Buchanan County, Missouri
~ D ~

Hon. Abraham Davis.
Distinguished not only as one of the oldest native-born residents of St. Joseph, but for the important part he has taken in advancing the highest interests of Buchanan County, Hon. Abraham Davis is eminently worthy of representation in a work of this character. A son of Capt. Joseph Davis, he was born in St. Joseph, and has here spent his life, with the exception of a very few years, when he was engaged in mining in the far West.
Born and bred in Kentucky, Capt. Joseph Davis grew to manhood in his native state. He subsequently lived for a number of years in Indiana, but, not satisfied with his prospects in that section of the country, he came with his family to Missouri, traveling by boat to Robideaux Landing. All of Northwestern Missouri was then owned by the Government, and was in its primitive wildness. Selecting a tract of land now included within the limits of the City of St. Joseph, he built a log house near the junction of Albemarle Street and St. Joseph Avenue, the site at that time being covered with brush and timber. Clearing quite a piece of the land, Captain Davis engaged in farming and stock-raising, and also dealt largely in stock.
When emigration across the plains began in earnest, he not only sold cattle and mules to the travelers, but supplies of all kinds. Very successful in his operations, he accumulated considerable money, which he wisely invested in other land adjoining his farm, and there resided until his death, at a ripe old age. He was twice married, his first wife dying in early life and leaving one child, James Davis. Captain Davis married for his second wife Sarah Shackle, who survived him about three years. They were the parents of eleven children, as follows: George, William, John, Rebecca, Mary, Martha, Abraham, Joseph, Richard, Serepta, and Eliza.
As a boy Abraham Davis attended the pioneer schools of St. Joseph, and lived with his parents until 1863, when he spent a year in Colorado. Returning home, he remained in St. Joseph a year and then started, about May 1, for Montana, trekking across the plains and over the mountains with ox teams, and reaching Virginia City after four months of hard travel. Engaging in mining and prospecting, he remained there five years, and then once more took up his abode in St. Joseph. Mr. Davis was subsequently associated with his father in farming. Buying then twelve and one-half acres of land from his father, he embarked in the ice business by overflowing five acres of his purchase, from which he supplied the citizens of St. Joseph with ice for a few years. Later Mr. Davis made an artificial lake covering an acre of the land, and opened a pleasure resort, with the lake as a swimming pool. This he first stocked with bass and crappie, later adding goldfish. All of this land has since been platted and is known as Davis Addition to the City of St. Joseph.
Since buying the twelve and one-half acres of land, Mr. Davis has purchased several acres of another tract which his father had acquired, and that also is now included within the city limits. Mr. Davis has been very successful as a dealer in real estate and now devotes much of his time to that business.
On September 20, 1876, Mr. Davis was united in marriage with Mary J. Robbins, who was born in New York City, a daughter of William and Charlotte (Dailey) Robbins. Her paternal grandfather, William Robbins, Sr., a native of England, immigrated to America and settled in New York City, where he engaged in business as a wholesale dealer in firearms. He subsequently started for England with a cargo of firearms, and, dying en route, was buried at sea. Mrs. Davis's father died in New York City, in middle life. Her mother, Mrs. Charlotte (Dailey) Robbins, was born in New Jersey, of Welsh parents. Left a widow with five children, she came with her family, in 1865, to Buchanan County, Missouri, and here spent her remaining days. Mrs. Robbins reared five children—Mary J., Josephine, Franklin, Frederick, and Caroline. The daughters all inherited much artistic talent from their father, and Mrs. Davis paints in both oil and water colors, and does a good deal of fine china painting, having her own kiln and firing her china herself.
Politically Mr. Davis is a democrat, in state and national affairs voting the straight ticket, but in local matters is independent, voting with the courage of his convictions for the men best fitted for the office. Three times he has been honored with an election to the state legislature, and while thus representing his district had the privilege and pleasure of voting for Senator Cockrell. He takes an active and intelligent interest in municipal affairs and is an influential member of the St. Joseph Taxpayers' League. Religiously both Mr. and Mrs. Davis are Baptists.
[A History of Northwest Missouri, Volume 2; edited by Walter Williams; Publ. 1918; Donated and Transcribed by Andrea Stawski Pack]

DAY, James Alexander, born St. Joseph MO   July 23, 1870; Irish descent; son of James Alexander and Sallie (Eppes) Day; father’s occupation physician and surgeon; paternal grandparents Samuel and Winnie (Evans) Day; maternal grandparents William and Mary (Evans) Eppes; educated Emory & Henry College, Va.; began farming in early life; married Lillie Hodges June 29, 1890; member Masons and I.O.O.F.; Democrat; Register and Deputy Clerk of Claiborne Co., Tenn.; member of Methodist church.
