History of Davis City
By Geo. T. Williams

The Davis City Advance, Jan. 7, 1897

Copied by Nancee (McMurtrey) Seifert
September 2, 2003


The Richest and Most Fertile Country on the Face of the Globe. The Creator Intended it as the Home of the Farmer, the Fruit Grower, and Stock Raiser.

'Tis the bread and meat basket of the world, and in the midst of all this is DAVIS CITY, located on the C.B. & Q. R.R.; through line to Kansas City.

It is the home of solid banking institutions, large general stores, the best of educational and religious facilities.

County unknown to crop failures.

An Iowa Editor visits our City and County and gives a Truthful Review of them, the country surrounding; and of our most enterprising citizens.


In presenting this article to the public it is a writer's aim to give a plain and truthful statement of the advantages of Davis City and Decatur County, located in the Southern part of one of the best States in the Union. Nothing will be exaggerated, and no attempt will be made to make the County and City appear better than what they really are. It is not the intention of the writer to go into all the details of the early settlement of Davis City and Decatur County for that is left to the historian.


The transformation, growth and development of this part of Iowa was the product of the omnipotent. But yesterday an unbounded wilderness -- a vast unknown expanse -- the abode of savagery the play ground of the bison -- the happy hunting ground of the Nomads of the plains, who reigned in peace secure.


The lands in Decatur County, improved, that can today be purchased at from $20.00 to $40.00 per acre, are just as valuable, so far as their intrinsic value is concerned and just as productive, and just as near to Churches, schools and markets, as those lands in eastern Iowa and Illinois that are today selling at from $75.00 to $l00.00 per acre. Why not make the change?

The trackless prairies and almost impenetrable timber covered vales have succumbed to the hand of civilization and progress, and farms, towns, school houses and churches occupy those waste places and mark the path of progress, enterprise, education, morality and financial prosperity.


Is located in the extreme southern tier of counties half way between the eastern and western boundaries of the State. It comprises a territory 24 miles square and is divided into 16 townships.


Corn is king and the average yield is 50 bushels per acre and of a very good quality. It never fails and planting is often done two weeks earlier than in northern Iowa and Illinois. Oats are superior to any grown in Illinois and Wisconsin and yield from 50 to 80 bushels per acre, and are sure crop and pay well. Wheat, rye and barley are also sure crops and are grown largely. Crops of all kinds this season were immense.


Stock is the thing for the southern Iowa farmer. The qualities of the land, the climate and the water supply makes Southern Iowa a paradise for stock raisers. Cattle pastured on the rich and luxuriant tame grass of Decatur County during the summer are in prime condition for the market and come through the winter in good shape, when fed on timothy hay which grows and thrives so well in Decatur county. Who ever has been in Southern Iowa or Decatur County will tell you there is no better or healthier county for stock and every farmer raises hogs. Sheep are not common, but those who devoted themselves to raising them declare that it pays well.


The climate is all that could be desired. The peculiar dryness of the air makes this section of Iowa one of the healthiest locations to be found in the United States. Spring and fall are mild and pleasant. The changes in the temperature are not so sudden as in the east. The summers are warm but not sultry, as there is generally a light breeze. The last five winters have been very mild. Fevers and consumption are almost unknown.


The soil is one peculiar to the belt through which runs the Grand River. It differs from the soil usually found in the western part of the State, west of the water shed. In the west it belongs to what is known as the drift deposit. In this it closely resembles the loamy deposit in the valley of the Yazoo, famous the world over for its richness. The celebrated geologist, Owen, calls it "Siliceous marl," and refers to its origin as an accumulation of sediment in an ancient lake which was afterwards drained.


Decatur is the banner timothy and clover county of the State, and an acre of ground will produce from two to three tons of the very finest timothy hay, and it is shipped in large quantities to eastern cities where it brings an advanced price. Clover also does well here and is largely grown.


The principal stream that courses its way through Decatur County is the Grand River, and with its numerous tributaries, affords a most excellent water and drainage system. In fact, there is hardly a section without a good creek, in the whole county. Clear cool and sparkling water can be obtained anywhere by digging to a depth of 15 to 30 feet.


Native timber is still plenty, and is used largely for fuel. Farmers who in past years have set out trees in the rich deep prairie portions of Decatur County, now have as fine groves as any person could wish for, and they will always stand as living monuments to those who planted and cared for them.


Apples, plums and all kind of small fruit grow, and produce large quantities in this county, and there is hardly a farmer but what can boast of a fine orchard. The apple crop this season was very large and a fine quality, and many hundred car loads have found their way to eastern and northern markets. But what about


We think we hear some of our readers remark.

Davis City is situated, geographically, almost in the center of the county, and has a population of 800 people, and, as a rule, has an enterprising and go-a-head class of business men. It has kept pace with cities twice its size, and has never lost an opportunity to build up both the city and surrounding country. Everything points toward a prosperous year for Davis City, and if some enterprising capitalist would invest in manufacturing enterprises, they would soon have a permanent and paying business.

Davis City has all those natural advantages that go to make up a first class city, and her citizens are of an energetic, enterprising and hustling disposition, and with a determination to succeed they work in unity for the good of the public as well as self, aided very materially by an untiring and able press. Nature has been lavish in providing for this city and county, many valuable gifts.


The fountain head, the main spring of all national greatness. Davis City is possessed of a fine two story brick school building, erected at a cost of $l2,000, containing five departments, with about 220 pupils all of whom are in charge of experienced instructors, headed by Prof. J.M. Howell as principal, with four able assistants who are the Misses Sudie Prose, Gertie Sylvester, Maude Bowman and Emma Mark. The officers of the school are S. Radnich, President; Arthur Dorn, Treasurer.


