clan davidson genealogies researched by John Lisle
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Capt. Samuel Davidson

Capt. Samuel Davidson

Male 1736 - 1784  (47 years)

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  • Name Capt. Samuel Davidson 
    Prefix Capt. 
    Born 10 Oct 1736  ____, ____, Ireland, UK Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Gender Male 
    Died 1784  Swannanoa Gap, Buncombe Co., NC Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Buried Aft 1784  Asheville, Buncombe Co., NC Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Person ID I159  DNA Family 1 Genealogies
    Last Modified 17 Feb 2009 

    Father John Davidson,   b. Abt 1700, ____, ____, Ireland, UK Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. Abt 1749, ____, ____, NC Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age ~ 49 years) 
    Mother Jane Tucker,   b. Abt 1712, ____, ____, Ireland, UK Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. Unknown, ____, ____, NC Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Married Abt 1728  ____, ____, Ireland, UK Find all individuals with events at this location  [1
    Family ID F68  Group Sheet

    Family Mary Smith,   b. Abt 1735,   d. 29 Apr 1842, Asheville, Buncombe Co., NC Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age ~ 107 years) 
    Married Abt 1760 
     1. Mary Ruth Davidson,   b. Abt 1767,   d. Unknown
     2. Ruth Davidson,   b. 24 Jul 1769, ____, Burke Co., NC Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 1826  (Age 56 years)
    Last Modified 4 May 2006 
    Family ID F106  Group Sheet

  • Event Map
    Link to Google MapsBorn - 10 Oct 1736 - ____, ____, Ireland, UK Link to Google Earth
    Link to Google MapsDied - 1784 - Swannanoa Gap, Buncombe Co., NC Link to Google Earth
    Link to Google MapsBuried - Aft 1784 - Asheville, Buncombe Co., NC Link to Google Earth
     = Link to Google Maps 
     = Link to Google Earth 

  • Notes 
    • Samuel Davidson was born in Ireland and traveled as an infant to America with his family.  He and his brother Major William Davidson were twins. He was killed by Indians at Swannanoa Gap, NC about 1784.

      The following is a biography abstracted from the book "Genealogy of the Davidson Family of the Duck River Valley" by Ede Davidson Neil, John Q. Davidson, and Hugh Davidson (Nashville, 1907):

      "From a paper written by Robert B. Davidson after a visit to Asheville, N.C., in 1870, we copy the following:

      "'Our grand uncle, Samuel Davidson, was killed by the Indians about the year 1776.  He had worked his horse all day, and turned him out to grass at night.  Next morning he walked out to get his horse, and had not been long gone until his wife heard the sound of a rifle shot : and, taking the alarm, she snatched up her infant daughter, Ruth, and leaving the path, she made her way across the Blue Ridge about twenty miles to a fort on its eastern slope.  A negro woman left about the same time, and made her way back to the fort along the path.  The alarm was given, and two or three of those living at or near the fort went in search of the body, and found it.  The infant, Ruth, grew up and married James Wilson; and some time in the present century they settled in Williamson County, Tenn., where their descendants now live, a highly respected family.  About fifteen years ago (in 1855) Mack Gudger, plowing a field near where Samuel Davidson was killed by the Indians, found a polished stone on which is rudely cut "D. S. 1775," and on the opposite side "S.D."  These letters are supposed to stand for "Daniel Smith" and "Samuel Davidson." Gudger gave me the stone.'

      "Hugh Davidson is now in possession of this stone, which he values highly.

      "Samuel Davidson married Miss Smith and Daniel Smith (her brother) married Davidson's sister Mary.  Daniel Smith was a celebrated frontiersman and Indian fighter."

      Robert Stephens Hand documents a second wife for Samuel and a son John. This has not been supported by evidence. However, there is a John Davidson in 1830 census for Buncombe County, NC, that is not yet identified and could be this person: p. 167: 10010-20010-08

      The following is a history that seem riddled with genealogical errors.

      Author: Alex S. Caton, Smith-McDowell House Museum
      Title: The Early Settlement of Buncombe County
      URL: http://www.wnchistory.org/museum/droversroad.htm
      Date: 1999

      The Early Settlement of Western North Carolina

      In the Proclamation of 1763, King George set-aside the land west of the Blue Ridge Mountains in North Carolina to the Cherokee and prohibited the entry of white settlers. However, tensions between Britain and the colonies rendered the Proclamation useless, and settlers began to move westward, encroaching on Cherokee lands.

      Seeing an opportunity to rid themselves of these American settlers, the Cherokee sided with the British in the Revolutionary War. After several Cherokee raids against the settlers, Brigade General Griffith Rutherford and 25,000 members of the North Carolina State Militia were sent to punish the Cherokee in 1776. As he traveled into Western North Carolina, Rutherford burned and destroyed Cherokee towns and fields along a route known as the Rutherford Trace. Rutherford's brutal tactics quickly resulted in surrender; the Cherokee dropped out of the war and ceded territory to North Carolina for an unspecified "amount of goods." After the British signed the Treaty of Paris with the United States in 1783, North Carolina was free to open its new mountain territory, but owed a huge war debt to the Continental Congress. To pay these debts, North Carolina offered land grants as payment to soldiers of good standing.