Source: Who’s Who in Tennessee, Memphis: Paul & Douglass Co., Publishers, 1911; transcribed by Kim Mohler

Hon. William Frank Davis. Representing one of the very early families of the Platte Purchase in Northwest Missouri, William F. Davis was himself born in Buchanan County at a time when all the country was raw and new, is one of the honored survivors of the great war between the states, made a creditable record as a county and state official, and for nearly thirty years has been engaged in the live stock commission business at St. Joseph, having been one of the promoters of the St. Joseph Stockyards and the up-builders of the great industries in that vicinity.
William Frank Davis was born in a log cabin at Rock House Prairie in Buchanan County, January 12, 1840. His father was Ishmael Davis, who was born in the State of Maryland in 1793, a son of Woolen Davis, who was born in the same state and lived there until 1794, when he took his family West, across the mountains into Kentucky, and found a pioneer home in Lewis County. The tract of land which he acquired there was operated with slave labor, and that locality remained his home until his death in September, 1849, when he was at the advanced age of eighty-eight years. His first wife was named Eleanor, who died in November, 1822. Her four sons were Ishmael, James, Truitt, and Thomas. A daughter named Charlotte married William Tully, and they lived in Kentucky. Malinda, another daughter, married Hiram Kennard, and they were among the early settlers of Buchanan County, Missouri. James was also a pioneer in Buchanan County, and his descendants are still found in that locality.
The son, Truitt, was one of the first white men to find a permanent home in Buchanan County, and acquired a tract of Government land, which included a section now known as South Park, in the City of St. Joseph. However, in 1849, he sold out that property, crossed the plains and the mountains, and settled in the northwestern State of Oregon, where his descendants still live. The son, Thomas, remained in Kentucky until 1867, then came to Missouri, and located in the southern part of the state.
Ishmael Davis was reared and married in Kentucky, kept his home there until 1833 and then located at Hannibal, Missouri. A few years later the Platte Purchase was affected and this added a considerable territory to the original State of Missouri. As soon as the purchase was opened for settlement, he joined in the migration to the northwest, and crossed the state with ox teams and wagons and was one of the first to cross the boundary line after the purchase was opened to settlers. The Government land which he selected was in the locality known as Rock House Prairie, now in Buchanan County, and he soon after constructed the log cabin home in which William F. Davis was born. The log house was covered with boards rived by hand. In that vicinity he gave his labors to the clearing and cultivation of his land until 1856, when he sold the homestead and moved to Platte County. He bought a farm near Union Mills, where he lived until 1866, and then took up his residence in St. Joseph, which was his home until his death on January 17, 1868. Ishmael Davis married Nancy McDaniel. She was born in Kentucky, and her father was John McDaniel. However, the records of the land office where John McDaniel entered his land give his name as John McDonald. Mrs. Ishmael Davis died September 6, 1875, having been the mother of eight children, namely: Robert, John C. C, Edna Ann, Truet Randolph, William Frank. Ishmael. Marshall, Nannie T. Edna died at the age of twelve years, and Robert and Marshall when three years old. Truet R. and Ishmael were both engaged in business at St. Joseph for many years and are now deceased. John C. C. was a minister of the Methodist Episcopal Church. South, and died in the prime of life. The daughter Nannie is still living in St. Joseph.
William F. Davis as a boy and younger man was familiar with an entirely different country from what Northwest Missouri now is. He was nearly grown before the first railroad reached St. Joseph, and all the country was wild, the woods abounded in game, he has seen droves of deer, the wild turkeys, geese and ducks frequented this part of the state by the thousands and hundreds of thousands, and the great agricultural resources of the old Platte Purchase had hardly been touched until after he was grown. While he was a boy he attended a log schoolhouse, and subsequently completed his education at what was known as Plattsburg College. His assistance was required at home from an early age, and when he was seventeen, in 1857, he made his first crop of corn for himself, and with the exception of very few years has never failed to put in a crop during the subsequent fifty-seven years.
When war broke out between the North and the South, his sympathies, as well as those of the family, were with the Southern States, and in December, 1861. he enlisted in Company E of the First Missouri Cavalry, under the command of Col. Elijah Gates, and attached to the command of Gen. Sterling Price. He saw active fighting in both Missouri and Arkansas, and was also in Mississippi for a time. In 1863, on account of disability, he was discharged and soon afterwards returned home and took up the quiet vocation of farming.
In January, 1865, occurred his marriage to Miss Virginia Byrd Asbury, who represents an old and prominent family of Virginia. She was born at Pruntytown, the present site of Parkersburg, West Virginia, a daughter of Col. John and Leah (Bailey) Asbury, who were both natives of Virginia and in 1856 settled in Ray County, Missouri, at Richmond. Her father reached the rank of colonel in the Virginia Militia. The six children born to Mr. and Mrs. Davis are: John Marshall, who died at the age of twelve years; William True, Clara, Nannie C., Frank A. and Emily. William True married Leta Marshall, and their two children are Beulah Frances and Jennie Byrd. Clara is the widow of Edward E. Parker. Nannie C. married W. H. Seymour. Frank A. married Ruby Bachman, and has a son, Frank. Mr. Davis was reared in the faith of the Methodist Episcopal Church, South, and his wife belongs to the Missionary Baptist denomination. He has fraternal affiliations with Charity Lodge of the Masonic Order.
