|Birth: ||Aug. 18, 1828|
|Death: ||Aug. 14, 1907|
Founder of N. R. Davis & Co., later N. R. Davis & Sons, an Assonet firm known for manufacturing firearms and parts for firearms. They would later merge into Davis-Warner Arms and Crescent-Davis Arms.
From the book A History of the Town of Freetown:
Nathan R. Davis, the senior member of this firm, and founder of the gun business in Assonet, was born in Somerset, Mass., August 18, 1828. At the age of nineteen he entered the works of the "Dean Cotton and Machine Co." in Taunton, Mass., and learned the machinist's trade, remaining with them three years. His first work as a master mechanic was with George P. Foster & Co., of Taunton, making rifles by hand. Two years later he transferred his tool chest to the shops of Colt's Pistol Co., at Hartford, Conn., where he learned much of the gun business. Declining an offer to aid in establishing a branch of their business in London, England, Mr. Davis found employment with J. R. Brown, of Providence, R.I., where, by invitation of Mr. Brown, he might have made the firm "Brown & Davis" instead of "Brown & Sharpe" as the well known company is called today. On July 1st, 1853, he came to Assonet, and forming a partnership with David C. Thresher of that village, under name of N. R. Davis & Co., they began the manufacture of muzzle-loading rifles at the "Forge," so called. Here, with an engine-lathe, run by water power, for machinery, and five employees, they manufactured (more literally than today) about one hundred and fifty rifles, which were sold in small lots to hardware jobbers of New York. In the Autumn of 1854 they removed from the "Forge" to the old Thresher building near the foot of Water street, where in 1858 they introduced the manufacture of the muzzle loading shot-gun, the business slowly developing until the advent of war in 1861 closed the shop for a season. Later in that year, however, under sub-contract with the general government, they began the manufacture of parts of the Springfield rifled muskets, the arm in general use throughout the War of the Rebellion. In 1862, because of failing health, Mr. Thresher retired from the business, and Thomas G. Nichols, M.D., became an equal partner in the firm. War times were favorable to the gun business, and the plant was enlarged accordingly, employing one hundred men, and running both night and day.
The gun-shop was burned to the ground May 19, 1864, fired it is believed by some emissary of the Southern Confederacy. There being no insurance it was a total loss, government contract and all. But from that wreck of half a century since N. R. Davis & Co. saved more than they lost; they saved that which has made possible the business of today: faith in themselves and in the future of the country, their credit in the business world and the courage to try again.
New machinery was purchased at war prices and set up in the old Nichols & Sampson store, where soon they were at work again making musket parts as before. By the close of the war they had finished among other parts 600,000 rear leaf sights.
The rim-fire breach-loading double guns were first made in 1866. This style was soon superseded by the more popular center-fire top-action gun which, with improvements from time to time, is the firearm now placed upon the market. In the winter of 1873-4 the business was removed to the building formerly occupied by the Assonet Machine Co., which has been much enlarged within a few years and refitted to suit the requirements. By the death of Dr. Nichols in 1883, the old partnership as broken, and in February of the year following Mr. Davis, having acquired the whole property, admitted as partners in the business his sons, W. A. and N. W. Davis, under the firm name of N. R. Davis & Sons.
Nathan Davis (1801 - 1885)
Louisa Davis Davis (1807 - 1893)
Charity Hodges Winslow Davis (1826 - 1857)
Ida Pease Davis (1849 - 1930)*
William A. Davis (1855 - 1928)*
Nathan Winslow Davis (1857 - 1932)*
Rufus Pease Davis (1883 - 1943)*
Nathan Russell Davis (1828 - 1907)
James W Davis (1831 - 1921)*
Alfred B. Davis (1834 - 1903)*
John B Davis (1838 - 1883)*
Assonet Burying Ground
Plot: Section 12, Lot 10
Created by: Freetown Cemetery Commis...
Record added: Nov 21, 2011
Find A Grave Memorial# 80816561