IAGenWeb Project - Clayton co.

Thomas M. Davies

Thomas M. Davies.—That within the pages of this history of Clayton county it has been found possible to accord specific recognition to a goodly percentage of the sturdy and enterprising yeomen who are influential and honored exponents of the agricultural interests of this section of the State, can not but add greatly to the consistency and value of the publication, for Clayton is essentially an agricultural county, with resources and advantages not to be excelled, with the logical result that the great basic industry constitutes the nucleus around which has been evolved the general prosperity that now marks this favored section of the Hawkeye commonwealth. Though Thomas M. Davies is to be considered as one of the older but still active and influential representatives of agricultural and live-stock industry in Clayton county, it is specially interesting to record that he has been a resident of the county from early youth and is a scion of one of its honored pioneer families, besides which is his enduring distinction for having been one of the loyal and valiant young men who went forth from Iowa to serve as soldiers of the Union in the Civil war. He resides upon and gives his personal supervision to his well improved farm of one hundred and sixty acres, which is eligibly situated in Mendon township, at a point within about four and one-half miles of the thriving little city of McGregor, from which place he receives service on rural mail route number One.

Mr. Davies was born in Cumberlaudshire, England, on the 25th of September, 1842, and thus was a lad of about ten at the time of the family immigration to the United States, in 1853. He is a son of Lewis and Mary Anne (Michell) Davies, the former a native of Montgomeryshire and the latter of Cumberlandshire, England. In his native land the father continued to follow the vocation of miner until 1853, when he came with his family to America and numbered himself among the pioneers of Iowa. After remaining for a brief period in Dubuque he came to the wilds of Clayton county and obtained a tract of land in what is now Giard township. Here he reclaimed and developed a productive farm, and on this pioneer homestead he and his noble wife passed the remainder of their lives in peace and prosperity and in the inviolable esteem of all who knew them. Both were communicants of the Church of England and after coming to the United States they continued in the same faith, here defined as that of the Protestant Episcopal Church. Lewis Davies contributed his quota to the civic and material development and progress of Clayton county, was a man of strong mentality and sterling character and took deep interest in the communal welfare, his political support having been given to the cause of the Republican party. Of the children of this honored pioneer John, the first-born, went forth as a soldier of the Union when the integrity of the nation was jeopardized by armed rebellion, and he sacrificed his life in a righteous cause, as he was killed in the battle of Vicksburg; Thomas M., subject of this review, was the second child; Daniel maintains his residence at McGregor, this county; William is deceased; James is a prosperous farmer in Giard township; Lewis resides in the vicinity of the city of Spokane, Washington; George is a resident of the State of Idaho; Sarah is deceased; Mary is the widow of Jacob Heffner and maintains her home at Stillwater, Minnesota; and Richard remains in Clayton county, as one of the representative farmers of Mendon township.

Thomas M. Davies gained his early education in his native land and after the family home had been established in Clayton county he continued to attend the pioneer schools when opportunity offered, but in the meanwhile found definite requisition for his services in connection with the development and general operations of his father’s farm. Such was his association when the Civil war was precipitated, and in 1864, within a short time after attaining to his legal majority, he enlisted as a private in Company B, Fourth Iowa Volunteer Infantry, with which he served faithfully and gallantly until the close of the war, with a record of having been one of the boys in blue who took part in Sherman’s ever memorable march from Atlanta to the sea. He participated in numerous engagements and effectually proved his loyalty to the nation to which he has paid appreciative allegiance since his boyhood.

For two years after the close of the war Mr. Davies rented his father’s farm, and he then purchased eighty acres of his present homestead, to which he later added an adjoining eighty acres, so that he is now the owner of a well-improved farm of one hundred and sixty acres, the general appearance of which breathes of unmistakable thrift and prosperity and indicates the progressive policies and methods which the owner has brought to bear. The excellent buildings on the place have been erected by Mr. Davies, and the greater part of other permanent improvements have been wrought under his effective supervision. Well-earned prosperity and comfort are his, and now, in the gracious twilight of a well-spent life, he may feel that his lines have been cast in pleasant places. He has never sought public office but has loyally supported the measures and enterprises that have tended to foster the general welfare of the community and has not faltered in allegiance to the Republican party. He was reared in the faith of the Church of England, as was also his wife, but both have been for many years earnest members of the Congregational Church at McGregor. In that attractive little city is maintained also his affiliation with the post of the Grand Army of the Republic, through the medium of which he vitalizes the more gracious associations and memories of his military career.

On the 4th of March, 1873, was solemnized the marriage of Mr. Davies to Miss Louisa West, who was born near Madison, the beautiful capital city of Wisconsin, and the date of whose nativity was March 12, 1849.

Mrs. Davies was the first born of a family of six children, all of whom are still living except the second, Mozella. Jeanette is the wife of Charles Weston and they reside in the State of Oklahoma; George was the next in order of birth; Albert maintains his home in Oklahoma, and Edward resides at Clermont, Fayette county, Iowa. George and Louisa (Webb) West, the parents of Mrs. Davies, were natives respectively of England and Paris, France, and their marriage was solemnized in the city of London. They came to the United States in 1848 and became pioneers of Wisconsin, where they remained until their removal to Clayton county, Iowa. Here Mr. West secured a tract of land and began the development of a farm, this homestead having continued as his place of residence until his death, which occurred December 29, 1864. He was a Republican in politics, served as township clerk in the earlier period of Clayton county history, and both he and his wife were communicants of the Church of England. Mrs. West long survived her honored husband and passed the closing period of her life in the home of her daughter, Mrs. Davies, where she was summoned to eternal rest on the 25th of July, 1896, venerable in years and loved by all who had come within the compass of her gentle influence.

All of the children of Mr. and Mrs. Davies are living with the exception of the second, William L., who is deceased; Walter is a successful representative of agricultural enterprise in Mendon township; Birdie is the wife of M. J. Robbins, of the same township; Lithe G., who was married Sept. 4, 1916, to C. G. Messinger, of Fonda, Ia.; and Harry T., who remains at the parental home.

source: History of Clayton County, Iowa; From The Earliest Historical Times Down to the Present; by Realto E. Price, Vol. II; page 83-85
-OCR scanned by Sharyl Ferrall


Return to 1916 Biographies Index

Return to Clayton County Index