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THREE GENERATIONS

OF

Northboro Davises

1781 – 1894

by

John Davis Estabrook

Westboro, Mass.

1908

Printed by

The Chronotype Printing Company

Westboro, Mass.

 

p. 2 – picture of church at East Farleigh, County Kent, England.

Also the church record of the marriage of Dolor Davis and Margery Willard, March 29, 1624.

p. 3

It was near the close of the American Revolution – December 30, 1781 – that Isaac Davis came to Northboro as the purchaser of the Davis Home.

His four generations of American ancestors may be briefly tabulated as follows:

 

Generation

Birth

Marriage

Children

Death

Residence

Dolor Davis

Margery Willard

Mrs. Joanna Bursley

1

1593

1602

1624

1671

6

0

1673

1667?

1683?

Kent, England

Concord

Barnstable

Samuel Davis

Mary Meddowes

Ruth Taylor

2

1640?

1666

1711

7

0

1720?

1710

1720

Concord

Lieut. Simon Davis

Dorothy Heald

3

1683

1692

1713

8

1763

1776

Rutland

Holden

Simon Davis, Jr.

Hannah Gates

4

1714

1714

1733

11

1754

1761

Rutland

Isaac Davis

Anna Brigham

Mrs. Susanna (Baker) Harrington

Mrs. Betsey (Baker) Thurston

5

1749

1753

1749

1763

1772

1804

1816

11

0

0

1826

1803

1816

1850

Northboro

 

 

p. 4

New Englanders of the Isaac Davis period were chiefly descended from English stock that came between 1620 and 1640.

Dolor Davis was from Kent County, England. Came in 1634 without his family. Was granted 25 acres of land west of Charles river and a village lot of ½ Rood in New Towne (now Cambridge, near Harvard Square.) His family came in 1635. Then he sold his holdings and moved toward Cape Cod. Half the inhabitants of New Towne left about that time.

Dolor Davis was in Barnstable in 1643, in Concord 1655, returned to Barnstable 1666 and probably died there about 1673.

His descendants in the Northboro line found homes in Concord and Rutland. Descendants of his sam Samuel still live in Concord. The grandson, Lieut. Simon Davis, moved to Rutland thence to North Worcester or Holden where he became an inn-keeper, and filled numerous town offices. The latter’s son, Simon Davis, Jr., was a farmer, near the foot of the hill, in Rutland, adjoining the tanyard. He was the father of Isaac Davis of Northboro and of ten other children.

Just before he had completed his 40th year he, with others, was helping a Holden friend to rebuild a house that had recently burned. Suddenly he complained of his head and dropped dead. Six years later his widow nursed a friend and soon died of smallpox. She was buried in the ome pasture, but later her body was moved in the night to a grave beside her husband in the Rutland cemetery.

Isaac Davis of Northboro was five years old when his father died and not quite twelve when his mother died. He was sent to his married sister, Mrs. Miriam Fairbanks, in Sterling, and later to his older brother, David Davis, in Paxton, to learn the tanners trade. When he had reached his twenty-first year he was engaged to construct and operate a tanyard on the Maynard farm in Westboro and to teach that business to Capt. Stephen Maynard and his son Antipas Maynard.

 

p. 5

Isaac Davis executed his part of the agreement and soon (1772) married Anna Brigham, daughter of Dr. Samuel Brigham of Marlboro, who died when Anna was a child. Anna’s mother then became the second wife of Capt. Stephen Maynard. Thus Anna Brigham was the stepdaughter of Capt. Stephen Maynard, by whom Isaac Davis was employed. She was also the great granddaughter of Samuel Brigham, the successful pioneer tanner of eastern Marlboro, whose older brother, John Brigham, was the pioneer explorer, surveyor, saw mill builder, doctor, and all round rustler of western Marlboro before the days of Northboro or Westboro.

Anna Brigham’s mother was Anna (Gott) Brigham, daughter of Dr. Benjamin Gott and Sarah (Breck) Gott. Dr. Gott was the widely traveled and learned physician of Marlboro who read daily to his family from his Latin Bible. Sarah (Breck) Gott was the daughter of Rev. Robert Breck of Marlboro who handed down the name Breck to descendants in the Davis and Parkman families.

Isaac Davis, after his marriage in 1772, established his home in the hosue that still stands on the Westboro banks of the Assabet river opposite the Cobb place. Here four of his children were born, Phineas, Joseph, Anna and Isaac. Probably Isaac Davis, Sr., never owned that house. This was the period of discord between England and her American Colonies that resulted in the Revoluntionary war. Isaac Davis enlisted in the Massachusetts militia at the outbreak of the war, was commissioned, 1779, First Lieut. Third Company (Capt. James Godfrey) Sixth Worcester County Regiment (Col. Cushing). In 1780 he paid his brother-in-law, Dr. Samuel Brigham, 400ʆ to do three months’ service for him.

 

p. 6

Before introducing Isaac Davis to his Northboro home let us glance at earlier ownership of the place. Proprietors of Marlboro Town Grant of 1660 assigned to Samuel Rice land in Middle Meadow Plain, north of the Assabet river. Samuel Rice bequeathed to his son, Edward Rice, who sold to Isaac Tomlin in 1734. Tradition says that Isaac Tomlin built the house known as the Davis home. It seems probable that the original, or Rice house, was nearer the Cobb bridge – the ell of the Phineaas Davis or "Aunt Wells" house – made up of the present two-story ell and a former one-story ell to the north, that was destroyed when the barn was burned. The present two-story front and basement to that house are of later design, probably built by Phineas Davis.

When Isaac Tomlin died in 1745 his estate was appraised at 1487ʆ ., 10s, 3d. He bequeathed his homestead to his son, Hezekiah Tomlin, subject to widow’s dower rights and right to "east-room below" so long as she remained the widow.

Four years later Hezekiah Tomlin died leaving a widow and one child, Resign Tomlin, two months old.

In 1766 Resign Tomlin, at the age of seventeen, married John Kelly. Ten years later, while living in the Isaac Tomlin house, the Kellys sold to Elizabeth Grey of Boston. This was in early Revolutionary days when much property was sold. Elizabeth Grey sold to Isaac Davis Dec. 30, 1781.

When Elizabeth Grey bought the farm in 1776 it was surveyed by Dea. Jonathan Livermore, of Northboro, who made it an irregular shaped tract of 79 acres, fronting on the Assabet at Cobb’s bridge and 82-1/2 rods on South County road, now Davis street. At that time the highway from Westboro to Northboro crossed at the Cobb bridge, ran west to the east side of the Davis house and there turned north and divided the farm into halves.

The site of the Tomlin or Davis house was well chosen on a slight swell in "Milk Porridge Plain," at its eastern end, overlooking broad meadows and wide plans to distant hills in all directions.

 

p. 7

The Maynard home, where Isaac Davis built his first tanyard, was a half mile south on the road to Westboro. There Capt. Stephen Maynard had built and expensive house on his return from the French and Indian war after the treaty between France and England of 1763. Unfortunately he had exceeded his cash resources and had been compelled to mortgage his estate. To men matters he engaged Isaac Davis to establish the ancestral leather business, as Stephen Maynard, through his mother Mepsibeth (Brigham) Maynard, was himself a grandson of Samuel Brigham, the pioneer tanner.

Though the new tanyard flourished, war clouds obscured everything. Tories (those loyal to the King) left the country. Any who failed to go were disarmed and not allowed to leave their farms except to attend meeting on Sunday.

Antipas Maynard disappeared. Debts of Stephen Maynard increased. Currency values depreciated – 100 to 1 of gold. Those in debt became insolvent and were imprisoned. The Maynard tanyard was abandoned.

Then, in 1781, Isaac Davis bought of Elizabeth Grey the Tomlin farm and its partly completed house for 1,800 ounces of plated silver, giving in payment a mortgage and a bond in double the purchase price, or 3,600 ounces of plated silver, troy weight, sterling alloy. Plated silver meant coin plate of mint standard, not base metal coated with silver. Just at that time currency values were too uncertain to be named as the consideration.

The bond was signed by Isaac Davis, Stephen Maynard and John Fessenden and was satisfied and discharged eight years later by another mortgage for 600 pounds, lawful money, signed by Isaac Davis and wife.

This mortgage continued in force till 1811 – thirty years – after the farm was bought.

John Davis (afterward Governor of Massachusetts) was not born till five years after the purchase of the farm, but he lived to make periodic horseback trips to Boston to pay interest to Elizabeth Grey, before the mortgage was discharged.