In 1866 Mr. Davis engaged in mercantile business. For a number of years he was a resident of Clinton County, and in 1873 was elected sheriff and served two terms, and also served two terms as county collector. Following that the people of the county elected him a member of the State Legislature, and while at Jefferson City he cast his vote for Mr. Vest for the United States Senate. When his term as a legislator expired, he left politics, and in 1886 moved to St. Joseph, where he has since been identified with the livestock commission business. His first location in that line was on Hickory Street, and he remained there until the opening of the new stockyards in South St. Joseph, and he was one of the men who took an active part in establishing the yards and in opening the way for the large packing houses and other industries which have practically created a new city in that district of old St. Joseph. While he is one of the best known commission men of St. Joseph, Mr. Davis has never resigned his original vocation of a farmer, and still has a fine farm in Holt County.
[A History of Northwest Missouri, Volume 2; edited by Walter Williams; Publ. 1918; Donated and Transcribed by Andrea Stawski Pack]


John Pittman Dean. As a follower of what is probably the oldest occupation known to the human race, that of agriculture, John Pittman Dean has achieved that success which only comes to the man who finds his work congenial and who invests it with inherent ability, energetic effort and determined enthusiasm. The agriculturist has ever before him the possibility of making himself a helpful factor in the affairs of his community, and the fact that no matter how great the labors of the manufacturer, the tradesman, the merchant or the professional man, all would go for naught were it not for the labors of the farmer, makes his position among the world's workers a most important one. Mr. Dean has realized his opportunities and has made the most of them, so that today he is justly accounted one of the substantial men of Adams Township.
John P. Dean was born on his father's farm in Adams Township, De Kalb County, Missouri, March 15, 1854, and is a son of John A. and Ailcy (Hanks) Dean, the former a native of Tennessee and the latter in Kentucky. They were married in Clinton County, Missouri, following which they came to De Kalb County, and here settled down to agricultural pursuits, with which they were identified during the remainder of their lives. The mother passed away in Missouri, while the father met his death as a soldier during the Civil war. They were the parents of seven children, of whom five are living at this time: Elizabeth, who is the wife of James Jeffers; Sarah, who is the wife of A. A. Perry; Emma, who is the wife of E. C. Castor; Alice, the wife of Joe Taylor; and John Pittman. One son, Robert, died in infancy.
The early educational advantages of John P. Dean were somewhat limited, as he was still a lad when his parents died and it was necessary that he early become self-supporting. He accordingly went to work on the farms of his neighborhood, accepting whatever honorable employment presented itself, and when he could attended the old log schoolhouse, where he learned to read and write and secured a fair education for that day. He naturally became a farmer when it came to making a choice in careers, and this choice he has had no reason to regret, for his labors have been crowned with a full measure of success and his achievements have been commensurate with his ambitions. At this time he is the owner of 138 acres of good land, all under a high state of cultivation, upon which he has a set of good buildings and all modern improvements. In addition to general farming he has been an extensive raiser of Short Horn cattle and other good graded stock, for which his business ability finds a good market.
Progressive in all things he has earnestly tried to advance his community's interests in every way, and has been ready to give a trial to innovations and to join others in new enterprises. He is a member of the Independent Telephone Company of De Kalb County and has other business holdings. Politically a democrat, he represents his township on the DeKalb County committee and wields a wide influence in his section. His fraternal connection is with Weatherby Lodge, A. F. & A. M., of which he served for some time in the capacity of treasurer.
Mr. Dean was married (first) to Miss Charity A. Hembeaugh, who died without issue June 7, 1907. Mr. Dean's second marriage was to Mrs. Maggie Shackelford, widow of Fon Shackelford, and to this union there have come three children: Cleo, born in January, 1909; Dora, born September 18, 1911; and Emma, born August 6, 1912.
[A History of Northwest Missouri, Volume 2; edited by Walter Williams; Publ. 1918; Donated and Transcribed by Andrea Stawski Pack]


Rev. William Ray Dobyns; D. D. Bearing a name long familiar in religious and educational affairs, Rev. William Ray Dobyns is one of the foremost Presbyterians in the United States, and since 1899 has been pastor of the First Presbyterian Church of St. Joseph.
William Ray Dobyns was born at Columbus, Johnson County, Missouri, May 17, 1861. His parents were Benjamin Franklin and Margaret Ruth (Morrow) Dobyns. His father, long a well known physician in Missouri, was of French Huguenot descent, while the ancestry on the mother's side was Scotch-Irish. The maternal great-grandfather, John Ray, was a member of the territorial legislature of Missouri, and Ray. county was named in his honor. The maternal grandfather, Rev. Robert D. Morrow, D. D., organized the First Presbyterian church in the Platte Purchase of Northwest Missouri. In the field of education of the deaf, a brother of Mr. Dobyns has long had a conspicuous service. This is John Robert Dobyns, LL. D., who since 1881 has been superintendent of the Mississippi State Institution for the Deaf.