The head of this faculty was born in Harrison County, Mo., and is a graduate of Grand River College in Grundy County. He has been engaged in educational work for eighteen years, fourteen of which have been in the Davis City schools, besides having taught school in Eagleville, Mo. The professor is qualified in every particular for the position he now holds, and during his fourteen years' residence in this city he has not only proven himself to be among Iowa's most able instructors but has been a valuable acquisition to its social and business circles as well. He has a good home and fortune seems to have smiled on him in more ways than one, as success has followed him year after year. He has the respect and admiration of all who enter the Davis City Schools for educational purposes, as well as the hearty cooperation of the board of trustees and its officers. He is a close student and a valuable educator and pupils receiving instructions there fully appreciate the benefit conferred on them, and occupy themselves diligently in the acquirement of a useful knowledge, and those graduating under his instructions are eligible to enter any State Normal without further examination.

Prof. Howell is an active and energetic worker in the cause of educational work, and parents out of town will do well to place their sons and daughters under his supervision, and his untiring efforts in the past should convince them of the advisability of so doing, thus enabling them to keep up with the evolution of knowledge.


Next in order comes the various religious denominations which we find established here for the spiritual good of this happy family. We use the word family as applied to a city advisedly. As the members of a household are banded together by the ties of kindred, love and affection, so the citizens of a town are but members of a large family, banded together by similarities of mutual interests and sympathy. As one member of the human family cannot be injured without the rest suffering, so a member of a family or town cannot be affected without a reflex on all the others. All interests center in one grand local point, the general welfare. Davis City seems inspired with the same ambition spiritually as in educational matters.

We find here the Union, Methodist, Latter Day Saints, Seven Day Advents, Presbyterian, Christian and United Brethren all of which have creditable places of worship and large congregations.


Davis City is connected with all of Southern Iowa and Northern Missouri by a good telephone system, two companies being represented here, viz, the Clearfield Lenox & Mt. Ayr, and the Davis City and Pleasanton. The Messrs. Campbell & Halstead are interested in both companies, and are the managers of the central station in this city. You can halloo all you want for a quarter.


This feature of any town will always be found a safe and religious standard by which to judge the men who constitute the business element of the town.

We find well represented here the A.F. & A.M. with Prof. J.M. Howell, M.W., L. Severe, S.W., G.P. Campbell, Secretary, also the I.O.O.F. with W.R. Adams, N.G., A.O. Patterson, V.G., Ed. Teale, Treasurer, Also the M.W. of A. with G.P. Campbell, V.C., A.J. Sparks, W.A., J.H. Post, Banker, U.G. Griffith, Clerk, O.W. Halstead, Escort, John Tilse, Sen. H. Arasmith, O.S. also the G.A.R. with T.E.S. Doss, Com., W.F. Croix, V.C., H.H. Anson, Adj. is E. Mitchell, Chap. and the Daughters of Rebekah, Mrs. Dora Brown, N.G., Mrs. Josie Kling, V.G., Miss Vivian Lanning, Sec'y.


The present official staff is composed of the following citizens and they are among the leading and representative business men of the town. J.H. Kling, Mayor; J.H. Robinson; A.H. Anson; P.E. Shirley; L.H. Shoemaker; J.C. Keshlear; F.A. Robertson, Councilmen.


In this special issue of the "Advance" we should certainly mention the excellent shipping facilities Davis City now has, for it is one of the chief and most important features of any town or city, no matter how large or how small it may be. Davis City is located on the main line of the C.B. & Q. R.R. which furnishes the city with one passenger train daily each way and of which P.S. Eustis is general passenger agent, at Chicago, Ill.


Among the noble industries and true enterprises of Davis City we find the newspapers. Two papers are issued and sent broad cast from Davis City advocating her interests and noting her prosperity as regular as the bell calls the sinners to church. Of course some of the sinners are unmindful of the press and its usefulness.


In which this article is published is the oldest paper in the town, having nearly completed its 9th volume. It is a six column folio, all home print, and is populist in politics, and a live newspaper. It has passed through many vicissitudes, but is still in the ring, and its present editors and owners the Wickes Bro's., though having no previous experience in printing or newspaper work before taking hold of the office, are justly proud of their large list of subscribers, and clean neatly printed paper, which rivals the best in the county in mechanical excellence, while their advertising and job departments are unexcelled by and in neatness of design and execution.

They occupy a fine two story frame structure having a hall on the upper floor, and have the confidence of the business and farming community. The Editor, C.A. Wickes also edits 'THE RETURN', a monthly paper published in their office in the interest of the Church of Christ, and is custodian of the Library and other property of said Church.


Is a five column folio published twice a week and is owned and edited by Lanning and Mitchell who are both up to date printers. The Rustler is one of the best equipped newspaper plants in southern Iowa. Its columns each week teem with the very latest and choicest foreign news as well as all the city and local happenings. They occupy the lower floor of a large two story brick building and have a splendid job office in it and make commercial work a specialty. The Lanning Manufacturing Company are connected with this paper and occupy the upper floor in the manufacture of family medicines and stock remedies. This company carries remedies for the cure of all diseases known to live stock.

