12 May 2014

William Richardson Davie's Early Years

A biography of General Davie (1756 - 1820) was found in the Magazine Of America here.


The brave, handsome, eloquent soldier and statesman, General William R. Davie, is a national character, and by no means unknown; but the materials are meagre for the life-story of one whose career was so full of deeds, so varied, so eventful that a volume could scarce do it justice. A dashing cavalry officer, a patriot spending his entire fortune as well as his blood for his country; a lawyer of the largest attainments and an orator of superb eloquence; one of the framers of the Constitution in 1787, a member of the North Carolina convention of 1788, the founder of the state university of North Carolina, grand master of masons, governor of the state, minister to France — we rarely hear of him now.

He was born at Egremont, near Whitehaven, England, June 20, 1756, [son of Archibald and Mary (Richardson) Davie]. He came to this country with his father in 1763, and was adopted by his maternal uncle, Rev. William Richardson, who lived in the Waxhaw settlement on the Catawba, in South Carolina. He was sent to Princeton... and in the summer of 1776 we hear of him, with the consent of the president, among a party of students raised to serve as volunteers in the patriot army.
...[In]  September, 1779, Davie being unfit for service, applied for and received his county court license, and was sent by the governor to attend the courts on the Holston river, then in North Carolina, that he might ascertain public sentiment in that section. In the spring of 1780 he received his superior court license. About the same time he obtained authority from the legislature of North Carolina to raise a troop of cavalry and two companies of mounted infantry. The authority was all that the state could give, its funds being too low to provide the means. Major Davie, with a patriotism worthy of perpetual remembrance, disposed of the estate inherited from his uncle, and thus raised the funds to equip his command. 

From the Lancaster, SC, Library's website:
...William Richardson Davie, founder of the University of North Carolina. Also here [Waxhaw Presbyterian Church] are his parents and several other members of his family including his uncle, Reverend William Richardson and Rev. Richardson's wife, Agnes (Craighead) Richardson Dunlap, daughter of Rev. Alexander Craighead.

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