Biographical History of Montgomery and Adams Counties, Iowa.
Unless otherwise noted, the following biographies were submitted by Dick Barton.
Marion Davis, attorney at law and farmer of Adams county, was born near
Columbus, Ohio, August 13, 1831, a son of Joseph and Edith (De Ford) Davis, the
father a native of Maryland and the mother, of Delaware. He is a descendant of
John Davis, an aide of La Fayette in our Revolutionary war. His grandmother was
Ann Simpson, a near relative of Hannah Simpson, the mother of General Ulysses
Simpson Grant. Our subject still has in his possession a [musket that] was used
in the battle of Trenton. Joseph Davis is a farmer, still residing on the old
homestead, now aged ninety years; but his wife has been dead about sixteen
years. They had six children, of whom three are still living.
subject of this sketch, the second child and eldest son, was brought up on a
farm and attended Blendon College (Presbyterian), and finally graduated at the
Ohio Wesleyen University at Delaware, in the class of 1852. Then he took a trip
to the South, but owing to the social ostracism of all Northern men existing at
that day in the South, he was not encouraged to remain there. In 1853 he
returned from the South to Columbus, and for two years studied law in the office
of Dennison & Carrington, Dennison afterward becoming Governor of Ohio, and
Carrington, a Brigadier in the Federal army. In 1855 he was admitted to the bar
of the Supreme Court of Ohio. Soon thereafter he came to Iowa traveling on the
cars to Rock Island, and from thence by stage to Des Moines, and from there on
foot to Adams county, carrying a surveyor's compass and staff, where he arrived
at Quincy on the 5th of August. Here he immediately opened out in the practice
of his profession of law and surveying, having at the first term of court
thereafter thirty-seven cases and a large business, entering land for the early
settlers, working night and day. The first three months after his arrival he
earned $1,500, which he was able to invest in land; of this he still retains 200
acres. When at the South, he was fully impressed with the belief that a great
slavery war would soon be inaugurated, and in 1856, during the Fremont and
Buchanan campaign made several speeches in his neighborhood in which he told the
people that the election of Buchanan would terminate in war between the South
and north. True to his convictions, as soon as Buchanan was inaugurated, in
1857, he organized a company called the Quincy Guards, which during the
following years was thoroughly drilled in the duties of soldiers. After Fort
Sumpter was fired on the whole company was mustered into the United States
service for three years and became Company H, Fourth Iowa Infantry. This company
became specially noted for efficiency in the years of the war that followed. In
the spring of 1862 he organized Company D, Twenty- ninth Iowa Infantry and was
chosen its Captain. This company saw active service in Missouri, Kentucky,
Arkansas, Mississippi, Louisiana, Alabama and Texas. At Fort Pemberton, on the
Yazoo, he was leading a charge of the regiment across a bayou against the fort,
and received a wound in the stomach, which resulted in permanently disabling him
from the service; and he was discharged by order of the Secretary of War, for in
incurable disability, in 1864. The wound is still a source of great disability
to him, for which he receives a pension.
1876 he built the elegant residence which he now occupies, and his landed
property now amounts to 2,000 acres; and he is also largely interested in stock.
As a farmer he is one of the most extensive in the county. He is a member and
commander of Lewellyn Post, G. A. R., which post was named for one of the
original Quincy Guards, which he organized. He was made a Freemason as long ago
as 1852, in the South, being a member of the same lodge with the noted rebel,
John B. Floyd. For many years he has been a pillar in the Congregational Church.
In personal habits he is a model man. During his life he has practiced in all
the courts, having many of the most noted cases in the United States Supreme
Court, winning the Adams county swamp land case, the Hunter defalcation case,
politics Mr. Davis has always been anti-slavery and union, taking part in favor
of the anti-Nebraska (Republican) party of 1854, at Columbus, Ohio, and opposing
the Douglas doctrine of giving opportunity to the extension of slavery. He has
been county Attorney and county Judge; was a member of the Legislature of
1871-'73, aiding in the enactment of the Code of 1873.
was married in 1857, to Miss Julia Clark, a native of Michigan, and of their
three children two are living, one having died in infancy. Mrs. Davis died in
1880, and Mr. Davis was married again in 1883, to Miss Sarah Brown, the daughter
of one of Adams county's prosperous farmers, by whom he has two children, a boy
and a girl, who are the present associates of his declining years, in their
B. Davis, a lumber merchant of Prescott, Iowa, was born June 26, 1859, the son
of George J. and Martha Davis, the former a native of Virginia, and the latter
of Indiana, and both were old pioneers of Adams county. The father came West in
1857, and located in this county, where he engaged in farming, and in addition
to that occupation is engaged in carpentering. The parents had seven children,
five of whom survive. Our subject, the second child, received his education in
the common schools of Adams county. He remained on the farm with his parents
until twenty-one years of age, when he commenced work for $20 per month,
continuing three years, and at the end of that time had saved $400. He then
rented a farm in Adams county until the spring of 1890, when he engaged in the
lumber business. He is the only lumberman in the place, and keeps a good stock.
He has an extensive patronage in this part of the county, which has been built
up by fair dealing. Both he and his wife are members of the Baptist Church, and
the former is a Democrat politically.
Davis was married to Miss Winnie Moon, who was born in Appanoose county, Iowa,
and whose parents are still living in Adams county. They have had two children:
Nellie and Floyd.
H. Davis, a general merchant at Mt. Etna, was born in Indiana, November 2, 1851,
the son of T. H. and Anna (Fees) Davis, both natives of that state. His father,
a farmer, came to Iowa in 1852 and settled in Eureka, and several years
afterward located where he now resides, a mile and a half southwest of Etna. He
and his wife are both living, honored and respected residents. He has never
aspired to public office, but has ever given his best attention to farming
interests and the general welfare of his community. His farm comprises 240
acres, conveniently located, well-stocked and well watered. It is mostly "second-bottom" land.
Davis, our subject, the eldest in the above family of ten children, set out in
life for himself when of legal age, teaching school during the winter and
breaking prairie and farming during the summer. After continuing thus for nearly
ten years he embarked in 1884, in the mercantile business in Mt. Etna, and now
carries the heaviest stock in the city, - dry-goods, notions, boots and shoes,
queensware, glassware, hardware, groceries and school books. He takes a
commendable pride in the enterprises of his neighborhood, and is a responsible
and worthy business man. Several times has he been elected to office, but has
refused to serve, except a term or two as Clerk of his township. As to the
nominations made by the political parties he votes independently, but generally
with the Republicans, especially where they favor prohibition. He is a highly
esteemed and worthy citizen. He and his wife are members of the Evangelical
Church at Mt. Etna, in which body he is a prominent trustee and assistant
Superintendent of the Sunday- school.
was married November 1, 1881, to Miss M. A. Black, daughter of W. B. and
Margaret M. Black, of Adams county, both of whom are still living, well-known
and highly respected citizens. Mr. and Mrs. Davis have two children, viz.: Alvin
Roy and Lora Elma.