As no town is complete without a good hotel, nor does any one business in the make up of a town add so much to the good or bad name as the hotel, therefore we speak of the hotel facilities at this time, for in the line of hotels Davis City has a splendid one known as the


This is a large two story frame, costing $2,000, consisting of 12 or 15 good rooms; parlor with organ, office with cigars on sale, sample room, cheerful dining room to seat 24 guests, and is a first class Hotel in every respect, and the best place to get a good square meal in the town, for we are in a position to know, as we stopped there a few days. Everything about the house without exception, outside and inside is kept in exceedingly good sanitary condition. We notice that a number of traveling men come here for their meals and lodging, and there were regular customers too. Traveling men know where they can get the best accommodations and do not stop at second class or poor hotels. There is a fine livery in connection, including five or six good rigs. The livery and the house and these equipments are valuable acquisitions to the commercial interest of the city.

Mr. Shirley was born in Harrison County, Mo., and was reared on a farm, came here four years ago and opened up a large livery and feed stable, and afterwards bought the above Hotel, which is the best in the city. The menu at this Hotel consists of the best that can be had, vegetables of all kinds in season, fruits, meats, finely flavored tea or coffee, milk, toast and many delicacies thrown in. In fact, it is a first class House in every respect. The inside is presided over by Mrs. Shirley who gives it her entire time. Mr. and Mrs. Shirley are valuable additions to the business and social circles of the city, and we wish to remind the traveling public that they will be made to feel at home at this Hotel, and that they will never regret having stopped there.


There is certainly no feature that more fully indicates the business and commercial importance of a city than its banking institutions. The bank to a vast extent, is the main artery or channel that supplies the life current to all business enterprise, and is as indispensable to business life and commercial activity as the blood channels are to animal vitality and existence.

Davis city estimated by such a standard, makes an unusual strong and substantial showing, for there are few towns, if any of her size in Iowa, possessed of as good banking facilities as Davis City, and as an institution that stands in the front ranks of the banking industry of southern Iowa, we are pleased to refer to the


A very worthy institution that was established in 1894, and now has a capital stock of $10,000, but the individual responsibility of the stock holders is a quarter of a million dollars, making it one of the strongest banking houses, financially in southern Iowa. The officers are:

E.D. Dorn, President,
J.F. Bolon, Vice-President,
A.E. Dorn, Cashier,
S.A. Radnich, Bookkeeper.

Directors consist of the above three with the additional name of S. Radnich.

This bank was established at a time when money matters were very close, thus paying a high compliment to the managers.

E.D. Dorn, President of the bank was also its organizer, coming here three years ago from Danbury, Ia., where he had been engaged in the banking business. He owns an 800 acre farm, well improved, three miles from Davis City, also 200 head of cattle and 30,000 bushels of grain, mostly corn, and 300 head of fine hogs.

J.F. Bolon, Vice-President, is one of the oldest settlers, and was engaged in farming, but has now retired from active business.

"Art" Dorn as he is familiarly known, assumed the management of this bank at the age of 18 and at that time was, and still is, one of the youngest cashiers in the State.

S.A. Radnich, Bookkeeper, is a son of S. Radnich, one of the pioneers of the county, owning a farm of 500 acres adjoining Davis City on the northwest. The young man was born and raised in this county, for his father came here in 1850 and has resided here almost half a century.

The business of the bank is, and always has been, standing on a solid foundation. No word from any pen can better portray this fact than does the amount of business it enjoys. It has for its correspondents, Hanover National Banks, of New York, Drovers National Bank, Chicago and Iowa State Bank of Des Moines, pays interest on time deposits, negotiates for all kinds of bankable paper and its stock holders are all well known.

The bank is located in a substantial brick building, and has a brick vault within which is an all steel Mossler Safe, held shut by a time lock, thus rendering all money and valuables placed in their hands absolutely safe from the encroachments of fire and thieves. In fact, this is a solid and reliable monied institution and worthy of an unlimited public confidence and a hearty patronage, both of which we are pleased to note it enjoys to the fullest extent.


The whole spirit of this entire paper, pure and simple is to point out the advantages of Davis City and Decatur County as a point second to none in the United States, as a place where homes can be made in a few years, and at the same time have the very best educational advantage and be located in the midst of refinement and intelligence. This issue will undoubtedly fall into the hands of hundreds of people all over the United States, and wherever their homes may be now, we hope to number many of them in the not distant future among the residents of Davis city and Decatur County. To the new comer, the first question to be settled is "where can I find a reliable real estate agency to assist me in purchasing a farm or a home?" In reply to this question nearly every business man in the city would refer you to


The real estate firm of the town. As a firm established in l895, but Mr. Campbell had been in the business before. Their lands range in prices from $15 to $75 per acre, and they are also agents for the Port Arthur Route lands of southern Missouri and Arkansas, having lands from $1.50 to $10.00 per acre on long time, also lands for trade, exchange and rent. They also carry on a general farm and loan business, and have plenty of money which they can place upon real estate security at a very low rate of interest, and the money is always ready as soon as the papers are made out, therefore causing no delay to the borrower. The lands they have for sale in this county are just such as those we have described in the introduction of this article.


Campbell & Halstead informed us that they have bargains in town property for sale or rent. This agency will give prompt attention to collecting rents and paying taxes for non-resident land owners, and if you want to buy, or have property for sale or exchange, it will pay you to list it with them. Correspondence is respectfully solicited and reliable answers will be made promptly to the same. They are also agents for the leading insurance companies and the Mutual Life Insurance Company.

George P. Campbell was born in Ohio, and came to this county in l869. During all that time he never knew a failure of crops in this county. He came to this city in l882 and was Mayor of the town and a member of the town council for six years, and Recorder four years and is now serving his third term as Justice of the Peace, and is active in politics and has a good home in the city.

O.B. Halstead came here two years ago from Schuyler, Nebraska and came to stay. He served in the War in Company D, 64th Ohio, and is a prominent G.A.R. man.


