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Elijah Davis is a very strong candidate for the craftsman / planemaker E Davis. He was b 1766 in Dartmouth, MA, worked as a carpenter in Westport, MA, followed by Little Compton, RI, where he died in 1843. His father, Samuel, was also a carpenter.

Another contender is Ezra Davis of North Kingston, RI. He was b 1779 and d 1863. From 1803 through 1810 he was a carpenter and millwright. His account books also records building furniture. By 1811 he focused on wool milling with his brother Jeffery. His starting date of ca 1800 seems late for the planes but is certainly possible.

 

Other second tier craftsmen are included in the summary.

Initial keys to the research were the Fuller & Field toted tongue plane with an E Davis owners mark and E Davis planes following the design of post RW Jo Fuller planes. Rick Slaney's recounting that E Davis planes in a 1992 auction were descended in "the Davis family from southern RI" tied it all together ... 30 years later.

E Davis

E Davis

A Working Summary 

Background to the Investigation 

As mentioned, the key to the initial investigation was the Fuller & Field toted tongue plane with an E Davis owners mark and E Davis planes following the design of post RW Jo Fuller planes. (Since that initial point, additional Fuller and Fuller & Field planes with the E Davis stamp have been reported.) Communication with Rick Slaney provided the most significant lead, where E Davis planes were directly tied to Southern Rhode Island.

Rick related that  ... "I bought several planes with an E. DAVIS mark at a RI auction back in 1992.  I don’t have pictures, but I have inventory notes for the planes I bought at the auction.  I bought three planes, all with the E. DAVIS mark.  The three planes were a JO. FULLER molder, a JO. FULLER thumb plane, and a FULLER & FIELD molder.  My notes say the E. DAVIS marking is an embossed “sawtooth border” stamp.  I was told by the auctioneer that the planes I bought descended in “the Davis family of southern RI.”  There were other E. DAVIS stamped planes at this auction (that I did not buy), and I think at least two were JO. FULLER planes. "

1st Tier

Elijah Davis is a  strong candidate fit based on the E Davis planes looking like Jo Fuller planes, the E Davis owner stamp on a Fuller & Field toted tongue plane, and the very important information from Rick Slaney that a group of E Davis planes descended through a family in Southern Rhode Island. (See the note below.)  Elijah's age is a very good fit.

 

Elijah Davis b 1766 Dartmouth, MA d Little Compton, RI in 1843.

Elijah, no trade, is living in Westport, MA and buys land from his father Stephen, carpenter,  in 1791, 1802, 1812.

However, he was listed as a carpenter in Westport, MA in 1806 and 1807 deeds where he's selling land with his wife Martha. In deeds from 1810, 1816 and 1822, he's listed as a yeoman from Little Compton, RI.

Parents.

Samuel and Reliance (Soule), with Samuel listed as a carpenter in 1791.

Samuel moved from Westport, MA to Sydney, ME by at least 1802 with Elijah's twin brother Thomas.

Immediate family.

Elijah married Martha Stoddard in 1797, he from Westport and she from Little Compton. Their children were born in Westport and Little Compton.

            Joseph b 1798 Westport

            Sarah Ann b 1803 Little Compton

            Martha b 1804 Little Compton

            Reliance b 1805 Little Compton

 

Ezra Davis is another 1st tier candidate, b 1779 North Kingstown – d 1863 North Kingstown. He worked as a carpenter from ca 1800 through 1810. After 1811 he concentrated on a wool mill business with his brother Jeffery. Ezra as a candidate seems late with his starting date of ca 1800, noting that the E Davis mark with a straight line border is found on molding planes that appear to be closer to ca 1785 – 1790 in age.

Second Tier

Ebenezer Davis b 1753 Newton, NH (father moved family from Worcester Co., MA), moved to Bradford, MA by the start of the RW, to Portland, ME by 1785, d 1799 in Portland. Built and lived in house in Portland on Free Street. Joiner. m 1785 to Priscilla Griffin in 1785, remairried Mehitable Griffin in 1787. Served in RW. 1873 Biographical Sketchesof Capt. Ebenezer Davis and His Son Hn. Charles Stewart Davis.