 

 

p. 8.

THE DAVIS FAMILY IN NORTHBORO.

Descended from Davis—Gates—Brigham and Gott ancestors.

FAMILY OF DEACON ISAAC DAVIS.

 

 

Generation

Birth

Marriage

Children

Death

Residence

Isaac Davis

Anna Brigham

Mrs. Susanna (Baker) Harrington

Mrs. Betsey (Baker) Thurston

5

1749

1753

1749

1763

1772

1804

1816

11

0

0

1826

1803

1816

1850

Northboro

Phineas Davis

Martha Eager

6

1772

1773

1793

11

1834

1854

Northboro

Northboro

Joseph Davis

Lydia Ball

Mrs. Lydia (Cogswell) Sherman

6

1774

1776

1784

1799

1823

9

2

1843

1822

1840

Northboro

Northboro

Northboro

Anna (Davis) McFarland

William McFarland

6

1777

1758

1810

1

1857

1839

Northboro

Worcester

Isaac Davis

Polly Rice

6

1779

1782

1801

12

1859

1852

Northboro

Northboro

Sarah Breck (Davis) Bellows/Snow

Daniel Bellows

Willard Snow

6

1782

1777

1775

 

1802

1824

 

2

1

1865

1823

1846

Northboro

Westboro

Paxton

Samuel Davis

Mrs. Elizabeth E. (Moore) Godfrey

6

1784

1782

1809

6

1852

1846

Northboro

Maine

John Davis

Eliza Bancroft

6

1787

1791

1822

5

1854

1872

Worcester

Worcester

Hannah (Davis) Dunton

Daniel Dunton

6

1789

1813

2

1816

Northboro

Boston

Eliza (Davis) Gale

Cyrus Gale, Sr.

6

1794

1785

1816

2

1821

1880

Northboro

Northboro

 

 

 

p. 9 is a picture of the birthplace of and home of Phineas (1772), Joseph (1774), Anna (1777) and Isaac, Jr. (1779).

p. 10 is a picture of the Northboro home of Deacon Isaac Davis.

p. 11 is a picture of the Northboro Davis Curry Shop (1782-1870).

p. 12

As soon as the farm was bought, Isaac Davis built and put into operation the Davis tanyard. This industry demanded all his ready money. Soon he had nine children to clothe, feed and educate, one in college.

The two older sons soon learned the trade and joined their father in the leather industry, destined later to take complete charge of that business and leave the care of the farm to their father.

But the sons as well as their father had rapidly growing families. There was no race suicide in the Davis tribe. Isaac, Sr., had 11 children, his father Simon had 11, Phineas had 11, Joseph had 11, Isaac, Jr. , had 12, Samuel had 6, and John had 5. Dea. Isaac Davis had 53 grandchildren, 22 born in Northboro.

The Davises wree a tall, sturdy race, of commanding presence, destined to lead more than to follow. Portraits of many of them were painted by artists Peckham and Wheeler.

Dea. Isaac Davas

To Robert Peckham, Dr.

1819, Apr. 15 To painting two portraits…………………………………….$24.00

Received April 25, 1793, of Mr. Isaac Davis one pound two shillings in full for Inoculating with small Pox two sons (viz. Phineas and Isaac) and attendance thro the same by me. Edward Flint.

Also Rec’d 1-6 on book in full ac’. E. Flint.

1815. Isaac Davis was taxed $1 for a chaise

For two and a half centuries the average age reached by Davises in the direct Northboro line was 63 years. Seventy years in the Col. Joseph Davis branch. (This ignores a very few who died in early infancy.)

When the sons of Dea. Isaac Davis assumed charge of the leather industry they added for a time the manufacture of shoes—that is, converted the raw skin into the finished shoe. A part of the leather output from the curry shop was there cut into shoes and sent to shoe-pegging shops on neighboring farms to be bottomed, finished and returned to the curry shop to be marketed.

 

 

p. 13

William Eager Davis, son of Phineas, was for a time associated in the leather industry, but he died at the age of 33.

George Clinton Davis, son of Joseph, finally inherited the business and farm upon the death of his father in 1843.

For about 90 years the business continued without interruption in the Davis family, till bark for tanning came from distant states and hides from abroad. Then the industry here ceased about 1870.

During the later years, dressing leather that had been tanned elsewhere was the chief industry.

Each of the partners had a house of his own, all within a few rods of each other.

Starting from the Cobb bridge, the first was Phineas, then William Eager in the brick house, then Dea. Isaac, and finally Joseph on the south side of the Plain road. George Clinton Davis lived with his father and later substituted and occupied a new house on the site of the old Tomlin house.

Rev. Joseph Allen’s history of Northboro, 1826, says: "The annual sales of leather by the Davises amount to more than $20,000." In 1836 the inventory of the estate of William Eager Davis named stock in process of tanning, 900 hides $3,000, 450 skins $450, - $3,450. Converted into leather and finished, this stock became much more valuable. The report of the town centennial, 8166, valued tanned hides at $8,-2,000 hides $16,000.

Profits must have been liberal to enable the partners to contribute toward Northboro cotton manufacture in 1814; toward the building a brick cotton mill in 1832; toward other industries and finally for one of them to bequeath $11,000 to each of his six sons and $7,000 to each of his five daughters.

Conditions for tanning were favorable when the farmer supplied himself with meat by slaughtering his own animals; with leather by exchange of hides with the tanner, with shoes by conversion of leather through work by the itinerant shoemaker, who tarried in the family till all were shod; with yarn and cloth by exchange of wool. Then there were few middlemen to share profits.

p. 14 is a picture of the home of Phineas Davis and his widow "Aunt Patty."

p. 15 is a picture of the home of William Eager Davis.

p. 16 is a picture of the home of Col. Joseph Davis.

p. 17

Soon after the close of the Revolution much discontent arose because the courts were compelled to adjudicate between debtors and creditors at a time when values of currency and property were so uncertain that titles to the homes of the people too often passed to creditors. Self government had existed but a few years and the masses did not realize that repeal or amendment was surer to give relief than resistance to the enforcement of laws. It was in 1786, Aug. 7, that Isaac Davis was chosen Northboro’s delegate to one of numerous conventions of that period to consider the subject and was instructed:--

1st. That the Court of Common Pleas be abolished. 2d. That the whole Body of Lawyers be annihilated.

For a time successful resistance to meetings of the court was made at Worcester and at Springfield till in January, 1787, the militia was called into service and soon scattered the mob that was commanded by Capt. Daniel Shays. That ended what has since been known as "Shays’ Rebellion." This was just the date of the birth of John Davis, destined to become a lawyer and Governor of Massachusetts.

Isaac Davis, left an orphan in infancy, learned to care for himself. He became a strong public spirited character; was thirty years deacon of the Northboro church, 1795-1825. Twelve years, 1787-1798, he was representative to the Massachusetts General Court.

It was in 1801 that the kindly service of Deacon Isaac Davis was sought by the widow of John Ball. Forty-five years ago Warren Fay, D.D., a retired Orthodox minister of Northboro, wrote to George Clinton Davis an account of the occurrence as follows: (Written in 1863.)

p. 18

My Dear Sir:

In compliance with your repeated request I give what I believe to be a true history of some singular and what seem to us strange facts in regard to the funeral of some of your maternal ancestors.

Your honored grandfather, John Ball, Sr., was a member of the church in Northboro of which the Rev. Peter Whitney became the second pastor. Mr. Whitney assumed the power and authority without the consent or action of the church, as I am informed, to alter the church covenant which had been adopted before his settlement and by which the members had bound themselves; this your grandfather thought to be undue assumption of power, unprecedented and wrong. After some consultation and remonstrance he withdrew and absented himself.

Mr. Whitney then induced the church to inflict some censure upon your grandfather. After all this your grandfather proposed to meet Mr. Whitney before any impartial tribunal and have an investigation and an adjustment of all differences, saying he was willing to do whatever was right for a conciliation. I understand that to this Mr. Whitney persistently objected and said that he intended to bring Mr. Ball to terms. This position Mr. Whitney maintained and Mr. Ball ceased to attend on his ministry. Thus they stood in reference to each other when your great grandmother, whose maiden name was Sarah Harrington, died at the home of your grandfather Ball, where she had spent her married life, and where she had been cared for to the very great age of more than ninety years.