William Ray Dobyns received his collegiate education in the Westminster College at Fulton, and in 1889 was graduated Bachelor of Divinity from the McCormick Theological Seminary of Chicago. In 1901 Westminster College conferred upon him the degree of D. D. His ordination as a Presbyterian minister occurred in 1889, and his active service has been continuous since that date. Dr. Dobyns was the organizer and the first pastor of Immanuel Presbyterian Church in Chicago.
During 1890-91 he was financial secretary for Westminster College. His first long service as a pastor was in charge of the First Presbyterian church at Marshall, Missouri, from 1891 to 1899, and that pastorate was followed by his induction as pastor of the First Presbyterian church of St. Joseph. This is one of the largest congregations in the Presbyterian denomination in Northwest Missouri, and Dr. Dobyns has proved both a popular and efficient administrator of his pastorate.
Many duties have called him outside of his immediate church. Dr. Dobyns was a member of the council of the World's Presbyterian Alliance at the Liverpool, England, Meeting in 1904. He has since 1909 been chairman of the Executive Committee of the Young Men's Christian Association of Missouri; was for twelve years, from 1899 to 1911, chairman of the Home Mission Work in Missouri; is founder and president of the Board of Trustees of the "School of the Ozarks," at Forsyth, Missouri; since its foundation in 1897, he has been trustee of the Presbyterian Theological Seminary at Louisville, Kentucky; is a trustee of Westminster College at Fulton, and a man who stands deservedly high in both church and civic circles.
In politics Dr. Dobyns is a Cleveland democrat. He belongs to the Beta Theta Pi Fraternity, is a thirty-second degree Mason, having taken both the York and Scottish Rites, and his local affiliations are: Trilumia Lodge Xo. 205, A. F. & A. M., at Marshall, Missouri, of which he is a past master; past high priest of Saline Chapter No. 74, R. A. M., at Marshall; past eminent commander of Missouri Commandery, No. 36, at Marshall, Missouri, Knights Templar; a member of the Hugh de Payens Commandery Xo. 51, K. T., at St. Joseph: and belongs to all the Scottish Rite bodies including St. Joseph Consistory No. 4. A. A. S. R.
Dr. Dobyns was married June 19, 1889, to Miss Mary Triplette Buckland, a daughter of ex-Senator Thomas A. Buckland of St. Louis. They have one daughter, Mary Ray Dobyns.
[A History of Northwest Missouri, Volume 2; edited by Walter Williams; Publ. 1918; Donated and Transcribed by Andrea Stawski Pack]


John Donovan; On November 18, 1913, sudden death brought to a termination the career of this honored and influential citizen of St. Joseph. It was said of John Donovan that probably no man had done more to further the interests of his home city, at least during its modern epoch of upbuilding, since it was through his efforts and influence in a conspicuous degree that St. Joseph became an important cattle center and the location of several of the extensive packing house industries. All his life he was a hard worker, beginning with the time when as a small boy he drove cattle to earn a meager support, and the results he accomplished in less than sixty years of life are a tribute to a marvelous energy and fine personality. His character was the positive expression of a strong nature, and he fully merited the confidence and esteem reposed in him in the city to whose advancement he contributed in such practical and generous measure. For a number of years John Donovan was one of the substantial capitalists and men of affairs in Northwest Missouri. He was president of the St. Joseph Railway, Light, Heat & Power Company, vice president of the St. Joseph Stock Yards Company, was a banker, built or helped to build a number of St. Joseph's most conspicuous architectural monuments, and was interested in enterprises of a varied character that did much to uphold the civic and material welfare of St. Joseph. Essentially a practical and rugged business man, blunt in his speech, vigorous and effective in all his manners and actions, he was nevertheless a man among men, and has many pleasing associations with the friends who had been attracted to him by his sincerity, geniality and sterling worth of character.
John Donovan was born at Easton, Talbot County, Maryland, July 28, 1854, a son of John and Evelina M. (Robinson) Donovan. Both parents were born in Maryland, the father at Cambridge, Dorchester County, in February, 1828, and the mother was a daughter of a substantial planter and honored citizen of Talbot County in the same state, where she was reared, and where her marriage to the senior John Donovan was celebrated on September 1, 1850. John Donovan, Sr., represented the fourth generation of the family in Maryland, and the original American progenitors of the name emigrated from Ireland during colonial history, settling in Virginia, from which colony representatives of the name served as patriot soldiers in the War of the Revolution. At an early day one branch of the family moved to Maryland, and from that branch is descended the St. Joseph family. John Donovan, Sr., was given a liberal education, and fitted himself for the bar. Though admitted to practice in Maryland, he gave little attention to his profession, since his energies were better directed in other channels. In Maryland he built up a prosperous industry in the canning of oysters, fruits, vegetables, etc., and was one of the pioneers in what is now a great and valuable commercial enterprise. In the spring of 1861 he came to Missouri with St. Joseph as his destination, and his family Donovan, Sr., was one of the best known and most honored citizens of St. Joseph until his death, which occurred in 1897. His wife passed away March 31, 1895. Both were communicants of Christ Episcopal Church, and he was a member of its vestry for many years.
