- The immigrant ancestor of the most numerous families of Davison in America of that period, was a Scotch Convenanter, a group in Scotland, which struggled for religious liberty. They were called thus because they found themselves in a series of covenants to maintain the Presbyterian doctrines. The Covenanter Army was defeated at the Battle of Dunbar Scotland by Oliver Cromwell in 1650. Daniel is supposed to have been a prisoner of war, who was exiled or deported to the Colonies in 1651 or 52. He built a house in Ipswich Hamlet, Essex, MA in the year 1667. He served in King Philips War 1675-1676. His will was dated December 5, 1693. The earliest record of Daniel Davison is the marriage record in the Essex court record. He was 27, Margaret was 22.
The placing of Daniel as one of the Scotch exiles was in the instance largely upon circumstantial evidence, and family traditions. When this solution was once accepted, it was found so well secured in circumstances that it seemed impossible to rove a flaw of genuineness of the same. The traditions, while indistinct as to the historical facts, were founded in lines of the family descent, and had been separated for two centuries, and could have only a common source at the beginning. Daniel Davison being an industrious, frugal thinking man under the conditions named in Rev. John Cotton’s letter, soon found himself able to reimburse the person who paid for his passage to America and in the short period of six years accumulated enough substance to become a farmer upon his own account, and married into a substantial English family, that has borne a worthy name through the centuries since. His children were able to make marriage alliances with the best families, the Dodges, the Whipples, the Morgans, the Tracys, the Williams and the Reddingtons who took and have maintained, during the eight to ten generations since, leaving good repute throughout the continent. He was an educated man to any degree. The record indicates he did not write. If by any chance, he was taken into the Scotch army on the levy of 1643, he could have had the opportunity for education. While it seems improbable at this time, that a boy of fourteen years would be called, yet in the Revolutionary War, Benjamin Davison, who enlisted at fourteen year of age, and fought in the lines for eight years, was only one of several of Daniel Davison's descendants of similar ages, who fought to make this nation possible.
At the date of dedication of the Hamlet church, 1714, the Davison’s and other residents of the Hamlet withdrew from Wenham church and became charter members of the Hamlet church, now Hamilton. This seems to be the only record that Daniel Davison was a member of the church. The fact that he was a member of the Convenanter Army stands as the strongest evidence that his people were of that faith, and that he was baptized as a child in Scotland.
The bloody and crushing experience of Dunbar and of Worcester, 1650 and 1651, it is said caused these unfortunate captives to curse the King, and clergy for “ensnaring them in misery”. Wheelock observed they could not look upon the perpetual meddling of the minister with the affairs of state, as the real source of all calamities, which had “recently befallen them”.
There is no recorded evidence that Daniel Davison held aloof form the church, except silence, which is not strong when his children were in church, and the record that he was buried by the good man as a member, is sufficient. At this date (1693) and for half a century thereafter, the “Hamlet of Ipswich” was more a part of Wenham than of Ipswich, five miles to the north. Here the Davison’s attended church, school and buried their dead. In the southwest corner of that ancient part of the Wenham cemetery today is a triangular tract that has no marking of burials. The fact that the area has been left, as further burials were made, confirm that belief that the ground is sacred to the memory of their ancestors.
About 1920, permission was asked and received, the consent of the present cemetery board to erect near the middle of the front of this area, a memorial to Daniel Davison and his wife Margaret. Daniel’s number in Rev. Gerrish’s list is 33; hence about the middle of the area may be his resting place. The inscriptions reads: “In Memory of Daniel Davison, Born in Scotland, 1630-1693 and his wife, Margaret Low. Ancestors of the Most Numerous Family of the Name in America. Buried 1693, by Rev. Joseph Gerrish”.
Daniel and Margaret had 13 children.
On September 13, 1666 he signed a loyalist petition. He served as a Major in the Essex Regiment and a member of the Ancient and Honorable Artillery Co. in 1672. He became a member of the Wenham Massachusetts Meeting House on January 5, 1674 and was a resident of Ipswich.
