Transcribed from A Standard History of Kansas and Kansans, written and compiled by William E. Connelley, Secretary of the Kansas State Historical Society, Topeka. [Revised ed.] Chicago: Lewis Publishing Co., 1919, c1918. 5 v. (xlviii, 2530 p., [155] leaves of plates): ill., maps (some fold.), ports.; 27 cm.

Charles Osborn Davis

CHARLES OSBORN DAVIS. One of the best improved farms in Seward County bespeaks the energy and enterprise of Charles Osborn Davis. Mr. Davis is a comparative newcomer in this section of Kansas, though he has been identified with the state upwards of thirty years and laid the foundation of his modest but satisfactory fortune in Pratt County, where for many years he had a farm home.

Mr. Davis came to Seward County in July, 1908, and early in 1909 occupied a portion of the old Scates ranch in Liberal Township. He brought with him some capital and a large amount of experience that well qualified him to begin an aggressive and progressive plan of farming and rural improvement. He is owner of section 32 in township 33, range 34, and taking it when its improvements were still of the primitive character of the early days he has invested both money and labor and careful study and judgment in the land, with the result that it is now one of the best farms in the entire county. Mr. Davis and family have all the comforts of a modern home, a story and a half residence of eleven rooms. And there are few barns in that neighborhood that surpass his in size and facilities. The barn stands on a foundation 40 by 60 feet, has shed room for numerous stock, and a large amount of capacity for storage. Since taking possession of this land Mr. Davis has broken out about 260 acres, and he now has some 500 acres under cultivation, and is prospering as a grain grower as well as a grower of the usual forage crops for his stock. From the first Mr. Davis has regarded livestock as the chief bulwark of any farmer's prosperity in this region, and developed his cattle herd until the loss of range caused him to abandon that industry. Since then he has been one of the leading raisers of mules in this county. Besides his land in Liberal Township he owns a half section in Stevens County.

Mr. Davis was born on a farm near Litchfield in Montgomery County, Illinois, April 24, 1861. His father, John P. Davis, was a native of Crawford County, Pennsylvania, and arrived in Illinois prior to the Civil war. He was trained to the brick and stone mason trade but always kept his family on the farm. He died at Litchfield, Illinois, January 25, 1897, aged seventy-one years, ten months and fifteen days. He had an aversion rather than a preference for public life, and once declined to qualify after he had been elected county commissioner. He always voted as a democrat, and was a loyal member of the Methodist Church. John P. Davis married Ann Dolbow, whose parents were New Jersey people. She died in 1896, at the age of seventy-five. Their children were: George D., of Litchfield, Illinois; Gideon S., who died in Pratt County, Kansas; Wesley C., of Litchfield, Illinois; Orlena, Mrs. S. R. Blackwelder, of Pratt County, Kansas; Charles O.; and William J., of Litchfield.

Charles O. Davis grew up in the country around Litchfield, Illinois, and had only a common school education. Up to 1884 he lived on the farm, and it was with a farm boy's experience that he came out to Kansas in that year and located in Pratt County. He proved up a pre-emption four miles east of Sawyer, but left soon afterwards to locate a mile north of Coats. It was in that locality he made his chief success as a farmer and rancher of Pratt County. Mr. Davis was still unmarried when he came to Kansas, and had some capital, chiefly represented in a carload of goods which he shipped out to Pratt County. After proving up his claim he returned to Illinois and for several years thereafter followed mechanical employment, chiefly as a railway bridge man, and also worked in the railway shops at Litchfield, St. Louis and St. Charles and finally in Kansas City. He left railway shop work to resume his position as a farmer in Kansas. In the meantime he had accumulated some more obligations, including his wife and child, and aside from his land his chief property was two horses. He engaged in grain raising in Pratt County, and as a rule his crops were quite profitable. His first Kansas home there was a box house 12 by 14 feet, but when he sold his farm near Coats it was fairly well improved with buildings and other equipment. From Pratt County, as already noted, he came to Seward County and invested his capital here. While in Pratt County Mr. Davis lived in Grant Township, and there held the office of township treasurer several times and was a member of the school board. After coming to Seward County he spent several years as a member of the school board of district No. 4. He has never been a strenuous seeker for political honors and is not one of those who feels that the destiny of the world rises or falls according as his party succeeds or fails. He supported the people's party when it was in its prime and since then has steadily cast a democratic vote.

On April 21, 1889, Mr. Davis married Miss Mary I. Lemon, who was born near Litchfield, Illinois, in 1861, the oldest of the six children of Jacob and Sena (Bandy) Lemon. Mr. and Mrs. Davis have four children: Clara Belle, Orville, Walter O. and Mildred Orlena, the last two being still in the household. Clara Belle is the wife of Arley Atha and has three children, Mabel, Velma and Vera. The son Orville is a farmer in Seward County and married Edna Nix.

Pages 2250-2251.