Davis History

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The Davis  Line

We have been surprised by the number of inquiries regarding our earliest Davis in the United States, Foulk Davis. Therefore, we believed it would be beneficial to list some of the information we have regarding this particular ancestor.

Information I have on Foulk Davis comes from a the book compiled by my great-uncle, Major General William Church Davis, entitled The Ancestry and Posterity of Joseph Davis (1773-1865) of Norway, New York, and his Wife, Elizabeth Hallock Davis, published in 1927.

While he was an obviously meticulous gentleman, the book was written in the 1920s and does not site the source of all of his references. He does quote from Southampton, East Hampton, and Brookhaven records. He spent considerable time on site interviewing descendants of several families, as well as referencing any number of documents and books. With so much more information available today, including transcribed records, hopefully we can fill in the gaps. If you find any factual errors we would appreciate your letting us know so we can make any necessary corrections. Please also include the source of information.

The earliest entry of great importance I would say is the following:

The earliest record  was apparently "in the printed copy of "The First Book of Records of the Town of Southhampton, Including all the Writings in the Town Clerk's Office, 1639-1660." On page 27, is this entry: 'October 9, 1642. Yt is ordered that Richard Baret and Thomas Thomson shall look and espie out for Ffulk Daues and William Rogers echo of them two acres of old ground vpon the playne, and that yt shall belong vnto them as all other lands do that belong vnto other men, and their heirs forever, porvided that yf eyther of the sayd parties shall depart and leave the towne within two yeares after the date hereof, that then the sayd Ground shall return againe into the Townes hands to dispose of. There was no reference to wife or family."

"It is probable that he arrived by sea from MA, in some sloop, from Boston, Salem or Lynn, from which neighborhood the Southampton settlement had originally been recruited....There is an old tradition of three brothers having originally come from Wales and that Foulk was a Welshman or of Welsh descent.... Foulk was the name of a well-known family descended from the nobility of ancient Wales..... The Timothy Davis family Bible (1750-1827) states that the Davis family is of Welsh extraction. There are only a few brief entries by the town clerks, found in the early records of Southampton, East Hampton, Brookhaven and Jamaica, supplemented by abstracts of certain early deeds on file in the County Clerk's Office at Jamaica...."

At least two of his sons, as well as his son-in-law were weavers, indicating that weaving might have been his vocation also.

'There is a tradition that he was a Friend and had earned the nickname of "The Singing Quaker".(Genealogy of central New York, by W.P. Cutter,NY 1912) ...no family records to confirm this and as far as known all of his children were Puritans.

Southampton records show ‘he was given two acres upon the plain on Oct. 22, 1644’. Sometime after this he and family apparently moved from Southampton for a census on May, 1649 does not include his name. 'He probably moved to East Hampton. Records there show Ffulk Daues was allotted certain lands in 1653 and 1656. There is also a record of a lawsuit which probably involved a property claim, brought against Mary Davis (Foulk's second wife), by the son of her former husband, Ralph Dayton. Foulk was made codefendant. Nature of the complaint was not stated. Case was arbitrated March 20, 1660.

 Southhampton records contain at least two other references:

March 7, 1644. The town was organized into four wards of eleven men each, for the purpose of salvaging whales that come ashore. Evidently the town consisted of 44 families at that time and Foulk's name appears in Ward #3,.

Oct. 22, 1644: Foulk shall have two acres of new ground upon the playne . Foulk apparently moved to Brookhaven sometime after 1660, and the family settled down for the next 250 years at what is now Mount Sinai. These lands were acquired by the settlers from Chief Massetewse for the sum of "Fowre Cotes, Fowre Payre of Stockeing, Too Chestes of Powder, tenn Bares of Led, Six Howse, Tenn Hatchets, and tenn Knive (Mens size Cotes), and 4 Sherts, and 3 Pekle Kettles." Apparently the settlers dragged their heels in paying the debt for the Chief apparently kept dunning the colonists for the kettle, hose and Hatchetts. There was a rather ambiguous agreement on the settlement of the claim.

