WILLIAM DAVIS, merchant, Clay City, was born in Roane County, Tenn., on July 26, 1826, and is a son of John and Nancy (Jenkins) Davis. The father was a native of East Tennessee, and his father, George Davis, came to this country from Wales when a young man. The mother was born in Virginia. Subject was the eldest of ten children, five of whom are now living, viz.: William (our subject), Sherwell (in Sheridan County, Mo.), Thomas (in Sedalia, Mo.), Mrs. A. J. Miller (in Kenton, Greenwood Co., Kan.), and Mrs. Rebecca Summers (of Greenwood Co., Kan.). When subject was about two years old, his parents came to Illinois and first settled in Shelby County, but after living there a short time they came to Lawrence County, where the mother died in 1862. The father then moved to Kansas, where he died in 1865. Subject's education was received in the subscription schools of Lawrence County. At the age of fifteen, he commenced to learn the trade of a wagonmaker, but remained at home until about twenty-one, and then worked as a journeyman at his trade in a shop near Sumner, Lawrence County, for about five years. He then purchased a farm in that county, and farmed, and worked at his trade occasionally, until November, 1865, when he came to this county. He settled in Stanford Township, where he now owns 164 acres in Sections 2 and 3 of Township 2 north, Range 7 east. He resided there until 1882, and then came to Clay City. Here he first embarked in the implement business, and followed that until March, 1883, when he began merchandising. He now carries a stock of about $1,200 of general provisions. Mr. Davis was married, on October 16, 1851, in Richland County, to Miss Mary Jane Bunn, a daughter of Seeley and Densey Bunn. This lady was born in Richland County on November 3, 1831, and is the mother of five living children, viz.: Densey J. (wife of B. L. Marshall, of Coles County, Ill.), Seeley B. (in Stanford Township), Emma J. (wife of Henry C. Evans, of Clay City), H. L. (in business with his father), and Ida E. Mr. Davis was a soldier in the late war, enlisting in Richland County on February 4, 1864, and was discharged on September 4 following. Mr. Davis is a member of the Clay City Christian Church, and Mrs. Davis is connected with the Methodist Episcopal Church. In politics, our subject gives his support to the Republican party, and while a resident of Stanford Township served as Collector for three terms. He is a member of the Clay City Lodge, No. 488, A. F. & A. M., and Clay City Post, No. 262, G. A. R.
Extracted 28 Dec 2017 by Norma Hass from 1884 History of Wayne and Clay Counties, Illinois, Part IV, pages 174-175.