PVT John Davis

Birth
Rutherford County, Tennessee, USA
Death 27 Feb 1867 (aged 27–28)
Arkansas, USA
Burial Body lost or destroyed, Specifically: Killed in 1867 in an explosion on the steamboat "David White" on the Mississippi River
Memorial ID 158486424 · View Source
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Son of Charles Louis Davis and Margaret Saunders.

John and his half-brother Sam had much in common and knew how to work and play hard on 800 acres of discovery. As children, their lives were intertwined into chores and schooling, and they thrived every day.

Like Sam, John was a soldier on the first order. Along with Capt. Henry Shaw, John hand-selected 20 Coleman Scouts of the 1st Tennessee Volunteer Infantry in a spy operation; and he recruited Sam to join this elite circle, as historical happenings began in succession.

John Davis and Alfred Douglas were the first two scouts sent on a mission. John was directed by Gen. Cheatham and Gen Hardee to spy on the enemy in Nashville; and the generals later stated he succeeded beyond expectation.

During the war, John met fellow phenomenal spy Mary Kate Patterson of La Vergne at a gathering in her parents’ home, and a romance ensued during turbulent times.

Her father, Hugh Patterson, a well-respected physician, supplied medicine to the Confederate Army. The Patterson family home was an underground headquarters for the Coleman Scouts. Both Sam and John Davis were active participants in missions under command of Gen. Braxton Bragg and closely tied to the Patterson directives.

John was wounded once in the Civil War. He also contracted a severe bout of typhoid fever and was granted an honorable discharge. Mary Kate Patterson courageously traveled to Pulaski for a desperate plea on John's half-brother Sam’s life, being hanged as a spy. While recuperating at home, he received word Sam had died, and he was devastated. She approached Union Gen. Harrison Rousseau for admittance into the camp and discovered Sam had hanged as a spy on Nov. 27, 1863. Despondent, she returned home to share the woeful news. Sam’s youngest brother Oscar returned to Pulaski to retrieve Sam’s body.

On Feb. 25, 1864, Mary Kate and John Davis were married at the Patterson Farm.

After the war, H.G. Shaw, leader of the Coleman Scouts, persuaded Charles and John Davis to purchase a steamboat named David White for $50,000.

On Feb. 17, 1867, the boat blew up in a tragic accident on the Mississippi River near Memphis, and many lives were lost, including Shaw and John Davis.

John was only 28 years old with a full life ahead. Mary Kate referred to him as her “precious husband” and sojourned on in despair.

Following John's death, she married Mr. Hill, who died soon thereafter. Her third husband was Col. Robert Kyle of Texas.


Family Members


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  • Maintained by: dcterri
  • Originally Created by: John Blakemore Sellers
  • Added: 22 Feb 2016
  • Find A Grave Memorial 158486424
  • Find A Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com : accessed ), memorial page for PVT John Davis (1839–27 Feb 1867), Find A Grave Memorial no. 158486424, ; Maintained by dcterri (contributor 47511169) Body lost or destroyed, who reports a Killed in 1867 in an explosion on the steamboat "David White" on the Mississippi River.