Select Davis/Davies Miscellany
accounts over the years:
- Saint David
- The David Family of Gwysaney
- William Davies the Golden Farmer
- The Davis Family in Massachusetts and Conncticut
- The Davis Homestead in North Providence,
- Ethel Davis, Loyalist in Nova Scotia
- William Davis the Wexford Pikemaker
founded was very strict. Besides praying
and celebrating masses, they cultivated the land and carried out many
feed themselves and the many pilgrims and travellers who needed
also fed and clothed the poor and needy.
1097 his monastic community
was attacked many times by raiders. However
it was of such note as both a religious and intellectual centre that
always there for its sustenance and maintenance. In
1090 the Welsh scholar Rhigyfarch wrote his
Latin Life of David, highlighting
David’s sanctity and thus beginning the almost cult-like status he
achieved. The present Cathedral at St.
Davids was begun
in 1181 and completed not long after.
The Davies Family of Gwysaney
Flintshire in north Wales claimed descent from Cynric
Efell, the son of Madog ap Maredudd (Prince of Powys)
the 13th century.
patronymic Davies name
was first assumed by John ap Davydd
in the 1550’s. His son Robert Davies obtained
from the College of Heralds a confirmation
family arms in 1581; and his son Thomas was
a lieutenant-colonel for Charles I and constable of Hawarden
castle. Thomas later fought on the
for the King of Denmark.
stayed at home in Flintshire. Robert
Davies married Anne Mutton in 1631 at the tender age of 15 and through
inherited the Llanerch Park estate. The
male line of this family ended in 1785.
William Davies the Golden Farmer
Davies was born in Wrexham in 1627, but removed
himself in early life to Gloucestershire where he married the daughter
wealthy innkeeper and had by her 18 children.
Later he and his family settled down in Bagshot on the Surrey-Berkshire
border where he was, by all accounts, a successful farmer.
But he used this trade as a cloak. For
he had early taken to the road and robbed
persons returning from cattle fairs or travelling to pay rent, mainly
Bagshot Heath. He allegedly took
from his victims (and thereby paid in gold to avoid any identification
plunder), while often leaving them intact with their jewels and other
His identity was discovered
since he was the only local farmer who paid his taxes in gold. A picture of him was painted and hung in the Golden
Farmer pub along the London Road.
One day it was remarked that the golden farmer looked more jolly
golden, so the pub changed its name and was henceforth known as the Jolly
William Davies was
apprehended in 1690, but he eluded his pursuers and shot a pursuing
butcher. He was caught again, tried for
murder while his previous crimes became known. The
so-called Golden Farmer was hanged on a
hill on Bagshot Heath now known as Gibbet Lane.
The Davis Family
in Massachusetts and Connecticut
Davis family, as
Davys, dates back to about 1500 in Acton Turville in Gloucestershire.
Davis left his home there
in 1635 and made the dangerous journey across the Atlantic aboard the James
to Boston and the Massachusetts Bay Colony.
He moved from Boston to
Haverhill in 1642 and was one of the first selectmen of the
town in 1646. Thomas remained active in
town affairs until
his death in 1683 at the age of 80 years.
Cornelius migrated to Stafford in Connecticut in 1719 and his
family became well established there.
They were renowned for their apple orchards from which they
apple pies and in 1801 started a distillery to make apple cider and
brandy. The Davis distillery was only
one of the Davis businesses. Daniel Davis and his sons operated a
quarry, and a general store.
son Daniel built his farm at nearby Somers in 1829.
This would be home for five generations of
the Davis family.
The Davis Homestead in
North Providence, Pennsylvania
Davis family settled
in North Providence, Pennsylvania sometime in the mid-1700’s. Benjamin Davis gave land on which the North
Providence Baptist church was built.
Benjamin’s son Milton had married Frances, the daughter of John
the local Baptist minister.
known as Umstad Manor, was built
about 1785 and was visited by General Washington soon after. The brothers Jesse and Nathan Davis were its
first inhabitants and Hannah Eliza Davis later lived there her entire
life. The manor is believed to be one of
the oldest houses in Pennsylvania still retained by descendants, in
the Evansons, of the original builder.
Loyalist in Nova Scotia
Davis departed New York with his family and other Loyalists for
Shelburne, Nova Scotia in 1783. The year 1788 was the year that
Ethel’s wife Margaret remembered that they settled on Brier
Island. They were the seventh family, all Loyalists, on the
Davises raised sheep, milked cows, plowed
the land with oxen, planted an orchard, and built log homes. They
rowboat or by sailboat and learned to watch the strong tides and the
They caught fish and tended their sheep in the summer and carded and
sheared wool in the winter.
1801 Ethel was injured at the launching of the first sailing vessel
Westport. He had fallen from a vessel’s
mast and broken his leg. The injuries
proved serious and he died in May that year.
the Wexford Pikemaker
During the Irish uprising in Wexford in 1798 William Davis
arrested because someone had said that he was a blacksmith making pikes
rebels. He said he was a publican with
an inn at Enniscorthy, but he was not believed.
He was sentenced to life transportation to Australia.
treatment in New South Wales was brutal.
William was flogged twice, once for being an Irishman and a
and a suspected rebel, and once for not being a Protestant.
However, he survived
these ordeals and by 1814 he had been granted a pardon and was able to
secure land in
Campbelltown. He prospered and became a
well-respected figure in his community. In
1817 some of his friends got together to present him with a statue, of
with a crown of thorns, to commemorate what he had suffered as an
a Catholic on his first arrival in Australia.
William Davis died in 1843. He had
over the years become a beacon for the Catholic community in Australia.
His memorial at Sydney’s old burial grounds
“William Davis died on 17th August 1843 aged 78 years. He
was one of the
last survivors of those who were exiled without the formality of a
the Irish political movement of 1798.“
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