Jefferson County, NY Pioneers



John Davis was born 1 June 1735 in Concord, Massachusetts. He lived at both Acton and Littleton, Middlesex County, Massachusetts before he settled at Shirley, in Worcester Co., MA. He married Huldah Thayer on 2 June 1757 by Justice Whiting in Concord, MA. In 1788 he removed with their children who had not reached their full age to Reading, Vermont where he built the first saw mill and established a farm. Of their children, their son, Cornelius Davis was born 13 December 1761 at Littleton, MA.

Cornelius Davis had a long and successful career as a Revolutionary War soldier before he married and settled. He was a private in Capt. John Minott's Co., of Col. Dike's Regiment from 1 Dec. 1776 to 1 March 1777. His service in the Continental Army from Lt. Holden's Co., Col. Jonathan Reed's Regiment, dated at Littleton on 2 Dec. 1777, lists his residence at Shirley, engaged for the town of Shirley; he joined Capt. Smith's Co., Col. Bigelow's Regiment for three years in 1777; he was in Van Schaick's Island and in camp at Stillwater, NY in March of 1777. In May of 1778 he was at Valley Forge but reported sick in camp in April of 1778. June of 1778 he was in Camp Greenwich, acting as auditor's guard. In 1779 he was at Providence and reported on furlough in December of 1778. In Salem, September of 1779 he was transferred to Light Infantry, again with Col. Bigelow's Regiment. His name is on a list of men raised for six months service and returned by Brig. Gen. Paterson as having passed muster in a return dated at Camp Totoway, on 25 October 1780. Payroll records support his many assignments and his last march was 8 July 1780. His formal discharge was 12 December 1780. His military records are documented in both Massachusetts and in the National Memorial site for Saratoga County, NY.

After the war, Cornelius Davis met and married Mary Delano on 25 January 1789, by Eld. Jacob Mann at Alstead, New Hampshire. Mary Delano Davis, his wife, was born 13 December 1766 at Alstead Township, Cheshire, New Hampshire, daughter of Gideon Delano (born 27 Nov. 1742, Tolland Co., CT and died 4 July 1809 at Alstead, NH) and his first wife, Mary. (her maiden name unknown) After her death he married as his second wife, Lois Benson. There is a marker for Gideon Delano in Alstead, New Hampshire but none for either of the wives. Gideon Delano was a Revolutionary War veteran and is listed in the Saratoga County, NY marker for his service, and is also a DAR Patriot. Gideon Delano, Barnabas Delano and Timothy Delano were all very early settlers of Alstead, New Hampshire and probably brothers.

Mary Delano's siblings were:
Ruth Delano born 13 June 1765
Barnabas Delano born 5 January 1767
Rebekah Delano born 13 Dec. 1770
Freelove Delano born 8 Feb. 1773
Abigail Delano born 5 Sept. 1775

After the marriage of Cornelius Davis and Mary Delano, they lived in Windsor County, Vermont. Cornelius died in Windsor on 17 July 1813, and left Mary with the following known children:

Lucy Davis, born 28 October 1795 in Vermont and died 13 September 1875 at 79 years; buried Clayton Center Cemetery
Hiram Davis, born 24 March 1799 in Vermont, died 3 April 1876 in Hannibal, Oswego Co., NY
Luther Davis, born 1802 in Vermont, resident of Cape Vincent and Lyme, Jefferson Co., NY

After the death of Cornelius Davis, Mary, his widow, and the known children migrated to Jefferson County, NY in February of 1834. It was her son-in-law, Ira Sylvester, who brought them by ox team and sleigh to Clayton in Jefferson County. Ira Sylvester was married in Pittsfield, Vermont on 4 August 1819 to Lucy Davis, daughter and first known child of Cornelius and Mary. Ira was born in Peterborough, NY on 18 July 1796, son of Seth and Hannah Eddy Sylvester. He served in the War of 1812 with the 31st NY Infantry. He died in Clayton on 6 March 1874 and is buried with wife, Lucy, in the Clayton Center Cemetery. See Pioneer Sylvester Family this site for additional information.

Hiram M. Davis, the second known child of Cornelius and Mary, lived in Hannibal Oswego Co., NY. He married Mary A. Wilson, who was born 31 Dec. 1805 and died 17 April 1885.
Known children:

Lucy Ann bc 1829
Mary L. bc 1833
Samuel Abijah L. bc 1838

In the 1865 census of Hannibal, Ester F. Davis, daughter-in-law, bc 1845, and grandson, George H. Davis, age 1.

