Corporal william davis


The burial place of Corporal William Davis of Revolutionary fame is located in Avery County.  There are varying accounts about Corporal William Davis resulting in differences of opinion on the subject.  One of the most debated of these concerned the age of Davis upon his death, which from two reliable sources  is reported to be between 114 and 116 years of age. 


Much that is told about Davis was handed down by his grandson Isaac Thomas Davis, 1828-1915.  William Davis reportedly was born about 1725 or 1727 in England and stowed away on a ship bound for America and landing at Skipper's Ferry, Virginia. Davis served first with Braddock during the French and Indian War and then with the Continental Army.   Isaac reported that "William was very strong and was a good marksman.  The style for shooting in those days was to lie flat down on the ground.  He could see his bullet hole in the paper 100 yards away and see and outclass his mark the same distance; he never used hog meat."   

DAR Marker placed at the burial site of Corporal William Davis at Three Mile Creek 


Serving under George Washington's cousin,  Col. William Washington, they had gotten down into the Linville Falls area of Avery County.  Washington sent Davis out with a foraging party in search of game and the old-timers told that Davis had remarked that when the war was over that he was going to get married and return to North Carolina.  In 1779 Davis was promoted to Corporal and received four land grants in Burke County, which at that time included

present day Avery County.


Isaac said that "While taking part in the Battle of King's Mountain, October 7, 1780, where he was wounded (broke his thigh) and left on the battlefield, was found by some womenwho carried him to a house where he was cared for.  When he was able, he went to General Morgans' Command.  He was captured by the British, escaped and traveled for three days without food when he again joined the army under Daniel Morgan.  William Davis was present at the surrender of General Cornwallis to General Washington at Yorktown." 

The author, John P. Arthur, who wrote the "History of Watauga County" (1915), wrote the following about Corporal Davis and his home on Three Mile Creek in present day Avery County.

William Davis.--What?-- Hero: Patriot: Let us see. His grave is near the road in front of the Gen. Albertus Childs' house on Three Mile Creek, now owned and occupied by Robert Moseley. Two common "mountain rocks" mark the place of his burial. Two other graves beside his are similarly designated. No munificent government, proud of his record, has "sought his frailties: or his virtues "to disclose." Why? For he was a soldier of the Revolutionary War as well as those over whose ashes grave-stones have been erected. Who knows? Probably a bit of red-tape was missing somewhere. maybe his name does not appear on any roster or muster roll. Yet, in the congressional Library, at the nation's capital, is an allegorical painting called "History." It represents a gray-haired sire telling the story of the past to his son, and this son selling the same story with additions to his son, and so on down the line till the printed page is reached. The name of that oral story is "Tradition." Well, tradition says that William Davis was not only a brave soldier, but a mighty hunter as well, when the wilderness was to be conquered and weaklings stayed at home and sneered at the illiterate and lowly. Davis came to America with William Wiseman and William Penley long before the Revolution. He settled first in Virginia and afterwards came to Ashe County, where he married Frances Carpenter, sister of the first Jacob Carpenter. Then he moved to what is still called Davis Mountain, near Crossnore, on the upper waters of Linville River. When the game was exhausted there, he moved to Three Mile Creek and built four log houses "all in a row," with communicating doors between and a chimney at each end. Standing before a blazing fire in one end of the house, with the three intervening doors open, one looks through four large, low-ceiled comfortable rooms to cherry-red flames leaping up the chimney at the father end--one of the "fairest pictures of calm content that mortal ever saw." The date of the building of this old structure is recorded on one of the inside logs, but it has been ceiled over and cannot now be seen. But it was made there many, many years ago. The present Jacob Carpenter, his grand-nephew, of Altamont, knows the date of his birth and death, but they would cost the United States some "good money" to have them carved on a 12 X 24 inch stone. Davis died November 18, 1841, when 114 years of age. Still, as he had no middle name, it does seem that the Government, with a big G, might "sort of look after" uncle Billy, who fought his battles for him before Uncle Sam was born, he having been shot through the hips at King’s Mountain. His wife, who sleeps beside him, was certainly a heroine, whether Uncle Billy was a hero or not, for on one occasion, in February, while in a sugar camp on Davis Mountain, he had to be away from her on a cold night. One of her cows found a calf that night, and Mrs. Davis brought it to camp with her and fought off the wolves with fire-brands till morning.”

Davis was the last surviving veteran of the Battle of King's Mountain.  His family cemetery is located in the small grove near the highway in Three Mile on the farm of Sam Smith.  Davis's log home described above stood not far from here and has long been torn down.   

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Corporal William Davis

Hand Pointing - Right  

Old tombstone of Corporal William Davis