Trailing William Davidson: Part 2

I wasn’t sure there was going to be a Part 2. I knew that I had seen the Exact Set of Papers that I needed, just last week, in a large stack of binders. Then I couldn’t find the Exact Set of Papers even though I looked in every single binder a few days ago. Last night the Exact Set of Papers floated to the top of the stack. Perhaps the binder they were in fell off the stack and the universe presented me with what I wanted, which was exactly what I needed.

At any rate, all this blather leads me to the backstory. You knew there was going to be a backstory.

Somehow, I met a woman online who was also researching my William Davidson. This was in the days before social media when you could join an online cool club called a message board. This woman sent a boatload of documentation about her research on William Davidson. Then she actually proposed that we take a trip to the Archives in Utah, stay a couple of days researching, prove to the world which William Davidson was ours, and call it a day. The actual expense of such an undertaking boggled my little mind. I didn’t have money for a haircut, much less planefare and hotel accommodations. And getting away from Mr. X for a few days would be impossible. Seriously impossible.

Then we moved, which now in the space of more than a decade and my own personal research tells me that Mr. X was running away from his own problems. I have since learned that physically leaving your problems doesn’t actually make you leave your problems; you simple pack them up in your baggage and take them along for the ride. Perhaps too much backstory.

So, William Davidson as presented by Janine. She calls him “William 3” to differentiate him from William Davidson in North Carolina (think Davidson College) and another William Davidson in Tennessee near Nashville.



Edited by Samuel C. Williams



Knoxville, 8th December, 1800

Permit me again to solicit your attention to the renewal of your application on the subject of the road through the Cumberland Mountain into the district of Mero; the present road by way of the South West Point is a very bad one, and you are all well acquainted that some part of it is almost impassible with carriages, particularly that part called Spencer’s Hill. 14  The present road crosses Clinch much too near its mouth and out of the nearest direction, also subjects the travellers to a ferriage and the dangers attendant, when good fords are to be had above, and a way through that will, in all probability, cut near or quite a day’s travel with a wagon, and not one hill or mountain to cross that is difficult until you pass the Crab Orchard; this way can be best made by crossing Clinch near Davidson’s ford, then down by Poplar creek to the Big Emmery, up the same as it runs through Walden’s ridge, which is level, and a good way can be had by crossing this small river two or three times. When through the ridge, you have a level way in the Barrens until you strike the present road near the Crab Orchard, the remainder you know. This way has lately been discovered by Colonel William Davidson. 15  two of the Dearmonds 16 and several others, whose veracity can be depended on; and I am very confident that, was there suitable persons appointed to explore and view the way, a very good and convenient road may be had through the Cumberland Mountain without crossing one single hill of any magnitude.

14  Named for the celebrated Thomas Spencer who was killed on the spot by the Indians. For a graphic account of the “ill-renowned Spencer’s Hill,” see S. C. Williams, ed., Early Travels in the Tennessee Country. 503. A modern concrete, state highway has conquered the “hill” at last.

15  William Davidson, who in 1793 lived on Little River, Blount county, is probably referred to. His name was given to the ford mentioned in the text. Listed as Revolutionary soldier: E. M. Wells, History of Roane ounty, 30.

I believe Samuel C. Williams did not know Blount Co. William & the Col. William were 2 different people. I believe Gov. Sevier distinctly says Col. William.


From the Blount County court records in 1818:


The last will & testament of William Davidson decd. was proven by Elliot Holiday and Jacob mcGhee two subscribing witnesses thereto who swore that they saw him sign & seal & heard him publish & declare the same to be his last will & testament, that at the time he was of sound and disposing mind and other witnessed the same; Wherefore it was ordered by the Court that the same be received as the last will & testament of the (p. 120) said William Davidson decd. Whereupon came Samuel C. Davidson and John Walker the Executors therein named who entered into bond & were qualified for the faithful execution of said will according to Law.



Septr. 5th 1801

This day gave Wm. Davidson a pass to go into the Cherokee Nation to purchase a Horse within the Vicinity of So W point-

Return J. Meigs


Annals of Southwest Virginia 1769-1800

By Lewis Preston Summers

Member of American Historical Association, Virginia Historical Society; Alumnus University of Virginia and Tulane University (Louisiana); Member American Bar Association, Virginia State Bar Association


Author of




At a Court held for Washington County May 15th 1781.

Present James Dysart, Robert Craig, Benjamin Estill and James Fulkison Gentlemen.

A Grand Jury (To wit) James Thompson foreman, Hugh Johnson, William Beatie, Arthur Bowen, Robert Buchanan, John Sharp, Josias Gamble, John Blackburn, William Davison, David Snodgress, Andrew Davison, Hugh Johnson, William Cowan, Mathew Willoughby, Halbert McClure and John McCutchan went out of Court to consider of their Presentment and returned and presented as followeth the Surveyors of the Main Road from the seven mile ford to the Court House and from Mr. Leathams to the Carolina Line.

Michael Montgomery for purchasing and selling Slaves contrary to an Act of Assembly passed October 1781 on the information of David Campbell.

We present Robert Clark for purchaseing Slaves contrary to said act on the Information of William Moor.

Ordered that Rev. Thomas Wolsey a regular Baptist Minister as certified by Jonathan Bishop, John Pierce and Hellens Dungins have Licence to Solemnize the Rights of Matrimony according to Law.

Peter Reazor appearing to his Recognizance it is the opinion of the Court that he be Discharged.



At a Court held for Washington County August 23rd, 1782.

This day came the Parties by their Attornies and thereupon came also a Jury (to-wit) Richard Higgins, Gilbert Watson, Jn. Conner, Jn. Bradley, William Davison, Jas. Vance, Jn. Frazer, Andrew Colvill, Daniel Fullen, Andrew Boyd, Joseph Martin, and William Markland.


This day came the Parties and their Attornies and thereupon came also a Jury (to-wit) Wm. Davison, Jn. Reid, Jn. Watson, Jas. Crow, Benjamin Burk, George Clark, Andrew Miller, Jas. Piper, Jn. Bradley, Jas. Vance and Jas. Craig.

Cost two hundred and forty-five pounds of Nett Tobacco and Attorney’s fee fifteen shillings.

John Rhea Plaintiff)


David Crocket Defendant)


This day came the Plaintiff by his Attorney and thereupon came also a Jury (to wit) William Davison, John Reid, John Watson, James Crow, Benjamin Burk, George Clark, Andrew Millar, James Piper, John Bradley, James Bradley, James Vance and James Craig, who being sworn well and truly to enquire of Damages in this suit, upon their Oaths do say that the Plaintiff hath sustained Damages by occasion of the Defendants non-performance of his Assumpsit in the Declaration mentioned, to two pounds eight shillings besides Costs. Therefore it is considered by the Court that the Plaintiff recover against the said Defendant his Damages in manner and form aforesaid assessed and his Costs by him in this behalf expended and the said Defendant in mercy &c.

There’s a bit more, but that’s all for now. And David Crocket? Really?

2 Responses to “Trailing William Davidson: Part 2”

  1. righteousbruin9 Says:

    Interesting that, in the Nineteenth Century, people needed passports to enter Indian Nations.

    Liked by 2 people

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