She died in the spring of 1801,? 1795), sixty-two? years ago. Your grandfather invited the Rev. Mr. Fairbanks of Boylston to officiate at the funeral, but did not invite Mr. Whitney. Mr. Whitney and wife started for the funeral, but having got stuck in the mud on the way, did not arrive until Mr. Fairbanks was about to offer prayer. Mr. Whitney took Mr. Fairbanks aside and absolutely forbid his offering prayer, and Mr. Ball, under these peculiar circumstances and after his wanton and unprecedented interference, did not wish for the services of Mr. Whitney, and thus they went to the interment without any funeral services. Mr. Whitney proposed offering prayer in the church after the burial and invited all who would to attend, and your grandmother Ball asked her husband on leaving the cemetery if she should attend, and mistaking the negative for the affirmative reply, went into the church, which she afterwards deeply regretted, as her feelings were very much wounded.

 

p. 19

Mr. Whitney [nee…..ad] any ministerial intercourse with Mr. Fairbanks after this strange scene.

After a few years (in 1801) your grandfather Ball died and your grandmother, his widow, requested your grandfather, Dea. Isaac Davis, to invite Dr. Puffer of Berlin to officiate at the funeral.

Dea. Davis knowing what course Mr. Whitney had taken at the funeral of your great grandmother called on him on his way to Berlin and after some conversation with him upon the subject of the approaching funeral, proposed to him directly;--

"Will Mr. Puffer’s attending Mr. Ball’s funeral create any difficulty between you and him?" After some hesitation Mr. Whitney answered.

"No! Not as I know of."

When Dea. Davis made Mrs. Ball’s request to Dr. Puffer he urged Dea. Davis to go to Mrs. Ball and urge her to invite Mr. Whitney to attend the funeral. To which Dea. Davis assented—requesting Dr. Puffer to accompany him, which he did; but as they did not succeed, Mrs. Ball probably having received some direction from her husband, Dr. Puffer very kindly gave Mrs. Ball to understand that he must decline her request.

Mrs. Ball fell into tears—said she did not wish to involve Dr. Puffer in any difficulty and would acquiese in the will of Providence.

Dr. Puffer’s sympathies were awakened and he said to Dea. Davis:--"Is it your opinion from all the conversation you have had with Mr. Whitney that my attending the funeral will cause any difficulty with me." He directly answered "No!"

Dr. Puffer then yielded to Mrs. Ball’s earnest request and did officiate. Immediately after this Mr. Whitney wrote Dr. Puffer a short and spicy note stating in substance what follows:--

"Some things have taken place which must be satisfactorily explained before our ministerial intercourse can be resumed. I now tell you plainly and emphatically that if you wish to have ministerial interchange of kind and brotherly offices, you must not presume in any case or instance, whatever, to come within the limits of Northboro to perform any ministerial act or service when I am at home and able to perform the same."

p. 20

To this peculiar letter, Dr. Puffer replied at length and with great kindness, stating how cautious he had been not to give the slightest offence and how desirous he had been to have Mr. Whitney invited to the funeral and secure the friendly feelings of the family. He also requested Mr. Whitney to inform him how much he meant by forbidding him to perform any ministerial service within the limits of Northboro. Dr. Puffer asks:--

"Suppose a neighbor or parishioner of mine moves within the limits of Northboro and has sickness in his family; I visit him in his affliction, he earnestly requests me, his former minister, to pray with and for him—To do this is a ministerial act. Or—I have a son in N---- must I not presume to pray with him, in case of sickness, until your permission is granted? Be assured sir, no one will be more careful than myself to prevent future trouble, but if you mean by anything you have said to place me in a singular or disadvantageous situation, I better know what becomes me as a man and a minister than to tamely submit to it. I act upon no principle that I would not have others act upon, hence I give you my free consent to come within the limits of Berlin for any ministerial act or service, whether I am at home or not. I am determined to ascertain whether I had your consent or not."

Mr. Whitney soon replied to Dr. Puffer’s letter, saying that it was so full and satisfactory that he removed all obstacles to ministerial intercourse and invited him to dine with him and attend his sacramental lecture and also invited Dr. Sumner of Shrewsbury. After the lecture Dr. Puffer invited Dea. Isaac Davis to testify that Mr. Whitney gave his consent that Dr. Puffer should attend Mr. Ball’s funeral. He placed his justification on having, through Dea. Davis, Mr. Whitney’s consent. Whereas he might have placed it on religious liberty to comply with Mrs. Ball’s request, and that he recognized no Pope in Northboro.

1801 was the date of the death of John Ball. His mother, Sarah (Harrington) Ball, died 1795.

The above Mrs. John Ball was Mary (Baker) Ball, sister of Judge Samuel Baker of Berlin; daughter of Esq. Edward Baker of Westboro, who was a friendly neighbor of Rev. Ebenezer Parkman of Westboro.

Throughout his long life, to the making of his last will, Dea. Isaac Davis was celebrated for decision of character and definiteness of purpose and action.

p. 21 is are pictures of Dea. Isaac Davis (1749-1826) and Mrs. Betsey (Baker) Thurston (1763-1850).

p. 22

There never was uncertainty as to his meaning. He was thrice married. His first wife, Anna Brigham, was the mother of his eleven children, the third and eleventh of which died in infancy.

We are unfortunate in having neither letter nor portrait of Anna (Brigham) Davis, but are able to show pictures, at maturity of seven of her children. After protracted illness she died in 1803.

The following year Dea. Isaac Davis married for his second wife Mrs. Susanna (Baker) Harrington of Alstead, N. H., widow of Eli Harrington of that place. She died in 1816 and Isaac Davis married for his third wife, her sister, Mrs. Betsey (Baker) Thurston of Fitchburg.

This third wife had already been twice a widow. Her first husband was Jabez Fairbanks; her second husband, … Thurston, and her third husband, Dea. Isaac Davis.

The second and third wives of Dea. Davis were daughters of: Judge Samuel Baker, 1722-1795, of Berlin, and Susanna (Taintor) Baker, 1720-1781. The grandparents were Esq. Edward Baker,* 1696 … Westboro, and Persis (Brigham) Baker.

During, and subsequent to, the Revolution, Samuel Baker was Judge of the Common Pleas Court, 1775 to 1795. This included the Shay’s Rebellion period and Judge Baker was then assaulted by malcontents, but not intimated in the execution of the law. After his decease in 1795 his library was inventoried as follows:--

_______________________________

*Note: The Baker family had a Westboro tanyard that ante-dated the Davis tanyard a quarter century. It was on the west side of the road to south meetinghouse, then at Wessonville; on south bank of stream flowing east. It was sold in 1748 by Edward Baker to David Wilson and described as the Samuel Baker tanyard. Was sold again in 1756 to Joseph Baker, minor. Probably it was on the Assabet near the west boundary of Marlboro town grant of 1660, south of Fisher street and west of Mill street. Traces of a milldam, road and house foundation no the Fairbanks property could be seen till recently.

p. 23

Blackstones Commentaries 24s, Common Law 10s, Libby’s Abridgements 12s, Burn’s Justice 6s, Dictionary 2s, History of Papacy 2s, Langdon Revelation 5s, Psalm Book 2s, Life of King William 1-6, Wiser Del….1s, Sermons and Pamphlets 3s, Acts and Resolves 4s.

Real Estate 600ʆ, Personal 263ʆ, 4s. 5d.

It should be noted that Susanna and Betsey Baker, the second and third wives of Dea. Isaac Davis were nieces of Mary (Baker) Ball the wife of John Ball before mentioned.

At the age of 67, when Dea. Isaa[s] Davis was about to marry his third wife, it is possible his children remonstrated, for then before marriage he and the lady, Mrs. Betsey (Baker) Thurston, executed an inheritance contract definitely mentioned in his will of 1819.

"I give and bequeathe to my widow, Betsey Davis, the household furniture which she owned and brought into the house at the time of our intermarriage in order that she may be allowed to take the same or as much as may remain thereof at my decease—and none other. I also give and bequeathe to her the annual sum of sixty dollars to be paid yearly by my executors from the fund hereinafter mentioned during her natural life. I give her the foregoing bequest and annuity instead of dower, the right to which she formally and solemnly released by an indenture made in contemplation of our intermarriage; also instead of the sum of four hundred dollars mentioned in said indenture, the said furniture and annuity being all that I intend she shall receive of my estate."