Davis City certainly has a just cause to feel proud of her numerous and well stocked general merchandise stores, for they would be a credit to a city many times her size. Chief among the mercantile establishments of Davis City, the writer finds that of


A.J. Jeffries, the senior member of the firm is one of Davis City's pioneers, having come to this city 40 years ago, and has been a farmer and still owns 1,000 or 1,200 acres of well improved land. His son I.N. Jeffries, the junior member of the firm, was raised from boyhood on a farm and his friends are numbered by his acquaintances.

This firm was established six years ago, and is run by I.N. Jeffries, assisted by L.A. Brown. They occupy a brick building 26x80 feet, two stories with the A.F. & A.M. hall above. The firm have an exceptionally fine stock of both foreign and domestic groceries, as well as hardware, tinware, glass ware, majolica ware, lamps and holiday goods. The highest market price is paid for country produce. Everything looks so fresh and clean that it makes one hungry to look around. We can't begin to tell of all the good things to be found here, there is tea, coffee, sugar, canned goods, spices, confectionery, canned and salt fish and in fact anything you may call for.


In writing of the physicians and surgeons of Davis City we should certainly be doing an injustice to the profession were we to omit the name of Dr. W.J. Laney from the list of Biographies. Dr. Laney is the oldest practitioner in the county and has been practicing since l85l. He is a graduate from the Willoughby College, and came to this county in l853 and established a drug store in connection with his practice. He has a large store room 24x60 feet with a fine prescription case, and a large and complete stock of holiday goods, mixed paints and wall paper, and he respectfully invites the public to call and inspect these goods before making their purchase elsewhere. Prescriptions are carefully compounded both day and night, and special attention is given to this branch of the business. His career as a physician and surgeon during the past years has been more than successful.

His daughter, Miss Flora Belle Laney is the obliging clerk and pharmacist, and is a fine and accomplished young lady, and her friends are numbered by her acquaintances. Mrs. Laney, the estimable wife of the doctor, also assists in the store, and the entire family are among the best citizens, and enjoy a wide circle of friends and acquaintances in the social world.

Dr. Laney was representative of this county in l858, and is among the very few now living who were members of that August and pioneer group of law makers.

We should certainly be doing an injustice to the business interests of this city, and to this location were we to omit from this special edition of the "Advance", a mention of the firm that is second to none in this part of the State in the business in which they are engaged. We have reference to the


which was established here in l875. They have a fine large mill with all the latest and improved machinery and rollers. The building is a three story brick 50x50 feet with a basement and which cost about $13,000. The proprietors of the mill are the Frazier Brothers, William and S.R. These gentlemen have been connected with this mill for five years. L.M. and C.S. Frazier are the sons of the proprietors, and they look after the mechanical department. C.S. is a practical miller, and has quite a good deal of experience to this business. The capacity of the mill is 60 barrels per day, and most of the time they run it to its full capacity. They make use of both water and steam power. Water is supplied from the Grand River. The various brands of flour which they make and sell, both in wholesale and retail lots to the local merchant and to others, are: "High Patent," "King of Iowa," "Plansifter Straight," "Almond Blossom" and "Climax. They also grind buckwheat, and have the pure buckwheat flour for sale at all times. In addition, they grind chop feed of all kinds. Their trade extends over a territory of thirty miles or more and the gentlemen are doing a good business. They are straight and reliable and are worthy of the excellent patronage they are receiving. The Fraziers are all old settlers in this community, and are enterprising citizens.

C.E. Morgan is one of the trusted employees of the mill. In another place may be seen a cut of the fine brick building belonging to the Messrs. Frazier. It is one of the best mill buildings in Southern Iowa and one which Davis City may justly be proud of.


Is the pioneer merchant of the city, having established a store here nineteen years ago. He was born in Ohio and served in the war in Company A, l4th Ohio. Owns a good home here in Davis City and also 62 acres adjoining the city. He has three sons and one daughter, viz: Orville, Clarence, Glenn and Miss Hazel. The firm name of the store is now Frazier, Severe & Company. Orville Frazier being the Company. They occupy and own a fine brick 30x60 feet. W.L. Severe was born in Ohio. He owns a good brick house and is a worthy citizen. The firm has one of the largest and most complete stocks of cooking and heating stoves for a town of this size that the writer has ever inspected. Among the different kinds handled, we noticed the "Gem City", "Round Oak", and many others all of which are standard make. They also keep a good stock of building hardware, tinware, shelf hardware, groceries, boots and shoes, rope, skates, cups and saucers, queens ware, salt, syrup, flour, the Home flour a specialty. Country produce is taken. Buys to cash and gets large discount which they give to their customers in the way of low prices. Mr. Severe is a member of the School Board and a public spirited man.


Druggist, occupies his fine two story brick store building 24x80 feet, opposite the Horton House, and in the principal business block of the town.

MR. ROBINSON carries one of the finest stocks of Drugs and Medicines in southwestern Iowa, besides a full line of paints, oils and druggist's sundries and notions. He has an excellent trade and is one of the solid business men of the place.

He is a druggist over 30 years experience. In arrangement, his store is a model of taste and convenience that makes it a pleasure to the customer. The store betrays the esthetic taste of the proprietor.

His native town was Dover, Illinois. In l873 he married MISS M.J. WOODMANSEE, at Princeton, Ill., and in l879 removed with his family to this city, where he has resided ever since. Mr. Robinson has been prominent in local affairs from his arrival here, having fitted acceptably various corporation and school offices, and is at present one of the city council. He is a member of various benevolent orders, and an active and solid citizen. His excellent wife is prominent in social affairs, and they have four sturdy sons, the eldest of whom, Claude, is now at Chicago, attending the Illinois College of Pharmacy, preparing to follow the vocation of his father.