      Colonel Samuel Davidson, born in Lancaster, Pennsylvania in 1736, was the first to bring his family to settle west of the mountains in North Carolina. Davidson built a log cabin at the foot of Jones Mountain along Christian Creek in the Swannanoa Valley in 1784. Samuel's father was General John Davidson who had fought with George Washington during the French and Indian War and had commanded the supply train for General Rutherford's expedition against the Cherokee.

      Perhaps his family's history and the nearby ruins of a Cherokee village known as "Swannano Old Town" gave Samuel confidence; in any event, he underestimated the Cherokee. A band of Cherokee hunters removed the bell from Samuel's horse and lured him into the woods where they killed him. Upon hearing a gunshot, Samuel's wife fled on foot with her baby and female slave to Davidson's Fort (now Old Fort). Her 16-mile journey in the dark through the mountain wilderness to the nearest white-settlement documents the determination of these early settlers.

      An expedition was sent from Davidson's Fort to avenge Samuel's death. They found Samuel's body scalped near his cabin, and buried him on the spot. Members of the party included Samuel's twin brother Major William Davidson, who had fought during the Battle of Kings Mountain, and Colonel Daniel Smith (1757-1824), who had served during the Revolution as Captain of the North Carolina Militia under Colonel Charles McDowell and General Rutherford in their campaigns against the Cherokee. Smith was a native of New Jersey who had moved to Rowan and Burke Counties, North Carolina where he had befriended the Davidsons. He married William's daughter Mary McConnell Davidson in 1781. It is said, but not known with certainty, that Samuel's Davidson wife Daniel Smith's sister. Oral tradition claims that Daniel Smith killed over 200 Cherokee with his legendary gun, "Long Tom," earning him the nickname the "Daniel Boone of Buncombe County." (The pre-Revolutionary War era flintlock is in the collection of Smith-McDowell House Museum.) This group of Davidson family members tracked the Cherokee hunting party to a location by the Swannanoa River near today's Biltmore, killing several and scattering the rest.

      A few months later in 1785, Major William Davidson and wife Margaret McConnell (daughter of the first settlers of Rowan County), his brother James Davidson, his brother-in-law John Alexander, his cousin Colonel William Davidson, and his son-in-law Daniel Smith returned and formed a settlement at the mouth of Bee Tree Creek, a tributary of the Swannanoa River near the present day Warren Wilson College.

      Once secured by the Davidsons, the Swannanoa Valley began to fill with other families. These first settlers acquired the finest available land river-bottom land, which positioned them to have great social and political clout. Major William Davidson, James Davidson, and John Alexander established the Swannanoa Settlement on adjourning land in Bee Tree. Colonel David Vance settled on a land grant in the Reems Creek Valley. John Weaver settled near today's town of Weaverville. Captain William Moore, brother-in-law of General Griffith Rutherford, received a land grant in the Hominy Creek area. Colonel William Davidson and Smith moved to the west, settling on the east-side of the Swannanoa and French Broad Rivers near present-day Biltmore.

      These early settlements were formalized in August 1787 when the State of North Carolina issued the first Buncombe County land grants to William and James Davidson (for 600 acres of both sides of the Swannanoa). That same year, Mary Davidson Smith gave birth to her second son, James, in their log cabin near the confluence of the Swannanoa and French Broad Rivers. James was reported to be the first white child born west of the mountains in North Carolina.

      By the 1790 United States Census, there were 1,000 settlers in the region, not including the Cherokee. These early settlers believed in education; by 1793 Robert Henry operated a subscription school called Union Hill (later Newton School). Union Hill was located in a log cabin above the Swannanoa settlement on present-day Biltmore Avenue and is most certainly where young James Smith and his siblings went to school. In 1796, Daniel Smith purchased 308 acres for 100 pounds from William Stewart, securing his holdings in Swannanoa. By the 1800 Census, Daniel Smith was listed as the head of a household consisting of two males under the age of ten (sons John L. Smith and Daniel Smith, Jr.), two males ages 10-16 (sons William Davidson Smith and James McConnell Smith), two males ages 26-45 (Daniel himself and one unknown), three females under ten (daughters Mary "Polly" Smith and Nancy Smith, plus one unknown), one female 10 to 16 (daughter Elizabeth "Betsy" Smith), one female 26-45 (wife, Nancy Davidson Smith), and one slave. Son Moses was born in 1802 and daughter Jane in 1804, completing this large pioneering family.

  • Sources 
    1. [S8] Davison/Davidson Family, Robert Stephens Hand, (2nd Ed., 1991), p. 10 (Reliability: 3).
      Estimated date