The story

Thomas Davis

Thomas Davis

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Thomas Davis was a bank robber who became friends with Jack Ruby in Dallas. According to the wife of Davis, he also worked for the Mafia. He was also involved in the the Central Intelligence Agency plot to assassinate Fidel Castro and as a gunrunner for the anti-Communist forces in Cuba.

In the 1950s and 1960s Davis worked for the CIA in Indochina, Indonesia and Algeria. In the summer of 1963 Davis helped recruit mercenaries for a planned coup in Haiti.

Davis was in North Africa when President John F. Kennedy was assassinated in November, 1963. The following month he was arrested and jailed in Tangier in connection with Kennedy's death. Later it was revealed that Davis was helped to escape from the Moroccan prison by a CIA agent known as QJ/WIN (probably Jean Souetre who was in Dallas when Kennedy was assassinated).

Thomas Davis was killed when he was electrocuted while cutting a power line in September, 1973.

Pages: Check them out

October 14: TODAY in Irish History:

Conor is a Chicago based Motivational Humorous Business Speaker, Author and History buff.

1791: Society of United Irishmen

Society of United Irishmenfounded at a meeting attended by Wolfe Tone, Henry Joy McCracken and Thomas Russell. One of the resolutions passed read: That no reform is just which does not include Irishmen of every religious persuasion.

1814: Thomas Davis – Young Irelander

Thomas Davis, writer, poet and architect the Young Ireland movement is born in Mallow. In his short thirty one years, Davis made a major contribution to Irish history. He was one of the leading lights of the Young Ireland movement, editor of The Nation newspaper and composed one of Ireland’s most famous nationalist songs A Nation Once Again. He also wrote wrote the Lament for Owen Roe O’Neill.

1880: Captain Charles Boycott

Captain Charles Boycott, who would be responsible for giving the English language the word “boycott” writes to the Times of London about his situation in Ireland.

Sir, The following detail may be interesting to your readers as exemplifying the power of the Land League. On the 22nd September a process-server, escorted by a police force of seventeen men, retreated to my house for protection, followed by a howling mob of people, who yelled and hooted at the members of my family. On the ensuing day, September 23rd, the people collected in crowds upon my farm, and some hundred or so came up to my house and ordered off, under threats of ulterior consequences, all my farm labourers, workmen, and stablemen, commanding them never to work for me again.

My herd has been frightened by them into giving up his employment, though he has refused to give up the house he held from me as part of his emolument. Another herd on an off farm has also been compelled to resign his situation. My blacksmith has received a letter threatening him with murder if he does any more work for me, and my laundress has also been ordered to give up my washing. A little boy, twelve years of age, who carried my post-bag to and from the neighbouring town of Ballinrobe, was struck and threatened on 27th September, and ordered to desist from his work since which time I have sent my little nephew for my letters and even he, on 2nd October, was stopped on the road and threatened if he continued to act as my messenger.

The shopkeepers have been warned to stop all supplies to my house, and I have just received a message from the post mistress to say that the telegraph messenger was stopped and threatened on the road when bringing out a message to me and that she does not think it safe to send any telegrams which may come for me in the future for fear they should be abstracted and the messenger injured. My farm is public property the people wander over it with impunity. My crops are trampled upon, carried away in quantities, and destroyed wholesale. The locks on my gates are smashed, the gates thrown open, the walls thrown down, and the stock driven out on the roads. I can get no workmen to do anything, and my ruin is openly avowed as the object of the Land League unless I throw up everything and leave the country. I say nothing about the danger to my own life, which is apparent to anybody who knows the country.

Lough Mask House, County Mayo, 14 October

Captain Charles Boycott, who would be responsible for giving the English language the word “boycott” writes to the Times of London about his situation in Ireland.

Sir, The following detail may be interesting to your readers as exemplifying the power of the Land League. On the 22nd September a process-server, escorted by a police force of seventeen men, retreated to my house for protection, followed by a howling mob of people, who yelled and hooted at the members of my family. On the ensuing day, September 23rd, the people collected in crowds upon my farm, and some hundred or so came up to my house and ordered off, under threats of ulterior consequences, all my farm labourers, workmen, and stablemen, commanding them never to work for me again. My herd has been frightened by them into giving up his employment, though he has refused to give up the house he held from me as part of his emolument. Another herd on an off farm has also been compelled to resign his situation. My blacksmith has received a letter threatening him with murder if he does any more work for me, and my laundress has also been ordered to give up my washing. A little boy, twelve years of age, who carried my post-bag to and from the neighbouring town of Ballinrobe, was struck and threatened on 27th September, and ordered to desist from his work since which time I have sent my little nephew for my letters and even he, on 2nd October, was stopped on the road and threatened if he continued to act as my messenger. The shopkeepers have been warned to stop all supplies to my house, and I have just received a message from the post mistress to say that the telegraph messenger was stopped and threatened on the road when bringing out a message to me and that she does not think it safe to send any telegrams which may come for me in the future for fear they should be abstracted and the messenger injured. My farm is public property the people wander over it with impunity. My crops are trampled upon, carried away in quantities, and destroyed wholesale. The locks on my gates are smashed, the gates thrown open, the walls thrown down, and the stock driven out on the roads. I can get no workmen to do anything, and my ruin is openly avowed as the object of the Land League unless I throw up everything and leave the country. I say nothing about the danger to my own life, which is apparent to anybody who knows the country.

