his wife Frances Carpenter raised a large family and have innumerable descendants today. Old Billy was a soldier during the French and Indian War as well as the American Revolutionary War.

Corporal William Davis

The burial place of Corporal William Davis of Revolutionary fame is located in Avery County. There are varying accounts about Corporal William Davis resulting in differences of opinion on the subject. One of the most debated of these concerned the age of Davis upon his death, which from two reliable sources is reported to be between 114 and 116 years of age.

Much that is told about Davis was handed down by his grandson Isaac Thomas Davis, 1828-1915. William Davis reportedly was born about 1725 or 1727 in England and stowed away on a ship bound for America and landing at Skipper's Ferry, Virginia. Davis served first with Braddock during the French and Indian War and then with the Continental Army. Isaac reported that "William was very strong and was a good marksman. The style for shooting in those days was to lie flat down on the ground. He could see his bullet hole in the paper 100 yards away and see and outclass his mark the same distance; he never used hog meat."

DAR Marker placed at the burial site of Corporal William Davis at Three Mile Creek

Serving under George Washington's cousin, Col. William Washington, they had gotten down into the Linville Falls area of Avery County. Washington sent Davis out with a foraging party in search of game and the old-timers told that Davis had remarked that when the war was over that he was going to get married and return to North Carolina. In 1779 Davis was promoted to Corporal and received four land grants in Burke County, which at that time included present day Avery County.

Isaac said that "While taking part in the Battle of King's Mountain, October 7, 1780, where he was wounded (broke his thigh) and left on the battlefield, was found by some womenwho carried him to a house where he was cared for. When he was able, he went to General Morgans' Command. He was captured by the British, escaped and traveled for three days without food when he again joined the army under Daniel Morgan. William Davis was present at the surrender of General Cornwallis to General Washington at Yorktown."

The author, John P. Arthur, who wrote the "History of Watauga County" (1915), wrote the following about Corporal Davis and his home on Three Mile Creek in present day Avery County.

“William Davis.--What?-- Hero: Patriot: Let us see. His grave is near the road in front of the Gen. Albertus Childs' house on Three Mile Creek, now owned and occupied by Robert Moseley. Two common "mountain rocks" mark the place of his burial. Two other graves beside his are similarly designated. No munificent government, proud of his record, has "sought his frailties: or his virtues "to disclose." Why? For he was a soldier of the Revolutionary War as well as those over whose ashes grave-stones have been erected. Who knows? Probably a bit of red-tape was missing somewhere. maybe his name does not appear on any roster or muster roll. Yet, in the congressional Library, at the nation's capital, is an allegorical painting called "History." It represents a gray-haired sire telling the story of the past to his son, and this son selling the same story with additions to his son, and so on down the line till the printed page is reached. The name of that oral story is "Tradition." Well, tradition says that William Davis was not only a brave soldier, but a mighty hunter as well, when the wilderness was to be conquered and weaklings stayed at home and sneered at the illiterate and lowly. Davis came to America with William Wiseman and William Penley long before the Revolution. He settled first in Virginia and afterwards came to Ashe County, where he married Frances Carpenter, sister of the first Jacob Carpenter. Then he moved to what is still called Davis Mountain, near Crossnore, on the upper waters of Linville River. When the game was exhausted there, he moved to Three Mile Creek and built four log houses "all in a row," with communicating doors between and a chimney at each end. Standing before a blazing fire in one end of the house, with the three intervening doors open, one looks through four large, low-ceiled comfortable rooms to cherry-red flames leaping up the chimney at the father end--one of the "fairest pictures of calm content that mortal ever saw." The date of the building of this old structure is recorded on one of the inside logs, but it has been ceiled over and cannot now be seen. But it was made there many, many years ago. The present Jacob Carpenter, his grand-nephew, of Altamont, knows the date of his birth and death, but they would cost the United States some "good money" to have them carved on a 12 X 24 inch stone. Davis died November 18, 1841, when 114 years of age. Still, as he had no middle name, it does seem that the Government, with a big G, might "sort of look after" uncle Billy, who fought his battles for him before Uncle Sam was born, he having been shot through the hips at King’s Mountain. His wife, who sleeps beside him, was certainly a heroine, whether Uncle Billy was a hero or not, for on one occasion, in February, while in a sugar camp on Davis Mountain, he had to be away from her on a cold night. One of her cows found a calf that night, and Mrs. Davis brought it to camp with her and fought off the wolves with fire-brands till morning.”