Their pleasant home is with them, as with all correct families, the most interesting place in the world, and from such homes come men well fitted to carry the destinies of the future state, and maintain the order of happy and prosperous communities.


Came to Davis City five years ago from Wisconsin, and engaged in Blacksmithing. Mr. Robertson is not only a blacksmith but also carries a full stock of farm machinery, such as the Milwaukee Harvester, pumps and windmills. His implement house is 50x80 feet and two story. Every kind of a vehicle from a wheelbarrow to a traction engine may be found there. In this age of machinery, no one thing is of more importance to a farmer, than a well selected line of implements, specially designed for the work which they are to accomplish. This is one of the points to which Mr. Robertson gives particular attention; viz., that of keeping a line of implements suited to the particular wants of this vicinity, and not a stock of novelties which are constantly being put on the market with no other object in view than to benefit the manufacturer. If the farmers would always consult practical and experienced men like Mr. Robertson when supplying their needs, there would be fewer complaints of inefficient farm machinery. His blacksmith shop is 24x40 feet, and is the leading one in Davis City. Mr. Robertson is an excellent workman and will lay down the hammer to no one. His work compares favorably with any; and his best patrons are the ones who have been with him the longest. He always tries to please and succeeds in the trying. He does general blacksmithing; wood and iron work, repair work and horse shoeing, and is a mill wright by profession. He is a member of the city council, and takes an active part in all public matters.


The gentleman whose name appears above is the practical jeweler and watch maker of Davis City. He was born in a sod "dug out" in Nebraska and came here two years ago where he has since been in the jewelry business, and is a fine workman and also the youngest business man in the town. As a gift to your sweetheart, wife or daughter, what would be more appropriate and agreeable than some token of jewelry selected from the large and varied stock to be found in the establishment of Mr. Halstead. This young man has been in the city for two years, and his store will always be found headquarters for fine jewelry, repairing and engraving. He is going to school every day and runs his store nights and mornings, and is also open half an hour each noon. When in need of articles in his line, give him a call.


Perhaps the most thankless position to occupy, and that in which it is the hardest to please everyone, is that of Postmaster. This we know from experience and not from hearsay. The Postmaster of Davis City however, comes about as near filling the bill to the entire satisfaction of all, regardless of politics, as anyone could or has. The gentleman we refer to is


A gentleman who has been in this city sixteen years, and in this county all his life, and is a highly respected citizen. He received his appointmet in l893 through Hon. E.W. Curry, previous to which he was engaged in various lines of business. He makes a most popular and efficient official and the business of the office has been constantly increasing under his management. A large majority of his patrons hope for his return. He owns a good home in the city and is one of the boys.


Although young in years, compared with the other business men of Davis City, the subject of this sketch is none the less successful as the excellent patronage in the harness business he now enjoys, shows. He was born and raised on a farm, and learned the harness business when but a small boy, and consequently has had ten or fifteen years' experience. He came to this city three or four years ago and opened up a store last February. His shop is 20x40 feet, and on the west side of the street. From the manner in which he accomplishes his tasks we should judge that he thoroughly understood his business. In addition to his stock of harness, Mr. Grimes also handles a complete stock of horse millinery, and mule jewelry goods, including a large and well assorted line of horse blankets and robes, and selling the farmer at prices that are so low that it seems cruelty to animals for the farmers to leave their faithful friends stand out in the cold, without one of these warm and substantial blankets. Mr. Grimes handles nothing but oak tanned, high grade goods in his harness department, and if you are in need of anything in his line, it will certainly pay you to call and inspect his goods. he also repairs bicycles, and handles harness and machine oils.


We should certainly be doing an injustice to the business interests of this city, were we to omit from this issue a firm that is most worthy of mention, and one that is held in high esteem by the people of Davis City and vicinity in the practice of law. A learned and skillful physician is always in demand, and too high an estimate cannot be placed upon him. Just so it is with the disciples of Blackstone. It is an important matter when a man is defending his character, moral rights or his property, that he seeks good counsel. Rather than employ an unlearned attorney, you had better let your case go by default and save the fee. If your rights are worth defending well, and to do this, able lawyers should be employed. The Bar of Decatur County is especially strong and a member of that Bar is the gentleman whose name appears at the head of these lines.

J.H. Kling was born in Linn County, and raised in Lisbon, Ia. and was schooled at the Cornell College at Mt. Vernon. He has been engaged in the practice of law since l878, and located here in l884, and was elected to the office of Mayor ten years ago, and is now serving his eighth term, and this of course is quite a compliment. He is also Justice of the Peace, and has held that office for four years, and declined the fifth term this fall. With the fim and push and "get-up-a-tiveness" in time to help a city, he is not the man to fail himself as his success as an attorney during his career before the Decatur County Bar shows. In addition to the practice of law already mentioned above, Mr. Kling also carries on an insurance and real estate business, and also buys grain, paying farmers the best of prices for corn. He is also a breeder of and dealer in standard bred trotting and racing stock. He owns a good home in the city and also ten or twelve other pieces of property which are for rent. His hand, word and pocket book have always been liberal toward the up building of every laudable enterprise in the city and country surrounding.

The writer takes pleasure in recommending this gentleman to the public, and we feel confident that all matters of a legal nature that are placed in his hands will be successfully managed.


