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General William Lee Davidson Collection

Identifier: DC060

Scope and Contents

Box 1 contains information on General William Lee Davidson immediate family -- his parents, wife and children. Some of the information is genealogy-related and some biographical. There also is a file on the Battle at Colson's Mill. There is a monument erected to Gen. Davidson at this site and Dr. Chalmers Gaston Davidson delivered a speech on Gen. Davidson at this site. This same box also has biographical information on Gen. Davidson. Box 2 contains mostly genealogy-related information on the Davidson, Brevard and McConnell Families. There is a specific file with information on Davidson's homesite. The files marked "Manuscript - Pennsylvania Packett" and "Manuscript - Rowan County Court of Quarter Sessions" contains notes taken by Dr. Chalmers Gaston Davidson from both those manuscripts as it related to General Davidson. The file marked "Miscellaneous" in Box 2 contains information on 1.) the Stepp/Stapp Family, 2.) Thomas Harris McCaule, 3.) copy of a speech by Harllee Branch, Jr. entitled "Moment and the Man" in regards to General Davidson and College President D. Grier Martin, 4.) notes taken from The watchman of the South (Richmond, VA), 5) photographs of Pickens Bird Davidson and his sister Mary Davidson (Haynes/Stuart), and various letters and notes written to and by Dr. Chalmers Gaston Davidson while doing research on General Davidson. Box 3 contains information on the various monuments built in honor of General William Lee Davidson. There also is more biographical information on him located in the Newspaper Clippings file. Information on Dr. Chalmers Davidson's book, Piedmont Partisan, is found here. There also is information on various relics belonging to General Davidson such as his wallet, sword, pistols, desk and knives. The General William Lee Davidson Scrapbook is also located in Box 3. This was a scrapbook made by Dr. Chalmers Davidson. For preservation purposes, the scrapbook has been taken apart, but there is a xerox copy of the scrapbook for researchers. The file entitled "Collection of Letters, Wills and Genealogy Information" contains the following: 1) Letters to and From General William Lee Davidson, 2.) Will of George Davidson (Father of William Lee Davidson), 3.) Will of William Lee Davidson, 4.) Family of William Lee and Mary Brevard Davidson, 5.) Family of John Davidson (Uncle of William Lee Davidson), 6.) Family of John and Jane MacWhorter Brevard, 7.) Roll of Liet-Colonel William Lee Davidson's Company, 8.) Settlement of the Estate of General Davidson with John Dickey, Executor, 4th November 1795, 9.) Letter of Hu Williamson to Richard Bland Lee as used by "Light-Horse Harry" Lee for his brief biography of General William Lee Davidson in Memoirs of the War in the Southern Department. A polylglot Bible owned Eliza ann McLean Davis, daughter of Pamela Davidson McLean and granddaughter of Gen. William Lee Davidson is housed with the Rare Book Room Bible collection.


  • Creation: Majority of material found within 1777 - 1990

Biographical / Historical

General William Lee Davidson was born in Lancaster County, PA in 1746. His parents moved to North Carolina in 1750, settling in Rowan county. He volunteered in one of the first regiments raised in the state for the maintenance of its independence and was elected major of the regiment. Under General Nash, the regiment joined Washington's army in New Jersey, and he fought at Brandywine, Germantown and Monmouth, gaining promotion to the rank of lieutenant-colonel and commandant of his regiment. Colonel Davidson then became the head of a body of the militia that defeated insurgents near Calson's Mill, North Carolina. Davidson was badly wounded in the fight, but recovered after two months in the hospital and was promoted brigadier-general of the state militia. He co-operated with General Sumter, Colonel Davis and General Greene, in resisting the march of Cornwallis. On the night of January 31, 1781, while Davidson was guarding Cowan's Ford with three hundred men, the British force, many times stronger, crossed the ford. In the process, Davidson was shot through the chest with a rifle ball. Davidson College was named in his honor in 1837 and his sword was presented to the college. He died on the battle-field of Cowan's Ford, NC on February 1, 1781.


1.25 Linear Feet (3 boxes + oversize)



Immediate Source of Acquisition

From research files of Dr. Chalmers Davidson.|2012-004

General William Lee Davidson Collection
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the Manuscript Collections Repository