Then he apparently moved to the new settlement of Brookhaven, purchased from the Indians in 1655 by the colonists at Southold." On June 10, 1664, there was purchased from the Indian Chief Massetewse the tract of land at Old Man's Harbor (now Mount Sinai), in which Foulk and his children acquired property, on or near which his descendants have lived for more than two hundred and fifty years. The consideration paid the Indians for the transfer of this large acreage was ‘Fowre Cotes, Fowre Payre of Stockeing, Too Chestes of Powder, tenn Bares of Led, Six Howse, tenn Hatchets, and tenn Knives (Mens siz Cotes), and 4 Sherts, and 3 Pekle Kettels.’ It would seem that the colonists, though devout Puritans, were not above driving a sharp bargain with the Indians; for in the receipt to the above transaction, Massetewse acknowledges ‘all the several kinds of paye, excepting Kettel, hose and Hatchetts.’ These he apparently kept asking the colonists for, as, under date of Jan. 12, 1669, we find this entry; "It is agreed between massetuese and obed sewaed that the sayed massetuese haue given vp his Right of what is owing him of the Towne which was kitls hachetts and howes the sayed obed does vndertake to satisfy massetuese and obed is willing to take it of the new purchasers that is to pay it'--rather an ambiguous settlement."

He later moved to Jamaica, after giving his Brookhaven home to son Joseph. He probably died about 1687, as County Clerk records show that on Feb 9, 1686 he transferred certain land to his son-in-law William Salyer, while, on Nov. 4, 1692, the deed of John Hinds mentions "Ffulk Davies, latte of Jamaioca, deseast". Apparently there was no record of a will.

He shows the children as follows:

1. Benjamin, b. 1640, d. Dec20,, 1692 M. Rebecca_____b. 1644 d. prior 1692.(Early LI Wills)

2. Joseph b. about 1645 at Southampton, d. 1691 m. Elizabeth_____.

3. Samuel b. probably after 1642 at Southampton, d. 1692 at Jamica, LI (Jamaica town Records)m. Mary, (Jamaica Town Records).

4.Jonathan bo. ? d. 1674 at Jamaica, LI (Abstract early NY Wills) m. Sarah

5.Sarah b.? d." m. William Salyer (Early Brookhaven Records"

6.John, b.? d.? (Son John mentioned in "Small Book of Deeds," Southampton; transfers land to brother Benjamin, 1678."

Uncle Will’s only record of a Susannah was a daughter of Samuel, son of Joseph, son of Foulk. We are descended from her brother, Joseph. Our  records show that she had three brothers,

Samuel, b. 1701, d. May 7, 1761, m. Hannah____ He was a captain in the French and Indian War.

Joseph, b. March 22, 1702, d. Sept 26, 1790 m. Elizabeth Parshall.

Obediah, b.? d. 1784. m.? m. 2nd Phebe____(Will of Obediah Davis, NY City Sur. Of.)

The Brookhaven records, on Dec. 12, 1670, show Foulk giving his house to his son Joseph. Apparently he then moved to Jamaica, where he is listed as giving his residence as Jamaica. Jamaica town records from 1685 to 1691 mention Foulk, his wife Mary (later widow), and sons Samuel and Jonathan, and their widows. He died about 1687, as a record of Nov. 4, 1692 mentions him as deceased. There is no record of a will.

Foulk was twice married. The author states that the identity of his first wife is not known, and she died before 1660. All of his known six children appear to have been her issue. His second wife, Mary, to whom he was married before March 11, 1660, was the widow first of James Haines, who died March, 1653, and second, of Ralph Dayton, whom she married in 1656 and who died at Southampton in 1658. I show Samuel, his son, as born probably after 1642 at Southampton, L.I., died 1692, Jamaica, L.I. Married Mary, who survived him.

His children as listed by author are:

Benjamin b.1640 d. Dec. 20 1692 at Southampton, L.I.(ref. Early L.I.

Wills) M. Rebecca______, born 1644, d. prior to 1692 (ref. same)

Joseph ab. about 1645, at Southampton, L.I., d. 1691 at Brookhaven, L.I.; m.


Samuel b. probably after 1642, at Southhampton, L.I.; d.1692, at Jamaica,

L.I., m. Mary who survived him (both from Jamaica Town Records).

Jonathan b. (Date and place unknown) d. 1674, at Jamaica, L.I. (Abstract

early N.Y. Wills) m. Sarah, who survived him.

Sarah b. (Date and place unknown) d. date unknown,  m. William

Salyer (Early brookhaven Records).

John b. (Date and place unknown) d. date unknown. (Son John mentioned in

"Small book of Deeds," Southampton. Transfers land to brother Benjamin,


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