THOMAS JOHN DAVIS FAMILY
Thomas John Davis and his wife, Elizabeth Williams Davis
and four children came to Samaria, Idaho
to make their home in the spring of 1869. He was born 17 March 1820 near Neath,
and she was born 15 April 1832
in Ystradgunlais, Breckonshire,
Thomas joined the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints 15 May 1848 at Monmouthshire,
Wales. He was
an Elder in the Church and had charge of some supplies. He could read and write
the Welsh and English languages. Elizabeth
joined the Church 13 October 1851. They were married in 1852 and lived in Swansea
from 1852 to 1855 where Elizabeth
gave birth to three stillborn children.
After they joined the Church they had a burning desire to
come to America
and then to Zion. They worked hard
and saved every penny they could to pay for their passage in 1856. They went to
where they lived while he worked in the mines with other Welsh friends and
relatives to earn money to pay their way to Utah.
While living in Pennsylvania
four children were born to them: John William 13 October 1858, Mary Ann, 10 December 1860, Samuel Williams, 24 December 1864 and Marintha
May 1867. When Marintha was a few months
old they came west to Evanston, Wyoming,
traveling by train with two Mormon missionaries returning from the Eastern
States Mission. From Evanston they
traveled by ox team to Ogden, Utah
where they lived for about a year and a half.
Their first home in Samaria
was a dugout but soon Thomas built them a two-room log house. On 10 September 1869 Elizabeth
gave birth to another son, Thomas Williams, the first white boy born in Samaria.
Two more sons were born to them, Edwin Griffith, 9 February 1873 and Ephraim Rees, 11 January 1875.
not had the privilege of going to school and so could not read nor write, but
both she and her husband were very anxious that their children should have the
opportunity for an education and so they encouraged them to study and improve
themselves. They homesteaded land in Pleasant View where their grandson, Walter
M. Davis now lives. In the winter Thomas went to Rock
Springs, Wyoming where he
worked in the mines in an endeavor to earn enough money to help support his
family and to buy needed machinery for the farm.
Elizabeth and Thomas were very hospitable and they were
glad to share what they had with their friends and relatives. She always wore a
black sateen apron and kept herself and family neat and clean. She liked close
neighbors, so she let the girls go to the ranch in the summer time as soon as
they were old enough to cook for their father and brothers.
a devout Latter-day Saint and taught her children by example. In 1878 she and
Thomas went to Salt Lake City where
they had their endowments in the Endowment House.
Mary Ann and Marintha learned
much from their mother about managing a home. Elizabeth
had been a servant in Wales
and had been taught many household skills by her mistresses. She made clothes
for all the family, knitted socks, stockings and mittens and was a good cook.
Her grandson Walter can remember the delicious raisin bread and biscuits she
always had on hand. She often shared her bread with the Indians who frequently
hunted and camped in the valley.
One day while they were living in the dugout at the
ranch, a buck Indian demanded some biscuits. As she went down into the dugout
to get them, he followed her down, and stepping inside, he closed the door.
Divining his intentions, she grabbed up a hatchet, and holding it above her
head and advancing toward him, ordered him to leave. He opened the door and
went up the steps laughing to himself and saying words
that meant brave woman.
The children attended school in Samaria.
Hugh Morris, a close neighbor of the Davises and a
student of Oxford University, England, took an interest in the Davis boys,
especially Edwin and Ephraim, and taught them much and encouraged them to go on
to school. John, Edwin, and Ephraim attended the Brigham
at Logan, Utah.
John graduated in 1886, and Edwin in 1894. The date of Ephraim's graduation is
While Edwin and Ephraim were attending college along with
other boys from Malad
Marintha cooked and kept house for them, as her
father thought a girl didn't need to go to school. At night she would study the
boys' books and when she came back to Samaria,
she took the State Teacher's examination and passed it. Then she taught school
in Samaria until a law was passed
in Idaho forbidding Mormons to
teach because of the practice of polygamy.
Thomas John Davis passed away 16 May 1891 at Samaria
following a long illness of dropsy and asthma and was buried in the Samaria
survived her husband twelve years passing away 3 February 1903 at Samaria
and was also buried in the Samaria Cemetery.
