Page 818-820, transcribed by Carolyn Ward from History of Butler County, Kansas by Vol. P. Mooney. Standard Publishing Company, Lawrence, Kan.: 1916. ill.; 894 pgs.


William T. Davis, a prominent farmer of Clifford township, is one of the oldest living pioneers of Butler county and has been a witness to the great transformation that has taken place here in the last forty-eight years. Mr. Davis was born in Lewis county, Kentucky, March 18, 1841, and is a son of Thomas and Susan (Cottingham) Davis, the former a native of Virginia and of Irish descent, and the latter a native of Maryland and of Scotch ancestry. The parents were pioneers of Kentucky, and eleven children were born to William T. Davis' parents, of whom he was the eighth in the order of birth. The Davis family migrated from Kentucky to Missouri in 1848 or 1849 and located in Jackson county. After remaining there four or five years they removed to Vernon county, where the father died, after which the mother came to Kansas and spent the balance of her life with her sons, Dr. J. V. and W. T., of this sketch. She died in 1884.

W. T. Davis came to Butler county from Vernon county, Missouri, in 1868 and homesteaded the southwest quarter of section 15, in the Congressional township, which was later called Clifford. He built a log


cabin on his claim, overlooking what was then known as Davis creek and now called the Whitewater. Mr. Davis was unmarried and lived in his cabin on the plains alone. There was now and then a claimer's cabin to be found here and there, but they were few. Thomas L. Fenner and W. H. Avery were his neighbors, but they were a long distance away. The winter of 1868 and 1869 is memorable in the history of Kansas for its Indian uprising and rumors of threatened Indian raids were frequent; in fact, that is about the only kind of news they had in those days. On one occasion some Paul Revere of the plains notified the settlers of approaching hostile Indians, but overlooked Mr. Davis, and while all the other settlers fled to safey[sic] he continued to live on, ignorant of his impending fate. Some days before that he had borrowed a plow of Avery, and after plowing his garden, drove over to Avery's place with the plow and found that the door of Avery's cabin was barred and the place deserted. Thinking that Avery had gone to Emporia, a distance of sixty miles, for supplies, which was not unusual, and seeing that Avery's own garden needed plowing, Mr. Davis proceeded to plow it and then took the plow back home with him. But Avery had gone away on account of the Indian scare, and when he returned he told Davis that those Cheyenne Indians were not such bad fellows after all, for they had plowed his garden while he was gone.

The summer of 1868 was dry and the settlers raised little or no crops, and they were hard up the following winter, which was a hard winter, with considerable snow. One day a stranger came to the Davis cabin and said that the trail was so badly drifted that he would like to stay over night. It proved to be Col. William F. Cody, "Buffalo Bill," who at that time was a Government scout and engaged in watching the movements of the Cheyenne Indians, who were making hostile demonstrations. Mr. Davis entertained the famous Indian scout with the best that his table afforded. He had no meat of any kind, but having a supply of meal and flour, he gave his honored guest all the biscuits and johnny cake that he wanted.

When Mr. Davis came here buffalo were plentiful in the locality where he homesteaded, and he has seen a great many herds northwst[sic] of his claim, and deer and prairie chickens were in abundance for several years after Mr. Davis settled here. He was something of a hunter in the early days and made several trips or hunting expeditions over the plains still farther west. While on one of these expeditions southwest of Wichita, he and his two companions, after they had gone into camp one night, heard the warwhoop of a band of hostile Indians, who seemingly had located them, and the hunters proceeded to throw up earthworks and fortify themselves for the impending assault. After they had completed their fortifications they decided that on account of the vast number of Indians they would move farther west. They traveled all night and the Indians did not pursue them, so they escaped once more. The Indians were numerous in this section when Mr. Davis


settled here, but most of them were friendly nuisances. They were great beggars, but never did any great amount of harm.

Mr. Davis was married in 1874 to Miss Henrietta Dean, a daughter of Culbertson and Elizabeth (Myers) Dean both natives of Pennsylvania, the former of English and Irish and the latter of Holland-Dutch descent. Culbertson Dean was a son of Daniel Dean, who removed from Pennsylvania to Illinois in 1847. Elizabeth Myers came to Illinois with her parents when she was fourteen years old. The Dean family came to Butler county in the fall of 1868 and homesteaded on the Whitewater and afterward went to Cedar Point, where the father died in 1873. The mother now resides at Whitewater at the advanced age of eighty-three. To William T. Davis and wife have been born three children, as follows: W. I., Martha Alma and George.

Mr. Davis has been engaged in farming and stock raising ever since coming to Butler county, excepting two years, from 1873 to 1874, when he was engaged in the drug business in partnership with his brother, Dr. J. V. Davis, at Cedar Point, Kans. He owns 160 acres of land and is in comfortable circumstances. Mr. Davis has been a witness to many of the history making events of Butler county and he is entitled to no small amount of credit for the part that he has played in the development of the "State of Butler."

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