Chapter 2

Derby and Environs

Derby and Ansonia


Abigail Harger, John Davis Sr.’s third wife, introduced her new step-son, John Davis Jr., to her sixteen year old niece, Sarah Chatfield, daughter of Abigail’s older sister, Anna Chatfield and John Chatfield.

On July 15, 1706, John Davis Jr. was married to Sarah. At the time, John, Jr.’s. youngest step brother Jabez, was only three years old; John Sr.’s first grandchild would be born before his last child.

The wedding ceremony was conducted by Major Ebenezer Johnson, the head of the “plantation” of Derby Township ( Vital Records v.2, p.24). They were not married by the minister.

John Jr. and Sarah Chatfield probably lived north on Chestnut Tree Hill, in Oxford. In 1868 Four families with the last name of “Davis” lived on Chestnut Hill Road. Chestnut Hill Road is located in 1987 in the eastern part of Oxford township.

John Jr. and Sarah’s children were Joseph, born June 30, 1708; Dan, born January 17, 1710, and Mindwell, born February 4, 1712. Joseph may have been named for Sgt. Hawkins. Derby was probably getting too many people named “John” for Sarah to name her son after her father and husband. The record of the birth of the second son was: “Daves, Dan: s. John + Sarah, b. Jan.10, 1709/10”, ( Vital Records, v.2, 160). Abigail was then born in 1713, Rachael in 1716, and Betty in 1719. Abigail was named for her father’s mother. Her birth record was “Davis, Abigail, d. John & Sarah, b. Nov.20, 1713/4” ( Vital Records, v.LR.3, p.2.).

Sarah and her next child both died on January 20, 1721. The children were young when their mother died: Joseph was 13, Dan 11, Mindwell 9, Abigail 8, Rachael 5, and Betty 2. John Jr. aged 46, must have had help looking after these children—possibly from his step-mother, his older sister, or an Indian servant. His step-mother and sister were busy raising his half siblings.

John Davis Jr. married the widow of John Sturdevant, named Elizabeth, who had been living with her husband in Rigefield, Conn. John Davis agreed to raise her children in a probate court paper of 1723.

Jacobus, “Davis Family of Derby”
Barbour Collection, Derby Vital Records


John Jr.’s business was raising sheep for wool, spinning it into yarn, and woodworking. He was busy with shearing sheep; washing, carding and spinning wool; as well as growing, harvesting, retting and combing flax and then spinning it into thread and weaving linen cloth.

Inventory of John Davis Jr.
Wiggington, “From Raising Sheep to Weaving Cloth”


About 1708 “... a list of the names of the freemen in Derby viz; they that have taken the freeman’s oath: ...” includes “John daves” within 32 men (Lichfield, 9; Town Records, 425). This is probably “Junior” being accepted into the town meeting. The Free Man’s Charge required roughly the following charges: To not plot against, nor consent to any hurt against the civil government here established. To report any one so doing. To do honour to the magistrates and obey them. To give vote or suffrage in any election which concerns the “common wealth” as one’s conscience dictates, for the best good of same.

The Second Meeting House in Derby; erected in 1721

The “Freemen” had been electing their own government, or “General Court”, since 1660. Some of their laws were against smoking in public and against being a witch.

In the summer of 1721, John Davis was Constable of Derby. A record describes that he held a black ram with marked ears of unknown owner for a fine of eight shillings ( Town Records v.3, p.7).

Lichfield and Hoyt, History of the Town of Oxford,
Phillips, Town Records of Derby


On April 4, 1705, John Davis Sr. bought two “acores of land lying in Derby on both sides beaver brook below the Scraping hole plaine” ( Town Records , 373) from Jabiz Harger, “of Stratford of Fairfield County”, recorded May 19, 1705, as witnessed by John Tibbals and Ebenezer Johnson, “Justis”. John Davis Jr. bought his first piece of land from his step-mother’s relative: John Davis Sr.’s third wife was Abigail Harger, born in Stratford.

