The Davis family line in Transylvania County began with
David Davis, a Welsh immigrant who invested heavily in land and settled in
Mecklenburg County. Shortly after only child Samuel was born in 1755, the Davis
family moved to Transylvania County on farmland near the conjunction of the
Davidson and French Broad Rivers. Samuel grew to become one of the earliest
Presbyterian ministers in the area after attending seminary at what is now
Princeton College and served the Davidson River Presbyterian Church until he
reached 70 and retired.
His son Ethan Allen Davis (1798-1876) settled in the
Dunn’s Rock area and raised a family there with his wife Elizabeth. Ethan later
went on to own a mill and serve as postmaster for Dunn’s Rock. One story tells
of how Ethan kept a “pet” black snake in the mill for pest control, which was
even trained to perform tricks for the amusement of his patrons until a
disgruntled neighbor shot and killed it. The mill was sold when he and
Elizabeth reached advanced years.
They lived for a time with daughter Maria
Carolina Davis (1844-1927), pictured here with her husband Lewis Patton Summey.
Mill ownership appealed to Lewis as well, and he built a mill at the top of
Connestee Falls in an unusual configuration which included an undershot wheel. Maria,
Lewis, and all six of their children (Laura Lee, Virginia Belle, Sarah Marie
Anna, Otto Vance, Bessie Mae, and Lula Maude) are laid to rest in the Oak Grove
Cemetery in Brevard, NC. Many of their descendants live in Transylvania County