THE FAMILIES GHENT AND DAVIS
The destinies of these two families have been closely interwoven since the memorable day, one hundred years ago, when they left their rich estates in North Carolina, through loyalty to the King. Originally from Wales, England, they soon acquired, on the rich plantations of North Carolina, wealth and position. In 1792 they left all this and came to the mouth of the Genesee River (where Rochester now stands). Arriving at Rochester during the fall they remained there till the next spring. Governor Simcoe, on learning the circumstances, sent a gunboat, in which they came to Fort Niagara (now Niagaraon-the-Lake). They remained there till the following spring, when they settled on Crown Lands in the township of Saltfleet (where Mount Albion now is). They remained there till 1804, when Thomas Ghent and Eshel Davis moved to Halton County and settled on Brant’s Block. They had lived in Saltfleet long enough to raise apples from seed. The young trees they dug up, brought them in a canoe across the bay, carried them through the forest, and cleared the land on the new homestead, where they were planted. Those trees grew and prospered and are still in good condition, as may be seen by the accompanying cut.
The Ghents and Davises settled on Brant’s Block, Mr. Ghent choosing an elevated position to avoid the tamarac swamp, which occupied the land where Burlington Station now is. They had all the difficulties, dangers and trials of new settlers, but these they grappled with and overcame. In those early days the tanning business was established which is now carried on successfully, near Toronto, by the Hon. E. J. Davis, member of the Ontario Cabinet, and great-grandson of the worthy U. E. Loyalist.. Always devoted to and sacrificing all to principle, these two families had the honor of being the means of saving the life of Wm. Lyon Mackenzie, by affording him timely shelter and helping him to escape. This they did, spurning the reward of $5,000 offered for his capture and at the risk of their lives in case of detection. The accompanying cut shows the home of C. G. Davis, built on the old homestead, from the roof of which can be seen three thousand acres of fruit trees, also of Thaddeus Ghent, Esq., of Burlington.
Mr. C. G. Davis, was born (February, 1858) where he now resides, on the south-eastern portion of the land transferred by deed bearing the date 13th September, 1806, from Joseph Brant to Asal Davis, grandfather of the above.
His father, Mr. Gilbert Davis, died 1872, leaving the farm to his only son, Mr. C. G. Davis, who followed the occupation of farming until the year 1900, when he sold the larger portion of the farm with stock, etc., retaining the old homestead with fifteen acres of land, upon which he now grows apples and small fruits, which he, with others, is largely interested in exporting to other countries.