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Below is a family biography included in The Portrait and Biographical Record of Randolph, Jackson, Perry and Monroe Counties, Illinois published by Biographical Publishing Co. in 1894.  These biographies are valuable for genealogy research in discovering missing ancestors or filling in the details of a family tree. Family biographies often include far more information than can be found in a census record or obituary.  Details will vary with each biography but will often include the date and place of birth, parent names including mothers' maiden name, name of wife including maiden name, her parents' names, name of children (including spouses if married), former places of residence, occupation details, military service, church and social organization affiliations, and more.  There are often ancestry details included that cannot be found in any other type of genealogical record.

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WILLIAM H. DAVIS. This venerable citizen of Somerset Township has been intimately associated with the development and growth of Jackson County for more than fifty years, and during this long period has witnessed the wonderful progress of its material resources, as well as contributed his quota to its advancement. Now in the twilight of his declining years, he lives retired from the business activities of life’s prime, and surrounded by the comforts accumulated through ceaseless toil, passes his time pleasantly at his homestead on section 15.

A native of Indiana, our subject was born in Floyd County, December 23, 1816, being a son of Amos and Ruth (Galion) Davis, natives of Virginia. The paternal grandfather, W. H. Davis, was born in Wales and was a sea captain for many years. The lady whom he married was a native of the West Indies. Our subject’s uncle, William Davis, fought at the battle of Tippecanoe, under General Harrison, and was there killed. The family has always been prominent in public affairs, and has been distinguished by patriotism and devotion to country.

The subject of this sketch was reared in Floyd County, Ind., meantime receiving such advantages as were afforded by the pioneer schools of the home locality. At the age of about nineteen years he was apprenticed to learn the trade of a blacksmith and served for eighteen months, after which he followed the trade for several years. Later, commencing farming operations, he also conducted a blacksmith shop in connection therewith, his ventures in these two lines meeting with unvarying success.

As early as February, 1836, when Jackson County was still undeveloped and its vast resources existed only in the imagination of a few buoyant pioneers, Mr. Davis came hither and made a settlement in Somerset Township. For a time he rented a farm now owned by Daniel Kimmel, which he cleared and improved, and upon which he engaged as a tiller of the soil. Subsequently he settled on section 36, Vergennes Township, where he continued to make his home until 1848. He then returned to Somerset Township and located on section 23, where he resided for many years improving a farm, which became one of the best in the community. His next home was on section 10 of Somerset Township, whence in 1887 he came to his present place of residence at Grange Hall.

November 26, 1840, Mr. Davis was united in marriage with Miss Elvira Hall, who died in 1848, after having become the mother of three children, Amos H., John L. and Elvira (deceased). On the 2d of April, 1873, Mr. Davis married Miss Elizabeth, daughter of William and Rachel Crow, early settlers of Jackson County, Ill., where she was born. Mrs. Davis is an estimable lady, who is highly esteemed throughout the township, and, together with her husband, enjoys the confidence of a large circle of friends. As an agriculturist, Mr. Davis has been very successful. He has given his sons about eight hundred and forty acres, and still has in his possession one hundred and ninety-two acres.

In matters political William H. Davis is stanch in his adherence to the principles of the Republican party, and upon that ticket was chosen Supervisor of Somerset Township, in which capacity he served with efficiency and devotion to the interests of the people. Socially, he is identified with Somerset Grange No. 1553, in which he served as Master for two years. During the half-century covered by the period of his residence here he has witnessed the marvelous transformation of the county from the abode of wild animals to the home of an intelligent and cultured people, and in the attainment of this result he has assisted.

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This family biography is one of 679 biographies included in The Portrait and Biographical Record of Randolph, Jackson, Perry and Monroe Counties, Illinois published in 1894.  View the complete description here: The Portrait and Biographical Record of Randolph, Jackson, Perry and Monroe Counties, Illinois

View additional Jackson County, Illinois family biographies here: Jackson County, Illinois Biographies

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