Biography of Ernest J. S. Davis
Marion County, IA Biographies





Ernest J. S. Davis came to this state in 1876 and resided here until his death, which occurred on the 22d of January, 1909. He was a general contractor and builder at Knoxville and erected many of the representative buildings of the city. He was born near the city of Coshocton, in Coshocton county, Ohio, in December, 1853, a son of James R. and Rachel (Kimball) Davis, of English and Welsh descent respectively. The father was born in Hertfordshire, England, but came to the United States when a young man and settled in Ohio, where he farmed until his death. In his family were eight sons. The. Kimballs are of Colonial stock, the American branch of the family being descended from a second son of a family of that name in England; who emigrated to America in pre Revolutionary times. The family was represented in the war for independence and therefore its members are eligible to the Sons and Daughters of the American Revolution. The noted piano manufacturers are of the same family. Five of the eight sons born to Mr. and Mrs. James R. Davis are still living. Another, the late C. K. Davis, was for many years a resident of Knoxville and engaged in the grain and stock business. Before coming here he had lived in Idaho for some time and was very active in politics there, serving with credit in the state legislature.

Ernest J. S. Davis was educated at Oberlin College, Oberlin, Ohio, and subsequently followed telegraphy. For a time he was employed by the old Pan Handle Railroad in Ohio in that capacity but on account of his health abandoned that work and engaged in contracting. In 1876 he came west, locating at Knoxville, Iowa, and remained here for more than three decades, building up a large business in his line and becoming known as a thoroughly reliable and successful contractor and builder. The houses Which he erected stand as proof of his thoroughness and ability and testify to his life of activity and usefulness.

In 1882 Mr. Davis was married in Madison county, Iowa, to Miss Sarah T. McCleeary, who was born in that county, a daughter of Charles and Mary (Yost) McCleeary, who removed to Madison county from Ohio in pioneer times. The father went to California in 1849 and in 1852 took up his residence in this state. He was an extensive farmer, owning some five hundred acres of land, and was very successful in his agricultural pursuits. He was married in Coshocton county, Ohio, to Miss Mary Yost, who was born in Muskingum county, that state, and they reared eleven children. To Mr. and Mrs. Davis were born two children : Maude, at home, who is a graduate of the Knoxville high school; and Harry, a civil engineer, now with the Portland Cement Company with headquarters at Philadelphia. He travels through several states, acting as advisory engineer for the company. He received his technical training in the Iowa State College of Agriculture and Mechanical Arts at Ames, being graduated from that institution with the class of 1909. For three years he was in the Philippines with the government engineering corps. He married a Miss Roberts, of Marathon, Iowa, also a graduate of the college at Ames, and they have two children, Robert Kimball and Katherine, both of whom were born in the Philippines. The family now reside in Knoxville.

Mr. Davis of this review was a republican in his political views And his church membership was in the Methodist Episcopal church. His widow and children are also Methodists. Mrs. Davis and her daughter Maude reside at their home at No. 428 East Montgomery street, and have many friends who regard them highly. Energy, sound judgment and unswerving integrity characterized Mr. Davis throughout his life and not the least of the heritage that he left his children was a name honored and respected by all in his community.

From:
History of Marion County, Iowa
And its People
John W. Wright, Supervising Editor
W. A. Young, Associate
Vol II
The S. J. Clarke Publishing Co.
Chiago 1915


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