TALES from the FRONT PORCH
Ringgold County's Oral Legend & Memories Project
SEPTEMBER ROAD TRIP
Friday, September 11, 2009.
Arriving in Davis City, a couple of homes caught my eye.
The widow's walk and the original gingerbread of the two porches are still intact.
Sherry Balow writes, "Thanks for the picture of the house in Davis City -- the home my mother
Dorothy lived in as a little girl, (1926-1938), along with her
three older brothers Chester "Chet", Ovid, and Clarence "Chas." I believe it was referred to as
"The Frazier House", and her story was that her father, Otto Turpen, bought
it for his wife and family about the time of her birth. I have a copy of
the original, (yes, it includes the widows walk and some of the
"gingerbread"), but I'm not sure when the photo was taken. My
"guesstimate" was pre-1940, but I don't actually have any idea. I DO KNOW
that my grandmother, Nora Turpen, had worked in the house as a young girl,
and for the Fraziers, circa 1910, so the house is at least that old.
Clarence was the only one who lived all of his life in Davis City. Otto, Nora, Clarence and his two children were
interred in the Davis City Cemetery. Both Otto and Nora's families included early Decatur County settlers, Moses TURPEN who
was Otto's grand father, and William ACTON, Nora's great-uncle and brother of George ACTON, Nora's grandfather."
Post Card among Sherry's mother's belongings.
Couple on bench in front of house may be the Fraziers
photograph courtesy of Sherry Balow
photographs courtesy of Sherry Balow
| Davis City House
Built for & owned by Clarence Frazier
purchased by Otto Turpen
| Otto Turpen Family|
Davis City, circa 1936
This pretty little house, with original gingerbread, is located directly east of Union Church.
Davis City was a hub of activity. There was a "garage" sale being held in the Community Center to raise funds for
the restoration of Union Church. The south side, above, has been completed.
John Clark constructed Union Church in 1878 at a cost of $5,000 with furnishings. William T. Fishburn of Leon, known for his mechanical
abilities, installed the clock. John Clark was not affiliated with a particular denomination. He wanted the Union Church
to be open to people of all faiths.
John Clark arrived in Decatur County in 1856 and entered 1,000 acres of land. He
constructed a sawmill, hauling the machinery from Keokuk with ox teams. The following year, Clark added a carding machine
for dressing wool. In 1859, Clark added spinning machines and looms. During the Civil War, Clark's woolen mill handled
75,000 pounds of wool. Clark was the president of the First Bank of Leon which was established in 1869. Clark and his
son William H. bought the Davis City Mill in 1876, and in 1875 they bought the brick flour mill. Securing a contract, they
supplied the Chicago, Burlington & Quincy Railroad's water tank.
Shed and outhouse (far left), Union Church
Next stop was the depot at Leon.
Leon's Depot has been lovingly restored. Above, is the south baggage view of the depot, which faced the tracks when
they were still there.
Located on the north side of the depot, there's quite a little mini-museum: concrete signs to alert the engineer to blow
the train's whistle and paving bricks.
The ornamentation which used to be atop of Leon's brick schoolhouse built in 1903 was salvaged and is now
located north of the depot.
Railroad Bridge Signs
Inside of Leon's Depot
After a pleasant lunch at Pillars in Leon, we headed north on Highway 69.
Round Barn north of Leon, east side of Highway 69
Contribution by Sharon R. Becker, September of 2009
To contribute to "Tales from the Front Porch: Ringgold County's Oral Legend & Memories Project"
contact Sharon R. Becker at
Please include the word "Ringgold - Front Porch" in the subject line. Thank you.