THE HOME OF GARRET DAVIDSON, AS PORTRAYED BY MR. BOND OF THE "GLASCO SUN."
(The picture from which this engraving is made was executed twenty years ago, and before the erection of Mr. Davidson's new barn. The log house to the left is their firsst Kansas residence.)
Careful speculation, good judgment and close application to his business interests have made Garrett Davidson the Croesus of Cloud county and he is still active on a business career. He had acquired a good start before coming to Kansas but earned every dollar of his belongings through his own personal efforts. He possessed an indomitable will, pushed westward and soon occupied a foremost place among the moneyed men of Cloud county. He has built up a competency on the foundation he laid early in his career and may still be considered in the prime of life. Like his brother E.C. he is fond of the chase and the music of his hounds has made merry many a chase for the running to earth of the yelping coyote.
Mr. Davidson is a native of Ohio, born May 2, 1841, in the town of Dublin, built on the old lime stone rocks of Franklin county, Ohio. His mother having died when he was twelve years of age, he worked for a cousin several years for his board and clothes. He then started out to make the record herein recorded.
He had received but a few months schooling during the winter months for as soon as the sugar making season arrived, both teacher and pupils adjourned from the old log school house to assist at the sugar camps. Mr. Davidson's career began by working on a farm at $11 per month. His duties consisted of clearing ground, picking up chunks from the newly made fields, and farming. His first worldly possession was a young horse purchased in exchange for three months labor plus $1, which he invested in a straw hat and a pair of overalls. The following year he earned enough to buy a $40 colt and then rustled and skirmished around until he purchased a wagon. His next project was to rent a farm in Madison county, Ohio. From this date he began to accumulate the origin of his present financial standing. In 1862, he drove a team down into Lexington, Kentucky, then a wintering quarter for horses and troops, furnishing rations and feed. In 1863, he moved to Illinois, where he bought sixty acres of land three miles distant from Bushnell. In 1865, he enlisted in Company C, 151st Illinois Volunteers. His company did not see active service but went as far south as Kingston, Georgia, where they guarded the railroad and scouted around on dark nights over the corduroy roads. After being discharged at Springfield, Illinois, he returned home and resumed his farming operations.
Mr. Davidson is a man of keen perception and foresight and this coupled with his energy has made him prosperous in every undertaking. He engaged in buying, feeding and selling stock on his farm in Illinois and acquired a good start before coming west. In 1874, he emigrated to Cloud county and bought the D.W. Teasley homestead relinquishment, paying $1,000. About one year later he bought eighty acres of the Edwards homestead and shortly afterward the "Goddard eighty." In 1880, he purchased the Capt. Snyder farm and forty acres of school land on the Solomon river; in 1896, seventy-five acres of the Bond estate; in 1897, he bought a half section of State land from Samuel Beard and the "Samuel Fuller homestead," one of the best farms on the Solomon river; in 1898, the two hundred and twenty acres of land sold at administrator's sale to settle up the Hostetler estate.
Nearly all of his farms are bottom land. Stock raising and feeding cattle and hogs has been Mr. Davidson's strong point. He keeps a herd of about one hundred high grade cattle and one hundred head of hogs. This year (1901) he is feeding ground wheat to his cattle as an experiment. The proportion is one-third corn, two-thirds wheat ground and mixed. He raises wheat extensively and has never had an entire failure. Several seasons his land has produced forty bushels per acre.
Mr. Davidson was one of the first growers of alfalfa in the neighborhood, and sowed it as an experiment. One year he sold $1,000 worth of seed. In 1901, from twenty-two acres there was a yield of one hundred and three bushels of seed and ninety-two tons of hay, and this one of the dryest years ever known in Kansas. The one hundred and three bushels of seed at $5 per bushel netted him $515; the ninety-two tons of hay at $7 per ton netted him $644, a total of $1,159 thus being produced from twenty-two acres of alfalfa. He has a fine producing apple orchard of about two hundred trees and a considerable number of peach trees which yield well.
When Mr. Davidson bought the Teasley homestead there were but few improvements, a small cabin, a shed and corral. In 1875, he built a large stone residence situated in a grove of tall cottonwoods set out by himself and Mrs. Davidson. The lumber for this residence was hauled from Clay Center via Concordia. In 1892 he built a barn 50x96 feet, the first commodious barn built in the neighborhood.
Mrs. Davidson before her marriage was Catherine Gross, a daughter of Thomas and Margaret (Cargy) Gross, of Ohio, near the city of Columbus, where Mrs. Davidson was born and grew to womanhood. Her father died, when she was eight years of age and her mother died in 1898, at the age of ninety-three years. Mrs. Davidson is one of ten children, three of whom are living: a sister, Sarah, the wife of Levi Cooper, a farmer of Solomon township, and a brother James, a farmer living in Indiana. Mrs. Davidson had three brothers in the war, who enlisted from their Ohio home. They died from illness contracted during the service. Mrs. Davidson is a true helpmate and is entitled to much of the credit for her husband's prosperity. She is a true patriot of Kansas now, but in the early days would watch the emigrants coming in and weep for her eastern home.
Politically Mr. Davidson is a Populist. In 1889, he was elected county commissioner on the Democratic ticket, which showed his popularity, as it that time his district was very strong in its Republican majority.
Mr. Davidson was practically the banking firm of the Glasco, community for many years, making it possible for many of his neighbors to buy more land or for some man to increase his business capital by a loan. He never oppressed a debtor, nor forced the payment, allowing all the time required for paying the loan; thus his wealth has made him a public benefactor.
Transcribed from E.F. Hollibaugh's Biographical history of Cloud County, Kansas biographies of representative citizens. Illustrated with portraits of prominent people, cuts of homes, stock, etc. [n.p., 1903] 919p. illus., ports. 28 cm.
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