The writer has taken the liberty to present largely the main facts contained in the narrative of Dolor1 Davis, his son Samuel2 Davis, and grandson Lieut. Simon3 Davis, as given in the pamphlet of Hon. Horace Davis of San Francisco, Cal., in 1881.
The career of Dolor Davis, in New England, is that of a pioneer who by his energy and industry in subduing the wilderness was a type of those enduring qualities which distinguished his descendants in later generations. By trade he was a house-builder, added to which was farming.
Dolor Davis was born late in the sixteenth century, for he died in June, 1673, “at the ripe age of 80,” says one chronicler. His birthplace was probably in Kent County, England. His wife was from Kent, his associates in New England were largely with Kentish men, and the name of Davis is very common in Kent County.
Dolor Davis was twice married, first to “Margerye Wilerd” on March 29, 1624. She was the daughter of Richard Willard, “by second wife Margery,” who was buried at Horsmonden, Dec., 1608, when Margery, the daughter, was six years old; for she was christened Nov. 7, 1602. Richard Willard was of Horsmonden, County of Kent. He died 1617, leaving a large estate, mostly in lands, part of which came to his daughter Margery Willard and another part to the son, Simon Willard, who was later the founder of Concord, in New England.
The first record we have of Dolor Davis, in New England, is on the Proprietors’ Records in Cambridge [New Towne], of a grant of twenty-five acres on Aug. 4, 1634; also a house-lot, June 4, 1635. The wife Margery is supposed to be the “Margerett Davies, age 32, who with three children, John Davies (9 years old), Marie Davies (4), Elizabeth Davies (1), sailed on the Elizabeth, from the port of London, April 17, 1635, Win. Stagg, master.” There is much uncertainty about Dolor Davis and family ever having had a residence in Cambridge. He sold the above-named house-lot in August, 1635. He moved, with considerable persistence, from place to place during nearly all of his life, possibly because this frequent change in residence gave him a better opportunity to pursue his trade as a carpenter.
In 1638 he was in Duxbury. In 1640 he took part in founding Barnstable. In 1643 he was an inhabitant of Barnstable, “able to bear arms”; freeman 1645. In 1655 he removed to Concord. In the same year he petitioned with others to the General Court of Massachusetts Colony for a grant of land in what is now Groton, Mass., and on the 29th of May was made one of the new selectmen. In 1656 his name appears on a petition for remission of taxes in Groton; but he seems never to have made Groton his home, for on Aug. 020, 1655, “he bought of Roger Draper his house and farm in Concord.” In the conveyance he is called “Husbandman.” Meanwhile he sold his property in Barnstable for “corn and cattle,” the documents recording the various payments and the transfer itself being in the Plymouth Records. In them he is styled “house-carpenter.” Margery Davis joined in the acknowledgment, which is the last record we have of her. She probably died in Concord before 1666, in which year Davis left Concord. Dolor Davis had lands granted to him in Concord in 1659, and in 1664 he signed a petition to the General Court as “an inhabitant of Concord.”
Of the three children brought over from England, John and Mary were married and settled on the Cape, Elizabeth probably died young. Three more children were born in America, and they, too, were married and settled, but in or near Concord.
In 1666 Davis left Concord and returned to Barnstable, and was again admitted as an inhabitant, where his name appears on various documents. He married, after his return to Barnstable, Mrs. Joanna Bursley, born in England, 169.0, daughter of Rev. Joseph Hull and widow of Capt.John Bursley. She was living in 1683. Dolor Davis accumulated a large property for those times, which he distributed mostly among his children during his lifetime. On the 13th of September, 167’2, he made his will, which has his autograph signature, showing that he had some education. He always wrote his Christian name DOLAR. The will was proved July 2, 167’3. He probably died late in June.
