Born: No­vem­ber 3, 1723, New­cas­tle, De­la­ware.

Died: Feb­ru­ary 4, 1761, Prince­ton, New Jer­sey.

Buried: Prince­ton Ce­me­te­ry, Prince­ton, New Jer­sey.



As an ad­ult, Da­vies said:

I am a son of pray­er, like my name­sake, Sam­uel the pro­phet, and my mo­ther called me Sam­uel, be­cause, she said, I have asked him of the Lord.

Davies joined the Pres­by­ter­ian church at age 15. He be­came a li­censed Pres­by­ter­ian min­is­ter in 1746. The next year he was li­censed as an ev­an­gel­ist and sent to Vir­gin­ia. A court in Will­iams­burg grant­ed him a li­cense as a dis­sent­ing min­is­ter, the first such li­cense giv­en in the co­lo­ny of Vir­gin­ia.

Davies’ wife and son died in 1747, and in 1748 he ac­cept­ed a call to be­gin a min­is­try in Han­ov­er Coun­ty, Vir­gin­ia. Like the Wes­leys, he tra­veled through­out his pas­tor­ate by horse­back. He preached to thou­sands, in­clud­ing the slaves.

He be­came so well known that King George II of Eng­land in­vit­ed him to preach at the roy­al cha­pel when he and Gil­bert Ten­nent were in Eng­land rais­ing funds for the Col­lege of New Jer­sey. Dur­ing that ser­mon, Da­vies re­port­ed­ly stopped and spoke di­rect­ly to an as­ton­ished George II:

When the li­on roars, all the an­im­als in the jun­gle fall si­lent; and when the Lord speaks, the kings of the earth shut their mouths.

In 1759, Da­vies ac­cept­ed a call to be­come pre­si­dent of the Col­lege of New Jer­sey (lat­er re­named to Prince­ton Uni­ver­si­ty). He served in that po­si­tion un­til his death 18 months lat­er.