The land was measured as “South end 16 rods wide”. Beaver Brook flows southwest into the Naugatuck River. It is the east border of the town of Ansonia. In 1720, John Jr. sold 5 acres of this land to the town. His son Dan Davis left a piece of this land for his own son Ethel in his will in 1789.

John Jr. and Sarah probably received some land from their fathers on the occasion of their marriage in 1706.

A month after the birth of his second child, John Jr. addressed the Derby town meeting with a land petition:

“Greeting: Gentelmen by necessity am forst to put forth my petition to your selves requesting this favour of all to whom it dus conserne yt you will be pleas to sett your Hands to this my small request, for four acers and A half of Land lying upon White mayre’s hill: I having not land to Improve: hope you will not denie this my request: gentelmen as yourselves know I have lived these severall years in this sd Town and have not had one foot of Land of yr townbut what I have bought hopeing Gentlemen yt upon these Considerations: you will be pleas to sett your hands to this my small petition that is Above mentioned signifieing me the sd John Davis to be true proprietor of ye sd lands above mentioned —pray sor, denie not this request to yor frind & servant

John Davis. Feb.2, 1710.

“Fourty names were signed and the deed was recorded” (Orcutt, 111).

“the town have granted John daves jun that peace of land that he petisioned for & have chose Joseph hull & Ebenezer harger to lay it out” (Town Records , 440).

“The half of ten Acres of land at White Mares hill …” was still in his possession when John Jr. died in 1767 ( Inventory of John Davis Jr. ) and his son Dan owned “one Eight acre Lot on White mares hill – 20 pounds” at Dan’s death in 1789. This location is said to be “...evidently the rounded hilltop”, which can be found on the 1882 map of Derby. (Jacobus).

In 1711 a committee was formed to lay out the lots on the Quaker’s Farm Purchase. “The last deed being given in 1711” by the Paugaset Indians to the Derby township, was either the Quaker’s Farm or the North purchase. John Davis Sr. had died before he could receive his share in these lands, so according to the item in his inventory: “the Right of Land in the Last Indian Purchase — 1 pound”, John Sr. and his brother Samuel may have received their father’s division after it was awarded to their estate.

“The list of estates in Derby in 1718, by authority of the town” includes “John Davis = 54” (Orcutt, 129). This was an evaluation of their rating or Real Estate assesment in pounds for taxes.

On September 20, 1720, John Davis sold land to the town of Derby. It was

“5 & 1/4 acres on the west side of Beaver Brook Meadow. The piece was 40 rods long, and 22 rods wide on the north and south ends” ( Town Records , v.3, 287).

Some more of the land in the Quaker’s Farm purchase from the natives, was distributed in the winter of 1727-28. A list of sixty-three property owner’s names, shows their assessment, and their lot number (Lichfield, 147). John Davis had lot no.34, and was assessed 70 Pounds/4s. Samuel and George Davis, John’s brothers, are not listed, as they probably were not living in Derby township. John Davis Jr.’s son Dan would not be on the list till another three years as he was only age 18.

Atlas of New Haven County
Jacobus, “Davis Family of Derby”
Karlsen, The Devil in the Shape of a Woman
Lichfield and Hoyt, History of the Town of Oxford
Orcutt and Beardsley, History of the Old Town of Derby
Phillips, Town Records of Derby,


John Davis Jr. died in 1767. He might have been buried at his former home in another town, or in either the Congregationalist or the Episcopal church graveyards in Derby. Both burial-grounds existed in 1990 in the old town, but his headstone has not found; nor is it listed (Larsen, Hale).

The real estate included the house lot, land at Bryant’s Plain, sequestered land north of town, and land at: White Mares Hill, Beaver Brook, Bear Hills, Tobeys Rocks, and Moose Hill.

Distribution of the Estate of John Davis Jr.
Jacobus, “Davis Family of Derby”.
Kemp, Connecticut Researcher’s Handbook
Larsen, “Search of Christ’s Church Cemetery”

Descendants of John Davis Jr.

