James Davis (1780-1861) was born in Core
Creek, Carteret County - the Quaker colony on the Newport River, north of Beaufort. He was the eldest son of Joseph Wicker Davis Jr. and Susanna Stanton, who were married in Carteret County in 1776. In 1803 James married Elizabeth Adams (1783-1868), daughter of Nathan Adams and Mary Canaday, who were farmers in Core Creek.
Of the houses built by Davis, the most well known are the 1815 Duncan House, the James Davis House circa 1817, the Hatsell House circa 1827, the James Davis House circa 1829 and the Wm. J. Potter House circa 1832.