Born in England, William R. Davie left for New Jersey then moved to Salisbury, North Carolina, where he stayed to practice law under the same man who would later provide future president Andrew Jackson with his legal training. When the Revolutionary War broke out, Davie temporarily left the law to raise and train a cavalry troop which was successful at the Battle of Charlotte on September 26, 1780 and the Battle of Kings Mountain on October 7, 1780. After the war, Davie rose to prominence in North Carolina as a traveling circuit court lawyer and an orator. He was elected to the North Carolina House of Commons on multiple occasions from 1786 through 1798 and served as a member of the Constitutional Convention of 1787 (though he left before he could sign the document), arguing for its passage at the North Carolina State Conventions in 1788 and 1789. He also served as the state’s governor (1798-99). However, he is best known as the “father of the University of North Carolina”.
On May 4, 1783, William R. Davie purchased five acres of land lying southwest of the Halifax and in 1785 began to build his home, “Loretta.” The house still stands on Norman Street, two blocks directly behind the present courthouse. Davie and his wife, Sarah, reared a family of six children in the house.
(Taken August 2010)