In 1823 a codicil was added to the will giving to the widow joint right to use but not to lease the well, the cellar, the oven and a portion of the house including the "East Room below", the same as granted 78 years earlier to the widow of Isaac Tomlin.

Betsey Baker outlived her third husband, Isaac Davis, a quarter century. Tradition says that at his decease she went to Worcester to live with Eli Fairbanks, a son of her first husband.

p. 24

We have her portrait, the only one of Dea. Davis’s three wives. None of the Davis portraits were painted till after the death of the first two wives.

The Davis lot in Northboro cemetery contains foot-stones marking graves of Isaac—Anna—Susanna—Betsey—and a central shaft bearing the names of Isaac Davis and his three wives, also an epitaph written by Rev. Joseph Allen.

As a representative o the people he was honest;

As a magistrate of the County just;

As a Christian humble but inspired with hope;

As a citizen exemplary and useful;

As a husband and parent virtuous and affectionate.

A reminder of Dea. Isaac Davis, 1749-1826, is now held by the oldest daughter of George Clinton Davis. It is a well preserved and strong linen shirt marked "I. D."—homespun from flax raised on the Northboro home place.

Deacon Isaac Davis’s five sons were Phineas (a bold countenance, Joseph (increase), Isaac (laughter), Samuel (asked of God), John (gift). They were widely known during their period of activity as "Master Phin," "col. Joe," "Esq. Isaac," "Bro. Sam," "Honest John," or later "Gov. John."

Phineas devoted himself to the leather industry and of it made an eminent success. In his younger days he was a noted wrestler till one day he was injured, and walked ever after with a twisted leg. His fearlessness of savage dogs about slaughter houses, where he drove for hides, made him widely known in his day. At that time children were early taught to be of service. His son Isaac Davis of Worcester told the story that when he was eight years old his father, Phineas, directed him to drive to Worcester, ten miles distant, with a younger brother, and get a check cashed at the bank. On arrival, the eldest son presented the check for payment. The cashier looked at the check, then at the boy; asked if anyone was with him?

p. 25

"Yes! My brother."

"Bring him in."

When the cashier discovered the second boy was younger than the first he asked if others came?

"Yes! My dawg. My dawg always goes. He won’t let any one touch me."

"Tell your father he must send some one older, we can’t pay money to young children."

"My father will send me back—I know he will: he wants the money."

Sure enough back the boys came the next day, reinforced with a note requesting the cashier to pay the children and the father would assume all risk. On another occasion Phineas directed his daughter, ten years old, to drive alone to Worcester and deposit $1,000. She hesitated, till he told her she could drive the best horse.

Phineas Davis was married in 1793 to Martha Eager, daughter of Francis Eager and Sarah (Fairbanks) Eager of Northboro and granddaughter of Bezaleel Eager who was thrown from his horse and killed by the roadside a half mile west of the Davis home, where a marble slab stands and is inscribed:--

Capt. Bezaleel Eager was killed on this sport Oct. 31, 1787, aged 74.

Erected by I. Davis.

The "I. Davis" was Isaac Davis of Worcester, son of Phineas and Martha.

Sixty years ago Unitarian Davises were only too glad to apply to Davises of another faith any and all jokes and Isaac of Worcester being the only Baptist had to bear his full complement. They immediately called this slab Isaac’s gravestone, but he said little, stuck to business, outstepped them all, and outlived most of them.

Phineas Davis died in 1834. The shaft at his grave says:-- ?

p. 26

An honest man, loved as a neighbor, honored as a citizen, respectid as a magistrate.

Martha (Eager) Davis outlived her husband twenty years. As "Aunt Patty" she was loved and honored. No work could be done in her house on the Sabbath. From sunset Saturday till sunset Sunday her pots and kettles ("black dishes") could not be used, but she would knit Sundays after sunset.

FAMILY OF "MASTER" PHINEAS DAVIS.

Descended from Davis and Brigham, Eager and Fairbanks Ancestors.

 

 

Generation

Birth

Marriage

Children

Death

Residence

Phineas Davis

Martha Eager

6

1772

1773

1793

11

1834

1854

Northboro

Northboro

Francis Davis

Martha Parmenter

Eunice Parmenter

7

1794

1818

1833

 

1838

 

Rebekah (Davis) Patrick

John Patrick

7

1797

1820

0

1835

Warren

Isaac Davis

Mary Holman Estabrook

7

1799

1807

1829

 

1883

1875

Worcester

Phineas Davis

Abagail F. Thayer

7

1801

1822

 

1850

 

William Eager Davis

Almira L. Sherman

7

1803

1803

1828

 

1836

1883

Northboro

Martha (Davis) Wells

Stephen Wells

7

1805

1829

 

1894

1835

Northboro

Detroit, MI

Sarah Fairbanks (Davis) Spurr

John Spurr

7

1808

1783

1840

 

1893

1865

Charlton

Susan Baker Davis

7

1810

   

1834

 

Andrew Jackson Davis

7

1815

   

1840

 

 

 

 

 

p. 27 are pictures of Phineas Davis (1772-1834) and Martha Eager (1773-1854).

p. 28 are pictures of Martha (Davis) Wells (1805-1894) and Almira (Sherman) Davis Rice (1803-1883).

p. 29 are pictures of John Spurr (1783-1865) and Sarah Fairbanks Davis (1808-1893).

p. 30 are pictures of Isaac Davis (1799-1883) and Mary Holman Estabrook (1807-1875).

p. 31

The seventh child of Phineas and Martha was Martha Davis who married Stephen Wells in 1829 and lived in Detroit, Mich. Six years later Stephen Wells died of cholera and his widow with three children came to Northboro to live with her mother, her father, Phineas, having died the year before.

"Aunt Patty" and her daughter Martha (Davis) Wells continued to live at the old house near the Cobb Bridge. "Aunt Patty" died in 1854; the youngest Wells daughter died in 185?; the older Wells daughter died in 1859; the Wells son disappeared for a period of thirty years. Mrs. Wells had by that time reached an age to be called "Aunt Wells" and the home was the home of "Aunt Wells" forty years after the death of her mother.

The wandering son finally returned; was married; his wife took the best of care of "Aunt Wells"; the son died; his widow continued to care for "Aunt Wells" till she died at the age of 88. The son’s widow then returned to Australia. "Aunt Wells" spent 83 years of her life at the old house and was its last Davis occupant.

Joseph Davis was the second son of Dea. Isaac and Anna (Brigham) Davis. In 1799 he married Lydia Ball, the daughter of John Ball and Mary (Baker) Ball, who was the sister of Judge Baker of Berlin. Anna (Brigham) Davis, the first wife of Dea. Isaac, was then living.

Five years later Dea. Isaac married Mrs. Susanna (Baker) Harrington, daughter of Judge Baker of Berlin, consequently first cousin to Lydia (Ball) Davis. By this marriage to Dea. Davis, Susanna became stepmother of Joseph and stepmother-in-law to Joseph’s wife, Lydia (Ball) Davis, her cousin.

Nine children were born to Joseph and Lydia (Ball) Davis during the first eighteen years of their married life and they all lived to have families of their own. Lydia (Ball) Davis died in 1822 and was succeeded by Lydia Cogswell who was then the widow of Micah Sherman and stepmother to five Sherman children. When asked to become the second wife of Col. Joseph Davis she asked "What is to become of my Sherman stepchildren?" The prompt reply of Col. Joseph was, "Fetch them along! Mix them with [m]ine!"

 

p. 32 are pictures of Col. Joseph Davis (1774-1843) and Mrs. Lydia (Cogswell) Sherman (1784-1840).

p. 33

Think of a woman who was already stepmother to five children, marrying again to become stepmother to nine more children. To be sure some of the stepchildren were old enough to marry within a few years. There is nothing but praise recorded of her. Col. Joseph Davis would have permitted nothing less. Her early experience as mistress of 60 schoolchildren probably helped. Letters to her sisters and to her mother, 80 years old, are written in a distinct hand and well expressed. Generally three to fouru pages, full letter size. One seems to know the writer far better after reading those letters; can better understand the face in her portrait.

Of Lydia (Ball) Davis we have no portrait and no letters; nothing but lines she wrote and signed in the autograph album of her niece, Hannah Ball.

May all the joys of life be given

To thee, my friend, by gracious heaven.

May all the sweets of heavenly bliss

Enrich thy future life, and this

is the wish of yours affectionately,

Aunt Lydia Davis.

