El Dorado County
JOHN J. DAVIS
With the great tide of emigration which brought so many worthy citizens to California in 1852, John James Davis came to the west, arriving at Placerville, El Dorado County, on the 14th of September of that year. He came from the Hoosier state, his birth having occurred there in Ripley County, on the 11th of March, 1826. His paternal grandfather was one of the pioneer settlers of Kentucky and in that state his father, James Davis, was born and reared. When he was sixteen years of age, the family removed to Indiana, becoming pioneer settlers of Ripley County, in which location James Davis, having arrived at the years of maturity, was united in marriage to Miss Catherine Smith, a native of the Empire state. They were farming people and were valued members of the Methodist church. Thirteen children were born of this union, ten of whom reached the years of maturity. The father attained the ripe old age of seventy-seven years, and his wife surviving him several years, passed away at about the same age. Many of their children have also joined the silent majority.
Mr. Davis, whose name introduces this review, was reared on his father’s farm in the county of his nativity, and as soon as old enough to handle the plow, began work in the fields. After the harvests were garnered in the autumn he would attend the district school of the neighborhood and therein pursued his education until the coming of spring brought new duties to the farmer lad. At the age of twenty-two years he removed to Iowa, where he followed the cooper’s trade until 1852, when he determined to see a home on the Pacific slope and started across the plains with ox teams. He paid thirty dollars for the privilege of traveling with a party under command of R. I. Finch. The journey was safely accomplished, and after reaching his destination, Mr. Davis engaged in placer mining at Diamond Spring, where he met with fair success. He also followed mining at Webber Creek, between Diamond Springs and Placerville, and on one occasion took out eighty-five ounces of gold in a single week. The largest nugget which he found at Diamond Spring was worth ninety dollars. He continued his mining operations in various places for seven years, and in September, 1859, settled upon his present ranch, where he now has four hundred and fifty-two acres of valuable land, constituting one of the best fruit farms in Amador County. He makes a specialty of the cultivation of pears, apricots, plums, grapes and almonds, and these fruits, so well adapted to the climate, bring to him a handsome financial return.
In 1869 Mr. Davis was happily married to Mrs. Mary Davis, who by her former marriage had a son, Stephen K. By her present marriage she has six children, named James Lawrence, John Sheridan, Joseph, Thomas Smith, Robert Ingersoll and Mary S. Mr. Davis has for many years been a valued member of the Independent Order of Odd Fellows, and in his political views is a Republican, unswerving in his loyalty to the party. For many years he has served as a trustee of the school district, doing all in his power to promote the educational interests and to insure progress among many local lines of benefit to the county. He has been the architect of his own fortune and has managed his business well. Realizing the importance of industry and close application to the affairs of life, he has so directed his efforts with reference to those characteristics that he has become the possessor of a very valuable property and he is regarded as one of the leading agriculturists in his section of the state.
Transcribed by Gerald Iaquinta.
© 2010 Gerald Iaquinta.