Dade County, Missouri Genealogy Trails

 

Biographies


Rolvin H. Darst
    Was born on the 19th day of July, 1866 in Delaware county, Ohio, son of William D., and Louisa (Holt) Darst, both of whom were natives of Ohio, were married there. Later they came to Greene County, Mo., in the year 1872 and bought 300 acres of land where the mother died. His father then sold out and went to Texas and in company with his brother-in-law bought 320 acres of land in Hale County which he farmed for two years then sold out and came to Dade County, and lived with his son, Rolvin, until he died, August 27, 1912.
    Rolvin H. Darst was the 3rd in order of birth of a family of seven children. He remained at home until 19 years of age, worked out for wages. In 1886 he was married to Margaret Hurst who was born March 3rd, 1869, died June 3rd, 1896, leaving one child, Lloyd, born February 12, 1887, married Laura Wheeler, a daughter of James Wheeler. They have two boys, Lawrence, born October 31, 1906 and Lewell, born November 27th, 1910.
    His second child, Clyde, died when five years of age.
    R. H. Darst was again married to Mary Olive Wheeler, who was born February 3rd, 1872, a daughter of Allen Wheeler. They were married on the 10th day of February, 1898. In the year 1892 he bought 160 acres of land in partnership with his brother in Polk Township upon which he lived for about 10 years. This land was unimproved. They cleared out 120 acres and built a frame house, then sold out and bought 240 acres all in one body. This tract of land was in fair condition. Mr. Darst has done some clearing, lots of fencing, so that now it is all fenced and cross fenced and all in cultivation except 20 acres. He has re-built the dwelling consisting of five rooms with water in the house. Has a 130-ton silo and a herd of full blood short-horn cattle. He feeds from five to six car loads of cattle and hogs each year, has fifteen acres of alfalfa which does fine. Mr. Darst was one of the first men in Polk Township to introduce alfalfa. In addition to being a splendid stock and grain farm, Mr. Darst is of the opinion that much valuable mineral underlies his land, since it is right in the mineral belt of Dade County and surrounded by producing mines. He expects to do some prospecting the coming year.  The ranch is named Riverside Stock Farm.
    Mr. Darst and wife are members of the Baptist church. He is a Republican in politics and belongs to the Odd Fellow and Woodman lodges. He is also a stock-holder in the Home Telephone Company. Much of the good-roads spirit which has been developed in the community is due to the untiring labors of Mr. Darst in that direction. He is a good roads enthusiast and strong for the Community Spirit. 
["History of Dade County and Its people...", vol. 2, The Pioneer Historical Company; 1917]

William J. Davis
Public spirited, picturesque, eccentric, whole-souled, wide-awake and active, William J. Davis is easily Lockwood's most distinguished citizen. He was born in Saratoga County, New York, March 27th, 1834. He was a son of Richard C. and Susan (Pawling) Davis, the former being a native of Saratoga county, New York of Scotch parentage as also was his wife. Her father, William Pawling, was a soldier in the Revolutionary war. Her uncle, Colonel Henry Pawling served in the Continental army with distinction under General Washington. The Pawling family was related to General Alexander Hamilton and General James Clinton. The Pawlings were Scotch-Irish.
Richard C. Davis and wife were the parents of seven children, two of whom died in infancy:
(1) Alexander, married Mary Sawyer, drowned in Illinois river.
(2) William J. Davis.
(3) Albert P., married Miss Place.
(4) Levi H., married Alexander's widow, (twins) Albert enlisted in the 105 Ills. infantry at DeKalb, Ills., and served during the war. He is now at a Soldiers' Home in California.
(5) Jane Eliza, married J. Sturgeon, and is now deceased.
(6) Andrew Jackson, died in infancy.
(7) Herman, died in infancy.

