Biography - William Davis

WILLIAM Y. DAVIS, who is living on the old family homestead in Cache Precinct, where his birth occurred January 2, 1851, is one of the practical farmers of Johnson County. His father, whose name was the same as his own, was born in Johnson County, N. C., and was about a year old when his parents removed to Alabama, the journey to their destination being made with a horse and cart. The father did not live long after settling in his new home, and the mother married again. When William was fourteen years old the family went to Middle Tennessee, and after a residence there of two years, came to Illinois, and located four miles west of Marion, in Williamson County. At the age of twenty-eight Mr. Davis married, and he and his bride came to Johnson County, and were among the first to settle in Cache Township, where he purchased a tract of timber land. He at once built a log cabin, sawing the lumber with which it was finished with a whip saw, and riving and shaving the shingles for the roof by hand. That humble dwelling was the birthplace of our subject.
The father devoted his energies to clearing his land and putting it under cultivation, and in time he had improved a valuable farm, which was his home until he closed his eyes in death September 14, 1892, at the venerable age of eighty-nine years. His memory will always be cherished as that of one of our honored pioneers who braved the hardships of frontier life and helped to lay the foundation of this county's present prosperity. His faithful companion had passed away shortly before he did, dying August 7, 1892. She bore the maiden name of Martha Smith Gore, and was one of the earliest born natives of the county, her birthplace being four miles west of Vienna, and she was a daughter of John Gore, one of the early pioneers of this part of Illinois. She was the mother of these ten children: William B., Eliza, Mary J., Alexander, Martha, Caroline, Elandor, William Y., Elizabeth and Isora.
The subject of this sketch attended the pioneer schools of this county which were still in vogue in his boyhood. He was but three years old when his education commenced, and the first schools that he went to were taught in a log house that had furniture of the most primitive kind; the seats, which were without backs, or desks in front, were made by splitting small trees, hewing one side smooth, and inserting wooden pins for legs. Our subject's experience in farming commenced when he was very young, as soon, in fact, as he was large enough to handle farming implements. He resided with his parents until his marriage, and then built his present residence, which stands about three hundred yards from his father's dwelling. He is a capable, careful, wide-awake farmer, and is conducting his farming operations with a good degree of success.
In July, 1877, Mr. Davis was happily married to Miss Althier Hawk, a native of the county, and a daughter of Calvin and Julia Hawk. They have five children, whom they have named Frank, Roxanna, Lora May, Charles Ray and William Yearly.
Our subject's political views are of the Republican order, and he stands stanchly by his party. He is in every respect a good citizen; his neighbors find him kind and obliging in his intercourse with them, and fair in his dealings, while in his family relations he is a devoted husband and father. He is a member in high standing of Marion Lodge No. 457, A. F. & A. M.; and of Vesta Lodge No. 340, I. O. O. F.

Extracted 23 Apr 2016 from 1893 Biographical Review of Johnson, Massac, Pope, and Hardin Counties, Illinois, pages 192-193.

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