Biographical Sketches of Leading Citizens
Lawrence County Pennsylvania 1897


[p. 142] one of the prominent citizens of Hillsville, Mahoning township, and actively engaged in carrying on farming operations, was born Nov. 18, 1823, in Northumberland Co., Pa. He was a son of Elijah and Mary (Banghart) Davis, and a grandson of David and Nancy (Thomas) Davis.

The grandparents were among the early residents of this section, moving in with their son, Elijah, when he came to the township about 1829. Elijah Davis purchased one hundred acres in Mahoning township, a farm which is now in the hands of Andrew Love. This place he improved, making it a home for his beloved parents, who both lived to an extreme old age. Elijah followed farming all of his life, but was only permitted to round out a life of fifty-six years. His widow, however, lived on until she was seventy-six years old, when she succumbed to the inevitable fate of mortal man. They had four children: Rebecca, deceased; William, the subject of this writing; Hunter, now a farmer of Mahoning township; and Robert, also a farmer of the same locality. Elijah Davis was in politics a stanch Democrat of the Jeffersonian school; in religous matters, his family and himself were of the Disciples faith.

William Davis was given all of the education available at that time, and until his seventeenth year worked on the farm for his father. At that age he determined to strike out for himself. His natural bent seemed to be in the line of agricultural pursuits, and these he followed. Later on he purchased a threshing outfit, and for many years in the proper season carried on this work. Accumulating some means, he bought the Samuel Boies farm, which had two log houses, one log barn and a single lone apple tree on it. As time went on and the rewards of hard work and good management were won, Mr. Davis erected an exceedingly handsome residence and ample barns. His one apple-tree increased to a fine large orchard, and many other kinds of fruit are growing in abundance on the place. A graceful and tasty arrangement of shrubbery and hedges about the buildings gives the home acre an exceedingly pleasing appearance. The whole estate of over one hundred acres is to-day one of the best tended, and consequently one of the best-looking, farms in all Lawrence County. Mr. Davis contracted his first matrimonial alliance with Sarah Patterson, daughter of William Patterson. She was removed from his side at the age of twenty-five, leaving him two children—Effie, who married Dr. C. M. Porter of Hillsville, but is now deceased, and Mary A., the wife of J. P. Harvey. Mr. Davis' second wife was Elizabeth Henley, daughter of Matthew and Elizabeth (Morgan) Henley, and granddaughter of Matthew and Elizabeth (Pitt) Henley. Matthew Henley, the elder, lived in the west of England, where he followed his trade of a butcher. His son followed him in this trade, continuing until the year 1841, when he came to America. He settled at first in Ohio, but later on, liking the land and people better in the Keystone State, he came into Lawrence County, and located in the western part of Mahoning township. He purchased the farm of 117 acres from William Strain, which is now owned by John Henley. It was but little improved when he took possession, but the soil was of the very best, and it was comparatively level. The fine orchard, now on the place, grew from apple-seeds which he brought from England and planted himself. He died here on this farm four years after he had located on it at the age of fifty-one; his wife reached the age of sixty-five. Their children were: Matthew, who died in youth; Thomas; John; James; Joseph; William, deceased; George; Elizabeth, our subject's wife; Annie, deceased; and Maria. Mr. Davis' union with Miss Henley has been productive of eleven children, five of whom survive, namely: Annie E., who wedded Samuel Hervey, and is the mother of three children, Walter W., Ella E., and Kate; Olive M., a teacher, resides at home; William R. is a student; Carry J. lives at home, as does also Joseph H., the youngest of the family.

William Davis is a man and a citizen whom it is good to know. He is a well-informed gentleman, and though far along in life, he keeps in touch with the times. Politically he has always been a Democrat of the old school. Patriotic and alive to the needs of the nation, his voice has always been raised on the side of justice and humanity. He has held many offices and has filled them well. He is now enjoying the fruits of his hard work, that was performed when he was a younger man. His handsome home always affords a hospitable welcome to the friend or guest who may go that way. Mr. Davis is in church affiliations a Disciple. In all the affairs of life he is a man whom his townsmen rely upon, and thoroughly respect.

Biographical Sketches of Leading Citizens Lawrence County Pennsylvania
Biographical Publishing Company, Buffalo, N.Y., 1897

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