Luther Davis, the third known child of Cornelius and Mary, lived at both Cape Vincent and Lyme, NY. His wife was Nancy, maiden name unknown, who was born about 1813.
Known children:

Eveline Davis bc 1833
Elizabeth Davis bc 1835
Emerson Davis bc 1837
Edwin Davis bc 1838
Oscar Davis bc 1840
Jane Davis bc 1841
Celia Davis bc 1843
Calista Davis bc 1845
Millen Davis bc 1846
Cornelius B. Davis, b. 3 Sept. 1849; in 1870, Cornelius and his mother, Nancy, were living in Canton, Missouri

What we know of Mary Delano Davis comes in part from her pension applications in Jefferson County and her estate papers when she died at Clayton, NY on 14 February 1849.

Widow's Pension Application No. W19137

Mary Davis as a resident of Clayton at 71 years, widow of Cornelius Davis, appeared before Hon. George Brown, judge of the Court of Common Pleas in Jefferson County, on 12 Dec. 1838, based on the Congressional Pension act of 7 July 1838. It was her understanding that Cornelius served for three years under one enlistment and at the expiration of that enlistment he enlisted again and served under Col. Timothy Bigelow of the State of Massachusetts. She identified her date of marriage to Cornelius at Alstead, NH on 25 Jan. 1789 by Eld. Jacob Mann and further that her maiden name was Mary Dellano. She also stated that Cornelius had died at Windsor, Vermont, where they had resided, on 17 July 1813. She signed the pension application with "her mark", as Judge Brown wrote at the bottom of the declaration, "I certify that Mary Davis says she has not written but made her mark for several years on account of her hand trembling. I further certify that by reason of age and infirmity she is not able to attend court."

Hiram Davis gave a statement on 12 Dec. 1838 which was filed in Jefferson County while he was a resident of Clayton. He stated that he was well acquainted with Cornelius and verified the date of death; that Mary was his widow and never remarried. He signed his statement with legible and neat handwriting.

The Town Clerk of the Town of Alstead, Samuel Cragin, provided a deposition on 2 Jan. 1839 to the effect that the marriage record was in the town records as reported in Mary's application.

The deposition of John Blood of Windsor, Vermont, dated 18 September 1838 (age 79) stated that he was in the Army of the Revolutionary War and had enlisted 27 March 1777 for a three-year term in a company commanded by Capt. Sylvanus Smith, then of Shirley, MA. The regiment was commanded by Col. Timothy Bigelow. At that time John lived in Groton, a town that adjoins Shirley, and that Cornelius Davis, who was of Shirley, enlisted about the same time in the same company for three years and served the whole three years in said company with him.

In Mary's pension file on a cover page it shows that Mary was inscribed on the Roll of Albany, NY at the rate of $80 per annum to begin 4 March 1836. The actual pension certificate was issued on 20 June 1839. Recorded Book A., Vol. 2, p. 74.

There were a number of Pension Acts passed that sometimes necessitated the need for the pensioners to return to court or make additional declarations that echoed the original paperwork; this was true in Mary's application materials. On 6 April 1843, at age 75, Mary appeared before Jeremiah Dixon and reaffirmed the earlier information. And again, on 20 April 1848, she appeared before Loren Bushnell, a justice of the peace, as a resident of Clayton and reiterated her earlier statements. (Source: Martha Magill)

It was in Mary's Estate information that her husband and children were identified. See Estate Papers of Mary Davis on this site. Her children stated that she had deceased on 14 February 1849.

When the pension agent, Adrien Ely of Watertown, NY, submitted her pension application materials to L. L. Edwards in the Comm. of Pensions Office in Washington, D.C., he did so with a cover letter in which he identified not only Mary's pension papers but those of:
Esther Rider
Susan Priest
Rachel Harris

NOTE: Cornelius Davis has not been documented by the DAR or SAR, to the best of my knowledge.
- M. Sapienza

SOURCES: It is with gratitude that I thank Martha Magill, Assistant State Coordinator of NYGenweb, for her generous assistance in providing pension information and related data. Neither Martha nor I are related to the Davis family. Estate/Will Papers of Jefferson Co., NY, National Historic Site at Saratoga, NY, Massachusetts service records of Rev. War. Participants, census records, tombstone and cemetery records, VIR of CT, MA, NH, Vermont, Jefferson Co., NY biographical information.

This information about the Pioneer Davis family was contributed by volunteer Marilyn Sapienza.

Return to Jefferson County NYGenWeb Page

Return to Pioneers Page

Return to Town of Clayton