Transcribed from A Standard History of Kansas and Kansans, written and compiled by William E. Connelley, Secretary of the Kansas State Historical Society, Topeka. Chicago: Lewis Publishing Company, copyright 1918


Calvin Arthur Davis

CALVIN ARTHUR DAVIS. The superintendent of the Cudahy Refining Company at Chanute, Kansas, Calvin Arthur Davis, is one of the sons of the Sunflower state who has worked his own way to position and independence. A product of the farm, when he started upon his career his equipment consisted of ambition, determination and good common sense, and these qualities he directed so well that he soon became recognized as a man from whom large things could be expected. Promotion naturally followed, and his career has since been one of constant advancement.

Mr. Davis was born on a farm south of Fort Scott, in Bourbon County, Kansas, August 24, 1880, and is a son of Calvin and Hattie H. (Peterson) Davis. The family came originally from Wales and settled in Virginia, during the Colonial era, later branching out to Kentucky and other southern states. Luther Davis the grandfather of Calvin A., was born in 1815, in Kentucky, and prior to the Civil war was a planter and slaveholder near the city of Lexington. From Kentucky he went to Cumberland County, Illinois, where he farmed until the spring of 1877, at that time coming to Kansas and homesteading a tract of 160 acres of land in Butler County. There he passed the remaining years of his life in agricultural operations, becoming one of the substantial and highly respected citizens of his community. His death occurred on his farm, in 1885.

Calvin Davis, father of Calvin A., was born on his father's farm near Lexington, Kentucky, and was educated in the public schools of Cumberland County, Illinois, to which locality he was taken by his parents when a lad of seven years. He was reared as an agriculturist and followed that vocation in Illinois until the spring of 1878, when he came to Butler County, Kansas, as a pioneer, and homesteaded 160 acres of land near Eldorado. He remained there for only two years, however, and in the spring of 1880 took up his residence in Bourbon County, near Fort Scott, where he bought a partly-improved property. This he farmed until 1883, when he made another move, this time locating in Woodson, near Toronto, where he has a well-cultivated tract of eighty acres. Mr. Davis is still actively engaged in farming and stockraising and is known as a practical and progressive farmer and as a citizen who takes an interest in the community welfare and assists in beneficial movements. He is a democrat, but has not held office, and his fraternal affiliation is with the Modern Woodmen of America. He has held a number of lay offices in the Christian church, of which he has been a member since youth. Mr. Davis was married in Cumberland County, Illinois, to Miss Hattie H. Peterson, who was born in that county in 1852, and they have had the following children: Luther, who resides in Woodson County and is a farmer; Calvin Arthur; Audrey, who is the wife of John Harris, an oil tank builder of Oilton, Oklahoma; Omar, who is engaged in farming in Woodson County, Kansas; Orian, also an agriculturist there; Louis, who likewise follows the vocation of farming in Woodson County; and Mabel and Caroline, who reside near Toronto with their parents.

Calvin Arthur Davis received only ordinary educational advantages in the public schools of Woodson County, where he completed the eighth grade course. However, he has made the most of his opportunities, and through observation and reading has made himself a well educated man. He was reared amid agricultural surroundings, remaining on the home farm until he was twenty-two years of age, but did not care for the life of a farmer and, accordingly, in 1902, came to Chanute, where he accepted a minor position with the Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe Railroad. During the three years that he was identified with this line he was promoted several times, and in 1905 left the employ of the railroad to enter the service of the Kansas Oil Refining Company, with which he remained two years, gaining a good working knowledge of the refining business. In 1907 he entered the employ of the Chanute Refining Company, and steadily worked his way upward to the position of superintendent, which office he has held since May, 1914. The plant was purchased by the Sinclair Oil Refining Company, in June, 1916, and the name changed to the Cudahy Refining Company, Mr. Davis being retained in the capacity of superintendent, a position for which he is singularly fitted by training and experience. The plant of this concern is situated one and one-half miles south of Chanute, and has a daily capacity of 2,700 barrels, oil coming from the Oklahoma fields. Mr. Davis is the owner of his own residence, at No. 1302 South Forest Avenue, Chanute, and a valuable farm of eighty acres four miles south of Chanute. In politics he is a democrat, but has found his time occupied with his business to an extent that keeps him from taking more than a good citizen's interest in public matters. He is fraternally affiliated with Cedar Lodge No. 103, Ancient Free and Accepted Masons, and Chanute Camp No. 852, Modern Woodmen of America.

In 1904 Mr. Davis was married at Yates Center, Kansas, to Miss May Austin, daughter of Steve and Rachel (Rhoades) Austin. Mr. Austin, who was a farmer, is now deceased, but the mother still survives and makes her home at Toronto. Mr. and Mrs. Davis have two children: Fay, born April 21, 1907, and Clair, born August 11, 1910.


Transcribed from volume 4, page 1968 of A Standard History of Kansas and Kansans, written and compiled by William E. Connelley, Secretary of the Kansas State Historical Society, Topeka. Chicago: Lewis Publishing Company, copyright 1918; originally transcribed by students at Baxter Springs Middle School, Baxter Springs, Kansas, March, 1998, modified 2003 by Carolyn Ward.

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