Lough Mask House, County Mayo, 14 October

1882: Eamonn De Valera born in New York City

“Dev” is born in New York city to parents Catherine Coll from County Limerick and Juan de Valera, a Cuban immigrant. He would become one of the leading lights of Irish nationalism, independence, the civil war and twentieth century Irish politics.

De Valera fought in the 1916 Rising and only avoided execution either because he was an American Citizen or because British authorities called a halt to any further execution of the leaders of the Rising.

Captured de Valera 1916 Rising

He spent much of the Irish War of Independence in the United States, generating support and funding for an independent Ireland.

Dev’s reluctance to get directly involved in the Anglo Irish Treaty negotiations has intrigued historians for years. His subsequent refusal to accept the Treaty and a democratic vote in the Dail Eireann, (Irish Parliament) led to the Irish Civil War.

de Valera with Anti-Treaty TDs 1922

Conspiracy theorists blame de Valera for the death of Michael Collins, but there is little evidence that he directly ordered the death of The Big Fella.

An immensely skilled politician, he reneged on much of his rhetoric when he agreed in 1927 to enter Dail Eireann reciting the Oath of Allegiance which he described as “an empty formula.”

Once he gained power in 1932, he removed the Oath of Allegiance actively encouraged Irish self-sufficiency encouraging economic protectionism which was not to the country’s benefit and was not afraid to bring the full rigor of the law on many of his former IRA colleagues who continued a campaign for independence.

Securing control of the Irish ports from Britain in 1938 played a major role in keeping Ireland “neutral” during World War II.

De Valera’s decision to visit and offer condolences to the German Ambassador on the death of Adolf Hitleramazed and infuriated world opinion.

In 1959, he relinquished parliamentary politics and became President of Ireland for two seven year terms.

Founding of Fianna Fáil

Disillusioned with the abolitionist policies of Sinn Fein, de Valera founded the Fianna Fáil party in 1926. Although the party would dominate much of Irish politics for the rest of the century, the party’s manifesto was an optimistic, utopian document that is some way from being achieved.

1.To secure the unity and independence of Ireland as a Republic.

2.To restore the Irish language as the spoken language of the people, and to develop a distinctive national life in accordance with Irish traditions and ideals.

3.To make the resources and wealth of Ireland subservient to the needs and welfare of all the people of Ireland.

4.To make Ireland, as far as possible, economically self-contained and self-sufficing.

5.To establish as many families as practicable on the land.

6.By suitable distribution of power to promote the ruralisation of industries essential to the lives of the people as opposed to their concentration in cities.

7.To carry out the Democratic Programme of the First Dáil.

Want to learn more about Ireland? See these images and more in the acclaimed For the Love of Being Irish

This history is written by Irish author, business keynote speaker and award winning humorist IrishmanSpeaks – Conor Cunneen. If you spot any inaccuracies or wish to make a comment, please don’t hesitate to contact us via the comment button.

Visit Conor’s YouTube channel IrishmanSpeaks to Laugh and Learn.

Tags: Best Irish Gift, Creative Irish Gift, Unique Irish Gifts, Irish Books, Irish Authors, Today in Irish History TODAY IN IRISH HISTORY (published by IrishmanSpeaks)

Maj. Thomas Davis, of Nansemond

Major Thomas Davis was born in 1612/13 in Jamestown (Chuckatuck), Nansemond County, Virginia. Thomas Davis died before 20 September 1683 in Nansemond County, Virginia.

  • parents: son of Captain James Davis and Rachell Keyes. "As of April 2016, The only child we seem sure of is Maj. Thomas Davis, who took the patent of the property of James Davis, Ancient Planter, deceased in 1633, when he came of age. Similarly, there is no known ancestry besides the notes that he came from a family of mariners of Devon."


  1. Mary Bowers. (One account says James was the son of Mary Bowers.)
  2. Rebecca or Elizabeth Christian ca. 1635 and they had children James, Thomas, Richard, William and Mary Davis

the Miles Files name no wife and only these five children:

  • 1. James (3) Davis+ b. c 1636
  • 2. Thomas (4) Davis b. c 1638, d. b 26 Oct 1694
  • 3. Richard (5) Davis+ b. c 1640, d. b 20 Feb 1696/97
  • 4. William (6) Davis+ b. c 1642, d. b 24 Nov 1684
  • 5. (d/o Thos) (7) Davis+ b. c 1644


Notes: The Davis family, James, Rachell and young Thomas who must have been about 4 at the time, appear to have made a trip to England and are shown on Passenger and Immigration Lists returning to Virginia in 1617 on the "George." This appears to be when they brought with them and paid transport for George Cooke and Alice Mulleines.4,5

Thomas was shown to be the son of Captain James Davis based on the following grant to him of land in Isle of Wight:

Granted by the Governor and Captain General of Virginia, Sir John Harvey, Kt., to "Thomas Davis, Planter, of Warwicksqueick, sonn & heir apparant to James Davis, Gent., late of Henerico in Va., dec'd., 300 acs. abutting Ely. on Warwicksqueicke Cr. about 2 mi. from the mouth, beg. at a point of land called the redd point, extending Wly. up the Cr. &c. 6 Mar. 1633, p. 128. In right of his father, an Ancient Planter for his per. devdt 100 acs. for trans. of 2 servts.: Georg Cooke, Alice Mulleines whoe came in the George 1617 & 100 acs. in right or Rachell Davis, Mother to sd. Thomas, for her per. devdt., whoe was an Ancient Planter." (Nugent)

The Virginia Asssembly had decreed that planters who came at their own cost before the coming away of Sir Thomas Dale, that is prior to April 1616, should have on the first division of land, 100 acres for their own personal adventure and also the same for every single share, amounting to the sum of 12-10-0 paid into the London Company of Virginia. This was the reason that Captain Thomas Davis received this grant of land, as the heir of his father. His mother Rachell Davis was probably dead long before 1633.6,7,8

Purse & Person further states that Thomas sold 50 acres of this tract on 13 July 1636 to Ambrose Meador and John White and on 23 Sept. 1648 sold 200 acres of the same to John Moone, the consideration for the latter being 2000 pounds of tobacco and the deed reciting that Thomas Davis was "of Nansemond." (Isle of Wight Wills & Patent Bk.) Thomas Davis had many other land grants, deeds and patents which can be viewed by clicking here.9

In 1637, Thomas appears to have settled in the area which became the Upper County of New Norfolk in 1637 and Nansemond in 1642, as evidenced by two patents, one of May 22nd and the other dated November 23rd of 1637 in which he was given 400 acres. And 7 years later, on August 10th 1644, he was granted 300 acres which adjoined the land of Thomas Jordan, deceased. "The latter grant included his original 100 acres in the Upper County of New Norfolk assigned to him 22 May 1637."10

An affidavit in the Admiralty Court in London in 1639 was made by Thomas Davis, born 1613, son of Captain James Davis, in which he stated he was "A Merchant of Chuckatuck in Virginia, aged 26 years" (Bodie).11,12

In 1654 he was a Justice of Nansemond but "at his request on October 11, 1660 he was dismissed from the county commision by the General Assembly."13

According to Purse & Person, this Major Thomas Davis should not be confused with another Thomas Davis or Captain Thomas Davis of Warwick River "who in the muster of 1624/5 gave his age as 40 years, stating he came in the John & Francis in 1623. This Capt. Thomas Davis of the muster owned land in Elizabeth City, 1624, in that part which became Warwick River County. He was Burgess for Warwick in 1655-56 and sheriff, 1663-64, and died by 2 Nov. 1671 when land formerly owned by him was regranted" (See MCGC, Leonard & Bodie). There seems to have been a question of whether this Captain Thomas Davis of Warwick and Major Thomas Davis of Nansemond are one and the same and it seems they are not.14,15

In 1662, Warfield notes that Thomas acquired lands in Somerset County, Maryland and probably resided in Maryland for several years thereafter but returned to Virginia prior to his death.1