Does Davis City ever need a good word spoken in her behalf, and spoken emphatically and ably? Does any movement tending toward the upbuilding and advancement of the city require a supporter, and a staunch one? Do the solons of Athens ever hold serious consultation and desire advice that may be followed as one can follow that which comes from a rich store of experience? When such occasions arise, no one is called upon sooner, or requires a more respectful attention than E.W. Teale, a gentleman and a thorough business man in every respect.

Mr. Teale was born and raised on a farm in this county and is the son of J.E. Teale of this city, who is one of the pioneers of this county, coming here thirty or forty years ago. He served all through the war in the l5th Illinois Cavalry, was Lieutenant of the company, and owns some fine improved farms in this county.

The Son E.W. Teale is now the leading and most extensive furniture dealer in the city and owns a large steel covered store room 25x60 feet, and it is filled with a complete stock of rockers, parlor chairs, cupboards, commodes, beds and bedding, folding beds, plush and solid oak and mahogany frame work, what-nots and anything needed in a house in the furniture line. While the undertaking business is not very rushing, the country is so healthful that there is not a great deal of illness or many deaths except from old age, yet he is fully prepared to meet any demands for this kind of work. Embalming carefully executed, fine caskets and hearse always ready. In the furniture business he has an immense trade, for people will get married, whether marriage is a failure or not, and so must have something to furnish their new homes with. All kinds of cabinet and repair work is done to order, and satisfaction guaranteed. Those who enjoy looking at a first class stock of furniture should certainly visit this store. He also carries engineers supplies and steam fittings, and has them always on hand.

His brother Everett J. Teale is clerk in the store and is a fine writing teacher. Mr. Teale owns a beautiful home in the city and is an active worker in all matters that will in the least be of benefit to the city.


A good physician is an absolute necessity in every town, as the health of a community should always be looked after first, and we are sure that Davis City is to be congratulated on having within her midst such an eminent and competent physician as Dr. J.B. Horner, a physician and surgeon who has been practicing for the past twenty-two years. Dr. Horner was born in Wisconsin, and raised on a farm, and came to this state in l855 while but a small boy. He received a common school education there, thence going to the Iowa Wesleyan University, at Mt. Pleasant, and began reading medicine in l87l, and attended lectures in Chicago in l874. Practiced eight years and then took another course and graduated in l882 at the Bennet College of Eclectic Medicine and Surgery, of Chicago. He has been in Davis City for twenty-one years, and is the best practitioner in the city and one of the oldest in the county. Is chairman of the Board of United States Examining Surgeons of Decatur County, and is frequently called to adjacent cities, in consultation. Last winter he took a post graduate course in New York City. The doctor has held nearly every office in the town, owns a fine residence and office all in the same block. He also has a large library and subscribes for the leading medical journals, and has a fine set of surgical instruments and electric battery. Makes a specialty of the eye, and diseases of women, and also uses the anti-Toxin Diphtheria cure. In the years l89l-2 he was president of the Iowa State Electic Medical Society. The doctor is very prominent in Democratic politics as well as in business matters.


In speaking of physicians, let us by no means omit the worthy firm of the above named gentlemen.

Dr. W.J. Wheeler, the senior member of this firm, was born in Indiana, and raised on a farm. Served in the war in Company E, 67th Indiana, and was superintendent of the medical department. He has been a practicing physician for forty-two years, and in which capacity he has proven himself a most efficient and untiring worker in administering to the ailments of the people. He is a post graduate of Cincinnati, and was examining surgeon under President Harrison. He owns a good home in the city, and also a business block and a two hundred acre farm.

Dr. J.W. Wailes, the junior partner in the above firm was born in Appanoose County, and was raised on a farm, and is a graduate of the college of Physicians and Surgeons, of Keokuk. He has been practicing medicine for six or seven years, and took a special course in the study of disease of the nose and throat, and in this particular branch is most proficient. He is vice-President of Decatur County Medical Association and (both are members of the same), is also a member of the school board.

Their office is 20x60 feet, and is provided with first class electric batteries, and also with the wonderful X-Ray Light. This feature alone should be a drawing card, as the X-Rays enable them to locate fractures and bullets with the utmost correctness. They furnish all their own medicines and hold consultations with physicians outside of town. Dr. Wailes is local physician and examiner for all old line insurance companies.


This firm was established in l894, and is the largest lumber firm in the city. They have two sheds, one l8x80 feet, double decker, and one l4x50 feet. In commencing a building, whether it is a house or any other building, the first thing you look after is the lumber for the frame work, and a faulty lot of lumber in that important place may eventually rack the building, no matter how well the carpenter work may be done. Then when one has a good solid frame it is equally important that the siding be of good quality, and people do not consider that siding and plastering a house is all that is necessary, as they want a house that will keep out the cold, and therefore side it, then cover it with building paper, then weatherboard it, making it a complete house instead of a shell. The roof is also an important part of the structure and we will insure you that you will have a first class roof if you buy the red cedar shingles handled by Harvey & Post.

This yard has a complete stock of cement, lime, building material, Ft. Dodge stucco, hard and soft pine, sawed posts, nails, paints, builders hardware, sash, doors, blinds and screens. In fact, anything you want to build a house, barn, fences or cribs, and you can get as good prices on a large bill of lumber as any other firm will give you west of the Mississippi River or east of that stream either.

Refine Harvey, the senior member of the firm was born in Vermont and came west to this country in l853, and commenced farming at a time when this country was swarming with deer, wild turkey and Indians, there being over 500 of the latter within a few miles of the present site of Davis City. He saw Chicago when he could buy the land there for $l0.00 per acre. Mr. Harvey now owns considerable town property and twenty-one acres adjoining this city, having sold off all his big farm.