John Donovan, Jr., acquired his first educational training in the public schools of his native town, and later in the City of Baltimore. His business career began in the winter of 1868, when he was fourteen years of age. He found employment as errand boy in the shoe store of William T. Stone, of St. Joseph, and was later employed as a clerk in the offices of the Hannibal & St. Joseph Railroad Company. On leaving that work, and taking a position with the firm of Hastings & Saxton, contractors, he was employed in buying ties and other equipment for the construction of the St. Joseph & Denver City Railroad, now known as the St. Joseph & Grand Island. His next position was with the Kansas Land and Town Company, and his duties were such as were involved in the company's work in establishing and laying out towns along the route of the present St. Joseph & Grand Island Railroad. These different positions were a fine training school for the future capitalist and business builder, and his administrative and executive powers were rapidly matured.
It was in the spring of 1871 that his independent business career may be said to have begun. Buying cattle throughout Northwestern Missouri, he drove most of his stock to the vicinity of Maryville, and sold it to the farmers. On the 17th of May in the same year, after having had a varied experience for one of his years, and having profited by the practical test through which he had passed, he laid the foundation for the more substantial and lasting part of his business career by entering the State National Bank of St. Joseph in the capacity of a messenger. He remained with this institution exactly ten years, and resigned in May, 1881, to accept the management of the Hemphill County Cattle Company, in Hemphill County, Texas, an enterprise projected by St. Joseph capital. When the company disposed of its holdings and business in Texas in the fall of the same year, Mr. Donovan bought the land on which the South St. Joseph stock yards and packing houses now stand.
This land was level and in many parts swampy, and except for an industrial site, had little potential value. The new owner, with complete confidence in the outcome and with the courage of his convictions, first directed his attention to the ditching, draining and reclaiming of the land, which had previously been unavailable for practical uses. Through his sound arguments and earnest efforts, the representative men in packing house industry were induced to erect immense plants at St. Joseph, and Mr. Donovan's reclaimed land thus acquired a magnificent value as an industrial location. On the original Donovan tract now stand the most modern of packing houses, as well as the fine Live Stock Exchange Building, which was considered at the time of its erection as the handsomest structure of its kind in the world. The grounds reclaimed by Mr. Donovan contain also many acres of sheds for the shelter of the thousands of cattle, hogs, sheep, etc., shipped annually to the great packing houses at St. Joseph from the grazing pastures and farms of the western states. To Mr. Donovan is thus due in large measure the development of the great industrial center, which more than any other one factor has brought about the great increase in population and economic wealth of his home city. Mr. Donovan was connected with the old St. Joseph Stock Yards as a director, from the date of its organization in 1884. On July 1, 1893, he took active charge of the affairs of the Stock Yards Company as vice president and general manager, and though several years ago he gave up the management because of numerous other responsibilities, he held the office of vice president until his death.
Mr. Donovan was one of the founders of the German-American Bank of St. Joseph, and served as vice president from its organization early in 1887 until July 1, 1893. Mr. Donovan, since January 1, 1903, had held the office of president of the St. Joseph Railway, Light & Power Company, which owns and operates the street railway system of St. Joseph, besides supplying electricity and power for the general public. He held the executive position in the company since the St. Joseph Traction System was sold by E. H. Harriman to the Clarks of Philadelphia, who subsequently sold it to the present owners. He is said to have negotiated the sale to the Clarks, and at one time brought suit against the late Mr. Harriman for a large commission, that case having been dropped at Harriman's death. Mr. Donovan was a promoter of the Union Terminal Railway, which is closely allied with the live stock enterprises. He was a director of the St. Joseph and Savannah Interurban Railroad Company, was president of the South St. Joseph Town Company, and a stockholder in many other industrial and commercial corporations. He owns much valuable real estate in the vicinity and city. He was associated with William E. Spratt in the purchase of the Ballinger Building at Seventh and Edmond Street. He built the block on South Fourth Street occupied by the Horigan Supply Company, and owned a number of buildings in South St. Joseph. To the end of his life he never lost his keen interest in live stock, and owned the King Hill Stock Farm several miles northeast of the city, where he had many head of fine horses and cattle, and a handsome summer residence. His name merits enduring credit for his work in making St. Joseph an important center of the live stock and packing industry, and is not to be soon forgotten in the community for which he did so much. As a business man he had broad views and great initiative, and his success was the more gratifying because it represented the results of his own ability and efforts. As a citizen he was always liberal and progressive, ready to give his influence and cooperation to everything for the advancement of the social and material welfare of the community.