In 1674, Major Thomas Davis and Mr. Barneby Kearney were summonded to the grand jury and paid 200 pounds of tobacco as a fine for not appearing.16 Children of Major Thomas Davis and Elizabeth Davis Mistress Davis+ b. a 1640 James Davis+ b. 1641/42, d. a 1687/88 William Davis+17 b. c 1643, d. b 24 Nov 1684 Thomas Davis+ b. c 1642/43, d. b 26 Oct 1694 Richard Davis18,19 b. c 1645, d. bt 15 Nov 1696 - 20 Feb 1697 Citations [S19] J. D. Warfield, The Founders of Anne Arundel and Howard Counties, Maryland, published by Kohn & Pollock, Baltimore, MD, 1905, hereafter shown as Founders of Anne Arundel & Howard Counties, Maryland. [S145] Davis Families of Montgomery County, Maryland by William Neal Hurley, Jr., Heritage Books, Inc., Maryland, 2001 (Our Maryland Heritage, Book 22), "married Elizabeth, whose surname is lost in time," p. 37. [S13] Conclusions Drawn: Since we seem to have a birthdate for their son James of 1642, I would assume Thomas and Elizabeth probably married circa 1640. [S70] Nell Marion Nugent, compiler, Cavaliers and Pioneers: Abstracts of Virginia Land Patents, Vol I 1623-1666 (Richmond, VA: Dietz Printing Co., 1934), Vol. 1, p. 17: this references the land patent in 1633 of Thomas and the fact they transported two people with them on the George in 1617.. Hereinafter cited as Cavaliers and Pioneers: Abstracts. [S171], Passenger and Immigration Lists Index, 1500s-1900s Record, source 6220, citing Nugent and Research Passenger and Imigration Lists Index, 1500s-1900s [database online]. Provo, Utah:, Inc., 2005. Original data: Filby, P. William, editor, Passenger and Immigration Lsits Index, 1500s-1900s. Farmington Hills, MI: Gale Research 2003. [S70] Nell Marion Nugent, Cavaliers and Pioneers: Abstracts, p. 17 (with reference to Virginia Land Patents & Grants, p. 128). [S22] Adventurers of Purse and Person, Virginia 1607-1624/5, Fourth Edition, Volume One, Families A-F (Genealogical Publishing Co., Inc., Baltimore, MD (2004)), pp. 805-806. [S63] Alexander Brown, The First Republic in America (Boston & New York, Houghton, Mifflin & Co., 1898), pp. 128, 318. [S22] Adventurers of Purse and Person, Virginia 1607-1624/5, pp. 806. [S22] Adventurers of Purse and Person, Virginia 1607-1624/5, pp. 806, referencing Patent Bk. 1, p. 128. [S22] Adventurers of Purse and Person, Virginia 1607-1624/5, this helps to confirm his birth year of 1613, p. 805. [S64] 17th Century Isle of Wight County, VA, by John Bennett Boddie, 1938, p. 445 Peter Wilson Coldham, English Adventurers and Emigrants, 1609-1660 (Baltimore, 1984), p. 85. [S22] Adventurers of Purse and Person, Virginia 1607-1624/5, pp. 806, see Journals of the House of Burgesses of Virginia, 1619-1776 (Richmond, 1905-15), 13 v., ed. by H. R. McIlwaine, p. 9. [S72] MCGC: Minutes of the Council and General Court of Colonial Virginia, 2nd ed. (Richmond 1979), ed. by H. R. McIlwaine, p. 508. [S161] Cynthia Miller Leonard, comp., The General Assembly of Virginia, July 30, 1619 - January 11, 1978, A Bicentennial Register of Members, Richmond, 1978, p. 33. [S71] Burgess Journals, Vol. II, 1659-95, p. 9. [S22] Adventurers of Purse and Person, Virginia 1607-1624/5, p. 242. [S20] Fenton Garnett Davis Avant, The Davis-Wood Family of Gadsden County, Florida and Their Forebears (Box 738, Easley, South Carolina 29640: Southern Historical Press, 1979), lists Richard born in Virginia. Hereinafter cited as The Davis-Wood Family. [S26] Jane Baldwin, The Maryland Calender of Wills, Volume II. Hereinafter cited as The Maryland Calender of Wills.

Thomas' wifes name is Rebecca Christian born 1615 England / died 7 Apr 1668

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Thomas Davis trying to make history

It’s believed that no NFL player has ever returned from three ACL surgeries on the same knee. Panthers linebacker Thomas Davis is trying to become the first.

“Every day I go in I’m looking at it like I’m making history. That’s my goal,” Davis told Joseph Person of the Charlotte Observer.

Davis is universally respected in Carolina for his work ethic and toughness. That’s why the Panthers risked giving him a $7 million signing bonus last offseason despite his injury history. That risk didn’t pay off.

The team will now have to adjust his contract to bring him back. They have a club option for $8 million due by March 14. The Panthers will likely cut Davis and re-sign him later in the offseason if they can’t restructure the deal soon.

“I’m pretty confident that something will get worked out,” Davis said. “It’s something that’s not crossing my mind right now.”

It’s hard to imagine another team making a commitment to Davis at this point because of his injury history. The Panthers have shown support throughout the process and would love nothing more than to see Davis beat the odds and re-join Jon Beason in the team’s starting lineup.

“From now on when you see certain things happen to guys, certain injuries, there will be more teams that will be more willing to give guys opportunities based on a guy they can point out, ‘Look at Thomas Davis down in Carolina. He came back from three to the same knee and he’s able to play, and he’s playing at a high level.'” Davis said.

Davis/Davies Surname Meaning, History & Origin

Davies – because of the Welsh influence – predominates over Davis in the UK today, by around three to one. But in America it is the other way round. There are twenty times more Davis than Davies.

Davis/Davies Resources on

    Davies family history database. Early Davis in New
    England. The family tree of Cullen Davis.
    Davies/Davis DNA.
Davis/Davies Ancestry

England. Davis first emerged as a surname in the early 14th century. A Richard Davys was recorded as a freeman of York in 1402. Davys was initially the more common spelling. It was found mainly in the west country.

Davies. Davies developed as a spelling in Cornwall and in the border counties with Wales where the Welsh influence and language was strong.

The Davies family of Chisgrove near Tisbury in Wiltshire came about because of a Welshman settling there in the early 1500’s. Also from Wales was William Davies who was known as the “Golden Farmer.” He was a famous Gloucestershire highwayman until he was finally captured and executed in 1690. And the Davies name had an early presence at St. Erth in Cornwall. In the 18th century Henry Davies and his descendants held the Tredrea farm there (from whom the writer and politician Davies Gilbert got his forename).

Davis. An early English version was Davy or Davys. John Davy was the MP for Dorchester in the 1550’s. And Sir Humphry Davy was the Cornish inventor from Penzance who pioneered the Davy lamp in 1816.