John H. Post was born in Wisconsin and was raised on a farm, coming to this city in l892. Mr. Post is one of the popular business men of Davis City, rushing and enterprising.


The Bee Hive Merchants, are the proprietors of a general merchandise store. Mr. Keshlear came here twelve years ago from Kansas City. The stock of goods handled by this firm is certainly worthy of prominent notice in this trades edition. They own a good store building 28x40 feet, and carry a large stock of dry goods, and it consists of all the latest and most fashionable novelties in winter dress suitings, and are prepared to show the ladies of Davis City the finest line of dress goods ever brought to the city. You will also find foot wear in such quantities that it would be entirely improbable that you should call for anything that they do not carry. Groceries of every description -- everything you want to eat. They take country produce in exchange for groceries, and make a specialty of the very best grades of flour. Hats, caps and notions may also be found there. Poultry bought, and the best of prices paid. Fall and winter goods are selling cheap. Mr. Keshlear married Miss Altha Bolon, daughter of the vice-president of the bank in l89l. His wife is the company in the firm, and they have a nice home, and are a happy family too, having a son named Wm. Bolon Keshlear. Mr. Keshlear is a member of the City Council, and a public spirited man.


The subject of this sketch was born and raised in Wapello County, Iowa, and came to this city five years ago and opened up a general store with a large and complete stock in every department. He has a store room 24x60 feet, two story, and owns it, therefore having no rent to pay and hiring no clerks; buys and sells for cash and gets a large discount which he gives to his customers in the way of low prices. Country produce is taken and good prices paid for same. Mr. Thompson is closing out his stock of clothing at cost to make room for spring stock. Groceries, dry-goods, notions, boots and shoes, hats and caps and a full line of millinery goods in the rear of the store and an up-to-date stock of trimmed and untrimmed hats.


J. Emmons, the senior member of the above firm was born and raised in Decatur County and vicinity. The firm was established two months ago and is now the up-to-date and prosperous meat market of the city.

His partner, G.H. Joy is also an experienced butcher and thoroughly understands every branch of the business from killing a beef to dressing a chicken and they kill only the best. Their shop is located opposite the bank and is a building 22x65 feet equipped with all the necessary articles pertaining to a first class meat market. Their shop is also headquarters for dressed poultry and fish and game in season, and they always pay the highest cash market price for hides, tallow, butcher stock and all kinds of poultry and game and always have on sale cured meats. The manner in which they keep this establishment shows that they know just what is wanted in that line and fully understand the business. One very admirable feature that can be noticed on entering this shop is the evidence of its being kept in an exceptionally clean and tasty order. A wagon is on hand always to deliver meat to any part of the city, and even out into the country. Messrs. Emmons and Joy are first class men and gentlemen in every respect.

Yes, Davis City has her barber shops too, and is well represented in that line by


Who was born and raised in Indiana, and came here to Iowa in l860 when a mere boy, and was raised in this county, and came to Davis City in l890 and established a restaurant and barber shop, and it is the leading and largest one in the town. Mr. Shoemaker is a good workman and attends strictly to business and keeps his shop in neat shape and his tools in good order, and has two good barber chairs.

In connection with his barber trade he carries a fine line of cigars, tobacco, fruits, confectionery, temperance drinks and ice cream and oysters in season. He has one of the neatest little restaurants we have seen in a long time. Mr. Shoemaker is a member of the Town Council and an active worker in the upbuilding of the city and its interests.


A stranger coming to the city, as well as the city people themselves, have frequent necessity to patronize a livery establishment, and when they do so they are always pleased to obtain good services. Mr. J.W. Burrell whose large livery barn is well known, it being one of the oldest barns in the town, makes it a point to keep good horses and vehicles with competent drivers. There need be no fear of accidents or delays in travel when in one of his rigs. Mr. Burrell was born in this city forty-six years ago. His son, Alfred, is a partner in the business and is an intelligent and industrious young man. They are genial proprietors and give their own personal supervision to the barn and see that all animals are well taken care of. Their carriages are kept in good running order and with a good steady team that is willing to go, what can be more pleasant than a drive through the city and over the country with one of their excellent rigs.


The carpenter and contractor and the leading one in Davis City, was born in this county. He learned the trade of carpentering and contracting years ago and has mastered his trade and made a very marked success out of his business. He erected the Frank Osborn residence which is one of the finest in this township and has also put up a number of good residences in this city. Plans and specifications are furnished his patrons, and he will work by the day or contract. His shop is located on his residence lot, where he will always be pleased to attend to your wants in his line.


We had the pleasure during our stay in Davis City to meet the above named gentleman who is the pioneer settler of the county coming here in l843. He told us he had seen Indians, deer, and killed bears in this very township. He is still farming.


Is one of the leading and most prosperous business men of Davis City. Mr. Keller is proprietor of the corner brick store which is 24x80 feet, two story, and a fine building in every particular and a credit to any city. Mr. Keller owns his store room which is a great item to a business man, having no rent to pay he can better afford to sell goods cheaper. We find


In great profusion and he carries all the latest shades and designs in woolen fabrics and calico; also a fine stock of clothing and gents furnishing goods. He enjoys a very large trade in this department. All kinds of home furnishing goods can also be found here besides a large stock of notions, boots and shoes and can please the most fastidious. Buys direct from the manufacturer and can sell cheaper than his competitors. In the grocery department you will find a full line of family groceries. This store is also agent for the Iowa Steam Laundry. A picture of this store building can be seen elsewhere in this paper. The I.O.O.F. hall is above. Mr. Keller owns a good residence and a 160 acre farm of timber bottom land three and one-half miles out.