Mr. Donovan was active for a number of years in the state militia. He was one of the organizers of the Saxton Rifles, a fine military body, which he served as first lieutenant. Later a battalion was formed under the same title, and he was captain of Company A in that organization. From that position he was promoted to the rank of major, in command of the battalion, but resigned his commission when he went to Texas in connection with the business interests already mentioned. The military organization with which he was identified is still one of the most important in the Missouri National Quards. When the metropolitan police system was inaugurated in St. Joseph Mr. Donovan was appointed a member of the first board of police commissioners, an honor accorded him by Governor Marmaduke on April 28, 1887. He organized the police force of the city, for two years gave personal supervision to the drilling of its members, in military tactics, and other service work, and served altogether on the police commission for six years. He was always an earnest supporter of the democratic party, both in the county and state.
As a man the late John Donovan was direct, emphatic and positive and closely he was identified with his home city. In the fall of 1907 and 1908 it was his personal effort that made St. Joseph the scene of the big military tournaments, when about five thousand soldiers from ports all over the Middle West assembled and engaged in their maneuvers. So much had Mr. Donovan done for St. Joseph that the citizens decided that some special tribute should be paid him, and on December 28, 1908, he was presented with a handsome silver loving cup, the presentation being made in the auditorium before thousands of his home people.
On October 5, 1875, John Donovan married Miss Emma C. Patee, granddaughter of the late John Patee, whose part as a St. Joseph pioneer has familiar memorial in one of the city's streets. Mrs. Donovan died December 7,1909, and left one daughter, Emma. On December 30, 1910, Mr. Donovan married Mrs. Elizabeth A. Tracy, of Weymouth, Massachusetts. Mrs. Donovan presides over the beautiful home at 508 North Fifth Street. The daughter of Mr. Donovan is the wife of Douglas McCaskey, a captain in the United States army.
Source:  A History of Northwest Missouri Volume III; publ. 1915 in III Volumes; Edited by Walter Williams; Submitted to Genealogy Trails and transcribed by Andrea Stawski Pack


JAMES DRAIS. Among the most noted agriculturists of Buchanan County stands James I Drais, whose high reputation and material prosperity came as the rewards of unusual natural abilities industriously applied. He is one of the old settlers of this locality, having come to this county when a lad of seventeen years. From that time to the present he has so identified himself with the affairs of the place that their history cannot be recorded without according him a conspicuous and honorable part. He has assisted very materially in the development and progress of his county and is entitled, with others, to feel a just pride over the result of efforts which have brought forth such wonderful changes.
Jacob Drais, the father of our subject, was born in Hardy County, W. Va., and was in turn the son of David Drais. After his marriage to Miss Agnes Maxwell, a native of Rappahannock County, Va., he continued to reside in the Old Dominion for many years. He was a blacksmith by trade and died in Tennessee in 1836, one year after migrating thither. The mother, who departed this life in 1860, reared a family of nine children, only four of whom are living at the present time. The eldest is eighty-eight years and the youngest seventy years of age.
He whose name bends this sketch was born in Hardy County, W. Va., September 12, 1821. He received a thorough training in all the duties pertaining to farm life and during the dull seasons, when permitted to attend school, had to walk three miles to the house of learning. He was very ambitious to learn, however, and making the best of his limited opportunities, gained a good insight into the common branches of study.
Young Drais was seventeen years of age when he accompanied his parents to Platte County, the trip being made overland with four yoke of oxen and wagons. The journey consumed four weeks and on arriving there April 30, 1838, they located on Section 9, Greene Township. Their neighbors were few and far between, and as there had been but little corn raised in that vicinity the previous year, the family of Mr. Drais were compelled to go to Smithfield, Clay County, for their breadstuffs. After locating here the family found they had but fifty cents in money, and our subject immediately hired out at $10 per month, driving ox teams and breaking prairie. In 1839 he went to Fort Leavenworth where he was variously employed for a twelvemonth. At the expiration of that time, returning to Platte County, he entered into partnership with his brother Jackson and purchased property on Section 4, Greene Township, which they placed under good improvement. The fertility of the soil is shown in the fact that one day his brother picked up a small potato and white bean from the ground, and after carrying them in his pocket for some time, planted them, only to reap a peck of potatoes and a hatful of beans.
Young Drais remained on the above claim until 1850, when the brothers sold out and purchased another farm adjoining. In 1849 he was married to Miss China, the daughter of William and Mary (Bentley) Richardson, natives of West Virginia. Mr. and Mrs. Richardson emigrated in an early day to Kentucky, where they resided in Madison County until 1843, the date of their advent into this state. Being impressed with the farm lands of Platte County they made their permanent home in that section, the father dying in 1858 and the mother in 1872. Of their family of eight children, four are now living.
Mrs. Drais was born March 12, 1828, in Madison County, Ky.; she was married to our subject January 19, 1849. They made their home for fifty years, to a day, on one farm. In 1888, however, Mr. and Mrs. Drais took up their abode on their present farm, which, prior to dividing it among his children, amounted to fourteen hundred acres.
