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Fayette County, Iowa
Portrait & Biographical Album of Fayette County Iowa
Containing Full Page Portraits and Biographical Sketches of
Prominent and Representative Citizens of the County
Lake City Publishing Co., Chicago
Philander Davis, deceased, was born December 16, 1817, and died at his home in Alpha on the 2d of August, 1890, respected by all who knew him. Having been so well and favorably known throughout the community, a sketch of his life will be of interest to many of our readers, and we therefore insert this biography. The native town of Mr. Davis was Lake Pleasant, situated in Hamilton County, N. Y., and his parents were Luther and Anna (Rich) Davis, both of whom were natives of Massachusetts, in which State their marriage was celebrated. His mother died when he was but seven years old, after emigration of the family to Thompson, Geauga County, Ohio. He went to live with the family of David Bailey, remaining under their hospitable roof until he was twenty-six years of age, working the farm during a portion of that time on shares. He married Miss Eunice Euphrasia Talcott, the wedding ceremony being performed in Madison, Ohio, on the 20th of June, 1843.
In September following Mr. Davis, accompanied by his young bride, emigrated to Rock County, Wis., having previously purchased a farm near Janesville. For twelve years he there resided, when, with his family he paid a visit to friends residing in Eden Township, Fayette County, Iowa. Just previously he had sold his Wisconsin home with the intention of returning to Ohio, but the beautiful little hamlet of Waucoma, situated in the 'Garden of Eden,' appeared so pleasing that he determined to make a location in that vicinity and purchased a farm, a portion of which is now within the corporation limits of the city. The family resided upon that farm for twelve years when Mr. Davis sold and removed to Alpha, in the same township, where he purchased one hundred and sixty acres of fine prairie land. Upon his farm was established the thriving little village of Alpha, and with the history of its up-building and progress he is prominently identified. He there continued to make his home until his death, devoting himself assiduously to his agricultural pursuits, yet finding time to aid in the support of all worthy enterprises and the advancement of any interest calculated to benefit the community. He was a Republican in politics and his sons have followed in his footsteps. His religious belief was that of the Universalist Church. He was a man of sterling worth and integrity, having the esteem and confidence of a very large circle of friends and acquaintances, among whom he lived for many years. His last sickness was intensely painful, but all of his sufferings were borne without complaint.
Mrs. Davis yet survives her husband and makes her home in Alpha. In their family were born ten children, six sons and four daughters. Anna, who was born November 30, 1844, is the wife of Miles Holton, of Alpha. They have an adopted son, Claire, and lost their only child. Algernon Bradford, born June 26, 1846, enlisted in the Forty-sixth Iowa Infantry at Greeley, Iowa, in May, 1864. Though a youth in years the fire of patriotism burned in his breast and he importuned his father who at length gave a reluctant consent to his enlistment. Disease fastened itself upon the young lad and a congestive chill terminated his life September 11, 1864. He died on board the steamboat 'Silverware,' which was anchored at the landing at Cairo, Ill., where his remains were laid to rest. Ashbell E., the next younger, born May 15, 1848, married Record S. Jewett, daughter of Austin and Martha (Marshall) Jewett, and a native of New York. They have a daughter, Myrtle May, who is now the wife of Jesse W. Gist, son of George and Miranda Gist. Almon and Almer L., twin brothers, were born July 12, 1851. The former married Mattie J., daughter of Reuben and Lydia Savage, of Madison, Ohio, and they have two children - Richard D., born January 17, 1881; and Fleeta, born December 24, 1886. Almon is a carpenter and contractor and resides in Alpha. Almer, who is engaged in merchandising in Alpha, married Ada E. Johnson, daughter of Samuel and Laura (Jones) Johnson, and unto them have been born: Laura Fay, March 13, 1878; Harold Almer, April 12, 1884. Ellie M., born January 1, 1854, is the wife of Frank Johnson, who is superintendent of the two large flouring-mills of Crete, Neb. They have seven children - Maud, born December 16, 1874; Roy, August 24, 1876; Lyle, August 8, 1878; Fay, May 15, 1880; Erie, May 5, 1883; Earl, June 15, 1885; and Dean, February 2, 1888. The preceding children of the Davis family were all born in Rock County, Wis. Horace Philander, born in Waucoma, March 18, 1857, married Clarissa A., daughter of Orlando and Eliza (Broadbent) Clark, of Alpha, by whom he had one child - Ellie, who was born August 19, 1882, and died May 7, 1885. The mother died in Pueblo, Colo., of consumption, June 20, 1884. In November, 1886, he wedded Candis U. Sperry, daughter of Daniel and Lydia (Potter) Sperry, They have one child, Clarissa, born September 9, 1890. Hendrick S. N., born March 24, 1859, in Waucoma, a resident farmer of Bethel Township, wedded Lizzie A., daughter of Oliver and Sarah Campbell, and they have three children - Otto, born May 28, 1883; Philander O., February 4, 1885; and Sarah E., in April, 1889. Emile E., born in Waucoma May 24, 1861, is the wife of George W. Shanafelt, a merchant of Wilsonville, Neb., by who she had two children - George Herbert, born February 8, 1886; and Linn Davis, July 28, 1888. Lillie M., born October 8, 1865, in Waucoma, is the wife of William Dooley, who was born in Pennsylvania July 16, 1857, and is a son of Daniel and Elizabeth (Derck) Dooley. They now reside on the Davis homestead.
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