The will recites that he has already provided for his sons Simon and Samuel; and then he bequeaths his house and land in Concord to his son John, adding, “I also bequeath to him my carpenters tools and serge suit and cloke.” The inventory of estate in Concord was “£125 5s. 7’d.” That he made a favorable impression on others is shown by the following:
“Perhaps of all the families which came to New England, not one can be selected more worthy of our esteem, and unqualified approbation than that of Dolor Davis. As a man he was honest, industrious and prudent; as a christian tolerant and exact in the performance of his religious duties; as a neighbor kind, obliging, and ever ready to help those who needed his assistance; and as a father and the head of his family he was constantly solicitous for the welfare of all its members, cultivating those kindly feelings and amenities of life which render home delightful.” (Amos Otis, in Barnstable Families.)
Samuel2 Davis, b. 1639; m. at Lynn, Mass., Jan. 11, 1665, Mary Meaddows; settled in that part of Concord which afterwards was set off as Bedford. Mary [Meaddows] Davis d. at Concord, Oct. 3, 1710. He m. second, Oct. 18, 1711, Ruth Taylor. She d. Aug. 6, 1720. He was the father of seven children.
Samuel Davis was made freeman March 91, 1689-90. He was with Major Simon Willard at the Brookfield fight on Sept. 28, 167’5. (King Philip’s War, p. 121.)
His farm was on the back road from Concord to Bedford, about three miles from Concord town, on the edge of the river meadow. A well is there which he is said to have dug. The property is still owned by one of his descendants. He does not appear to have served in civil life.
June 90, 1690, petitioned Concord authorities for “a bridal path from his house to Billerica road.” In 1706 conveys houses and lands to his “two well beloved sons.” On May 8, 1713, he sells house, barn, and 9 acres to Eleazer Davis for £50. His signature is autograph, signing himself as “farmer.” The date of his death and place of burial are unknown. It appears that he gave his property to his family while living.
Simon3 Davis, b. at Concord, Aug. 9, 1683; m. at Stow, Mass., 1719, Dorothy Heald,
dau. of Israel Heald by wife Martha. He lived in Stow, and was a blacksmith; d. Sept. 7, 1738, aged 78. His will is on record at East Cambridge, and mentions daughter Dorothy Davis and grandson Joseph Davis. Wid. Martha d. June 14, 1746.
“Lieut.” Simon Davis lived at Concord until about 1721, when he moved to Worcester County, and settled in Rutland; selectman 1721; innkeeper 1723; waylaid and nearly killed by the Indians in the same year. Petitions with others to the General Court on May 13, 1740, to be set off in a separate township to be named Holden. This request was granted, and Mr. Davis was made moderator of the first town meeting in Holden, May 4, 1745; chairman of board of selectmen for several years; also juryman. He was closely identified with the church. He d. Feb. 21, 1763; wid. Dorothy d. July 21, 1776. Eight children. He was the ancestor of three Massachusetts governors: “Honest” John Davis, John Davis Long, and George D. Robinson.
The ancestry of Hon. Horace Davis separates here from my own.
Joseph4 Davis, b. at Concord, July 16, 1790; m. at Weston, May 24, 1743, Catherine Jones. Joseph Davis was grad. Harv. Coll. 1740. He was the first ordained minister at Holden, preaching from 1743 to 1’773. He was a representative to the General Court of Massachusetts 1’781; a member of the convention held in Boston, 1’788, for the ratification of the Federal Constitution by Massachusetts. He d. at Holden, March 4, 1’799; wid. Catherine d. May 15, 1815. From his monument:
“He was a man of science,
A zealous, pungent preacher.”
Simon5 Davis, b. at Holden, March 10, 1745; m. at Andover, Mass., June 2, 1771, Elizabeth Clarke.
Simon Davis first of Holden, then of Andover, had the pioneer spirit of his ancestors. Soon after his marriage he moved with his friends into the wilderness, and became one of the first settlers in what is now Woodstock, Vt. Here he built a log house, in which his children were born. He was the first deacon in the newly organized church, and, being a man of education, he also organized a school board, and was himself the head of it. He had several grants in land; was selectman and juror; prudent and industrious, adding to farming the trade of Dolor1 Davis, that of housebuilding. He built and owned the first mill for grinding corn and the first saw-mill in Woodstock.