When about to marry Lydia Cogswell Col. Joseph Davis called together his five daughters and told them what he was to do, saying that he was lonely; that he needed some one to permanently care for his household; that they naturally would marry and leave him; that they might experience some trials, but must learn to bear and forbear.

 

 

p. 34

About that time one of his older daughters was receiving attention from a gentleman six years older than herself. A younger sister thought the disparity of ages prohibitive and that it was her duty to stop further progress. Her plan was novel. Learning that the gentleman was to call that morning she raised the chamber window over the front door and placed on the sill a feather bed to air, while she stood behind to push when the gentleman should knock. One tradition says the bed was pushed and fell on the gentleman’s hat; another says sisters interfered. All we know is, there was a jolly wedding in that family not many weeks later.

Joseph Davis was colonel of the Massachusetts militia and annually mustered and trained volunteer troops in the field east of the tanyard. He served in both branches of the Massachusetts legislature.

At the funeral of his wife he declined to supply spirit to the bearers and was much criticized for his departure from custom.

A few months before the death of Col. Davis his son, George Clinton Davis, married Mary E. Bigelow of Worcester. Dr. Hill having completed the marriage service remarked to Col. Davis, "Your son today takes fro Worcester one of our finest young women." The reply came at once, "Well! We shall see! We shall see!"

The shaft at the grave of Col. Joseph Davis bears the following inscription by Dr. Joseph Allen:

"A man of integrity, sagacity and uncommon force of character; faithful and affectionate in domestic relations; a patriotic and public spirited citizen; a kind neighbor; a generous and sympathetic friend; an enlightened and charitable Christian."

Partial paralysis during his later years compelled him to move with much moderation, expecially in getting into and out of his carriage. His faithful horse, "Old Bay", then proved most valuable and would stand motionless till his master gave the word.

 

p. 35

At the death of his master, "Old Bay", harnessed to the hearse, took the body to the tomb and then went to the home of the oldest daughter in Holden. There he became useful in winter hauling a sleigh-load of children to school and returning without a driver; occasionally going for the children without a driver. Four years after the death of his old master the head of the house in Holden died and "Old Bay" returned to Northboro to help drive cows to pasture.

When the old Tomlin or Davis house was to be torn down by George Clinton Davis in the spring of 1852 to make room for the new house on the same site, a daguerrotype of the old building was taken. Then it was suggested that "Old Bay" be included in the picture. The present writer, then a lad of 14, led "Old Bay" forward and the second daguerrotype includes the horse and boy at the corner of the house. After the old house had been demolished and construction of the new house was in progress "Old Bay" was offered to some carpenters to take them home one stormy evening. He died before morning, aged 27.

The Phineas Davis dog, that went to the Worcester bank with the boys, was the favorite animal in that family. He would mount the driver’s seat in the sleigh and drive home a load of school children, growling as a warning, to each team he met, to turn out.

George Clinton Davis, born in 1813, was named for Gov. George Clinton of New York, vice-president of the United States. Andrew Jackson Davis, the youngest child of Phineas and Martha (Eager) Davis, was born in 1815, shortly after Andrew Jackson’s success at New Orleans.

William Eager Davis, born in 1803, was the sixth child of Phineas and Martha. He devoted himself to the leather industry and was given a share in its profits. In 1828 he married Almira L. Sherman (the youngest of the Micah and Susanna Sherman children before mentioned in connection with Lydia Cogswell). In 1832 he paid to his father, Phineas, $3,000 for the land on which now stands the brick dwelling. Four years later he died at the age of 33. His widow married in 1845 Israel Chapin Rice and lived in Boston till his decease, though the Northboro brick house had been retained as a summer residence. The William (Eager) Davis estate was administered after the death of Israel Chapin Rice, and Mrs. Rice and a young daughter then made their home in Northboro village till Mrs. Rice’s decease in 1883.

 

p. 36

At the death of William Eager Davis his real estate was appraised at $5,295. his personal property included a share of tanyard stock before mentioned.

September 7th, 1833, William E. Davis, Colonel 2d Regiment, 2d Brigade, 6th Division of the Militia of Massachusetts, issued to his cousin, Henry J. Davis, son of Samuel of Maine, a certificate of appointment as Quarter Master Sergeant. Later this Sergt. Henry Davis was for many years a resident of Philadelphia. He legally dropped his middle name Jackson.

After the death of Phineas Davis, in 1834, and the death of William Eager Davis, in 1836, the whole business was left to Col. Joseph Davis, assisted by his son, George Clinton Davis, then but 23 years of age.

Not much later failing health compelled Col. Joseph to rely very largely upon his young son George. When the father died, in 1843, he gave to George the first right to accept the homestead and the leather industry at an appraised value of $4,000 as a part of his share in the estate. Acceptance of this option gave to George Clinton Davis full proprietorship and he continued the business till about 1870. Then bark for tanning had become exhausted in this part of Massachusetts and our meat supply came more from the west. In later years the business was chiefly dressing leather that had been tanned elsewhere. The last of the tools were sold about 1870

 

p. 37 is a picture of the home of George Clinton Davis.

p. 38 are pictures of George Clinton Davis (1813-1873) and Mary Elizabeth Bigelow (1819-1907).

p. 39

Besides his leather industry and farming, George Clinton Davis was elected unanimously president of the Northboro Bank nineteen consecutive years. Thirteen years he served as one of the trustees of the Westboro State Reform School. He died in 1873, leaving a widow, Mary (Bigelow) Davis, and four children. Twenty-one years later the widow sold the homestead and the title passed from the Davis name in 1894.

Cotton manufacturing in Northboro was another industry intimately associated with the Davis name. Dea. Isaac, Phineas and Joseph each contributed liberally toward the first cotton factory in 1814. Isaac Davis, Jr., the fourth child of Dea. Isaac and Anna (Brigham) Davis, devoted forty years of his life to the cotton industry. In his early manhood he engaged in teaching on the Maine coast, which then was a part of Massachusetts. In 1801 he returned for his bride, Polly Rice, daughter of Dea. Seth Rice and Sarah (Brigham) Rice of Northboro, and took her to Trenton, on the coast opposite Mt. Desert. There the most if not all his twelve children were born. In 1819 he came to Northboro to make a trial of the cotton mill before disposing of his home on the coast and moving his family from there.

In 1822 his son, Henry G. Davis, was in the Northboro cotton mill. In 1830 the family was living in the house at the forks of the road opposite the present woodside mill which is on the site of the first Northboro cotton mill. The Northboro cotton mill was sold at auction in 1826 and was purchased by Isaac Davis, Jr., and others, who operated the mill till, in 1831, a corporation – "The Northboro Cotton Manufacturing Co." – was formed and took possession of the property. One year later Isaac Davis bought an old grist mill and its water power a half mile further down the Assabet and with the aid of his brothers, Phineas and Joseph, built the Davis brick cotton mill and three brick dwellings (Now Chapinville) at a cost of $30,600. Six cents per pound, on one year’s credit without interest, was the price of the cotton the first year. It was hauled by ox teams from Boston to the mill.

 

p. 40 are pictures of Isaac Davis, Esq. (1779-1859) and Samuel Davis (1784-1852).

p. 41 is a picture of the Isaac Davis Cotton Mill (1832-1869).

p. 42 is a picture of Sarah Rice Davis (1816-1894) along with Adeline (Davis) (Patrick) Sanford (1804-1898) and Anna Eliza (Davis) Fiske (1811-1892).

p. 43 are pictures of Dr. henry Gassett Davis (1807-1896) and Ellen W. Derring (1825-aft. 1908).

p. 44

Esq. Isaac Davis built and occupied the house in the village of Northboro, now known as the Orthodox parsonage, and sold the same to Warren Fay, D.D., in 1841. Then he built and occupied a house near his brick cotton mill, on the site now occupied by the residence of Ezra W. Chapin at Chapinville.

Other children of Dea. Isaac and Anna (Brigham) Davis made their homes elsewhere than Northboro.

Samuel, the fourth son, taught in the Maine district of Massachusetts and married there. His home was at Mount Vernon, near Augusta, Me., where six children were born. His eldest son Capt. Samuel Brigham Davis, his youngest son, James Godfrey Davis, a daughter, Mary Anna Davis, (next older than James) made homes in Maine. The other three children came to Northboro where the youngest daughter, Charlotte Moore Davis, died at the age of 21. The eldest daughter, Eleanor married Jonas Hastings; spent most of her married life in Northboro, and died in Marlboro. The second son, Henry, learned the leather business in Northboro, married the youngest daughter of Col. Joseph Davis, lived and died in Philadelphia. This son Henry was christened Henry Jackson Davis, but by enactment dropped the Jackson and was afterward known as Henry Davis.

