Any volume which ventures to give anything like a comprehensive
enumeration, biographically, of the prominent citizens of Clay county,
Illinois, must necessarily be incomplete without inclusion of the life
history of C. R. Davis, the popular editor and proprietor of two newspapers
of large circulation - The Toledo and The Louisville Republican. In his
sphere of endeavor he has earnestly sought to expound and inculcate the
higher ideals of citizenship; and not even the modesty characteristic of him
has prevented his obtaining recognition as a moulder of public opinion in
his section of the state.
Our subject was born in Maysville, then the county seat of Clay county, on the 28th day of January, 1844. He was the son of John W. Davis and his wife, whose maiden name was Mary Bishop. John W. Davis was a well known figure in the political life of the state in his day, and for many years of his life held responsible official positions of trust. He provided well for his family and lived a well ordered life. C. R. Davis spent his youth in the shelter of the paternal homestead and being eighteen years of age during the Civil war he enlisted in July of the year 1862 and served as a soldier, participating in many engagements, until September. 1865. His first vote as a citizen was recorded during this time and was cast for Abraham Lincoln while at the front in Georgia in 1864. On returning from the war he entered a printing office in Louisville and there learned the various phases of the printing trade, serving an apprenticeship of three years.
In the year 1871, in partnership with another, he launched the publication of a newspaper in Greenup, Illinois, which he sold in the spring of 1872. He then returned to Louisville and took charge of the official Republican paper of Clay county, which he conducted with marked success. In 1874 he became the publisher of The Baptist Banner for Reverends Kelly and Allen at Ewing. Franklin county. In 1876 he was in Louisville as editor and publisher of The Louisville Ledger. In 1882 he started The Farina News at Farina. Illinois, which he conducted for over nineteen years, disposing of the plant on the loth of January, 1902. On the 17th of December, 1901, he purchased The Pinckneyville Advocate, the official Republican paper of Perry county. Here he remained for four years and built up the paper when, having made it one of the best circulating in the southern part of Illinois, he sold it for a good price and purchased a job office in Centralia, where for a year he did excellent business and finally disposed of it to a company.
In October of the year 1907, gaining control of The Toledo Argus, he re-named it the Toledo Republican and added machinery and new material, making it an upto-date modernly equipped newspaper plant. The paper from the time of its reorganization gained in popularity, and each succeeding week saw an increase in its circulation. At the present time C. R. Davis also controls the destiny of The Louisville Republican which was established in 1894. Both papers are ably edited with undiminished vigor and receive all the benefits of the foresight and judgment of our subject.
The veteran Republican newspaper editor and soldier of the Civil war is now in his sixty-fifth year and indications point to his still being in the harness many years from today. He is a well known figure at the gatherings of Republican newspaper editors and is popular with his confreres. In fraternal and social circles the subject of our sketch is a member of the Grand Army of the Republic, local post; of the Masonic Order up to the Royal Arch degree, and of the Eastern Star. In religion he is a member of the Methodist church.
Extracted 21 May 2019 by Norma Hass from 1909 Biographical and Reminiscent History of Richland, Clay and Marion Counties, Illinois, pages 486-487.