William Davie

Continental Commissary Officer, UNC Founder

Biography

Drawing of William DavieWilliam Davie moved from England to the Waxhaws near Charlotte as a child. He had just graduated from the College of New Jersey (now Princeton) when the war broke out. He became a militia soldier, created a cavalry unit, and was badly wounded at the Battle of Stono Ferry (S.C.). He recovered and was training to be a lawyer in Salisbury when the British army made a second, successful attack on Charleston. He created a new Patriot militia cavalry unit as a colonel and began attacking British and Loyalist forces in South Carolina. After taking over the southern Continental Army, Nathanael Greene asked Davie to serve as the commissary (supply) officer. He moved to Halifax to fulfill those duties, later settling there, where you can still see his home. Post-war he served in the U.S. Constitutional Convention and state legislature, and briefly was governor. Davie is known as the “Father of the University of North Carolina” for his work in crafting the bill that founded it, and in establishing the site in Chapel Hill, first buildings, faculty, and curriculum. Later he served on the commission that ended the Quasi-War with France in 1800. Davie moved to a plantation in South Carolina in 1805 and continued to serve in various public roles. Suffering from arthritis, he turned down service as a major general in the War of 1812. Davie died at 64 and is buried at Old Waxhaws (S.C.) Presbyterian Church.

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