John Davis, the fifth son of Dea. Isaac and Anna (Brigham) Davis, was widely known as "Honest John" till his election as Governor of Massachusetts changed it to "Gov. John."

His early school life was spent in Northboro. In 1812 he graduated at Yale—1815 was admitted to the bar and practiced law in Worcester. He was a member of the Board of School Overseers, and President of Worcester Agricultural Society; Representative to U.S. Congress, five terms, 1825-34; two terms Governor of Massachusetts, 1834-35; U.S. Senator, 1835-41; two terms Governor, 1841-43; two terms U.S. Senator, 1845-53.

 

p. 45

In 1822 he married Eliza Bancroft, daughter of Rev. Aaron Bancroft and Lucretia (Chaudler) Bancroft, and sister of George Bancroft.

Gov. John Davis died in 1854 leaving a widow and five sons. His widow outlived him 18 years. His eldest son, J. C. Bancroft Davis, recently died at the age of 85. His youngest two sons, Horace Davis and Andrew McFarland Davis, are among the few of that generation of Davises yet living.

Family tradition says that when John Davis was a young lad his father, Dea. Isaac, remarked that an elm tree, that interfered with house repairs then in progress, must be cut. Later John prevailed on his father to save the tree, agreeing to hold the branches away while repairs were in progress. We can imagine Anna (Brigham) Davis, the mother of 11 children, having a word with her son John about the preservation of that shade tree near her back door. It was more prudent for a favorite child to plead than for a wife to remonstrate. That tree now standing is four feet in diameter and we thank John Davis for it.

It was in January, 1842, that "Charles Dickens Esq., and lady" sailed on the steamship Britannia for Halifax to visit American cities and important towns. This was destined to furnish material for "Dickens’ American Notes."

They reached Worcester by rail via. Boston, Saturday, February 5, 1842, and were entertained by the Governor of Massachusetts, Gov. John Davis, in his Worcester home on Lincoln street. Sunday morning the church of Dr. Hill, adjoining the Court House, was packed with people to see Dickens in the Governor’s pew. But that day the Governor’s pew remained empty. Then Isaac Davis, a nephew of Gov. John, issued invitations to Mr. And Mrs. Dickens and the better people of Worcester to a large evening party at his house. This the people of Worcester long remember and Mr. Dickens remembered Worcester in his American Notes, saying their houses looked like card board houses built the day before and ready to be moved next morning.

 

p. 46 are pictures of Capt. Samuel Brigham Davis (1811-1896) and Elizabeth Eleanor (Davis) Hastings (1812-1889).

p. 47 are pictures of Henry Davis (1814-1889) and Mary Susan Baker Davis (1815-1896).

p. 48 are pictures of John Dolloff (1815-1887) and Mary Anna Davis (1817-1892).

p. 49 is a picture of the home of Rev. Aaron Bancroft and Lucretia (Chaudler) Bancroft and was the birthplace of Lydia (Bancroft) Davis and George Bancroft.

p. 50 are pictures of Gov. John Davis (1787-1854) and Eliza (Bancroft) Davis (1791-1872).

p. 51 are pictures of Anna (Davis) McFarland (1777-1857) and John Chandler Bancroft Davis (1822-1907).

p. 52 are pictures of George Henry Davis (1834-…) and Bruyn Hasbrouck Davis (1827-…).

p. 53 are pictures of Horace Davis (1831-aft. 1908) and Andrew McFarland Davis (1833-aft. 1908)

 

 

p. 54

FAMILY OF COL. JOSEPH DAVIS.

Descended from Davis and Brigham – Ball and Baker ancestors.

 

 

Generation

Birth

Marriage

Children

Death

Residence

Joseph Davis

Lydia Ball

Mrs. Lydia (Cogswell) Sherman

6

1774

1776

1784

1799

1823

9

2

1843

1822

1840

Northboro

Northboro

Northboro

Joseph Davis

Mary Wood

7

1800

1796

1823

5

1868

1869

Northboro

Amanda Davis

John Estabrook

7

1801

1795

1829

5

1880

1847

Holden

Anna Brigham Davis

Cyrus Holbrook

7

1803

1797

1823

1

1873

1854

Sterling

Lydia Ball Davis

Silas Sisson

7

1805

1801

1832

2

1887

1863

Louisville, KY

John B. Davis

Harriet Porter Gates

Nancy Garland

7

1808

1810

1831

1847

2

3

1858

1847

Pontiac, MI

Harriet Davis

Henry Roger Phelps

7

1811

1810

1831

5

1883

1892

Northboro, Fitchburg and Syracuse, NY

George Clinton Davis

Mary E. Bigelow

7

1813

1819

1842

5

1873

1907

Northboro

Mary Susan Baker Davis

Henry Davis

7

1815

1814

1844

4

1896

1889

Philadelphia, PA

James Davis

Lucy Maria Allen

7

1818

1821

1842

8

1893

1900

Northboro and Syracuse, NY

Descended from Davis and Brigham—Cogswell ancestors.

 

Henry Cogswell Davis

Anna M. C. Ferrel

7

1824

1847

2

1889

Boston

Charles Dana Davis

Abby Ellis Allen

7

1826

1828

1852

0

1896

West Newton

 

 

p. 55

FAMILY OF ESQUIRE ISAAC DAVIS.

Descended from Davis and Brigham—Rice and Brigham ancestors.

 

 

Generation

Birth

Marriage

Children

Death

Residence

Isaac Davis

Polly Rice

6

1779

1782

1801

12

1859

1852

Northboro

Northboro

Adeline P. Davis

John Patrick

David Sanford

7

1804

1837

0

1898

 

Henry Gassett Davis

Ellen W. Deering

7

1807

1825

1856

3

1896

Aft. 1908

 

Isaac Brigham Davis

7

1809

   

1832

 

Anna Eliza Davis

Horace Fiske

7

1811

1799

 

0

1892

1867

 

John Davis

7

1813

   

1844

 

Sarah Rice Davis

7

1816

   

1894

 

Hannah Gates Davis

Franklin Whipple

7

1819

1847

1

1852

Warren

Cyrus Davis

Eliza W. Bruce

7

1822

1824

1846

1

1855

1870

 

 

 

 

p. 56

FAMILY OF SAMUEL DAVIS

Descended from Davis and Brigham—Moore and Weeks ancestors.

 

Generation

Birth

Marriage

Children

Death

Residence

Samuel Davis

Mrs. Elizabeth E. (Moore) Godfrey

6

1784

1782

1809

6

1852

1846

Northboro

Maine

Samuel B. Davis

Mary Ann Stain

7

1811

1812

1832

 

1896

1870

 

Eleanor E. Davis

Jonas Hastings

7

1812

1807

1834

5

1889

1885

Northboro

Henry Davis

Mary Susan Baker Davis

7

1814

1815

1844

4

1889

1896

Phildealphia, PA

Northboro

Mary Anna Davis

John Dolloff

7

1817

1815

1849

 

1892

1887

 

James G. Davis

Polly Robinson

7

1820

1820

1846

 

1900

1891

 

Charlotte Moore Davis

7

1822

   

1844

 

FAMILY OF GOVERNOR JOHN DAVIS.

Descended from Davis and Brigham—Bancroft and Chandler ancestors.

 

 

Generation

Birth

Marriage

Children

Death

Residence

John Davis

Eliza Bancroft

6

1787

1791

1822

5

1854

1872

Worcester

Worcester

John Chandler Bancroft Davis

7

1822

   

1907

Washington, D.C.

George Henry Davis

7

1824

       

Bruyn Hasbrouck Davis

7

1827

       

Horace Davis

7

1831

     

San Francisco, CA

Andrew McFarland Davis

7

1833

     

Cambridge

 

 

p. 57

FAMILY OF ANNA DAVIS

Descended from Davis and Brigham—McFarland ancestors.

 

 

Generation

Birth

Marriage

Children

Death

Residence

Anna (Davis) McFarland

William McFarland

6

1777

1758

1810

1

1857

1839

Northboro

Worcester

Andrew McFarland

Susan Orne

7

1811

1831

0

1836

 

FAMILY OF SARAH BRECK DAVIS.

Descended from Davis and Brigham—(Bellows) Snow ancestors.

