Biography of W. J. Davis

W. J. Davis, proprietor of the Evergreen Stock Farm, Lockwood, Dade County, Mo., and breeder and dealer in choice Clydesdale horses since 1884, has the finest lot of blooded animals in the West. He has ten head of fine imported stallions and mares, and has done more toward improving the horse than any man in Southwest Missouri. For seven years previous to the above date Mr. Davis was extensively engaged in breeding fine Jacks and Norman horses, and he has been awarded first premiums and sweepstakes premiums at nearly all the fairs in Southwest Missouri, at Pierce City, Springfield, Sarcoxie, etc. He is a practical horseman, and is perfectly contented and at home among his stock. He was among the first men to introduce the breeding of thoroughbred cattle in Southwest Missouri, and for some years was successful in that business, starting with some of Kentucky’s choicest animals. Mr. Davis was born in Saratoga County, N. Y., in 1835, and is the son of Richard C. and Susan (Pawling) Davis, natives of New York, where they were married and where they lived until 1842. They then moved to DeKalb County, Ill., where they died, the father in 1877 and the mother about 1874. Richard C. Davis was a well-to-do farmer and dairyman in butter and cheese, and followed this occupation the principal part of his life. His father, James L. Davis, was a native of New York, and in that State of the age of ninety-three years. He was of English-Holland descent, and was a soldier in the Revolutionary War. Mrs. Davis’ father, William Pawling, was a Scotchman, and was a soldier in the Revolutionary War, on the side of the Colonists. He afterward deserted, and started, with his wife and two children, to Join Burgoyne’s army. He and wife each took a child on horseback, and were well on the way before his wife knew his intention. She at once seized the other child, retraced her steps, and never afterward heard of her traitorous husband. Richard C. Davis was married twice, his second wife being the mother of the subject of this sketch, who was the second of five sons and one daughter. He attended school but very little until twenty-one years of age, and then only three months at Pawpaw, Ill., whither he had gone with his parents. At the age of sixteen he commenced working out on the farm for five dollars per month, and the next year for eight dollars per month. He was married in 1862 to Miss Sarah Kellogg, a native of New York, who bore him three children: Susie, wife of Charles Polstand; Minnie B., wife of Samuel Hunt; and William Henry. After marriage Mr. Davis settled in La Salle County, Ill., where he farmed until 1869, and then moved to Dade County, Mo., settling on wild prairie land, the present site of Lockwood, and was one of the first settlers on the prairie. He had a team and about $1,000, and soon became one of the leading farmers of the county. At one time he owned 480 acres of land, but gave his children and wife property to the amount of about $10,000. In this connection it is but proper to state that Mr. Davis’ wife, though surrounded by every needed comfort and many luxuries, after manifesting continual dissatisfaction and discontent, left home during the absence of her husband on one occasion, and since then has become divorced, Mr. Davis giving her $7,000. He still owns a splendid farm of 160 acres near Lockwood, considerable town property, and has two good farms in Kansas. His home is one of the most attractive and desirable in Southwest Missouri, and Mr. Davis has spared no expense to mike it pleasant and beautiful. He has 1,000 evergreens which he selected from the forests of Arkansas, 100 miles away, and he hauled the lumber from which he built his present residence, 100 miles, from the pine mills of Arkansas. He is the only man in Dade County who has given the right of way to the Gulf Railroad. He laid out the town of Lockwood, named after one of the railroad officials, and also gave Mr. Lockwood a lot for a Christmas present. Mr. Davis was the first postmaster of the place. He gave the site for the Lockwood Roller Mill and $50 cash and one half the ground for the school-house, and has assisted largely in the erection of all the churches. He is a member of Lockwood Lodge No. 445 of the I. O. O. F and was several terms vice-grand and noble grand. He is also a member of Lamar Encampment No.99.


Goodspeed, History of Hickory, Polk, Cedar, Dade and Barton Counties, Missouri; Chicago, The Goodspeed publishing co., 1889.

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