In time Davis became the main spelling. John Davis from Devon, one of the chief navigators for Queen Elizabeth, discovered the Falkland Isles in 1592. One Davis family has traced itself back to John Davys or Davis of Acton Turville in Gloucestershire in the early 1500’s. Thomas and James Davis of this family emigrated to New England in 1635.

A Davis family in the 18th century were Bristol merchants that traded with the West Indies in sugar and human cargoes. They became Hart-Davis when Richard Davis married Marianna Hart in 1789. He was the MP for Bristol from 1812 to 1831. Rupert Hart-Davis of this family was a highly esteemed book publisher and editor.

Davis could also be a Jewish name. Lewis Davis, born to a Jewish family in Woolwich near London in 1807, had a very busy and successful professional life. From 1855 to 1857 he was a member of the Metropolitan Board of Works.

Today the main concentrations of the Davis name are in Gloucestershire and Worcestershire.

Wales. An early spelling was Daffydd, such as the Glamorgan bard Meurig Daffydd of the early 16th century. This spelling did persist in some areas until the 18th century.

Davies. The first Davies sightings were mainly in north Wales:

  • the Davies family of Gwysaney in Flintshire claimed an ancient pedigree. John ap Davydd was the first in his family to adopt the Davies name sometime in the mid-1500’s. Their family base at Llanerch Park stayed with them into the late 18th century.
  • William Davies from Denbighshire who was a Catholic priest executed for his beliefs in 1593.
  • and Dr. John Davies, the rector at Mallwyd in Merionethshire in the early 1600’s, who was one of the leading Welsh scholars of his day.

The Davies population – as with much of the Welsh population – moved south during the 19th century and is now more to be found in Glamorgan and surrounding counties.

One Davies family history began in the Rhondda valley with the birth in 1740 of William Davies alias Hopkin, the son of John Hopkin and Ann Davies. He grew up in the Cwmsaerbren farm that had belonged to the David/Davies family for many generations. Another family in that locality, from about 1840, was the Davies family of the Cae Isaf farm in Llanguick. Both father Morgan and son William were engine drivers at the local coal works.

David Davies, born in humble circumstances at Llandinam in Montgomeryshire, became a coal magnate and was an important figure in the industrialization of the Rhondda valley in the late 19th century.

Ireland. A Davys family from rural Kildare, dating back to the late 1500’s, rose to political prominence a century or so later. Sir Paul and his son Sir John Davys both served as Secretary of State for Ireland.

The notable Davises of Cork were of Welsh origin. This was true of the Rev. Rowland Davies who grew up in the Protestant enclave of Bandon and became the Anglican Dean of Cork in 1710.

It was also true of Thomas Davis, the Young Ireland poet and political writer. His father James, a military surgeon from Wales, had taken a posting with the Royal Artillery in Ireland and then died when James was born while enroute to Spain. Partly because Thomas died young (at thirty-one), he was considered an inspiration to later Irish nationalists.

Davises were also in Wexford in SE Ireland. William Davis got caught up in the 1798 Rebellion and was expelled. Others emigrated in the 19th century, to Australia and Canada. On the plus side there was the grocery business that was started in Enniscorthy by Francis Davis in 1835. It was continued by his son Samuel who later expanded with offices in Dublin and London.

America. The early arrivals into New England were mostly English.

New England. Thomas Davis from Acton Turville in Gloucestershire had arrived in Boston on the James in 1635 and was one of the founders of the town of Haverhill in 1646. In 1719 Cornelius Davis moved the family to Stafford, Connecticut where Deacon Daniel Davis became a prominent citizen of the community in the early 19th century. The Davises were farmers there during the 19th century. Some of them moved to Ohio.

Thomas’s brother James was also an early settler in Haverhill. His son John moved to Strafford along the Oyster river in New Hampshire in the 1650’s. In 1694 many of his descendants were killed by Indians in what has been called the Oyster River Massacre. From the survivors, ten generations later, came the actress Bette Davis.

Other Davis arrivals in New England were:

  • Fulke Davis, possibly related to Thomas Davis above, who was in Hartford, Connecticut by 1636 and later moved to Long Island.
  • Dolar Davis who came from Kent sometime in the 1630’s and settled in Cambridge. His descendants included John Davis, the Massachusetts Governor and Senator in the 1830’s and 1840’s and a central figure in the Davis political dynasty in Massachusetts that extended over two hundred years.
  • and Barnabas Davis who came from Gloucestershire on the Blessing in 1635 and settled in Charlestown. Samuel Davis migrated to Groton, but then had to return in the 1670’s because of the Indian attacks. Captain Isaac Davis moved to New Hampshire., but died during the Revolutionary War.

Colonel John Davis was resident in Derby, New Haven in 1690. He was the forebear of Davis Loyalists who departed for Nova Scotia after the Revolutionary War. And a nother John Davis came to Long Island around 1690. His line in America was covered in Albert Davis’ 1887 book History of the Davis Family.