 

 

Generation

Birth

Marriage

Children

Death

Residence

Sarah Breck (Davis)

Daniel Bellows

6

1782

1777

1802

2

1865

1823

 

Charles Bellows

Sarah Baird

7

1803

   

1837

 

Mary Ann Bellows

Benjamin Hazeltine

7

1804

1823

4

   

Mrs. Sarah Breck (Davis) Bellows

Willard Snow

6

1782

1775

1824

1

1865

1846

 

Henry Snow

Caroline Crocker

7

1827

1849

     

FAMILY OF HANNAH DAVIS.

Descended from Davis and Brigham-Dunton ancestors.

 

Generation

Birth

Marriage

Children

Death

Residence

Hannah (Davis) Dunton

Daniel Dunton

6

1791

1813

2

1816

 

Robert Breck Dunton

Mary Jane Larned

7

1814

1841

1

1849

 

FAMILY OF ELIZA DAVIS.

Descended from Davis and Brigham—Gale and Allen ancestors.

 

 

Generation

Birth

Marriage

Children

Death

Residence

Eliza (Davis) Gale

Cyrus Gale, Sr.

6

1794

1785

1816

2

1821

1880

 

Frederick W. Gale

Mary S. Utley

Sarah Whitney

7

1816

1843

1851

0

1

1854

1854

 

Hannah Davis Gale

George Barnes

7

1818

1815

1842

 

1851

1900

 

 

 

 

p. 58

Two daughters of Dea. Isaac Davis died in infancy, four lived to maturity and each had children. The oldest, Anna Davis, married Wm. McFarland and lived in the northern part of Worcester. She survived her husband eighteen years and left one son, Andrew.

Aunt McFarland’s grand nephews and nieces long and kindly remember her preaching far above the tops of their little heads while they did their best to keep quiet knowing something more tangible would follow if they were good.

Silver spoons were scattered widely among the girls. Boys got pocket bibles that were envied by others in the Sunday school. "Aunt McFarland" inherited a snuff box that she passed down to her sister, "Aunt Snow." She in turn passed it to her daughter, Mrs. Mary Ann (Bellows) Hazeltine.

The second daughter, Sarah Breck Davis, married first Daniel Bellows of Westboro and had two children, a son, Charles Davis Bellows, who married Sarah Baird and died at the age of 34, and a daughter, Mary Anna Bellows, who married Benjamin Hazeltine and died leaving children at Belfast, Maine.

Daniel Bellows died in 1823 and the following year his widow married Willard Snow, who was Colonel of a Massachusetts regiment that, during the war of 1812, was for a time stationed at some fort near the coast. He lived in Paxton and was a man of influence in that section. He died nineteen years before his wife and was the father of her son, Henry Snow, now, at the age of 81, living in Cambridge.

More family traditions center about "Aunt Snow" than ll others. She had a most cheerful, even temper, that remained unruffled when others went wild. Possibly stories "based on fact" – like the favorite novel of that period – were somewhat colored by imagination and she never took trouble to set them right. Gov. John, the other cheerful one of the family, once said: -- "Sister Sally forgot her own wedding day, and when her husband died she had no one at the funeral."

 

p. 59 are pictures of George Barnes (1815-1900) and Hannah Davis Gale (1818-1851).

p. 60 are pictures of Col. Willard Snow (1775-1846) and Mrs. Sarah Breck (Davis) Bellows (1782-1865).

p. 61 are pictures of Henry Snow (1827-aft. 1908) and Caroline Crocker.

p. 62 are pictures of Mary Anna (Bellows) Hazeltine (1804-…) and Frederick W. Gale (1816-1854)

p. 63

The wedding day, as understood by Col. Snow, was one day later than the day named by the bride in the invitations she sent out. Guests in their chaises assembled and were quartered in the three Davis homes, but no groom appeared. Next morning John Davis, who with his wife and two very young children had driven fro Worcester, was informed that the children must be taken home as they had not come prepared for a visit. As they were driving to Worcester the met Col. Snow in his chaise jogging on, one day late to his wedding. Col. Snow arrived at the Northboro home to find his bride-elect smiling, but her stepmother, Mrs. Betsey (Baker) Davis, much disturbed because of the failure of the wedding to occur at the time of her household arrangements therefore.

By dint of much scurrying, scattered guests reassembled and the delayed marriage ceremony was performed. Then all were invited to the dining room where, meantime, the large family dog had stretched himself at full length on the floor. Mrs. Betsey either stumbled over the dog or hit him with her foot so that he rushed against the hinged table and smashed the wine glasses. The newly married couple were much less disturbed than Mrs. Betsey (Baker) Davis.

It was twenty-two years later that Col. Snow died and a messenger was sent to inform relatives, but for some unexplained reason he failed to reach them till after the services.

In 1862 "Aunt Snow" had a "stroke" followed by high fever that the doctor mistook for typhoid and said that she could live but a few hours. Next morning the fever had disappeared and she seemed as well as usual. Later another stroke came, her eyesight was gone, and her consciousness of location was reversed. One must stand behind her in talking or she would turn. Her chair must be placed in front of her or she would turn and sit on the floor. Led to the kitchen one day and a chair placed behind her she turned and sat on the hot stove, fortunately without personal injury. A still later shock cured the reversal but did not restore her eyesight.

 

pp. 64-65

Hannah Davis, the fourth daughter of Dea. Isaac Davis, married Daniel Dunton of Boston; had one son, Robert Breck Dunton, and died three years after her marriage.

The fifth daughter was Elizabeth, who married Capt. Cyrus Gale and was the mother of Frederick W. Gale and Hannah Davis Gale. She died five years after her marriage.

Frederick W. Gale, his wife and an infant child, were all lost when the sidewheel steamship Arctic foundered at noon, Wednesday, September 27, 1854, after collision with the screw steamer Vesta from St. Pierre, Nova Scotia, for France. This occurred fifty miles from shore on the banks of Newfoundland at a time when short period of clear horizon alternated with banks of densest fog. The stock of the overhanging anchor of the Vesta had been forced entirely through the skin of the Arctic and broken from its chain fastenings, while the anchor flukes had torn the planking from the Arctic below the water line and left the Vesta’s anchor hanging at the hole in the side of the Arctic. Of the 383 persons on the Arctic very few were saved. Capt. Luce of the Arctic clung to wreckage of the wheelhouse and after about 48 hours exposure to the waves without nourishment was rescued by the ship Cambria.

Hannah, the sister of Frederick W. Gale, married George Barnes and died about eight years after marriage.

One more person, Mrs. Anna (Gott) Maynard, the maternal grandmother of the children of Deacon Isaac and Anna (Brigham) Davis, should be mentioned in connection with the Northboro Davis home. Twice widowed, she finally came to pass the last few years of her life with her daughter, Anna (Brigham) Davis, and died at the Davis home in 1799, four years before Mrs. Davis died.

Her life as the wife of Capt. Stephen Maynard, was varied and most trying. At first he was the popular, influential and wealthy citizen of Westboro. He became bankrupt, fled to Vermong, about 1790, and died there five years later. Then his widow came to Northboro.

p. 66 are pictures of Joseph Davis (1800-1868) and Polly Wood (1796-1869).

p. 67 are pictures of Capt. John Estabrook (1795-1847) and Amanda Davis (1801-1880).

p. 68 are pictures of Cyrus Holbrook (1797-1854) and Anna Brigham Davis (1803-1873).

p. 69 are pictures of Silas Sisson (1801-1863) and Lydia Ball Davis (1805-1887).

p. 70 are pictures of John B. Davis (1808-1858) and Harried Porter Gates (1810-1847).

p. 71 are pictures of Henry Roger Phelps (1810-1892) and Harriet Davis (1811-1883).

p. 72 are pictures of James Davis (1818-1893) and Lucy Maria Allen (1821-1900).

p. 73 are pictures of Henry Cogswell Davis (1824-1889) and Anna M. C. Ferrill.

p. 74 are pictures of Charles Dana Davis (1826-aft. 1908) and Abby Ellis Allen (1828-1896).

p. 75 is a picture of the 5 daughters of Col. Joseph Davis and Lydia (Ball) Davis, Ann, Mary, Lydia, Harriet and Amanda.

p. 76 is a group picture of the widow, children and grandchildren of George Clinton Davis, which were the last of the Davis’ at the Northboro Davis home.

p. 77

Letters.

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Some family letters of a century ago – everyday letters – give a clearer conception fo the times, the teaching, the people, the preaching, than anything we can write today.