Davis was the last surviving veteran of the Battle of King's Mountain. His family cemetery is located in the small grove near the highway in Three Mile on the farm of Sam Smith. Davis's log home described above stood not far from here and has long been torn down.

William was one of the first people to settle Avery County. He was good firends with William Wiseman. William Davis and William Wiseman were "Over the mountain men." They fought in the Kings Mountain Battle together. William Davis was wounded in his thigh in this battle. Live to be 100.

"William Davis, a soldier of the Revolution, stole his wife, a Carpenter, from Ashe, and settled at what is still called the Davis Mountain, now the Monroe Franklin place, and which Warsaw Clark now owns, one mile and a half above the Crossnore place, where Kate, the five year old daughter of Davis, is buried under an apple tree."


Military Service: ABT. 1780 Revolutionary War Military Service: 9 JUL 1755 Fought, along with his 3 brothers, in the French and Indian War Military Service: ABT. 1783 Wounded at Battle of King's Mountain Emigration: ABT. 1753 Landed from Wales at Skipper's Ferry, Rappahannock River Event: Church membership Charter member/Three Forks Baptist Church PROP: 3 FEB 1810 160 acres

Corp William Davis BIRTH 1727 Virginia, USA DEATH 5 Oct 1841 (aged 113–114) Yancey County, North Carolina, USA BURIAL Three Mile Creek Cemetery • Three Mile, Avery County, North Carolina, USA MEMORIAL ID 121400633 · View Source

MEMORIAL PHOTOS 3 FLOWERS 7 According to careful Census analysis by Marty Grant, William's birth year is closer to about 1733.

Several family traditions give William's birth place as various locations on the British Isles. However, on the 1880 Federal Census, the first U. S. Census to list the parents' nativity, three of his four surviving children give his birthplace as Virginia. The fourth gave North Carolina as her father's birth place. Though not conclusive evidence, it must be considered compelling information from the available records.

The plaque states that William was a member of the 2nd North Carolina Regiment. This 'fact' seems to be in error if the statements of William's brother-in-law, Jacob Carpenter, are to be believed. Those statements say that William was at the Battle of King's Mountain and was wounded in the thigh. The problem is, the 2nd North Carolina Regiment Continental Line did not participate in the skirmish against Cornwallis' men at King's Mountain. Additional research should be conducted by interested parties.

It is known from William's will, recorded in Yancey Co., NC (Will Book 1, p. 353), that he was married once before he married Frances Wiseman née Carpenter. Therein he explicitly states they had three daughters and that they were the only children she bore him. Her name is not given in the will.

Any corrections or additions to this brief biography should be accompanied by verifiable documentation. ~CemeteryMan, ©2013

Family Members Spouse Photo Frances Carpenter Weatherman Davis 1771–1842 (m. 1795)

Children Photo Sarah Davis Rowan 1792–1851

Photo John David Davis 1792–1881

Elizabeth Davis Vance 1796–1883

Katherine Davis 1800–1805

Photo Jacob Davis 1801–1873

Photo Margaret Davis Wise 1803–1868

Photo Thomas Davis 1804–1880

Photo Rachel Davis Davis 1810–1865

Isabel Davis Vance 1812–1867

view all 18

William Davis's Timeline

February 1741
Frederick, Virginia, USA
December 2, 1771
Age 30
of Pennsylvania
Age 38
NC, United States
September 24, 1796
Age 55
Burke, NC, United States
October 19, 1798
Age 57
Burke Co., North Carolina
Age 59
Burke, NC, United States
Age 61
Burke, North Carolina, USA
Age 63
North Carolina, United States
May 14, 1808
Age 67