Our subject and his wife have been blest by the birth of nine children, viz.: Mary E., Eliza A., William T., Hattie A., John F. and Rose (twins), Anna Lee, Alonzo and James Harvey, the last-named dying in infancy. The entire household are members of the Christian Church and are numbered among the most honored residents of Buchanan County.
Mr. Drais has always been actively interested in education, which fact led him to be placed on the School Board, where he has done very efficient work. He has also served his fellow townsmen in the capacity of Road Overseer, and In whatever position he has fulfilled every duty imposed upon him in a faithful and praiseworthy manner. Mr. Drais settled in Platte County prior to its organization and is one of the few settlers who are still living.
(Source: Portrait and Biographical Record of Buchanan and Clinton Counties, Missouri. Publ. 1893. Transcribed by Charlotte Slater)


Benjamin E. Drummins. The settlers who came into North Missouri fifty and sixty years ago are largely gathered to their final rest. Among the venerable men who still survive is Benjamin E. Drummins, one of the pioneers of Worth County, where he has lived since 1854. His old home is located in Fletchall Township, five miles north of Grant City, and when he came to this locality it was included in Gentry County. The span of his life in this section has covered practically every phase of development since the beginning of civilized things. From the point of his advanced age he can look back upon years that have borne the fruits of an industrious life, with an unsullied reputation for business integrity and for fidelity to all .the public, social and religious relations that surround a citizen.
Benjamin E. Drummins had lived in Missouri for three years before his settlement in Worth County. Those years were spent at St. Joseph, where he engaged as a teacher. St. Joseph was then a river town, hardly as large as Grant City is now. Mr. Drummins was born in Pickaway County, Ohio, January 1, 1828, and his environment as a boy was of a rural character. Mr. Drummins is a product of the old-time methods of schooling. He attended a school conducted on the subscription plan, and when there was work at home he was marked absent at school. The only studies taught by the schoolmaster were reading, writing and arithmetic, and his instruction was not continued beyond his sixteenth year. His father died when he was two years of age, and at the age of fourteen the boy had to begin supporting himself. His employer was a farmer and stockman near the Drummins home, with whom he remained for seven years until reaching his majority. His wages varied from $6 to $8 a month, and at the end of his seven years of apprenticeship his employer rented him a small farm.
When Mr. Drummins married he received as his wedding present from his former master three ewes and a brood sow. From his earnings he had also acquired a team of horses and thus continued as a renter in Pickaway County for. some time. Mr. Drummins was married in 1849, and two years later started West. He spent one year in Moultrie County, Illinois, and thence followed on toward the setting sun with Kansas as his destination. It was his intention to take up Government land in that new territory, but the border troubles that broke out about that time and continued until the Civil war caused him to stop in St. Joseph, and from there he came up to Gentry County with a team and some steers, which he afterwards used as work oxen. With this equipment he employed his time in breaking prairie for himself and for others, and in that way got a start in the pioneer community.
When Mr. Drummins located in what is now Worth County the entire population of Ringgold County, Iowa, to the north comprised only sixteen settlers. When he entered land in Fletchall Township his neighbors within a distance of three or four miles did not number more than eight. The preemption of 120 acres which he made some sixty years ago, and patented at a $1.25 an acre, is still part of Mr. Drummins' large land holdings in Worth County. At the beginning he cut from the woods the logs for a cabin, which was sixteen feet square.
Clapboards were used for the roof, while the loft had a clapboard floor. Other features of this pioneer home were a sod chimney, a puncheon floor and a door made of clapboards. This served as his home for twenty years. In it some of his children were born, and one of them before the puncheon floor had been laid. Mr. Drummins was his own carpenter and architect, and that old log cabin long since yielded to the ravages of time and has disappeared. The house that succeeded the first was of native lumber, 30 by 16 feet, with an "L" 20 by 14. That was the family home until twenty-three years ago, when it was replaced by the large and commodious residence which became the center of the Drummins holdings in Fletchall Township.
As a pioneer farmer in a new country Mr. Drummins used oxen to draw his plows and perform the other heavy work, and under his direction many acres were added to the area of cultivation in Worth County. For a number of years after his settlement very little of the land was fenced, and stock was allowed free range. Thus he became one of the pioneers in the raising of stock, and eventually raised and fattened extensive herds over his acres. For twenty-five years Mr. Drummins regularly fed and shipped cattle to the Chicago market. With the profits of his labor during his career of activity he accumulated a total of 1,315 acres, but most of this has since been divided among his children, saving only enough to support himself and wife during their declining years. In October, 1914, Mr. Drummins sold his old homestead, and on the 1st of March, 1915, located in Grant City.
Mr. Drummins lived in Worth County during the progress of the war, and was a militiaman engaged in righting bushwhackers in the southern part of the state. He was a member of Company E in the Thirty-first Missouri Infantry, under Captain Musick and Colonel Cranor. Most of his service was of a desultory character, chiefly skirmishing. In politics Mr. Drummins has always affiliated with the republican party since that organization was started in 1856. The only office for which he was ever a candidate was that of justice of the peace, and he was elected and served for a time after the war. Since he was sixteen years of age he has been a member of the Methodist church.