John Williams Davis never married. In his early life he
was active in the church, working in Sunday School,
M.I.A., and as Ward Clerk. His handwriting was beautiful and the records he
kept are easily read from microfilm. He took an active part in dramatics which
provided much entertainment for the community in those days. He taught school
in Samaria for several years. He
later was interested in politics and served as county treasurer for one term.
He loved to read and study and would often read into the wee hours of the
morning by candle or lamplight. He had a store in Samaria
in partnership with Elias Morris for several years, but the store closed
because too many creditors did not pay their bills. He sold one hundred sixty
acres of hay land to pay off the indebtedness of the store. He lived with his
brother Thomas and family at the ranch in Pleasant View for many years before
his death of natural causes on 18
October 1935 and was buried at Samaria
Mary Ann Davis married Thomas Williams 20 January 1881. Their daughter,
Maude, born 10 March 1887
at Samaria was the only one of five
children who lived to maturity. Thomas taught at Samaria,
Henderson Creek, and Portage. He
was called on a mission to Wales.
Before going to Wales
he married Agnes Bowen. Mary Ann did not have very good health and while her
husband was away, her family looked after her. She died 13 June 1895 and Maude went to live with her
grandmother Davis. Except for a couple of years that she spent at West
Point, New York, she lived at Samaria.
Maude worked in Ben Waldron's store and then for Daniel Williams when he took
it over. She was a very active worker in the church and taught in Sunday School, M.I.A., and Relief Society and served as Young
Ladies' President of the YWMIA for several years. She was a member of the Ward
Genealogical Society and did a lot of Temple
work. She was clerk of the Samaria School Board of Trustees for many years
beginning in 1925. At the time of her death, 18 July 1937, she was President of the Samaria Ward Relief
Society. She was buried at Samaria Cemetery.
Samuel Williams Davis married Mary Ann Martin 19 February 1890. He engaged in
farming at Pleasant View, owning land adjoining that of his father and
brothers. He sold his land to Nephi Ipsen and bought
sheep in partnership with Billy Price. But this venture did not turn out to be
profitable and he returned to Samaria
where he continued to live until the time of his death.
He and Mary Ann were the parents of seven children, two
of whom died as children. Their children are Anna Davis Thomas Harris, Alvin
who lived one month, Eliza Davis John, Melvin Martin Davis, Thomas Martin
Davis, who died 3 January 1968 at LDS Hospital in Salt Lake City, and was
buried in the Ogden City Cemetery at Ogden, Utah on 6 January 1968, Sarah who
lived until 8 years of age and died of appendicitis, and Mary Davis De Young
Stevens. Anna, Alvin, and Melvin were born in Pleasant View and the other
children were born in Samaria.
When Anna was a baby, Samuel had the misfortune of losing
his right hand in a threshing machine. He was standing on a platform and was
feeding by hand bundles of wheat that had been tossed up to him by a man on
either side of the platform, when his hand became caught in the machinery. It
was removed just below the wrist. He learned to do many things with his arm. He
could harness a team, cut down trees in the canyon and chop wood as dexterously
as a man with two hands.
His wife was a very good cook. She made ice cream and
sold it to anyone who came to her home on Saturday and Sunday evenings for a
time. Then she had an ice cream parlor just north of the spring for several
years and the young folks congregated there - the girls in their white
embroidery dresses with sashes of pink or blue ribbon and the boys dressed up
too. Many hours were spent there by the young and old alike.
Sam carried mail for many years on horseback to Pocatello
Valley from Samaria.
No matter what the weather the mail was delivered. He also drove the Samaria
school wagon. Mary Ann passed away 10
November 1935 and Sam on the 14 December 1942.
They are the great grandparents of the famous 0smond
Brothers who thrill large audiences with their various talents.
On the 6 January
1892, Marintha Davis married Andrew
Allen, a widower from Rockland, Idaho,
who had four children and operated a general merchandise store, the U.S. Post
Office and had some farming land. She was a good step-mother to his children
and they had four more. Irene, Leonard, Lloyd, and Aida.
Andrew died in 1904. Marintha stayed in Rockland
until 1914 when she moved to Logan
where she kept a hotel for years, and then built a house where she continued to
board and room students. Many students from Malad and
Samaria have lived with her while
they attended school. She found time to be active in the church and was a
worker in the Logan Temple.