William J. Davis grew to manhood upon the farm, first in New York and later in the state of Illinois. He has a vivid recollection of the days when he cradled grain at 50 cents per day and threshed at 25 cents per day. He mowed with scythe and raked hay at 50 cents, too. He was a natural mechanic, handy with tools, and could construct almost any kind of a farm utensil, including wagons, hay-rakes and cradles and his own plow and corn planter. His father came from New York to DeKalb County, Illinois, in 1846, where he died in 1877. He was a Democrat, but he and his four sons voted for "Abe" Lincoln in 1860. He was a successful farmer and stock-man, and a member of the Baptist church. His wife died in 1870. William J. Davis came to Dade County in 1869 and purchased land for a farm in the then wild prairie, contrary to the advice of all the early pioneers. The city of Lockwood now stands on a part of his original purchase. He named his home the "Evergreen Stock Farm," which soon became noted all over Southwest Missouri.  Mr. Davis imported the first Norman stallion and the first Shorthorn bull into Dade County. He also, in 1884, imported five Scotch Clyde stallions and four mares, and has a certificate from the United States authorities stating that they were superior stock and would improve the stock of the United States. He made his own cuts to print on the bills for his stallions. He was also a breeder of fine jacks and a propagator of fruits, flowers and tame grasses. He exhibited live stock, fruits, grasses and vegetables at the county, district, state and even national fairs for a number of years, having now in his possession a string of premium cards and ribbons over 200 feet long. He was awarded a gold medal at the Louisiana Purchase Exposition at St. Louis in 1904 for the best display of tame grasses and clover grown by an exhibitor, competing against the world.
Mr. Davis was the only man in Dade County to give the right-of-way to the K. C, Ft. & G. railroad when it was constructed. It crossed 80 acres of his land. As soon as the railroad was built, in 1881, Mr. Davis platted a town and named it Lockwood, in honor of the General Passenger agent of that road. In order to encourage building, he gave lots to all who would erect buildings thereon, and he gave lots and money to every church erected in the city except the German, and they never solicited it. He gave a whole block to the public school and another block to the city for a park. Another act of philanthropy which might be mentioned occurred during the very early days of Lockwood, when there had been a failure of crops and flour was very high. Mr. Davis purchased 40,860 pounds of flour and sold it at cost in order to prevent suffering. Mr. Davis also gave the lot, the water privilege and $50 in cash to the first flouring mill erected in Lockwood. Mr. Davis built the first house on the present site of Lockwood and was the town's first postmaster. As a breeder he had wonderful mastery and control over his animals. At one time he exhibited on the streets a pair of Norman stallions hitched and driven to a wagon with-out a halter, lines or bridle. At another time he exhibited a 4-year-old stalion on the streets of another town right in breeding season, with lots of horses on the streets, threw the rein over his back and asked the horse to kiss him, which he did, and followed him with his tongue against his face whenever he stopped, paying no attention to other horses. His exhibitions of live stock, fruit and farm products on the streets of Lockwood was the real beginning of the Dade County fair. As a veterinary surgeon, Mr. Davis exhibited great natural skill, and performed many remarkable feats along that line. William J. Davis was first married to Sarah A. Kellogg.   To this union were born three children:
(1) Susan, intermarried with Charles Polston, a farmer, for many years a resident in the vicinity of Lockwood, but now in New Mexico.  They have eight children.
(2) Minnie B., first married to Samuel Hunt. To this marriage was born one son, Lola, who is now a teacher in a government school in Oklahoma. Her second husband, William Rollman, now resides in Iowa. They have one child.
(3) William Henry, in business in Kansas City, is married and has one child.
In 1892 he was married to Bertha C. Heisey, a native of Pennsylvania, widow of Philip C. Heisey. They have no children.
Besides being a farmer, gardener, stockman and horticulturist, William J. Davis is also a great hunter and fisherman. It has been his custom for several years to spend his winters on the gulf coast of Florida, where fishing for game fish is a rare sport. Mr. Davis has many rare specimens of forest, field and stream, which be exhibits with delight. He is a man of remarkable physique, being able now, at the age of 82 years, to sit on a chair and place his leg over his shoulders and around his neck, a feat which very few men at any age in life can accomplish.
Some years ago, when Mr. Davis concluded to sell The "Evergreen Stock Farm" and lead a more retired life, he erected a modern home in Lockwood on an eight-acre tract within the city limits. To his lawn he moved from his farm a large number of evergreen trees, many of them eight inches in diameter and 30 feet high. So successful was he in this enterprise that in less than two years' time his home had the appearance of having been settled 20 years or more. On this lawn and eight-acre tract Mr. Davis has grown many rare plants, shrubs and curious trees. Industry and tenacity of purpose has been the watch-word of Mr. Davis' life. While he has accumulated a large amount of property, mostly the fruit of his own industry, he has also been generous, giving to his children abundantly. He is still active and able to do as much or more work than many men 25 years his junior. His wife is a member of the M. E. church, Mr. Davis being a Baptist, but not an attendant. He is the oldest living member of the local Odd Fellow lodge, has filled all the chairs in the subordinate lodge, and also the encampment. He votes the Republican ticket and takes a great interest in current events. He has traveled extensively, attended many national conventions and expositions, is well posted on many topics, is peculiar in this, that there never was another man just like him, and as long as Dade County history is read, written or talked about, the name of William J. Davis will always find a place upon its pages.
["History of Dade County and Its people...", vol. 2, The Pioneer Historical Company; 1917]












 

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