“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Smyrna in Rutherford County, Tennessee — The American South (East South Central)

Sam Davis Home

Confederate Martyr

Sam Davis Home Marker image. Click for full size.
By Don Morfe, July 25, 2013
1. Sam Davis Home Marker
Inscription. This is the Sam Davis Home, one of Tennessee’s most significant Confederate memorial properties. Samuel (“Sam”) Davis, born here in 1842, enlisted in the Rutherford Rifles (Co. I, 1st Tennessee Infantry) in 1861 and fought in western Virginia. After his enlistment expired, he returned home and joined Capt. Henry B. Shaw’s Coleman’s Scouts, Confederate cavalrymen who gathered information on Union troop movements. Federal authorities considered them spies. In November 1863, as Davis carried documents and newspapers to Confederate Gen. Braxton Bragg, he was captured near Pulaski. Union Gen. Grenville M. Dodge, the future chief engineer of the Union Pacific Railroad, interrogated Davis and offered him freedom if Davis would divulge the name of the person who had supplied him with confidential reports from the Union camp in Pulaski. Davis refused, and Dodge ordered a quick military trial, which sentenced Davis to death. He was executed in Pulaski on November 27, 1863.

Davis and his reported statement (reminiscent of Revolutionary War hero Nathan Hale), “If I had a thousand lives to live, I would have them all rather than betray a friend” quickly became legendary. In 1909, the State of Tennessee dedicated a monument to the “boy hero of the Confederacy” on the state capitol grounds. In the 1920s,
Sam Davis Home Marker image. Click for full size.
By Don Morfe, July 25, 2013
2. Sam Davis Home Marker
local residents acquired his family home and 168 acres of the farm as a memorial. In addition to the main house, the historic farm offers the opportunity to view Davis’s gravesite and several outbuilding, including slave quarters, a kitchen, and a smokehouse. A museum interprets Davis’s live and the war in Rutherford County.

“The coming ages will place his character forward as a typical Confederate soldier and as an American.” — Bromfield L. Ridley, 1906

“When I was about 13 or 14, my father’s family arranged for me to go to the Nashville Military Academy, where I became acquainted with Sam Davis. He was of the most honest, steadfast, and bravest boys I’ve ever known.” — Joseph A. Rucker, Jan 1, 1868

Sam and John Davis — Courtesy Sam Davis Memorial Association
1909 state capitol unveiling — Courtesy Sam Davis Memorial Association
Gen. Braxton Bragg Courtesy Library of Congress
Gen. Grenville M. Dodge Courtesy Library of Congress
Erected by Tennessee Civil War Trails.
Marker series. This marker is included in the Tennessee Civil War Trails marker series.
Location. 35° 59.131′ N, 86° 30.065′ 
1842 The Confederate Hero 1863 image. Click for full size.
By Don Morfe, July 25, 2013
3. 1842 The Confederate Hero 1863
Inscription on the entrance wall
W. Marker is in Smyrna, Tennessee, in Rutherford County. Marker is on Sam Davis Road 0.3 miles west of Brookhaven Trail, on the right when traveling west. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 1399 Sam Davis Road, Smyrna TN 37167, United States of America.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. A different marker also named Sam Davis Home (approx. ¼ mile away); Outbuildings (approx. 0.3 miles away); Slave Cabins (approx. 0.3 miles away); Sam Davis Gravesite (approx. 0.3 miles away); The Sam Davis Boyhood Home (approx. 0.4 miles away); Wheeler's Raid around Rosecrans (approx. 0.8 miles away); Old Jefferson (approx. 0.8 miles away); Dewitt Smith Jobe (approx. 0.9 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Smyrna.
Also see . . .  Sam Davis Home and Museum. (Submitted on October 7, 2013.)
Categories. War, US Civil
Home of Sam Davis image. Click for full size.
By Don Morfe, July 25, 2013
4. Home of Sam Davis
Inscription on the entrance wall
Credits. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016. This page originally submitted on October 6, 2013, by Don Morfe of Baltimore, Maryland. This page has been viewed 432 times since then. Last updated on April 21, 2015, by J. Makali Bruton of Querétaro, Mexico. Photos:   1, 2, 3, 4. submitted on October 6, 2013, by Don Morfe of Baltimore, Maryland. • Bill Pfingsten was the editor who published this page.
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