Will of Daniel Davison
In the name of God, Amen. I, Daniel Davison of Ipswich in the county of Essex in New England, being sick in body, but in sound and disposing memory praise be given to God for the same do make this my last will and testament in manner and form following:
First: and principal I resign my soul into the merciful hands of almighty God my creator Asuredly hopeing through the merits of my Blessed Saviour to obtain pardon and remission of all my sins & my body I comit to the earth whence it was taken to be decently buried by the discretion of my Executor hereinafter named & for the worldly goods and estate the Lord hath given me, I dispose thereof as follows: I give unto my son William my dwellinghouse and barne and all my outhouses & orchards together with twenty acres of upland and the rest of the upland adjoining to the house lott on the west & northwest to my son William’s at my beloved wifes decease or when she marries.
Item: I give unto my son John fifteen acres of upland adjoining to Edward Potter and Samuel Lumass their land & so to front upon the road way to Boston also I give to my son John five acres of meadow in Bay Path meadow.
Item: I give unto my son Thomas fifteen acres of upland joining to the land I have given my son Daniel & to joyne to Mr. Whipple’s land; also I give to my son Thomas five acres of meaddow in Bay Meaddow.
Item: I give to my son Peter fifteen acres of upland joyning to the land I have given my son Daniel on the one side & joyining to John Gilbert’s land also I give to my son Peter five acres of meaddow in Bay path meaddow and I do oblige my sons John, Thomas and Peter their proportions of upland and meaddow to my Beloved wife in the same termes as I have obliged my son William. And whereas there is thirty acres of upland lying Between William and Peter’s land not disposed which I value to be worth one hundred & twenty pounds, I doe lieue it in the hands of my Beloved wife whome I constitute & appoint to be my sole executrix of this my last will and testament, to be improved for Legacies to my Daughters Bridget & Dorcas distributing the overplus making them all equal and I doe appoint my son William to pay ten pounds for the use of his mother in order to my daughters portions Bridget & Dorcas; and my sons Daniel, & Thomas, & Peter shall have the priviledge of a high way to the Bay Road throught each others land & if by Gods providence any of my sons dy without issue then their part of land shall be equally divided among the survivers;
In Witness of this my firm act and deed I have hereunto sett my hand and seals_______
Signed Sealed in presence of
Richard Walker Senr; Isaac Swaine.
The Mark of Danll Davison (Seal)
Before ye Honoured Bartho Gedney Esq. Dec. 5, 1693____
Richard Walker Senr; & Isaac Swaine the witnesses within subscribe oath that they saw Daniel Davison sign & seal & heard him declare the written to be his last will & testament and that he was then of a disp
Attest Steph Sewall Regr.
Dated Dec. 5, 1693
Probate Records, Salem, Massachusetts, Vol. 303; "12/15/1692-Last will and Testament of Daniel Davison, Deceased"
Inventory of Daniel Davison
From: Probate records of Salem, Mass. Vol. 303. The inventory of the Estate of Daniel Davison deceased taken this 27th day of November, 1693, by us whose names are under subscribed_________________
A Dwelling House and Barne and outhouses 70L, Home Lott and orchard and meadow belonging 110L, 12 acres of tillage land 72 L, Pasture land and Meadow 76 acres 304L, Neet cattle and sheep 34L 1s, Swine and horse and maire 12L 7s, Feather bed and stock bed with furniture 20L, Sheets, table linen and pewter 7L, Iron potts, brass kettle and warming pan 3L, Chests and boxes and three musketts 4 L 10s, Tramel fire pan tongues and frying pan, All utensells of Husbandry 21L 10s, Sadle pollion and bridle and sword 2L 10s, Spinning wheels and other lumber tables and chairs 2L, Indian corn and barley, wheat and rye 34L 14s, Hay in Barne and oates threshed 17L 12s, Sider and flax 14L 10s, Total 720L 12s, Debts due from the estate fiz, General expense 8L 5s, Other debts 8L 1s.
Richard Walker John Gilbert Davison Exrx.
Before the Honored Bartho Gedney, Esq. 12/5/1693 made oath that the above is a true perfect inventory of ye estate of her late husband Daniel Davison deceased if more comes to her knowledge she will ad the same. Attest Steph Sewall
Sources of Information:
Author: Davisson, Russell Lee.
Title: A history and genealogy, the Davissons : twelve generations,
1630-1992, Davidson-Davison-Davisson families
Title: Colonial Families of the United States
Text: Cited by Joseph Miller to Dennis Nicklaus in letter of May, 1996.
Title: Probate Records of Salem, Massachusetts
Text: Cited by Joseph Miller to Dennis Nicklaus in letter of May, 1996.