 

“Ebenezer Davis had been a captain in the army of the Revolution, commencing as a private in a company of “minute-men” from his native town of Bradford Mass, where he responded to the summons of the guns of Lexington and Concord.Capt. Davis was a joiner and came here (Portland) in 1785, which was the year of his marriage. The house which he advertised as a “house of enterainment” was then just finished – probably by his own hands. It stood on the north corner of Free and Brown Streets…”1875 Reminiscences of Old Portland, ME pg 183.

 

Ebenezer in Bradford, MA and Portland ME does not fit with a RI connection.

 

Edmund Davis b ca 1734 Portsmouth, NH. Working as a joiner ca 1756-69, a joiner in 1770 deeds. His son Edmund b ca 1760, probably a part-time joiner based on 1799 and 1800 deeds. Probably not a good candidate for E Davis planes as the family was in Portland well before Jo Fuller and Fuller & Field planes were made… and well removed from the RI area.

 

Elias Davis, b 1780 in Preston – d Griswold Ct 1849. 1st page of inventory quite a few named planes, 3 drawing knives, 7 augers, 2 iron squares, coopers’ tools, lathe, blacksmith shop. He’s in the right place, with the right inventory, but probably too late.

 

Ebenezer Davis,  Dracut, MA, yeoman. Basic carpenter tools…a hand saw, several chisels, 2 joyner planes, but probably not in a woodworking trade professionally.

 

Ezra Davis b 1780, Oxford – d 1832 Oxford, MA had extensive list of carpentry tools in his inventory, including planes. Oxford is relatively close to northern Rhode Island.  This information courtesy of Will Steere.

 

Sources checked

  • 1800 census to get an idea of areas settled by E Davis head’s of family

  • New England probate records within 1770 to 1850 time frame using Ancestry and Family Search sites

  • Deeds of select MA Co’s from ca 1760s to ca 1805. Bristol, So. Worcester (112 deeds representing about 50% of the representative individuals from a mix of towns), Middlesex, Suffolk, Norfolk, Plymouth. Elijah from Westport 1806 and 1807, was the only E Davis woodworker listed in these deeds.

  • Deeds from RI; Newport, Tiverton, Glocester, Providence, Smithfield, Scituate, Johnston, Portsmouth, Little Compton, Kingston, West Greenwich, Cranston, Warwick, Barrington. Records not available from Burrillville or Coventry. No E Davis woodworkers were found. Note that in the 1810 to 1822 Little Compton deeds, Elijah Davis’s trade was given as a yeoman.

  • Deeds from CT, VT and ME were not available to be searched and thus this constitutes a potential weakness in the research. Based on the Fuller & Field plane and Jo Fuller plane traits, this consideration is most applicable if E Davis started in the RI area and then moved as an adult to CT, VT or ME after ca 1795.

  • NY and PA records were not searched.

E Davis (see the new imprint section)

Two additional marks have been documented which precede the example shown in GAWP5.

Below:

Late-State GAWP5

Mid-State found on a Fuller and Field toted Tongue plane and a fruitwood square

Early-State found on at least three Jo Fuller styled molding planes and a plow plane

(The relative late, mid and early-state nomenclature was adopted by the author as a descriptive aide.) 

Fuller  & Field toted tongue plane with E Davis as owner's mark

mid-state mark

Courtesy Steve Frazier via the Rhykenology Group on Facebook.

E Davis (mid-state mark) on a fruitwood square 

Molding Plane

straight border imprint

early-state mark (Jo Fuller traits)

Courtesy Steve Frazier via the Rhykenology Group on Facebook.

2 Molding Planes

straight border imprint

early-state mark

Courtesy Will Steere via the Rhykenology Group on Facebook.

E Davis plow

early-state mark

Courtesy Jim Bode

(Not an exactly like an early D2 Jo Fuller plow, but very close.)

Additional molder 9 7/8" (mark most similar to the GAWP 5 imprint.)

Courtesy Dan Linski via the Rhykenology Group on Facebook. 

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