Pennsylvania. Evan Davis came to Philadelphia from Wales in the 1720’s. His grandson, born in Kentucky in 1808, was the famous Confederate leader Jefferson Davis.

Other Welsh lines in Pennsylvania were:

  • Morgan Davis from Glamorgan who was in the Merion township as early as 1685.
  • Jenkin Davis from Cardigan who came to Radnor township in 1720. A branch of this family, which still holds annual reunions, moved to Maryland around 1800.
  • Owen Davis from north Wales who first came to Maryland and then settled in Fayette county.
  • John Davis who had come to Lancaster county in the 1770’s and later moved to Kentucky (where he died at a reported age of 105).
  • and there was also a Davis family in North Providence by the late 1700’s.

Welsh Davies invariably became Davis in America as did Davis arrivals from Ireland. William Davis, for instance, came with his parents from county Tyrone to Bucks county in 1735. His line in America was covered in Thomas Davis’ 1919 book The Davis Family.

Elsewhere. James Davis from Gloucestershire was an early voyager to America. He first arrived in Virginia around the year 1607. He was called in Jamestown “an ancient planter,” but died in 1623. The line through his son Thomas led to Somerset county, Maryland and sizeable land holdings there. The various branches of the Davis family intermarried with other established families there, in particular in Anne Arundel county.

James and John Davis from London came to Westmoreland county, Virginia around 1700. Many of their descendants later moved to Kentucky and Tennessee. A later Irish arrival was James Davis and his family in 1746. His sons James and Samuel moved onto Tennessee.

It was said that there were four Davis brothers – Jehu, John, William and Roger – who joined Maurice Moore’s new colony at Brunswick by Cape Fear in North Carolina in the 1730’s. The line from one of them, Jehu, led to:

  • Thomas Davis, a plantation owner at Porters Neck in Wilmington, North Carolina
  • and to his sons Thomas, Bishop of South Carolina, and George, the attorney-general for the Confederacy and a well-known orator of his time. A Confederate Monument to George Davis was erected in Wilmington in 1911.

Canada . John Davis had come to New Haven, Connecticut sometime around 1680. But his Loyalist descendant Ethel Davis left there for Nova Scotia in 1783. He settled on Brier Island where Ethel’s grandson Samuel saved shipwrecked men by believing in his “vision of the night.” Samuel’s two sons Ralph and Oscar established at Yarmouth in 1897 the paper and printing company R.H. Davis & Co. which still operates.

Other Davis Loyalists who came to Canada at this time were:

  • Thomas and John Davis from a North Carolina plantation who reached Canada in 1790 and settled in Wentworth county, Ontario.
  • and Lewis Davis from a Welsh family who crossed over from New York state to Hastings county, Ontario around 1802.

Many Davises from Wexford in Ireland also moved to Hastings county in the period between 1830 and 1850, contributing to a large Davis population there.

Africa. The Davis family was one of the original African American families of Sierra Leone (which the British had created as a haven for freed slaves in 1787). Their family patriarch was Anthony Davis, a 29 year old freed slave from Delaware. His Davis descendants were also to be found in Nigeria .

Australia. Davises from Ireland came to Australia. The first was probably William Davis, known as the Wexford Pikemaker, who got caught up in the 1798 Irish Rebellion and was captured and transported to Australia. He emerged from captivity to grow wealthy and to be a pillar of the Irish Catholic community in Sydney. John Davis joined him from Ireland in 1841. Other relatives from his hometown of Parsontown in Wexford came out in 1855.

Thomas Davies from Carmarthenshire was an early arrival in South Australia on the Amazon in 1832. Thomas farmed there, but then was drawn by the mining opportunities in Victoria in the 1850’s.

William Davis left Kent with his family on the Babboo in 1848, also for South Australia. Born in 1795, he was a veteran of the Battle of Waterloo, having had half of his left foot shot off by a cannonball and having survived a bayonet thrust to the chest. Nevertheless, according to family lore, he had been married three times and fathered 22 children. He lived to be 92.

Davis/Davies Miscellany

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 Political Dynasty in Massachusetts. The first of these Davises was John Davis who rose to prominence as President Washington’s Comptroller of the US Treasury and later as his US Attorney covering Massachusetts.

There followed a different John Davis who was first Governor and then Senator for Massachusetts. John’s sister married George Bancroft who as the US Secretary of the Navy established the US Naval Academy at Annapolis. The two Davis’ sons were John Bancroft Davis a lawyer and diplomat, and Horace Davis, a Congressman from California and President of the University of California at Berkeley.

There were also the family connections with the Cabot Lodges, starting with Henry Cabot Lodge, US Senator for Massachusetts, followed by Henry Cabot Lodge Jr (also a Massachusetts Senator) and John Davis Lodge (Connecticut Governor).

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.”