My father, his grandson, had the facts relating to Simon3 Davis recorded in a note-book, with his descendants.
They had seven children: John, Simon, and Abner settled in Illinois, and were men of influence; William and Gilman Davis removed to Boston, where the youngest son, Gilman, married Sarah Tuttle of Dorchester, and had his home in Cambridge.
They had three daughters.
Simon Davis d. at Woodstock, Jan. 17, 1793; his wid. Elizabeth d. at Boston, March 11, 1816.
William6 Davis, b. at Woodstock, Vt., Feb. 2, 1’789; m. at Waitsfield, Vt., March 9, 1815, Sarah Gilbert Wait.
Mr. Davis moved to Boston, where his life was uneventful. He was one of the leading building contractors in the city. Both he and his wife were deeply interested in the Baptist church and in their pastor, Rev. Dr. Rowland Neal. Dr. Neal preached the funeral sermon for William Davis in the church on Jan. 10, 1880. The son remembered the text, “In my Father’s house are many mansions.” The body was interred in the basement of the church. Mr. Davis was highly esteemed by all who knew him. He accumulated a good property. Of his children six died young. Three children survived, the son, Almon Hemenway Davis, and two daughters, Martha Jane and Phidelia Davis, who married Eben Jones Mathes of Rochester, N.H.
Almon Hemenway Davis
Almon Hemenway7 Davis, b. at Boston, April 12, 1816; m. at Dedham, Mass., June 2, 1844, Elizabeth Everett.
Mr. Davis was liberally educated. He had a rare combination of gifts. Not only was he a fine classical student, but he was also a mathematician of unusual excellence. It was at the Baptist Theological School, at Newton Centre, that he was suddenly called upon to teach Greek and Hebrew; in such an acceptable manner that he was urged to become a professor instead of entering the ministry, so admirable was his teaching. He had three parishes. Of the last two, one in Providence, R.I., and one in Boston. He left the ministry in 1851 to become an editor. In 1866 he received a call to become associated, on the editorial sheet of the Chicago Tribune, with his personal friend, Joseph Medill, Esq.
Mr. Davis d. in Chicago, Ill., Oct. 20, 1891; wid. Elizabeth d. in California, Dec. 6, 1904.
1. Eleanor Francis.
2. Edward Everett Davis, b. Jan. 9, 1849; m. at Boston, Sept. 1, 1881, Margerett Adamson. Children: Elizabeth Everett Davis, b. Oct., 1882, d. in few days; Margerett Everett Davis, b. Sept. 20, 1885; Alice Everett Davis, b. April 16, 1892.
Eleanor Francis Davis
Eleanor Francis8 Davis, b. at Dedham, Mass., March 14, 1845; received her middle name of Francis from her mother’s brother, Francis Everett; m. at Boston, Mass., Oct. 11, 1877, William Sumner Crosby, b. at Boston, April 22, 1844. The officiating clergyman was Rev. James Freeman Clarke, D. D. Eleanor Francis Davis was given in marriage by Wendell Phillips. It was a home wedding. Mr. Crosby has been for many years a prominent Boston merchant.
Sumner9 Crosby, b. at Boston, Nov. H, 1878; m. at Alameda, Cal., Aug. 6, 1901, Idolene Snow Hooper, dau. of Charles Appleton and Ida Geneva [Snow] Hooper. Mr. Hooper is one of the notable merchants of California. Mr. Crosby is grad. Harv. Coll., A.B. 1900, M.A. 1901; Law School, 1901-02; councilman, city of Alameda, 190910; assemblyman, California State Legislature, 1910-12.
Charles Hooper Crosby, b. Nov. 28, 1902;
Barbara Appleton, b. May 8, 1904;
Beatrice Blanchard, b. March 17, 1907;
Sumner Crosby, b. June 10, 1911.