Goldmith Davis

Continental Army

Goldmith Davis

Born into the world January 28, 1756 to Elijah Davis and Mary Moger was one, Goldsmith Davis. The family home and farm was and is still located on Middle Country Road in Coram.

After the first shots of the war had been fired at Lexington, Massachusetts, the colonists responded quickly. On April 26, 1775 inhabitants in New York were asked to sign an Association pledging loyalty to the Continental Congress.

Goldsmith Davis signed the Association twice, once on May 8, at Brookhaven and a second time on June 8, 1775 at Brookhaven.

Davis was assigned to a minuteman company and appeared on the payroll of Lt. Isaac Davis's company. After the minutemen company had been disbanded Goldsmith enlisted in the Continental Army on March 4, 1776 at the age of twenty in a company commanded by Daniel Roe of the fourth regiment commanded by Colonel Henry B. Livingston.

Following the defeat of the American army under General George Washington at the battle of Long Island, Davis' company was sent to the east end of Long Island and stayed there until the surrender of Long Island to the British. They were then sent to Shelter island to bring Patriots and their belongings, including the cattle and sheep they did not want to fall into British hands, to Connecticut for protection. Long Island forces were encamped at Saybrook and later at New Haven in Connecticut.

From their Connecticut base the Americans staged a number of raids on Long Island to stop Tories from seizing Patriot property. On September 30, 1776, The Connecticut Courant reported that Davis' company was sent to Brookhaven with Daniel Roe to escort Roe's family and belongings to Connecticut. Near Roe's home they encountered a well-known Tory named Richard Miller. Miller who had been stopped by the soldiers fired a pistol at them as he tried to escape. The Americans responded by firing their muskets and mortally wounding Miller. The Patriots retreated to their whaleboats and crossed to Connecticut when the threat that another Captain Jacob Smith would be arriving with reinforcements.

The company also took part in the expedition to Colonel Floyd's estate to bring back his personal effects. Instead they captured two British ships, the Mary and the Lily, both loaded with firewood and bound for British General Howe in New York City.

Davis took part in the raid that came to Long Island capturing the Tory Captain, Jacob Smith, 23 of his men and seventy-five fine muskets, which were brought to Connecticut. The Patriots suffered one casualty, a sergeant, while the Tories suffered several.

Whaleboat raiders from Connecticut, landing on Long Island.

Davis and his company was then marched upstate to Fishkill, New York, on the North River and later to Fort Montgomery to support American troops in Canada. It was at Fort Montgomery where Davis's enlistment expired and he was discharged from the service.

Davis returned home to his Coram farm and on June 8, 1780, Goldsmith married Elizabeth Brown, and they had four children, Luther, Clarissa, Charry Charlotte, and Sofphy.

According to tradition, sometime after Davis was discharged and returned home a company of British soldiers who knew he was a patriot demanded military information. It is quite possible that they wanted to obtain information about those involved in the whale boat raids or the destruction of 300 tons of British hay stored at Coram in November, 1780. The British troop hung him upside down, by his ankles in the well for not releasing such information, and was rescued when his wife found him and ran for help. She ran a half-mile down the road to get a neighbor to help rescue him.

After Davis's wife Elizabeth died in 1801,he married again but the date is unknown. His second wife Mary also gave him four children, Mary Elizabeth, Lewis Goldsmith, Harriet and Richard. Only a few of the children's birth dates are known.

Goldsmith owned and operated a tavern and hotel in his Coram home. According to National Archive records he was appointed Coram's first postmaster in 1794. He operated the post office out of his home as well. The home also served as a general store, an an entry in the ledger book of Lietenant william Phillips illustrates a variety of items sold.

" Feb. 5, 1792
Bought of Goldsmith Davis
One tea kettle 0 - 8 - 0
2 ounces of Pork 0 - 3 - 0

March 11
by 2 ounces of bark 0 - 2 - 0
by one bunch of rope 0 - 2 - 6
by one green hat 0 - 14 - 0
by one felt hat 0 - 8 - 0"

Goldmith Davis
Davis home on Middle Country Road in Coram. The house is currently being refurbished by Brookhaven Town. Photo from the collection of Davis Erhardt.

In 1797 Davis was elected as a commissioner of schools for Brookhaven Town.

Davis was forced to put the home and farm up for auction February 20, 1818. After the auction, he still needed money, so he applied for a government pension on June 6, 1818. He claimed that he was in "reduced circumstances" and it was the cause of his great need for money as he was unable to provide for his family.

Goldsmith Davis died April 26, 1825 at the age of 69, he was buried in the family cemetery behind the family home. Brookhaven Town recently acquired the Davis home and is in the process of restoring it to its glory, where it served the town as a hotel, tavern and Town meeting place.

Signature of Goldsmith Davis, from the collection of Davis Erhardt.

Written by,
April Trovillion
March, 2001

Lt. William Phillips ledger book can be found at the
Bridgehampton Historical society

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