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Ephraim L. Davis

EPHRAIM L. DAVIS, Tionesta, was born in Conewango township, Warren Co., Penn., November 18, 1836, and is the youngest of the twelve children of Greeley and Lucy (Dow) Davis. His mother was of English extraction, being the daughter of Hon. John Dow, of Reading Centre, Steuben Co. (now Schuyler), N.W. John Dow was the second settler at Watkins, the now famous Watkins Glen, at the head of the beautiful Seneca Lake. He was a man of commanding appearance and great natural ability, and was soon recognized as a leader. Among the many public offices he held in his adopted county was member of the assembly, four terms, sitting with the then young Martin Van Buren who afterward became president of the United States; he was also judge of the county court eighteen years, and held many other local positions of trust and responsibility. He was a near relative of Lorenzo Dow, the once famous pioneer preacher. He died in 1847, at the advanced age of eighty-two years, being then the oldest Fremason in the State of New York.
Lucy (Dow) Davis was born in Watkins, N.Y., October 10, 1792, and died in the borough of Tionesta, Forest Co., Penn., in 1868. She was a woman of limited education, but had a strong taste for reading and (which she imbibed from her father), and was possessed of a wonderful memory and penetration. She soon became known in the community in which she lived as a person of extensive knowledge in history, literature and the politics of the day. It is said that she had read every President's message and State paper from George Washington down to the time of her death. She was the mother of twelve children, all of whom lived to become men and women and married.
Greeley Davis was of Welsh extraction, born August 4, 1787, in Saratoga county, N.Y., and died at Pleasantville, Venango Co., Penn., June 15, 1863. He was married to Lucy Dow, at Reading, N.Y., in 1811. During the war of 1812 he enlisted in the American army, and for meritorious services received a land warrant. Some years after his marriage he removed from the State of New York to the wilds of Warren county, Penn., where L.H. Davis and Ephraim L. Davis (the subject proper of this sketch) were born. Selling out his home there, he removed to Pleasantville, where he lived on a farm until his death, which took place when he was in his seventy-sixth year.
The boyhood and early youth of E. L. Davis were passed upon a farm with his father and mother, the lad doing cheerfully the work incident to that calling, with additional labor of sawing in a mill owned by his father. Located upon the farm, his educational advantages were poor, schools being few and far between. At an early age, however, he developed a great taste for reading and had many times read the books in his own home, as well as those found in the libraries of the neighbors. He ever received encouragement from his thoughtful mother, who was reminded of a better time coming, that "all things come to those who wait," and that education and culture can not be kept from those who earnestly desire them. So, when the announced opening of a select school at Pleasantville, Penn., only two miles from his own home, took place, young Davis, then at the age of eighteen years, felt that the opportunity so long looked for was at hand, and , in company with his intimate friend and neighbor, Thomas A. Morrison (now president judge of McKean and Potter counties), early enrolled himself as a pupil of Hon. M. C. Beebe. What Dr. Arnold was to the boys at Rugby Mr. Beebe was to the youth of Pleasantville and vicinity - not only an apt instructor, but also truest of friends and wisest of counselors. For the next five years the young student spent several months of each year in attendance at the academy, working on the farm and teaching during the balance of the time, to earn the means to pay for clothes, books, tuition, etc. During all this time he was an active politician, taking great interest in the Democratic party. In 1861, for his active work and ability shown, he was nominated in the county convention of Venango county, for assembly, for the district of Venango and Mercer counties. Afterward his nomination was ratified by the Democratic convention of Mercer. His opponent was his old preceptor, M. C. Beebe, of Pleasantville, Penn., but the tidal wave of Republicanism, caused by the fall of Fort Sumter, having swept over Pennsylvania, among others, his opponent was elected. In 1864 Mr. Davis moved to the borough of Tionesta (then in Venango county, now in Forest), and became engaged in the mercantile and real estate businesses with Hon. John A. Dale, continuing in the same until he was elected sheriff of Forest county, in 1869, in which capacity he served three years. During the year 1868 or 1870 he entered his name as a student at law, and has been in the active practice of that profession since 1874. In 1879 he was nominated by his party (Republican) for the legislature, and after an exciting canvas (the county being close) was elected. He was give the compliment of an unanimous nomination for a second term in 1882, and was elected by increased majority. He was also a member of the famous extra session of the legislature, in the summer and fall of 1883, called by Gov. Pattison, the Democratic governor, for the purpose of reapportioning the State into congressional districts. While a member of the legislature he served on many important committees, among them being those on judiciary general congressional apportionment, banks, townships, etc. He held the position on the congressional apportionment during the three sessions, and was an active and influential member, being chosen by the Republican caucus during the extra session as chairman of an important political committee to look after the political legislation of his compeers. In 1886 he organized the Tionesta Gas Company, and is secretary and manager of the same. He held the office of justice of the peace for Tionesta borough for four years, was appointed United States inspector, in 1862, for the counties of Venango, Crawford and Warren, holding the position until the office was abolished. He has held the various positions of borough councilman, school director (nine years), and is now president of the school board. Mr. Davis married, December 2, 1860, Mary Elizabeth, eldest daughter of Hon. John A. Dale, and has now living six children: Maud Anna, James Dale, Charles Herbert Benjamin Freeman and Gilbert G. and Donald C. (twins). Mr. Davis is a man earnest in his convictions, just in his dealings conscientious in his discharge of public and private duties, pronounced in his adherence to the principles of his political party. He is courteous gentlemen, a true friend, a safe counselor, and an honorable man.

Source: Page(s) 9287-930, Chapter 15 Biographical Sketches - Tionesta Township and Borough of Tionesta
Hickory and Harmony Townships
History of Counties of McKean, Elk and Forest, Pennsylvania.
Chicago, J.H. Beers & Co., 1890.
Transcribed November 2005 by Nathan Zipfel for the Forest County Genealogy Project
Published 2005 by the Forest County Pennsylvania Genealogy Project

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