Mr. Drummins was married March 15, 1849, to Miss Sarah Hurst. Her father, James Hurst, was a Virginian by birth, and afterwards moved to Ohio and followed farming. During the War of 1812 he served as a soldier, and Mrs. Drummins' grandfather, named Sly, was a soldier during the Revolutionary struggle. Mrs. Drummins was born in Pickaway County, Ohio, November 20, 1829. To their marriage were born the following children: Thomas, who died in Worth County, leaving a child by his wife, Catherine Warden; Benjamin Harrison, of Grant City, who married Minnie Gabert; Mary J., wife of William Fry, of Paola, Kansas; Florence, wife of Thomas Walker, of Worth County; Charles A., a Worth County farmer, who married Elizabeth Wall; Ezra, who died in Worth County, and by his marriage to Nettie Teazley left two children; Joseph Grant, of Ottawa, Kansas, married Katie Curley; Sadie, who married John Siemiller, of Worth County; and Hattie, who married Scott Hagans.
The Drummins family, it is believed, came from Scotland to the United States not long after the War of the Revolution, and found homes in Ross County, Ohio. Mr. Drummins' father was Benjamin Drummond, who was born in Ohio, and followed farming there until his early death. He married Julia A. Imler. Her father was Henry Imler, who came to Ohio from Pennsylvania and was a farmer. Henry Imler first married a Miss Solskiver, of Pennsylvania German stock, and for his second wife Rachel Russell. By the two wives there were about sixteen children. Mrs. Benjamin Drummins, after the death of her first husband, married Greenberry Thomas, and died in Ohio. Benjamin E. was the only son of his father and mother, while his mother by her marriage to Mr. Thomas had the following children: James, who died near Des Moines, Iowa; Elizabeth and Margaret, twins, the former the wife of Allen Thomas of Ohio, and the latter the wife of Lewis Thomas; and Mrs. Annie Hunt, a widow, living in Pickaway County, Ohio.
[A History of Northwest Missouri, Volume 2; edited by Walter Williams; Publ. 1918; Donated and Transcribed by Andrea Stawski Pack]


Joseph R. Dunham. Among the more modern and progressive agriculturists of northwest Missouri many are devoting the major part of their time to the breeding of fine horses and the shipping of cattle and stock. Particularly is this true in De Kalb County, where conditions are nearly ideal for the carrying on of this branch of farming, and here is found a capable representative of this form of industry in the person of Joseph R. Dunham, whose valuable property of 113 acres, known as the Village Stock Farm, is situated one mile north of the City of Maysville. He has been the architect of his own fortunes, winning success through well-directed and consecutive effort, and as a citizen has taken rank with the men whose services to their community have been of a distinctively helpful character.
Mr. Dunham was born in Johnson County, Missouri, January 1, 1873, and is a son of Barton S. and Sarah A. (Daniel) Dunham, natives of Ohio, where they were reared, educated and married. On coming to Missouri they first located on a farm in Johnson County, and there resided until 1879, when they came to De Kalb County and here located on the farm now owned by their son. Mr. Dunham, a man of industry and integrity, passed away here in April, 1906, but Mrs. Dunham still survives, and is making her home at Maysville. Six of their children are living at this writing.
Joseph R. Dunham, or Robert Dunham, as he is more familiarly known, was six years of age when brought to De Kalb County, and here his education was secured in the public schools of De Kalb County, applying himself to his studies during the winter months and in the summer assisting his father in the numerous tasks incidental to life on a farm, meeting with success because of the intelligent manner in which he has directed his operations. A branch of agricultural work to which Mr. Dunham has given particular attention is the breeding of high grade Pereheron horses, and his stable contains two stallions of great value and excellent breed. In 1910 Mr. Dunham removed from his farm to the City of Maysville, where he has continued to maintain his home, and where he is known as a capable man of business and a good citizen. He continues, however, to superintend the management of his farming interests and to make frequent improvements on his property.
Mr. Dunham has been twice married, his present wife having been formerly Miss Nora Belle Chancy; five children have been born to him by both marriages; Malone, a student in the public schools of Maysville, who has the excellent record of having attended seventy-two months without being absent or tardy; Marie, twelve years of age, who has missed only two days in her whole school attendance; Redman, ten years old. who has the same school record as his elder sister; Mitchell S., who is six years old; and Milton L., the baby, aged three years. Mr. and Mrs. Dunham and their children are members of the Christian church at Maysville, where Mr. Dunham is serving as a member of the board of deacons. He is interested in fraternal matters to the extent of membership in Maysville Lodge, No. 127, Knights of Pythias. In political matters he is a democrat, but has not been very active in public affairs except as they have affected the welfare of his community.
[A History of Northwest Missouri, Volume 2; edited by Walter Williams; Publ. 1918; Donated and Transcribed by Andrea Stawski Pack]

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