Col. William Davies

By Henry H. Mitchell

Col. William Davies

William Davies was the son of the Rev. Samuel Davies, fourth president of the College of New Jersey (Princeton), and his second wife Jane Holt of Hanover, Virginia. Following is a biographical sketch written around 1920 by his great-great-granddaughter Ruth Drewry Whittle.

Col. William Davies was in the Continental army where he commanded chiefly in the first Virginia Regiment. His war record extends over the whole duration of the Revolutionary War. He was with Washington when Andre was taken, and was wounded at the battle of Monmouth. He graduated at Princeton College when 17 years of age and had just gone to Norfolk to reside as a lawyer when the Revolution broke. He served in the war seven years during its whole continuance. He was Aide to Gen. Washington and at one time to Lafayette. He was appointed by Washington to settle claims growing out of the Revolution, between Virginia and the United Colonies. He held this office, which necessitated his being much at New York and Philadelphia, the first Capitols, for ten years until the business was completed. He was collector for the Port of Norfolk to which he was appointed by Washington and held this office until Jefferson's election. He married Mrs. Mary Gordon, who had been a Murray. Her first husband died suddenly leaving one child, Margaret. Col. Davies had four children only one of whom, Mary Ann, lived to be grown.

Col. Davies, after graduating at Princeton College, taught for some time in the College. Richard Stockton the signer of the Declaration of Independence was his guardian, and with him he studied law. He was of a highly cultivated mind as his library and the estimation in which he was held by such men as Gov. Tazewell, Judge Marshall, Geo. Keath, Taylor and many others show. He died at about 56 years of age at his estate in Mecklenburg Co., then called “Davies,” now “Millbank,” and there he and his wife are buried. He received in 1784, 7777 2/3 acres of land for a service of seven years, and his heirs have claim for additional boundryland.

Col. Davies' daughter Mary Ann married Fortescue Whittle. Their fourteen children included Capt. W. C. Whittle, James M. Whittle, Bishop Francis Whittle, Col. Lewis Neale Whittle, and Lt. Col. Powhatan B. Whittle.


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