Page 457-458, transcribed by Carolyn Ward from History of Butler County, Kansas by Vol. P. Mooney. Standard Publishing Company, Lawrence, Kan.: 1916. ill.; 894 pgs.


Anthony G. Davis, a Civil war veteran and one of the earliest settlers of Butler county, now living retired at Benton, is a native of Tennessee. He was born May 26, 1838, in McMinn county and is a son of Anthony and Peachy Davis, both natives of Tennessee. The Davis family migrated from Tennessee to Missouri in 1848, settling in Neosho, where the parents spent their lives.

Anthony G. Davis grew to manhood on the Missouri farm, and in 1859 came to Butler county and homesteaded 160 acres in Benton township. Here he built a primitive log hut, broke prairie and began farming in a small way at first, and later became an extensive farmer and stock man. It must be borne in mind that 1859 was a very early date in the settlement of Butler county and this section of Kansas. He who penetrated the wild and unexplored frontier as far west as this at that time was truly a pioneer plainsman. There were scarcely any settlements west of Emporia then, and few inhabitants with the exception of Indians, soldiers and a few Indian traders. The nearest postoffice was Emporia, and the principal part of the supplies were obtained from that point. Mr. Davis has often made the trip to Emporia with oxen in the early days, camping by the side of the trail at night, whenever darkness closed his day's journey.

The first year in which he was engaged in farming was the dry year of 1860, of which we hear so much, and the settlers raised absolutely nothing that year and Mr. Davis split rails the following winter for a mere pittance, in order to buy a little corn to sustain life during the winter. Had it not been for the fact that game of all kinds was plentiful, early settlers like Mr. Davis would have been unable to obtain any meat whatever. After coming here he killed buffalo in Butler county and at one time he and a neighbor named Wilson went a little farther west and killed two wagon loads of buffalo on the ground where the city of Wichita now stands and he has killed hundreds of wild turkeys, prairie chickens, antelope and deer, he had many experiences of a thrilling nature such as the pioneer encounters. He had some experiences with the early day prairie fires which swept the plains periodically, and at one time lost several horses in the devastating flames that swept the prairie. There was a great variety of entertainment that kept the early settlers of Butler county busy. Perhaps, before they had time to fully remove the ashes and cinders of the prairie fire from their eyes, a blizzard would sweep down from the northwest and Mr. Davis has experienced several of those freaks of the weather, and at one time nearly lost


his life in a blizzard. He and his father-in-law and two brothers-in-law became lost in a blizzard and after wandering aimlessly around the prairie for eight or ten miles during the storm, they fortunately ran into some timber and built a great fire and thus escaped freezing to death.

Mr. Davis was an unerring shot with a rifle which stood him in good hand in keeping the family supplied with meat. Any time Mrs. Davis would report "out of meat" Mr. Davis would take his gun and go to his "blind," which he had prepared about 150 yards from the cabin, and at the same time Mrs. Davis would put a kettle of water on the fire place and he always brought back a turkey, and never disappointed Mrs. Davis but once, and that time he came back to get Mrs. Davis to help him drag a large buck deer which he had killed, to the house, instead of a turkey.

March 8, 1862, Mr. Davis enlisted at Ft. Scott, Kans., in the Sixth regiment, Kansas cavalry, and after three years of service he was mustered out at Devall Bluff, Ark. He was united in marriage December 30, 1858, with Miss Amelia Vann, a daughter of William and Susan Vann. The Vann family were pioneers of Kansas, and the father was a native of England. To Mr. and Mrs. Davis five children were born, one of whom, Mrs. Susan L. Hall, of Benton, Kans., is living. Mrs. Davis died February 25, 1913, aged seventy years three months and eleven days.

For years Mr. Davis was prominent in the political affairs of Butler county and the State of Kansas, and he is one of the well known men of Butler county, and is frequently referred to as the "grand old man of the sixties."

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