8. John DAVIS Jr. b. ca. 1675, d. spring of 1767. Lived at Chestnut Tree Hill, Oxford, Conn.

m1. 1706, Jul.15: Sarah CHATFIELD, b. 1686, Dec. 5, d. 1721, Jan. 20.

1. Joseph DAVIS b. 1708 d. 1784
2. * Dan DAVIS, b. 1710, Jan.17. d. 1789, Derby. m. Ruth WOOSTER
3. Mindwell DAVIS, b. 1712, Feb. 4, d. 1713, Jan. 5
4. Abigail DAVIS, b. 1713, Nov. 20
5. Rachael DAVIS, b. 1716, Jul. 5, m. Captain Francis Hawley
6. Betty DAVIS, b. 1719, Oct. 11, m. Ebenezer Keney

m2. Elizabeth, widow of: John Sturdevant, of Norwalk, Conn.

7. Joseph Davis, b.1708, Jun.30, Derby – d.1784, Captain in Colonial Militia, settled in Oxford, Conn.
m1.1734,Apr.25: Mary Wheeler, of Stratford, b. 1744, May 30. d. Jan 18, 1764, 8 children.

1. Sarah DAVIS, 1735, Nov. 26, m. Isaac Nichols
2. Abigail DAVIS, 1738, Apr.12, m. Abel Gunn
3. Mary DAVIS, 1740, b. Oct.15, m. Arnold
4. Joseph DAVIS, b. 1743, Jul.10.
5. Hannah DAVIS, 1744, m. Richard Welton
6. John DAVIS, 1748, Feb.2 (died young)
7. Rachael DAVIS, 1752, Jul. 4, m.John Church
8. John DAVIS, bp.1755, Sep.28, m. Mehitable Thomas

m2. 1765, Jan.30: Mrs. Amy Foote, of Derby, Conn.

7.* Dan Davis, b. 1710, Jan.17, d. 1789, Mar.20, Derby. Weaver, spinner and farmer at Derby.

m. 1738, Dec. 6: Ruth WOOSTER, b. 1722, Mar.30, d. 1794. ( See Chapter 3 ).

7. Betty Davis, b. 1719, Oct.11, d. 1784, Nov.,

m. 1738, Dec.07: Ebenezer KEENEY, b. 1718, d. 1795, Jan.10, of Milford, Conn. Settled at Derby Narrows, made scythes and hoes.

1. Lucy KEENEY, b. 1739, Dec.03 (died young)
2. Comfort KEENEY, b. 1741, Oct.11, m. 1758, Nov.23: Judson Benton Sr.
3. Eunice KEENEY, b. 1743, Aug.31
4. Betty KEENEY, b. 1745, Sep.20, m.1764, Feb.15: Sheldon Clark
5. Sarah KEENEY, b. 1748, Oct.03
6. Ebenezer KEENEY, b. 1750, Oct.24. d. 1777, May
7. Abigail KEENEY, b. 1753, Feb.11. d. 1769, Oct. 4
8. Ithiel KEENEY, b. 1755, Mar.17
9. William KEENEY, b. 1757, Jul.16
10. Medad KEENEY, b. 1759, May. 31
11. Lucy KEENEY, b. 1761, Sep. 30

6. Joseph DAVIS, b. 1743, Jul.10. ( for more contact: Deborah Ugel, e-mail=

6. John Davis, b. 1755, Sep.28. d. 1848, Nov.27, Colonel, Oxford, Conn., m.1782, Apr.10: Mehitable Thomas, d. 1852, Dec.27, daughter of Reuben Thomas of New Haven.

