Select Davis/Davies Miscellany

 

Here are some Davis/Davies stories
and
accounts over the years:

 

Saint David

 

Tradition states that David was born in the 6th century near where St. Davids stands today on St. Davids Peninsula in Pembrokeshire.  He founded there on the banks of the Alun river a monastery and church at Glyn Rhosyn (Rose Vale) in an area originally known in the Welsh language as Mynyw and by the Romans as Menevia.
The monastic brotherhood that David
founded was very strict.  Besides praying
and celebrating masses, they cultivated the land and carried out many
crafts to
feed themselves and the many pilgrims and travellers who needed
lodgings. They
also fed and clothed the poor and needy.
Saint David died in 589.  Between 645 and
1097 his monastic community
was attacked many times by raiders.  However
it was of such note as both a religious and intellectual centre that
support was
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



The
Davies

family
of
Gwysaney
in
Flintshire in north Wales claimed descent from
Cynric
Efell, the son of Madog ap Maredudd (Prince of Powys)

in
the 13th century.

The
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
of his
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
Continent
for the King of Denmark.

Later Davieses
stayed at home in Flintshire.  Robert
Davies married Anne Mutton in 1631 at the tender age of 15 and through
her
inherited the Llanerch Park estate.  The
male line of this family ended in 1785
.

 

 

William Davies the Golden Farmer


William
Davies was born in Wrexham in 1627, but removed
himself in early life to Gloucestershire where he married the daughter
of a
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
on
Bagshot Heath.   He allegedly took
only gold
from his victims (and thereby paid in gold to avoid any identification
of his
plunder), while often leaving them intact with their jewels and other
valuables.

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
than
golden, so the pub changed its name and was henceforth known as the Jolly
Farmer
.

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

The
Davis family, as
Davys, dates back to about 1500 in Acton Turville in Gloucestershire.

Thomas
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.

Grandson
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
baked
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
sawmill, a
quarry, and a general store.

Daniel’s
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

The
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
Umstad
the local Baptist minister.

The
Davis homestead,
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
this case
the Evansons, of the original builder
.

 

Ethel Davis,
Loyalist in Nova Scotia

Ethel
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
island. 

The
Davises raised sheep, milked cows, plowed
the land with oxen, planted an orchard, and built log homes. They
traveled by
rowboat or by sailboat and learned to watch the strong tides and the
weather.
They caught fish and tended their sheep in the summer and carded and
spun
sheared wool in the winter.

In early
1801 Ethel was injured at the launching of the first sailing vessel
built at
Westport.  He had fallen from a vessel’s
mast and broken his leg.  The injuries
proved serious and he died in May that year.


 

William Davis
the Wexford Pikemaker

During the Irish uprising in Wexford in 1798 William Davis
was
arrested because someone had said that he was a blacksmith making pikes
for the
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.

His initial
treatment in New South Wales was brutal.
William was flogged twice, once for being an Irishman and a
blacksmith
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
Jesus
with a crown of thorns, to commemorate what he had suffered as an
Irishman and
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
reads:

“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
trial for
the Irish political movement of 1798.

 

 

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