The Civil War in North Carolina

Reminiscences and Memoirs of North Carolina and Eminent North Carolinians

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seven years. He was distinguished as one of the committee of three, who prepared the Declaration of Independence, and his eloquence, the more effectual from his acknowledged wisdom, purity of motive, and dignity of character, contributed much to the unanimous adoption of that instrument on May 20, 1775."

        John Davidson, another member of this body, was born December 15, 1735, in Chester county, Pennsylvania. He was the son of Robert Davidson of Chestnut Levels, in that State. He was much esteemed and popular. He was a member of the Colonial Assembly in 1771. He was appointed by the Provincial Congress in April 1776, a Major in the Army, with Adam Alexander as Colonel; John Phifer, Lieutenant Colonel, and George A. Alexander, Second Major, and as such served in the campaign of 1776, under General Rutherford, against the Cherokee Indians.

        He was with Sumter in August, 1780, at the battles of Hanging Rock and Rocky Mount. He was enterprising and successful in business. With Joseph Graham and Alexander Brevard, he established Vesuvius Furnace, Terza Forge, and other Iron Works in Lincoln county.

        Prior to the Revolution he came to Mecklenburg, in North Carolina, and settled on the Catawba in Hopewell congregation. He was a delegate to the county convention on May 19, 1775, signed the Declaration of Independence, which was proclaimed in the name of "the citizens of Mecklenburg county, on the next day," and afterward told his grandson, A. B. Davidson, Esq., of Charlotte, North Carolina, (now living), that in coming to the next meeting, that he was apprehensive that some Tory might attempt to way-lay him on the big road, which he ordinarily travelled, and therefore, being alone, came to Charlotte by the bridle-paths.

        He was well informed as to the merits of the question in dispute between Great Britain and the American Colonies, and uncompromisingly advocated independence as the only solution of the controversy. He was appointed by the Provincial Congress, a Major in the Mecklenburg Regiment, under Thomas Polk as Colonel, and was re commissioned on the reorganization, but then accpted a transfer of service to the staff. He had, prior to the Revolution, entered the military service against the Indians, and won his way from the ranks as a private to the commission of Major. He declined to accept the same rank under an officer who had never seen service; but nevertheless, he was one of the most active "Hornets." Besides his service with General Sumter, he was in the battles of Hanging Rock and Ramsour's Mill. He furnished the transportation to General William Davidson for the Cowan's Ford expedition, February 1, 1781.

        He was of a very prepossessing appearance, and preserved his mental faculties to the last. A generous host, he often found an interested audience among the rising generation, as he related to them many transactions of "the olden time," of which 'the historians of the adjacent States' had not yet taken the pains to inform themselves.

        He died, January 10, 1832 in the ninety-seventh year of his age, at the house of his son-in-law, Wm. Lee Davidson. His wife was Violet Wilson, a sister of Samuel Wilson, and half-sister of Captain James Jack. She died December 3, 1818, in the seventy-seventh year of her age. Issue:

        I. Robert, born April 7, 1769,--died June 14, 1853; married Mrs. Margaret McQuirter, daughter of Colonel Adlai Osborne of Rowan. She was born April 7, 1776 and died January 9, 1864, without issue.

        II. Wilson married Betsy Latta--issue, (a) Robert F. married Eliza McCombs, (b) John R. married Eugenia Conneghay, (c) James married Sarah Springs, (d) William Lee married -- Pagan, S. C., (e) Joseph married Mary Caldwell, (f) Benjamin (killed in C. S. A.) married Kate Landon of Connecticut.

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