From NKAA, Notable Kentucky African Americans Database (main entry)

Davis, Samuel

(born: 1895  -  died: 1920) Twenty-five year old Samuel Davis drowned while attempting to save 16-year old Estelle Garnand and her friend Mary Etta Martin from the "sunk holes" in the Tug Fork of the Big Sandy River, July 12, 1920. He was able to save Martin, but both Davis and Garnand drowned.

Davis was a African American coal miner from Aflex, KY. Garnand and Martin were white. Davis was awarded a Carnegie bronze medal posthumously, and his wife received a pension of $50 per month and an additional $5 for their daughter, all from the Carnegie Hero Fund Commission. Davis was one of 23 persons to be recognized by the commission in 1921 and one of two to receive a bronze medal.

For more see the 1922 Negro Year Book, by M. N. Work; "Samuel Davis," The Crisis, vol. 22, issue 2  (June 1921), p. 87 [available online at Google Books]; "Carnegie medals to 23 for heroism," The New York Times, 4/30/1921, p. 16; Samuel Davis at the Carnegie Hero Fund Commission website; and "Miss Estelle Garnand" on p. 3 of The Kingsport Times, 7/20/1920.

Kentucky County & Region

Read about Pike County, Kentucky in Wikipedia.

Kentucky Place (Town or City)

Read about Aflex, Kentucky in Wikipedia.


Cited in this Entry

NKAA Source: Negro year book: an annual encyclopedia of the Negro (annual)
NKAA Source: The New York times (newspaper)
NKAA Source: Kingsport times (newspaper)

Cite This NKAA Entry:

“Davis, Samuel,” Notable Kentucky African Americans Database, accessed January 24, 2022,

Last modified: 2021-11-03 16:15:46