20 October 2008

John Edward Davis, Buried at Paupers Cemetery

This is just a start. I can tell that I will be posting again about this man. The flood gates are opening with information, and I just couldn't hold off any longer to began sharing his story. It's so full of life!

John Edward Davis was born 11 Dec 1864 to Samuel A Davis and Elizabeth Ann Ritchey in Benton Co., Iowa.

In 1900 Samuel, Elizabeth and John were all living in Verdi, Lincoln Co., Minnesota. John is 36 years old and still single. In 1910 John, Rosa and the children are now living in Gray Township, Pipestone, Minnesota. According to the 1910 census John and Rosa had only been married eight years, so they were married about 1902. This also means that the three oldest children were Rosa's by a previous marriage, but John must have given them his name.

Name: John Davis
Age in 1910: 44
Estimated Birth Year: abt 1866
Birthplace: Iowa
Relation to Head of House: Head
Father's Birth Place: Iowa
Mother's Birth Place: Pennsylvania
Spouse's Name: Rosa
Home in 1910: Gray, Pipestone, Minnesota
Marital Status: Married
Race: White
Gender: Male
Neighbors: View others on page
Household Members:
Name Age
John Davis 44
Rosa Davis 33
Charles Davis 14
Anna Davis 11
Violet Davis 9
Dorothy Davis 7
John Davis 5
Edward Davis 3
Rosa Davis 1

By 1917 the family leaves North Dakota (where they lived next after Pipestone, MN) for Canada. They end up in Lac La Biche, Alberta, Canada. Where John homesteads (index of Alberta Homesteads 1870-1930, film # 2054, file # 515673). John is a farmer, fur trapper and fisherman. His granddaughter wrote to me about their time in Canada. Here is what she said

John Edward Davis took his family from North Dakota to Lac La Biche, Alberta, Canada in 1917. This place is 100 miles north of Edmonton. In those days it was end of the line for the railroad. John entered into a business of catching white fish and shipping them by train to Chicago.

Early on when this family arrived and started their homestead at Fork Lake, the terrible, world-wide flu epidemic hit...even in this remote part of the earth. My father said entire families would be found dead in their remote cabins. Amazingly, the Davis family was spared. My father, the eighth of nine children, grew up in the north and, with the other sons, drove dog sleds and ran trap lines for a living. When the depression hit in the 1930's, the markets dried up. The Davis family came south to look for jobs. Some settled in Spokane and some in the Kellogg/Wallace area. My father told me a story that John had save the lives of 2 of his grandchildren by running into a burning tent to get them out. He was a hard working man all his life and, I know, his memory was held dear by my father.

It is unknown, even to the family how John ends up buried in a Pauper's Cemetery in Kootenai County. For one he and his family lived in Wallace/Kellogg area which is in Shoshone County. But no mater how he ended up to be buried there it was obvious that he was well loved. Again his granddaughter sent me this email about how he was the only one to have a headstone. It was not bought.

.....my father made that crude headstone for his father's grave. We used to stop
by when traveling from Spokane to Idaho to visit cousins and would put some fresh flowers on the grave. However, that has been many years ago now. My dad has been gone for 10 years and mom just passed away last year. I remember dad saying his dad (John) wanted to be buried by a big old pine tree and I believe he is.

His granddaughter also tried to share a photo with me of John. It wouldn't come through me email, so hopefully we'll find a way for me to get his photo on here. She did described him......."As you can see, he was a tall, rugged outdoors man of few words."

Rosa Davis was born 4 Mar 1876 and died in Wallace, Idaho in Sep 1968, 27 years after her husband. Though she must have been buried in Wallace I would suspect since the Kootenai County Cemetery was no longer being used then.

I look forward to finding out more about John Edward Davis 1864-1941. I have a request in to the Alberta Genealogical Society for information from a half dozen books that appear to have some sort of history in them about John.

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