Nielsen Hayden genealogy

William "Billie" Davis

Male 1776 - Bef 1864  (< 88 years)

Generations:      Standard    |    Vertical    |    Compact    |    Box    |    Text    |    Ahnentafel    |    Fan Chart    |    Media    |    PDF

Generation: 1

  1. 1.  William "Billie" Davis was born in 1776 in North Carolina; died before 3 Dec 1864 in Whitley County, Kentucky.


    [The paragraph below is from, evidently from info provided by Patrick's late aunt Nancy Jonckheere.]

    "Born in 1776 in North Carolina, Billie Davis was famous as a trapper, guide and explorer. He had a disagreement with a bear and lost his arm as a result, but it was the bear who lost the fight. Later, one-armed Billie became sheriff of Whitley County, an office he held for many years. He had considerable presence and could handle just about any problem with words alone. Nancy Jonckheere once found online a copy of an old North Carolina election handout from about 1850, which said was that the candidate was endorsed by 'Billie Davis, the famous one-armed sheriff of Whitley County, Kentucky.' By 1795, when Billie was 19, he was already married to Sarah Rapier, who was born about 1779 in North Carolina. Her brother Jesse moved to Whitley County, Kentucky, as well. Billie and Sarah both lived to a ripe old age and died in Whitley County: Sarah between 1860 and 1870, when she was at least 81 years old; and Billie in 1864 at the age of 88."


    We wonder if he wasn't born significantly later than the late 1770s. According to the records of the Kentucky Assembly, William Davis was sheriff of Whitley County in 1848 and 1849, at which time he would have been 72 and 73 years old if he was in fact born in 1776. Memory and oral traditions often exaggerate the age-at-death of particularly colorful individuals.

    More absurdly, multiple trees claim that this William Davis is the Union soldier who died on 6 October 1864 and is buried at Cave Hill National Cemetery in Louisville, Kentucky. We have no idea how they imagine that an 82-year-old man was serving as a Union private.


    Michele Brooks reproduces a bill of sale for his estate, executed by his son Melton Lewis Davis, which may provide some clues to his ancestry:

    Sale Bill Dated 3 December 1864
    Son - M.L. Davis 1 pistol $5.50
    Son - William R. Davis 3 books 1.60
    William Patrick 4 books .50
    William Patrick 5 books .60
    Dau - Matilda 1 book 1.90
    son-in-law Sampson Parker 2 razors 1.40
    Son - M. L. Davis 1/2 bushel ?
    Seth Freeman
    Cousin - James E. White 1 board 1.00
    Cousin-in-law - Melton E. White 2 boxes 4.00
    Son - M. L. Davis Furniture 55.00
    M. L. Davis 1 saddle 1.00
    M. L. Davis 1 satchel 3.00
    Dau - Matilda Cattle .50

    William married Sarah Rapier between 1795 and 1800 in North Carolina. Sarah was born in 1777; died before 1870 in Whitley County, Kentucky. [Group Sheet] [Family Chart]

    1. Nancy Davis was born on 8 Dec 1796 in Cole Creek, Carroll, North Carolina; died on 10 Feb 1864 in Williamsburg, Whitley, Kentucky; was buried in Briar Creek Cemetery, Williamsburg, Whitley, Kentucky.
    2. Sarah "Sally" Elizabeth Davis was born on 8 Sep 1801; died on 2 Jun 1868 in Whitley County, Kentucky; was buried in John Parker Cemetery, Williamsburg, Whitley, Kentucky.
    3. Melton Lewis Davis was born on 3 Feb 1822 in Williamsburg, Whitley, Kentucky; died on 30 Jun 1895 in Williamsburg, Whitley, Kentucky; was buried in Highland Cemetery, Williamsburg, Whitley, Kentucky.

Generation: 2