1. Sarah DAVIS, b. 1783, Mar.31, d. 1808, Dec. 6
2. Anson DAVIS, b. 1785, Sep. 5
3. Truman DAVIS, b. 1787, Mar.13
4. John DAVIS, b. 1788, Sep. 8
5. Lucretia DAVIS, b. 1790, Sep.22
6. Mary DAVIS, b. 1792, May.28
7. Chary DAVIS, b. 1794, Feb. 8
8. Nabby DAVIS, b. 1795, Dec.21, m. Harvey Osborn, of Oxford
8. Nancy DAVIS, b. ?1828, Aug.25, m. Cyrus Humphrey
9. Joseph Wheeler DAVIS, b. 1798, Aug.13
10. Sheldon DAVIS, b. 1800, Sep. 3, d. 1813, May 30
11. Lewis DAVIS, b. 1803, Jan. 26
12. Burritt DAVIS, b. 1806, Jul. 12
13. Julia Maria DAVIS, b. 1810, Jul. 4, m. Ebenezer Riggs, of Oxford

5. Anson Davis, 1785, Sep. 5- , m. Sally Prudent, of Milford, Conn. Address: Davis Road, Oxford: “lived at top of Great Hill, having bought the old Tomlinson homestead”

1. Sheldon Davis, 1813, Jan. 1-, m.Marietta Church
2. Sarah Ann Davis, 1815, Mar.10-, m.Luman Chapman
3. Anson Riley Davis, 1813, Mar.30-, m.Mary N. Alling
4. Marcus Davis, 1820, Oct. 9-
5. Delia Maria Davis, 1822, Oct.25-, m. John F. Coxhead
6. Harpin Davis, 1825, Feb.24-, m. Mary Chatfield
7. Homer Davis, 1827, Oct.15-, to Nevada
8. Samuel Pruden Davis, 1831, Sep. 1-
9. Martha Ellen Davis, 1834, Jul.11-, principal of St.Catherine’s Hall, Augusta, Maine
10. Victoria Sophia Davis, 1837, Sep.21-, m. John F. Coxhead

5. Truman Davis, Captain, 1787, Mar.13-
m1. 1808, Dec.6: Mary Allen, -1832, Feb.13, of Woodbridge

1. Emily Davis, 1810,Aug.19-, m. Adams
2. David Allen Davis, 1812, Jul.29-
3. Clark Davis,1815,Mar.31-, m. Toffey
4. Marietta Davis, 1817,Aug.22-,
m1. Morgan;
m2.Statia Ball, – 1854,Apr.24, of Bethany;
m3. Sophia Mallory, of Milford

(For more on Truman Davis, see: Orcutt, 717-)

5. John Davis Jr., 1788,Sep.08-, m1. Riggs,

1. John Davis, m. Jeanette Wheeler
2. Isaac B Davis., m. Ann Tucker, to Hartford

5. Joseph Wheeler Davis, 1798,Aug.13- , m. Henrietta Newton, of Woodbridge

1. Jonah N., m. Bassett

5. Lewis Davis, 1803,Jan.26- ,

1. Dr. Henry Davis., m. Beecher of Bethlehem, lived in Wallingford

5. Burritt Davis, 1806,Jul.12-, m. Osborn, daughter of Hiram OSBORN Jay, m.Anna Fairchild

1. Sarah, m.Frederic Cable. (More in Orcutt, 717-)

4. Marcus Davis, 1820,Oct. 9-, m.Sarah M. Green,

1. Geo.T. Davis, New Rochelle, N.Y. Author of Davis Genealogy, 1910

Lineage of Sarah Chatfield

9. John CHATFIELD, b.Guilford,Conn.166, Apr.08, d. Derby, 1748. Founder of Derby. m. Anna HARGER

1. Sarah CHATFIELD, b.5, Dec. 1686, d. 20 Jun. 1721

8* Sarah CHATFIELD, b.Stratfield 1686,Dec. 5, d. Derby, 1721,Jun.20 m.1706, Jul.15, m. John DAVIS Jr.

(For children see John Davis Jr. )

Jacobus, New England Historical & Genealogical Register, v.78, 259, and v.70, 55 and 125