Letter from Anna Davis to her brother, Isaac Davis, Trenton. (Trenton was on the Maine coast opposite Mount Desert):

Northboro, December 14, 1802

Dear Brother (Isaac Davis):

Your welcome epistle arrived this evening which brought us the pleasing intelligence of your safe arrival and good health and in return I will inform you that I and the rest of your friends are under the fostering hand of health, piece and friendship which benine benedictions I hope are extended and will be continued to you and yours through time and eternity.

Maam (Mrs. Anna Brigham Davis, who died 4 months later) is comfortable as she was when you went from here.

Mr. Artemas Brigham died on Thanksgiving day evening in a very suding manner.

Betsey is yet with me and desires with myself to be remembered to you, Polly, and John. Sir and Maam also present their love.

Write often, tell Polly and John to, and I will do the same.

From your sister and friend,

Anna Davis

p. 77

Letter from Lydia Cogswell, 1810, (aged 26) to Mrs. Hannah L. Cole, Salem. Honored by Col. Drury.

Marloboro, June 7, 1810.

Affectionate Sister:

Perhaps ere this you may have thought us negligent or forgetful of you by our not writing, believe me it is no the case my dear sister.

You are already acquainted sufficiently of our affectionate solicitude for your health and happiness to need assurance of our anxiety for you since you left us. I cannot describe the vacancy your absence made in our family as well as in our anxiety to be beneficial in restoring your health. The extra curtain at my window I let remain for several days. That little bunch of barberry blossoms which, the night before you left us, you put up by the chimney hook, we let remain until it entirely dried up. Every favorite spot where you frequented has been visited with doubt delight. When I reflect on the tender and affectionate consideration of your husband in parting with you so long and making so many sacrifices for your happiness my heart overflows with gratitude to that being whose merciful providence has hitherto so graciously ordered every event concerning you. Should your health yet remain, my sister, unsettled and impaired dispair not of his goodness and mercy to restore you again. Cast all your cares upon hi, for he careth for you and without whose notice not a sparrow falls to the ground. O may you receive abundant supplies from that fountain which is ever open, ever free to every sincere suppliant.

We have not yet seen Dr. Pierce nor had letters from Sp—field but are daily and hourly expecting to. You may depend on hearing immediately.

Par and Mar left us a week ago today, we had not the least thought of their visiting Salem, but received a line by the mail this evening informing us they had been with you. The visit I hope has been productive of much happiness. I feel anxious for Mar, knowing her feeble health and insufficiency for further trials.

Par writes us they did not expect grandmar Dawes could continue the day out—that they should stay until after the last respect was paid her—of course we shall not expect them until Monday. We feel quite deep, I assure you.

I have the happiness to tell you that we have succeeded wonderfully in painting the passageway, front entry etc., etc., that when you visit us in September you will hardly know the old mansion.

 

p. 78

I promised to write you how Election day was spent at M-----. We did, I assure you, feel a great vacancy in our circle by the absence of yourself and husband and though our cake did not relish as well as usual, our two dear sisters took tea, with us with Mr. Brown. You will not forget your promise now I hope! I can hardly wait with patience for Mama’s return to tell us particularly how you are. I beg of you to let us hear from you at every opportunity, if ti is but a line it will be gratifying.

Give my affectionate regards to your husband and Sophia. I acknowledge myself under many obligations to Sophia for her kind c…ing letter—intend answering very soon and should before this had not my time been very much ingrossed in my school. I have had 60 different scholars—45 or 40 statedly—which you will imagine takes up the greatest part of the day to instruct, and I may add the most of my strength and all my patience with half of my resolution. What there is left of my powers and faculties I feel as if I must give to self-indulgency which is idleness. Sister … called on us this afternoon—as well as usual. Sister M…s family in health. All your sisters join in love with me. Give my best love to your dear children. We felt disappointed in not seeing E. Tell Joe I cannot tell him how much I was pleased with his letter.

From Sister Lydia.

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Letter from John Davis to his father, Dea. Isaac Davis, written a few months before he graduated at Yale.

New Haven, Jan. 18, 1812.

Dear Father:

I have not written to you since I cam from home for several reasons: 1st. Because I have, for the most part off the time, been very well. 2d, I have written to Hannah and Mr. McFarland and expected you would hear from me by those letters. 3d, I have had nothing to communicate which would have been either new or interesting. 4th, -- I did not expect an answer if I wrote. I do not complain of this, however, because I think the badness of your eyesight is a good apology. 5th, -- I did not think my letters would be worth the postage. These are the reasons why I have not written, which I trust are sufficient to free me from all censure. It is now vacation and college will come together again the 30th of this month, but will be liberated gaain about the middle of May. I shall, however, write again before that period and frequently if I have any chance of conveyance besides the mail.

 

p. 80

The weather is now intensely cold. The thermometer stands at cypher which is 32 (degrees) below freezing. We had about the last of December the most severe storm that has been witnessed for many years in this place. The wind accompanied with snow and sleet rendered it terrible. More than thirty vessels which were in the sound were driven on to Long Island. Many persons belonging to them were frozen to death. Others were frost bitten in a dreadful manner. 12 out of 13 (the whole crew of one vessel) were lost. The Captain being one among the number that perished--actually reached the shore and was found, clenched around a tree, frozen to death. Numerous other accidents and damages were experienced from the storm.

Congress talks pretty loudly about going to war--The bill for raising an army to consist of 25,000 men, enlisted for five years, has passed both houses and is probably signed by the President before this. There is a bill now on the table authorizing the President to accept the services of 50,000 volunteers...; (paper worn) to ... country. In consequence of Congress . . . . . . . . . . .a great number of vessels richly laden have sailed from the ports in this part of the country for Europe, most of them bound to France, about 50 of them I understand have cleared out from new York.

I am necessitated to ask you again for a little money. In order that you may determine whether I expended the last you was so kind as to give me, extravigantly or not, I will give you an account of my most important unavoidable expenses:--

Board, tuition, etc...................................$47.51

Stage fare, and on road.......................... 8.38

Wood, exceedingly dear........................ 11.05

Taxes...................................................... 4.35

Books..................................................... 4.00

Washing................................................. 2.00

(Total) $77.29

The next term will not be as expensive by many dollars, neither shall I be necessitated to pay away a great deal more until spring. I am afraid the sum already expended will appear great, but I cannot manage more economically unless I could devise some means to have an income arising from my own industry, but there is no opportunity in this place for anything of that kind. I cannot describe the gratitude I feel in being enabled to spend the present winter in this place--it is much the most important era in my college life and to be absent would be to lose the best advantages I shall ever have.

 

p. 81

My love to our kind mother (Susanna). I should be exceedingly glad to hear from her. I wish you all a happy New Year ... (paper worn) reading it.

Affectionately yours,

John Davis

Jan. 19. The severity of the weather is still increasing if the senses are an index that can be depended on. I should say it is as cold a morning as I ever experienced. I have not seen the thermometer today but think it must be several degrees below cypher. While I am writing water freezes in a pitcher standing within 2-1/2 feet of a fire.

(Addressed to Deacon Isaac Davis, Northboro, Mass. (Postage 12-1/2)

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A homesick letter from Mrs. Hannah (Davis) Dunton, (6 weeks after her wedding), to her younger sister, Eliza.

Eliza------. I received your letter last Monday morning and in the afternoon there was one handed me from brother Isaac, and the next day I heard directly from Samuel and family, that they were all in health--You wrote that my bed covering would be ready soon and I should be glad to come and quilt it as soon as is convenient for you. I have been very much afflicted with a pain ... this several weeks and I think it would be a benefit to me to journey (Boston to Northboro) into the country--I want you to write me whether you will come down before I go up, or wait and return when I do. I would have you do as best suits you, but if you should conclude to wait I would thank you to inform me whether Phineas or Joseph are a coming down in the course of a few weeks that I could have a passage up with them. Eliza I want to see the family very much. It seems as if I had been from home a year at least. Do write next week all the news you can think of and whether little Andrew's health is restored. Mr. Dunton's love to you and our respects to all the family. He often observes he wishes Eliza was here to walk out with us. I wish you to write respecting Sarah's family and whether Miss Bradist is with her yet. Adieu sister. H.D.

My love to Zilpah and tell her that I sympathize with her in the loss of a beloved and dear sister.

Not postmarked but addressed to Miss Eliza Davis, Northboro, Mass.