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Major "John Davidson" Mecklenburg Declaration of Independence Signer 1790 Annapolis Pay Order
MAJOR JOHN DAVIDSON (1735-1832). Mecklenburg Declaration of Independence Signer in May 1775 (one of the 27). Mecklenburg County Justice of the Peace, Delegate to the North Carolina Assembly in New Bern, Appointed Mecklenburg Militia Major, later Brigade Major.
June 21, 1790-Dated, Manuscript Document Signed by, "Edward Herbert," for payment on to Major John Davidson, Annapolis (MD), Choice Very Fine. This well written 7" x 3" original Document is dated June 21, 1790 at Annapolis, where Edward Herbert is paying a Mr. Simon Ritalick or order, Nine Pounds, Ten Shillings and Three Pence, Current Money. Signed on the back, "John Davidson" as accepting the order and payment. One tiny wormhole near center, otherwise boldly and clearly written in deep brown on clean laid period paper. It reads, in full:

"Annapolis June 21, 1790 --- Sir -- Please do pay Mr. Simon Ritalick of Order on demand the Sum of Nine Pounds, Ten Shillings and Three Pence, Current Money which place to the Account of --- Major John Davidson / Annapolis. --- Sir - Your very humble Servt. - (Signed) Edward Herbert".

Major John Davidson was an early settler, Revolutionary War figure, and most importantly, a Signer of the historic "Mecklenburg Declaration of Independence" in May 1775. Arrived in Mecklenburg County about 1760. He sold grain and livestock, and helped establish Charlotte as the Mecklenburg County seat, served as Justice of the Peace and was a Delegate to the North Carolina Assembly. This Payment Order is accompanied by a facsimile enlargement of the Mecklenburg Declaration of Independence showing and enlargement of John Davidson's signature. This form reading: "the within order accepted June 21st. 1790 - (Signed) John Davidson" which signature is bold and vivid measuring about 2" long. An extremely rare Signer of the historic Mecklenburg Declaration of Independence, certainly lacking in most all collections, and the very first Signed "John Davidson" we have offered.
Major John Davidson was a historic and significant American Revolutionary War Military Career --- When the Provincial Congress of North Carolina organized the State Militia on September 9, 1775, John Davidson was appointed second major in the Mecklenburg militia. He served under Rutherford against the Cherokee in the "Snow Campaign." John Davidson was promoted to first major on April 23, 1776.

Major John Davidson left field service after the 1775 and 1776 Revolutionary War campaigns (summer of 1776), taking the position of Brigade Major on the staff of the Salisbury Brigade. One of his grandsons said that he had declined to accept the same rank in the regular army under an officer who had never seen service, but nevertheless he was one of the most active "Hornets".

He was with the Militia when they went to Cross Creek to battle against the Scots Highland Tories, but they arrived too late. He was among the officers of the day in Gates' camp. Brigade Major Davidson was on duty August 8 1780, at Lynch's Creek, and on August 13, 1780, at Rugely's Mill. The Battle of Camden took place on August 16, and Gates was decisively defeated by Cornwallis." John Davidson did not fight at Fishing Creek on August 18, 1780 because he had escaped to Charlotte and was there when the news of the defeat arrived.

The Battle of Cowan's Ford.

In December, 1780, Major General General Nathaniel Greene ordered General William Lee Davidson, a cousin to John Davidson, to delay the British army's expected advance northward through North Carolina. This delaying action would allow General Greene to move the main body of his army to more suitable ground to give his outmatched American troops the greatest possible advantage for battle.

General Davidson assembled some of the militia at Rural Hill where they encamped for several days prior to February 1, 1781. The General was in need of a horse and John offered his cousin one of his finest horses. While General Greene was moving toward Salisbury, General Lord Cornwallis was marching from his headquarters in Charlotte to the west to Lincolnton. He then turned east advancing toward the crossing at Cowan's Ford, where General Davidson awaited the British.

The battle would take place only about four miles north of Rural Retreat. In the opening shots of the battle General Davidson was shot from his horse and died shortly thereafter. The horse returned riderless to the stables at Rural Retreat. The General was buried secretly that evening in the cemetery of Hopewell Presbyterian Church, located just 4 miles south of Rural Hill on Beatties Ford Road.

John Davidson was one of 27 Signers in May, 1775 of a controversial Document called the Mecklenburg Declaration of Independence. During the Revolutionary War years, he served as a major in the local militia, even though he was older than most of his fellow soldiers. In 1791, after the war, he became one of several investors in a profitable iron mine. By that time, Davidson had 26 slaves and owned several thousand acres of land. He married Violet Wilson and they had 10 children. Maj. John Davidson worked until he was 90 and lived to the age of 97. Few of his personal belongings remain today; Rural Hill, the family's plantation home on the Catawba River, burned in 1886. Rural Hill, is the site of his plantation home. An extensive record of his military service in the American Revolutionary War is found with our online website description. In 1790 Major John Davidson owned a sizeable number of African Slaves.

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