A.J. Sparks is a very exemplary young man who was practically raised in this town and is head clerk in this store and is manager of its business during Mr. Keller's absence. Mr. Sparks is a young man with many years' experience and is popular with all. Mr. Keller has recently purchased this property from Mr. J.M. Hyde and with his son-in-law, Mr. C.W. Jones, who will assist him in the store, is moving here from his former home in Colony, Kansas.


Among the numerous industrial enterprises which goes to help make up Davis City and makes her popular and prosperous, is the saw mill owned and operated by the above named gentlemen and which ranks among the worthiest institutions Davis City affords.

C.A. Wells, the senior member of this firm was born and raised in this county and owns a good farm. Mr. Wells formed partnership with Lewis Bedier last June and together they are enjoying a prosperous business. They own three hundred and twenty acres of timber three miles east of this city and their mill has a capacity of 8,000 feet per day of hard lumber and theirs is the leading saw mill in this vicinity. They employ from five to twenty men and supply the Keokuk and Western Railroad with bridge timber and have also furnished the county with its bridge lumber, also Mr. Leeper the most extensive contractor in the county.

Charles Wells, a brother of the senior member, is a fireman and all are old and experienced hands at the business. They also have a good local trade and when in need of lumber of any description, give them a call and you will get exactly what you want at a reasonable price.


What looks worse to a thrifty business man or farmer, who delights in seeing a neat "turn out," than a broken down rusty set of harness. When you see such as this, just stop the man and say to him, "Go to E. Grimes and get a new set of harness. He will sell you one so cheap that you would be surprised and really ashamed to think you had compelled your poor dumb brutes to carry on their backs such a shoddy looking affair, and call it harness."

E.S. Grimes was born in Indiana, and came west in l869. Prior to twenty years ago he was engaged in the farming business, coming here ten years ago, and establishing a harness shop, which is the oldest and largest in the city. Mr. Grimes handles nothing but "Old Fashioned Oak Tanned Leather", and high grade goods in his harness department, and if you are in need of anything in this line, it will certainly pay you to call and inspect his stock of saddles, bridles, whips and blankets at his shop next door to the post office. His son, O.E. Grimes is the chief cutter and head clerk, and is an industrious young man with lots of friends and acquaintances. They are both good workmen, and turn out the best of goods.

We now wish to speak of


The Real Estate and Loan and Insurance man, who is the eldest Real Estate agent in the city, and is the owner of 6,000 acres of land, and about one hundred acres in this county. This agency now has listed, thousands of acres of land in Kansas and Nebraska, prices ranging from $l5.00 to $60.00, and select southern lands from $2.50 to $10.00 per acre. He also has farms to exchange for stocks of merchandise and, vice-versa, and is always prepared to furnish patrons with anything in his line. Correspondence is solicited, and will be promptly attended to. He also carries on a general farm loan business and has plenty of money which he can place upon real estate security, at a very low rate of interest, and the money is always ready as soon as the necessary papers are made out, therefore causing no delay to the borrower. A loan of $l6,000.00 was made to one farmer and these loans are being taken out by well-to-do farmers who want to buy more land while it can be gotten cheap, or to buy cattle to use as corn cribs. Mr. Tharp probably has as large a list of lands for sale as any other real estate agency in southern Iowa and the real estate transfers amounts to several thousands of dollars monthly. He also writes insurance in all the leading and most reliable companies and all losses by companies represented by him are promptly and satisfactorily settled.

Joseph Tharp was born in Marion County, Ohio, and was raised on a farm, and came to this county in l853. He was a farmer and school teacher, received a college education at Iowa City, and has taught twenty-five terms of school in various counties. He came to Davis City in l878, and in l88l opened up a real estate, loan and insurance office. He is agent for the Interstate Land and Excursion Company of Clinton, Iowa, an institution calculated to assist in finding homes, and is also agent for home loan companies. Mr. Tharp has also informed us that he has several bargains in town property for rent or trade, and also owns a good house in the city and has his office there too. This agency is strictly honorable in all its dealings, never misrepresenting the condition of things or the productiveness of the lands they have for sale, and all letters of inquiry will be promptly and correctly answered.


The worthy subject of this sketch was born and raised on a farm in this county and owns one hundred and twenty acres and also some good residence property in town. His farm adjoins the city on the north and is well improved.

Mr. Evans is the leading and extensive stock raiser and has been eight years in the business, buying and selling from three to six car loads per week and pays out from $8,000 to $10,000 per month. Mr. Evans is one of the pioneers of the county and a more model stock farm is not to be found in the State. Farmers wanting feeding cattle will always find some bargains with Ike Evans. He is not only an extensive stock buyer and raiser, but also a prominent business man whose hand, word and pocket-book are always ready toward the upbuilding of this substantial city. His liberally and enterprising spirit have made him a universal favorite with every body, and his honesty and upright dealings as a business man are beyond questioning.


Davis City offers unusual attractions. The social, religious and educational advantages of a town or city are first inquired after by those looking for a home. To these questions the answers are of a gratifying nature. The surrounding country is peopled by an industrious class of citizens, and enjoys the trade of a very widely extended country, and is being greatly benefitted by the increased accumulation of agricultural wealth, the result of increased development of one of the richest and most productive regions of Iowa.

The several people whom we have mentioned in the description of Davis City and country are among our most enterprising class. They are instrumental in making the city what it is. Their word, hand and pocket-book have contributed toward her upbuilding, and their work is daily seen in the many business blocks, church steeples and school buildings, in short, figuratively speaking, they have breathed the breath of life into Davis City and were the means of transforming these once vacant fields into the bustling little city that you now have.

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