John W. Davis, farmer and stock-raiser of Osage township, has long been known as one of the live and enterprising citizens of Crawford county, and his worth and integrity are apparent in all his relations with his fellow men. He has enjoyed a very active, and indeed strenuous, career, and in a lifetime of fifty odd years has lived and experienced as much as most men when past threescore and ten.
For one thing, Mr. Davis got an early start in his career of activity. When he was a boy of thirteen, in 1864, he became an enlisted soldier in the Civil war, and has the honor of having been among the youngest of our veterans. His enlistment took place at Unionville, Putnam county, Missouri, in Company C, Forty-second Missouri Infantry, under Captain Thompson and Colonel Forbes. They went into camp at Macon, Missouri; were first under fire at Sturgeon, where they fought Colonel Bill Anderson's troops and guerrillas; saw a good deal of rough service in that part of Missouri, and the Forty-second Missouri by its proved prowess gained the respect of all the enemy in that part of the country; then went to Benton Barracks at St. Louis, and from that time to the end of the war did much scouting and skirmish duty in Tennessee and Kentucky. Mr. Davis was honorably discharged at Nashville, in June, 1865, with an excellent record as a boy soldier.
Mr. Davis was born near New London, Ralls county, Missouri, in September, 1851. His father, Parker Davis, was born in Virginia, of an old family of that state, was reared to manhood there and married Miss Anna Seeley, who was born near Quebec, Canada, of French lineage. Later they settled in Ralls county, Missouri, where the father died in 1856, leaving his wife and seven children; namely, George, who was a soldier in the Eighteenth Missouri Infantry; Martha, Sarah, Marian, Susan, Mary, John W. The mother died in Putnam county, Missouri, when past seventy. Politically the father was a Democrat, and was a member of the Methodist Episcopal church.
Mr. John W. Davis was reared on the farm to the age of thirteen, being taught to work and gaining a fair amount of education for his time and locality. After the war he returned and went to work on the farm; later was in Pettis county, Missouri, two years; was in Illinois eighteen months; returned and spent eleven years in Putnam county, Missouri, after which he went to Jasper county, Iowa, and lived there three years, during which time he was married; then went west to Frontier county in western Nebraska, took up a homestead, and during nine years of industry and steady delving raised but two crops. This was certainly enough to discourage anyone with that part of the country, and he accordingly sold out his land and in a prairie schooner drove back to God's country, first to Missouri and then to Neosho county, Kansas, where he lived two years. He then came to Crawford county and bought a farm of eighty acres near Monmouth. This he improved and traded for property in Neosho county, but now for several years has owned and resided on a fine estate of one hundred and sixty acres about five miles northwest of McCune. This is one of the first-class farms of Osage township, well improved and cultivated, and its management indicates the good judgment and ability of its proprietor.
Mr. Davis was married in Jasper county, Iowa, in 1885, to Emma J. Brewin, who was reared and educated in that county, being a daughter of John and Alice (Pondro) Brewin, who were both born in Leicestershire, England, where they were married, and then came to Iowa, where both passed way. Mr. and Mrs. Davis have a fine family of nine children: Homer, Oakley, Walter, Andrew, Curma, Parker, Hickory, Pansy and Theodore Roosevelt. As the last name would indicate, Mr. Davis is a thoroughgoing Republican, and it is worthy of mention that he formed his resolutions concerning party affiliations when he was a boy of twelve years, and has ever since maintained a loyal adherence to the party of his youthful choice. He is a member of Osage Post No. 156, G. A. R., at McCune. His wife is a member of the Methodist church.Pages 337-339 from A Twentieth century history and biographical record of Crawford County, Kansas, by Home Authors; Illustrated. Published by Lewis Publishing Company, Chicago, IL : 1905. 656 p. ill. Transcribed by Seth Kays, student at Baxter Springs Middle School, Baxter Springs, Kansas, in April, 2003.
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