SOLD! for $4,720.00.
(Note: Prices realized include a buyer's premium.)
- Low Estimate: $400.00
- High Estimate: $600.00
- Realized: $4,720.00
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Archive of items related to John Davis (1770-1853), early surveyor of Nashville, Tennessee, and his family. Includes Davis's will, numerous land documents, survey maps and some slave information. Davis fought as an adolescent in the Revolutionary War, and came to the Nashville area in 1788. He also convinced his father, Frederick Davis, to move his family to Middle Tennessee. This archive includes the original handwritten copy of Davis's will (unsigned) and a leatherbound journal used by Edward Dickson Hicks II, grandson and executor of John Davis's will, containing a summary of the will, with bequests of considerable amounts of property, as well as several African American slaves "A Negro woman Fanny and her children…. Negroes Aaron, Jack, Charles, Mary and children… Merritt, Sarah and her children… " A separate page lists "Statement of Sales Negroes Belonging to Estate John Davis Esq Deceased", showing 3 adult slaves Charles, Jack and Mary, and 6 children Will, Joe, Tom, Andy, Louis and Eliza" valued in total at $5,516.00. Other items include a leather wallet with receipts; some letter correspondence (mostly business related), a certificate for one share of stock in the Richland Turnpike Company dated 1851, and an 1851 letter from Ephraim H. Foster giving John Davis his power of attorney to sell land for him (Foster is known for the portrait of him and his family by Ralph Earl in the collection at Cheekwood). Items attesting to Davis's career as a surveyor are present including two Gov. William Carroll signed documents commissioning Davis surveyor of Davidson County in 1832 and 1833, and 19 assorted survey maps, signed or attributed to John Davis for property mainly in Davidson, Sumner, Hickman and Humphreys Counties circa 1800-1850. There are 14 land indentures between Davis and other Tennessee land owners, plus a 1798 land indenture transferring land along both sides of the Big Harpeth in Davidson County (Nashville) from James McKain of Sumner and Davidson County to John Davis's father Frederick Davis. There are also two notable land grants to Davis signed by North Carolina governor Sam Ashe and dated 1796, in which Davis is the assignee of land in Davidson County (in TN; note 1796 was the year Tennessee became a separate state from North Carolina). One is witnessed by Jonathan Robertson (son of Gen. James Robertson, the other is for land given in consideration for services of surveyor Martin Armstrong, but surveyed by Davis in 1792 (both with small survey maps signed by Davis, attached). A third, 1793 land grant names Davis and John Brown assignees for land in the Mero district of Nashville originally granted to James Pervis. (Governor Richard Dobbs Spaight's name is printed, not signed). In addition to the documents, there are several prints based on old oil portraits of John and Frederick Davis, two framed (largest 14" x 12) framed, and a framed photograph of a miniature portrait of John's daughter, Nancy Watkins Davis (1806-1830, wife of Edward Dickson Hicks Sr.; note the original portrait miniature on which this is based is also being sold in this auction). Provenance: the estate of Davis descendant Sarah Hunter Hicks Green, formerly of Historic Devon Farm, Nashville, Tennessee. CONDITION: All paper items with expected toning and light fading, small occasional losses and stains. Will and slave document have notable edge losses; will also has hole and stains. 1793 land grant has full tears at all fold lines and tape residue.