Davis/Davies Names
  • John Davies of Hereford, a contemporary of Shakespeare, was a writing master and a notable Anglo-Welsh poet of his time.
  • Jefferson Davis was the President of the Confederate States of America during the Civil War.
  • David Davies was a coal magnate and an important figure in the industrialization of the Rhondda valley
    in south Wales in the late 19th century.
  • Bette Davis was the acclaimed American actress in the 1930’s and 1940’s.
  • Sammy Davis Jr was a popular dancer, singer, and entertainer, one of the 1960’s Rat Pack.
  • Robertson Davies was one of Canada’s most well-known and popular novelists.
  • Miles Davis , a trumpeter, is one of the great names of jazz.
Davis/Davies Numbers Today
  • 317,000 in the UK (most numerous in Cardiff)
  • 398,000 in America (most numerous in Texas)
  • 133,000 elsewhere (most numerous in Australia)

Davies is the #6 ranked surname in the UK, Davis the #7 ranked surname in America.

Davies and Like Surnames

Hereditary surnames in Wales were a post-16th century development. Prior to that time the prototype for the Welsh name was the patronymic, such as “Madog ap Jevan ap Jerwerth” (Madoc, son of Evan, son of Yorwerth). The system worked well in what was still mainly an oral culture.

However, English rule decreed English-style surnames and the English patronymic “-s” for “son of” began first in the English border counties and then in Wales. Welsh “P” surnames came from the “ap” roots, such as Price from “ap Rhys.”

Thomas Davis (bef. 1805 - 1867)

Thomas Davis married Honor Slocombe in Tavistock, Devon on 16 September 1829. [2] They had the following children:

  1. Thomas Davis, born 15 July 1832 in Tavistock [3][4]
  2. William Davis, born 13 December 1834 in Tavistock [5]
  3. Jane Davis, born 1837 in Tavistock [6][7]

His wife Honor died in Tavistock during 1839. [8]

Thomas Davis married Charlotte Down in Tavistock during 1840. [9] They had a daughter:

In the 1841 England census, Thomas & Charlotte were living in Ford Street, Tavistock, Devon: [10]

  • Thomas Davis Male 35
  • Charlotte Davis Female 40 Devon
  • Thomas Davis Male 9 Devon
  • William Davis Male 6 Devon
  • Jane Davis Female 3 Devon

In the 1851 England census, Thomas & Charlotte were living in Ford Street, Tavistock, Devon. Thomas was an inn keeper. [11]

  • Thomas Davis Head Male 46 St Austle, Cornwall
  • Charlotte Davis Wife Female 51 Milton Abbott, Devonshire
  • Thomas Davis Son Male 18 Tavistock, Devonshire
  • William Davis Son Male 16 Tavistock, Devonshire
  • Jane Davis Daughter Female 14 Tavistock, Devonshire
  • Elizabeth Davis Daughter Female 9 Tavistock, Devonshire

In 1859 Thomas was appointed pound keeper at Blayney. [12]

In 1860, Thomas was a member of a committee in Blayney to petition for the opening of more land in the area. [13]

Thomas Davis - Davis famiies of colonial Virginia

I have spent the entire day sorting out various Davis families and am not yet finished. I've added the best sources I can find, as well as Curator Notes. Hopefully this will prevent future bad merges. There is a lot of confusion in various Internet trees about the Davis families.

This site is fairly good for Southern Maryland and Virginia's Northern Neck counties:

I will add various Davis profiles that were mis-merged and confused in the continued discussion.

To summarize: There were at least three Davis families that were confused. (1) descendants of John Davis and Mary Burton of Henrico County, Virgina (2) descendants of Thomas Davis and Anne Turner of Isle of Wight County, who settled in Overwharton Parish, Stafford County, Virginia (3) a Davis family of Essex County, Virginia.

I have not finished reviewing all the second and third generations after undoing some bad merges, so if you are an expert in Southern Maryland and Virginia genealogy or a descendant and want to help clean up these families, you are welcome to join the discussion.

In case anyone is reading this who is not familiar with this era and this geography, here are some pointers.

(1) Do not trust Internet trees for colonial Virginia and Southern Maryland.

(2) Look for primary sources, either those cited in the best Internet tree or materials, or actual documents from the localities

(3) This era / this geography is difficult even for those who are experienced with the sources, the geography, and the families, so if you are not one of those people, proceed with caution and do not merge profiles unless you are 150% certain and have done your own research to verify that the profiles are identical

(4) Do work in profile view versus in tree view and read the Overview and the Curator's Notes. If the profile is curated (a Master Profile), consult with the curator.

(5) Attach sources and add notes in the Overview that back up the children, spouses, and parents.

(6) Be careful about geography. Stafford County is not Henrico County is not Essex County. Look at a map. Remember that travel was difficult. Use common sense.

(7) if you are editing other people's work -- say deleting married names of women or detaching or attaching spouse or parents, make sure that you provide primary sources for your edits / attachments / detachments. It's not acceptable to simply edit other people's work on a whim.

Erica Howton and others will have more pointers. I don't often work in Virginia and Maryland, even though I have a lot of experience with Colonial New England and
have been a curator for 7 or 8 years. So I proceed slowly and look for the best sources available.