She passed away at Salt Lake City, 10 September 1925 and was buried at Rockland,
great grandchildren are as talented in the field of art as Sam's great
grandchildren are in the entertainment field.
Thomas Williams Davis who later became known as Thomas S.
Davis, the "S" standing for Samaria,
married Ann Morse 25 August 1895.
A newspaper clipping tells the following about the wedding: "Sunday
evening at the residence of the bride's parents, Miss Annie Morse was married
to Thomas Davis, Bishop J. W. Dudley officiating. The relatives of both parties
were well represented and a most beautiful incident of the occasion was a vocal
serenade by friends of the young couple. This was a most pleasant and agreeable
surprise as the noisy, senseless chivarri is the
usual demonstration at weddings. The serenaders
over an hour and the singing was exquisite. It is hoped
that the happiness attending the ceremony will follow the bride and groom
through life." They had the wedding solemnized in the Logan
Temple 26 June 1917. They were the parents of the five
still born and two living children. Walter Morse Davis, born
at the ranch in Pleasant View and Esther Davis Pennington born in Samaria.
The first part of their married life was spent living in Samaria.
Tom was away much of the time herding sheep. Then they
moved to the ranch at Pleasant View. Ann passed away 9 October 1926 and Thomas died 23 September 1938 and they were both
buried in Samaria Cemetery.
Though Thomas and Ann had only two children, many
children could be found in their home. It was a haven for many of Ann's family.
They cared for her parents before they passed away. Many of her nieces and
nephews were given a home, Velda Wilson Brass and
Emma Morse Errett for a much longer time than any of
the others. Velda and Emma still call Walter
"brother", and there is a closeness between
them that reflects the good care and affection they received.
After Edwin Griffith Davis graduated from the Brigham
at Logan he married Elsie Poll, a
University of Utah graduate and a
teacher in Salt Lake City. They
were the parents of two children, a girl who died as an infant in Boise,
and a boy who is a government scientist in Washington, D. C. and is a concert
Edwin went to West Point
in 1896 and graduated in 1900.From 1900 to
1903, he served in the Spanish-American War in the Philippines.
He was a Lieutenant and served in the Eleventh U.S. Infantry under Major
Davidson. From 1903 to 1907, he was instructor of history and Constitutional
Law at West Point. The lack of a suitable textbook for
such a course as he was giving, led him to the preparation of a textbook of
Constitutional Law, which was published by Franklin Hudson Publishing Co., Kansas
City, Missouri, in 1906.
He resigned from teaching at West Point
and came to Boise, Idaho,
and became interested in politics and practiced law. He was Assistant Attorney
General for Idaho and the first
native son to become a candidate for Governor of the State. During World War I,
he served in the army in the Judge Advocate General's Department drafting
legislation; 1921-25, District Attorney of Idaho; from 1925 to 1929, he was a
lawyer with the Department of Justice in Washington, D. C.; from 1929 to 1934,
he was a lawyer with the National Surety Corporation in New York. He died in Atlanta,
Georgia, 24 July 1934, in a federal court room
after winning his case. A newspaper clipping from the Salt Lake Tribune states,
"A heart attack struck Colonel Davis as he was leaving the witness stand
after testifying in connection with a real estate receivership in which he was
serving as trustee. He fell to the floor in front of the judge's bench and was
dead before a doctor arrived. The body was taken to New
York for funeral services, and he was buried in Arlington
Ephraim was a talented man. He could play the piano and
sing very well. He attended Harvard University
after graduating from the Brigham Young
College. Not too much is known
about him after he left Samaria. In 1911 he
married Anna Goodwin and they were the parents of one daughter,
Gwendolyn Davis, born in 1912. They lived at Santa Barbara
and then at Modesto. One summer he
and his family lived in Logan with
his sister Marintha when she had the hotel. Gwendolyn
graduated from the college at Santa Barbara.
He died in California and his
body was shipped to Samaria for
burial in November, 1929.
If Thomas and Elizabeth could see their descendants today
and know what they have accomplished along educational lines and in activities
in the church they would realize that many of their dreams had come true, and the
many sacrifices they made had not been in vain.
--Walter and Marguerite Davis, Grandson and wife