HON. JOHN R. DAVIS was for many years one of Youngstown's most prominent and influential citizens, closely identified
with her business interests and a potent factor in political life. Mr. Davis was born at Paris, Portage County,
Ohio, July 26, 1840, and died February 13, 1900. His parents, Rev. Rees and Esther (Evans) Davis, were natives
of Wales. The father, who was a pioneer Baptist preacher, came in 1830 to Eastern Ohio, where he labored with zeal
and fidelity until his death, which took place in 1858, while he was filling a charge at Paris, Ohio. The mother
of Mr. Davis came to America with her first husbahd, in 1831. He died in the following year, and in 1833 she was
united with Rev. Rees Davis, whom she survived until 1861.
The boyhood of John R. Davis was healthily spent on a farm and he was afforded excellent educational opportunities.
In 1864 he enlisted in Company C, 155th Regiment, Ohio Volunteer Infantry, and served until the close of the war.
After his marriage, in 1867, Mr. Davis became associated with his brother in law, W. J. Hughes, in a mercantile
business at Youngstown, and was thus occupied until the winter of 1872, when he disposed of his interests to Mr.
Hughes. From 1872 to 1877, official life claimed his attention, but in the latter year he embarked in a real estate
and insurance business, in which he continued until his death. His Sons have continued the insurance business under
the firm style of John R. Davis' Sons, with an office at No. 137 West Federal street, Youngstown. Theirs is one
of the largest and most important general insurance agencies in the city, representing the leading risk companies
in the lines of fire, tornado, life, accident, health, liability, burglar, plate glass and boiler insurance.
From early manhood Mr. Davis took a deep interest in public affairs and in the period of the Civil War identified
himself with the Republican party. In the fall of 1872 he was elected sheriff of Mahoning County and was re-elected
on the close of his first term, retiring on January 1, 1877. During his incumbency the court house was moved to
Youngstown. Aside from serving most acceptably as a member of the Youngstown Board of Education, Mr. Davis was
not prominent in public life from 1877 until 1889, when his party elected him a member of the General Assembly,
re-electing him in 1891. During his long terni of public service he was no figure head; the records of the sixty
ninth and seventieth general assemblies show how active he was in performing his full duty to his constituents
and set forth the important measures that he presented, which subsequently were incorporated in the state laws.
On January 1, 1867, Mr. Davis was united in marriage with Maria S. Richards, who was born in Tioga County, Pennsylvania,
and is a daughter of William and Sarah Richards and a sister of former Lieutenant Governor Richards of Ohio. The
parents of Mrs. Davis were natives of. Swansea, Wales. The children born to this marriage were: Albert R. and Charles
W., both residents of Cleveland, Ohio, where they are engaged in the insurance business; Sarah E., residing at
No. 68o Bryson street, who is the wife of Chauncey A. Cochran, secretary of the Youngstown Iron & Steel Roofing
Company, as well as. of the Youngstown Pressed Steel Company; John R., residing at No. 427 Thomas street, who is
a member of the general insurance firm of John R. Davis' Sons; and Ralph G., also a member of the firm.
From youth Mr. Davis was a consistent member of the Baptist Church and served that body at Youngstown as a deacon
and trustee. He was a man who stood deservedly high both in public and private life and will be recalled whenever
Youngstown's citizens of unblemished character, sterling integrity and great usefulness are remembered.
20th Century History of Youngstown
and Mahoning County, Ohio and
Edited and compiled by Gen. Thos. W. Sanderson
Biographical Publishing Company
Chicago, Illinois 1897
Mahoning County, Ohio Biographies
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