James Davis

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James Davis, whose ancestry is unknown (or not traced here), was born at England, in 1583.1 He died at Haverhill, Essex Co., Massachusetts, 29 January 1678/79.1

James married Cicely Tayer, daughter of John Tayer and Joan Lawrence, at Thornbury, Gloucestershire, England, 11 June 1618.2,3

James settled first in Newbury, Massachusetts before 1640, removing that year to Haverhill.

He may have been a brother of Thomas Davis, another early settler in the town. He was one of the first selectmen in 1646; served on the trial Jury in 1648 and 1650. In 1650 he was discharged from training because of his age but was to pay the company 00-03-04 yearly. He served on the grand jury in 1651, and 1663.

In 1664, he was appointed a "Commissioner to adjudge small causes" (Justice of the Peace), for Haverhill, holding the office in 1667, 1668, and 1669.

He was a man of education because he signs documents in early life although as he grew older and probably feeble he sometimes made his mark. This is true in his will made when he was about ninety-four years old. He appears in several cases in court, sometimes as plaintiff and sometimes as defendant.

He made his will in 17 Mar 1675/6; it was proved Sep 1680 after some negotiation. The preamble to the will is very unusual, being written at the onset of King Philip's War: "...though aged, yet in good health, and knowing assuredly that all men are mortall & yt young men may dy suddenly, & old men must dy, & how suddaine my owne time may be in these desolateing time; wherein ye Enimie seeks ye destruction of or New England Israel..."4,1


Cicely Tayer b. 1 May 1600, d. 28 May 1673
  • James Davis+1 b. 4 Jul 1619, d. 18 Jul 1694
  • John Davis1 b. 28 Jan 1621, d. 18 Jul 1694
  • Ephraim Davis1 b. abt. 1622, d. 28 Sep 1679
  • Samuel Davis1 b. 1624, d. 10 Sep 1696
  • Judith Davis1 b. abt. 1626
  • Sarah Davis1 b. say 1630
This person was last edited on11 Jul 2015


  1. [S8] Mary Lovering Holman, Ancestry of Charles Stinson Pillsbury and John Sargent Pillsbury (Concord, New Hampshire: Rumsford Press, 1938), 153-157, further cited as Holman, Pillsbury Ancestry.
  2. [S162] Walter Faxon, "Tayer (Thayer) Family Entries in the Parish Registers of Thornbury, Glouscestershire, England," The New England Historical and Genealogical Register 60 (Oct 1906): 281-288, at 281-291, further cited as Faxon, "Thayer Family Entries."
  3. [S1872] Clarence Almon Torrey, New England Marriages Prior to 1700, 3 vols. (Boston, Massachusetts: New England Historic Genealogical Society, 2011), 424, further cited as Torrey, New England Marriages (2011).
  4. [S7] David W. Hoyt, Old Families of Salisbury and Amesbury, Massachusetts (1897; reprint, Somersworth, New Hampshire: New England History Press, 1981), 147-149, further cited as Hoyt, Families of Salisbury and Amesbury.