Richard Bingham Davis was born in New York, where he entered Columbia College at the age of fourteen (where he would have been a contemporary of Charles Brockden Brown). He left school after three years to take up his father's trade of woodcarving. He spent a year as editor of The Diary, a New York newspaper, but finding journalism not to his taste he took up mercantile pursuits. Davis died of yellow fever at the age of only twenty-eight. He was a member of the Callopean Socity, a literary club in New York.