Pike County Illinois GenWeb

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Biography of Ebenezer R DAVIS

Nicollet and LeSueur Counties, Volume II (biographies), William Gresham, 1916


The late Ebenezer R. Davis was a native of Canada, but counted among the pioneer band who found their way to LeSueur county, Minnesota. He was born in 1832, a son of Orange Davis who left the Dominion of Canada in 1837 with his family, to escape being drafted into the army. Ebenezer R. Davis was only five years of age at the time his parents moved from his birthplace to New York state, where they spent some time, then moved on west as far as Pike county, Illinois. They remained there until 1853, when the father, Orange Davis, came to LeSueur county, securing a tract of land from the government on the shores of Lake Emily. The next year the family joined the elder Davis, who divided his time between farming and making shingles. He was an industrious and honorable citizen of LeSueur county, who bore well his part in a wild, unsettled country. He died at St. Peter, to which place they had retired; his wife died at her daughter's home, at Lake Emily. these good people had endured the privations and hardships only known to pioneers in Minnesota, in the fifties and sixties.

Ebenezer Davis, son of Orange Davis and wife, was only a mere boy when he accompanied his parents to Illinois from New York state. In 1850, during the gold excitement in far-off California, young Davis joined the throng of fortune-hunters in that country. He remained in California until 1852, when he returned to Illinois, and with his mother and the other members of the family, came to Minnesota in 1854, the father having immigrated here in 1853, preparatory to the coming of his family. Ebenezer R. remained at home until 1855, when he obtained land in his own name, the same now being known as the Gault farm, which he sold in 1858, purchasing the one he later lived on for a half century. He was united in marriage in 1855 to Louisa J. Pettis, born on November 7, 1837, daughter of John and Ann (Cummings) Pettis. Mrs. Davis' parents, however, had died when she was yet quite young, the mother passing away in Ohio and the father was stricken by cholera in St. Louis, Missouri, the same year. The daughter was taken into the home of an uncle, Charles Pettis, who brought her with the family to LeSueur county, where they made their home on the shores of Lake Emily. It was there that Charles Pettis made his permanent home, remaining until overtaken by death in 1857, while his wife survived him and lived to a ripe old age. In the John and Ann Pettis family there were six children born, three of whom are still living. These besides Mrs. Davis are her brother, Charles, who makes his home with her, and Thomas, who resides in Illinois.

Mr. and Mrs. Davis lived on their farm at Kasota for over fifty years, and there he died on May 11, 1909, and after that sad event, Mrs. Davis moved to St. Peter, purchased a handsome residence on North Minnesota avenue, where she has since made her home. In numerous capacities Mr. Davis had been associated with those things which were calculated to develop this county and state. In the first instance, it was he who aided in making the original survey of the town plat of St. Peter, he having carried the chain for the surveyor in charge. In addition to operating his farm he was connected with the management of the Kasota flouring-mills. Many a pioneer recalls him as having a stirring, enterprising way about him, which caused him to be much admired by his fellow citizens.

In all charitable works, helping the worthy poor and unfortunate, Mr. Davis was ever foremost. His religion was of that type that caused others to be happy and live exemplary lives in the community. Many persons living in this and adjoining counties, have reason to cherish his name for his generosity and sterling traits of character. No children were born to Mr. and Mrs. Davis, but the childhood and youth of many in the community knew them as fast friends, and mourned with older ones when he passed away. (pages 264-265)
Contributed by Doug Peterson