Biography of Walter Davlin
Erie County, OH Biographies





WALTER DAVLIN. Now living retired in Sandusky, Walter Davlin, at the age of eighty two, has a retrospect covering the most important epochs in Erie County's development. He lived as a boy in the wilderness here before railroads were thought of, and the strength and energy of his own body have helped clear away the virgin forests and wrest the land from the dominion of the wilderness. During the greater part of his active career he was a farmer and stock raiser; operating several of the fine farms in this county.

Walter Davlin was born in Courtright Township, Delaware County, New York, March 8, 1833. Hs father, Walter Davlin, was born in Lisnerdin, County Armagh, Ireland, March 17, 1797, and was the only member Of his father's family to come to the new world. He grew up and married in his native county, and when he came to this country in 1826 he brought his wife and three children. The voyage was made in a sailing vessel, at that time the only means of crossing the Atlantic, and the vessel was six weeks between ports. Purchasing land in Courtright Township the elder Davlin set up a dairy and sent his butter to New York City His wife's sister's husband, Peter Smith, at that time had a sales stable in the city, and Walter Davlin was one of his horse buyers in the country. Peter Smith left the East and in 1834 became a pioneer of Ogle County, Illinois, securing some extensive tracts of land, including the present site of Rochelle, in which town he subsequently engaged in banking and acquired a fortune.

In 1837 Walter Davlin, Sr., also left New York State, selling his farm and bringing his family and some of his household goods to Ohio. The journey was made by canal to Buffalo and thence by lake steamer to Huron. He had already visited this section and selected a home in the interior of Huron County, where he settled with his family. His first place was about ten miles southwest of Milan, but he later bought land seven miles from that town, and finally removed to a tract of land in Huron Township of Erie County, which was his home until his death on September 8, 1877.

The elder Davlin married Jane Foster, who was born in County Armagh, Ireland, May 15, 1802, and died in Erie County, August 25, 1884. She and her sister Sallie, wife of Peter Smith above mentioned, and their brother John and family were the only ones of her father's family to come to America. Jane Foster Davlin reared ten children, namely: Margaret, Sally, Joseph, Mary Jane, Samuel, Walter, Eliza, Matilda, Nancy and Fanny

A boy of four when the family came to Ohio, Walter Davlin has only faint memories of the incidents of the journey. At that time Erie was a part of Huron County, Sandusky was but a hamlet, and much of the surrounding country uncleared and sparsely settled with an abundance of wild game to satisfy every desire of the hunter and trapper. As a boy he attended one of the pioneer schools held in a log cabin, with the crudest of furniture and comforts and with the typical curriculum of that period. Habits of industry were fastened on him by discipline with the ax and plow beginning when he was still of tender years. It was all a splendid preparation for his own practical career. In 1863 he purchased land in Townsend Township, and started independently as a farmer and stock raiser. He had ambition, energy and judgment, and prospered year in and year out. The surplus was invested in more land until he and his wife owned, including her inheritance, upwards of 2,600 acres, situated in both Sandusky and Erie counties.

Mr. Davlin was married May 10, 1863, to Ann J. Whitmore, who, by a former marriage, had two children, Carrie and John. She was born in Huron Township, Huron county. Her father, John Whitmore, was a native of Leicester, Livingston County, New York, born May 29, 1816. His father, George Whitmore, supposedly was a native of New York State, but John Whitmore, of the preceding generation, was born in Holland, and coming to America in colonial times located on Long Island. The Whitmores subsequently removed to Pennsylvania, where, during an Indian uprising, five of the family were made prisoners, while the oldest son, Philip, was killed. In 1830 George Whitmore, accompanied by his wife Margaret and children, came to Ohio and located in that part of Huron County now Margaretta Township of Erie County. There were two sons, William and John, and five daughters, Rachel, Mary, Eleanor, Kate and Jeanette. In 1837 John Whitmore married Marcia (Swift; Chapman, of Erie County, and they settled in a new home in Townsend Township of Sandusky County. The country was still meagerly populated and with little land cleared. John Whitmore soon opened a store of general merchandise and established a service which was of great value to his neighbors, who showed their appreciation by furnishing him a trade that grew in volume and made him very successful. His prosperity also took the form of land, and at his death on January 1, 1881, he left 1,342 acres, including several well improved farms. His wife was the daughter of Simeon Swift, and by her first husband, Jay Chapman, had three children: Jane, wife of Enoch Beebe; Jay, who married Mary A. Childs; and Henry, who died in boyhood. Mrs. John Whitmore died January 17, 1864, and by her second marriage Mrs. Davlin was the only child. John Witmore, her father, was a man of courage and ability and stood among the first citizens of his generation. He combined his success with a liberality which caused him to extend a helping hand to all those in need. His wife was also an industrious and capable woman, and assisted him in the achievement of his success. John Whitmore was all his career a democrat, and though voting and helping his party to success, he was too busy himself to accept public honors.

Mr. and Mrs. Devlin have reared five children, named William, Marcia, Sallie, Margaret and Ann. William married Effie Skilliter, and their five children are Grace, Helen, Margaret, Walter and Ruth. The daughter Marcia married Elmer Dills, and has two children, Edna and Walter. Sallie became the wife of Charles Neill, and her two sons are William Homer and Charles Justin. Margaret married Lewis Quinn and has a daughter named Julia Ann. Ann, the youngest, is the wife of William Quinn, and their children are Lucile and Arthur Walter. Mrs. Davlin, the mother inherited the charitable traits of her father, and her goodness has extended beyond her own home to practical benevolence to many in need. She became a member of the Episcopal Church at Clyde in 1896. Mr. Daylin reached manhood about the time the great political issues were drawn for the struggle between the North and the South, and like thousands of northern young men was drawn into the ranks of the new republican party, and has voted with it since it nominated its first presidential candidate. He was at one time postmaster of the Village of Whitmore, where for several years he conducted a general merchandise store.

From:
A Standard History of Erie County, Ohio
By: Hewson L. Peeke
Assisted by a Board of Advisory Editors
The Lewis Publishing Company Chicago and New York 1916


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