Thomas Milburn Davis [RG0936.AM]

Born March 25, 1918, at Omaha, Nebraska, Thomas Milburn Davis was the son of Clarence and Florence (Wells) Davis. He attended Amherst College and the University of Nebraska, where he wrote his dissertation, George Ward Holdrege and the Burlington lines west. Davis married and divorced Dorothy Jean Van Patten three separate times while living in Virginia. Thomas Milburn Davis died in Fredericksburg, Virginia, on February 9, 1988.


The collection consists primarily of correspondence relating to Thomas Milburn Davis' biographical study of George Ward Holdrege. The collection contains replies to Davis' requests for information. Other letters refer to Davis' personal life and to the editing of the book/dissertation about Holdrege.

For related information see:

Nebraska History magazine, 1950, vol. 31, nos. 1-3, "Lines West -The Story of George W. Holdrege," parts 1-3, by Thomas Milburn Davis.

Building the Burlington through Nebraska: a summary view, by Thomas Milburn Davis [385 B92d].

The University of Nebraska Lincoln Libraries holds copies of Thomas Milburn Davis' thesis, George Ward Holdrege and the Burlington lines west. [Td Davis T M 1941]

Thomas Davis - History

Funding from the Institute of Museum and Library Services
supported the electronic publication of this title.

Text scanned (OCR) by Yin Tang
Images scanned by Yin Tang
Text encoded by Allen Vaughn and Jill Kuhn
First edition, 2000
ca. 10K
Academic Affairs Library, UNC-CH
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill,

Source Description:
(provided by cataloger) To the clergy and laity of the Diocese of South Carolina.
Thomas F. Davis
1 p.
Camden, So. Ca.
Call number 4544 Conf. (Rare Book Collection, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill)

        The electronic edition is a part of the UNC-CH digitization project, Documenting the American South.
        Any hyphens occurring in line breaks have been removed, and the trailing part of a word has been joined to the preceding line.
        All em dashes are encoded as --
        Indentation in lines has not been preserved.
        Spell-check and verification made against printed text using Author/Editor (SoftQuad) and Microsoft Word spell check programs.

Library of Congress Subject Headings, 21st edition, 1998

  • Episcopal Church. Diocese of South Carolina -- Finance.
  • Episcopal Church -- Missions -- South Carolina.
  • Confederate States of America -- Religion.
  • Confederate States of America -- Church history.
  • South Carolina -- History -- Civil War, 1861-1865 -- Religious aspects.
  • United States -- History -- Civil War, 1861-1865 -- Religious aspects.

    Celine Noel and Wanda Gunther
    revised TEIHeader and created catalog record for the electronic edition.

CAMDEN, SO. CA, MAY 18TH, 1861.

To the Clergy and Laity of the Diocese of South Carolina:

        At the recent meeting of the Board of Trustees of the Advancement Society of the Diocese, the following resolution was passed--

        Resolved That the Bishop be requested by this Board, to lay the present condition of our Society before the Diocese and to adopt such measures in the premises as he deems expedient.

        This resolution was the result of an examination into the present financial condition of the Society, and its prospect for the ensuring year, commencing on the 1st of July next. It was thus ascertained that the demands upon the Society for the next year will be equal to nearly nine thousand dollars, ($9,000) while the present available means to meet those demands do not equal five thousand dollars. ($5,000.)

        This has been the result partly of over appropriations for the past year, and partly because of the state of the times. Under these circumstances, it was thought best to make no appropriations until after the next annual meeting of the Society itself and in the mean time that an appeal should be made to the Diocese by myself on behalf of the missionaries.

        If ever there was a time, beloved Brethren, when such an appeal should reach our hearts, surely it must be the present. Now, our dependence upon God and our duties to God, and to the Redeemer of our souls must fill our minds. Our country is menaced our fellow-citizens and our children exposed to danger our rights as a people are at issue. We are ready to abide the issue, for we believe in the righteousness of our cause. Let us seek unto God daily in our prayers. Let us put our whole trust in Him but let us also render Him that which he claims. While our brethren are upholding the banner of our country in the field, let us uphold at home the banner of the cross. Let not our missionaries suffer, nor our church want the means of life. Permit me, therefore, earnestly to press it upon you, that immediate efforts be made in your respective congregations, to meet these deficiencies of the Missionary Board. To this end I think it perfectly justifiable to suggest and request, that all other applications for missionary aid be laid aside until these necessities be supplied. South Carolina has never been behind other Dioceses in liberal donations for other fields of labor, and under right circumstances, she never will be but we are now struggling for all that is clear to us at home, and therefore our first duty is to ourselves. The two Institutions of the Diocese that now most need our aid, are the Advancement Society and the Theological Seminary. In behalf of the first I have spoken above. Of the last, let me say, that the salaries of the Professors remain unpaid, and that there are no funds in the Treasurer's hands.

        I therefore earnestly request that those who are annual subscribers to the Seminary, to make immediate payments, and those who have not yet subscribed, to come forward in its behalf, and not to suffer this young and promising Institution of the Church to suffer and be weakened.

        Thus, brethren, I beseech you for Christ's sake, come to our aid and let our efforts and our hearts, and our prayers unite before God, in seeking of Him protection and blessing.