Biography of John T. Davis

John T. Davis, a capitalist, makes his home in San Francisco and from this point superintends his extensive investments largely represented by farming interests. In his business career, he has manifested unflagging industry, marked enterprise, and keen discernment, and thus through the manipulation of his various interests has made for himself a place among the most prosperous residents of California.

Mr. Davis was born in November 1830 and is a native son of Illinois, his parents having been early settlers of that state. He had three brothers and three sisters and was reared upon his father’s farm, his boyhood days being quietly passed. His education was acquired in a school conducted on the subscription plan, there being no public institution of learning in his home locality at that time. He continued to reside in Illinois until 1852, when, at the age of about twenty-two years, he went to Texas, locating on some property which his father had purchased, comprising about thirty thousand acres of wild land. He continued to reside in the Lone Star state until 1854, when he came to California, settling first in Tulare, where he took up farming land, beginning his operations there on a small scale. After operating his place there to some extent, he removed to Stockton, California, in 1862, and began farming on an extensive scale in that locality in 1864. He made considerable money in buying standing grain and harvesting and marketing it. He continued in this department of agriculture until 1868, when he purchased a tract of land of twenty-seven hundred and twenty-eight acres in Stanislaus County. He also invested in one thousand acres in San Joaquin County, placing the same under a high state of cultivation. In addition to this, he purchased twelve hundred acres in Glenn County, California, equipping the same with substantial and commodious buildings and supplying it with modern machinery for farming purposes. In his agricultural interests, he has always employed the most advanced methods to make his place of greatest value in the production of grain and for the raising of stock. In 1872, he gave up the active operation of his ranches and leased the different properties to tenants. Since that time, he has devoted his energies to the supervision of his investments, his interests being vast and important. In 1900, he removed to San Francisco and has since made his home in this city.

In October 1857, was celebrated the marriage of Mr. Davis and Miss Mary Marion, a native of Ireland, who came to California in 1855 and two years later gave her hand in marriage to Mr. Davis. They have one daughter, Josephine, who is now the wife of C. S. Eltinge, a banker of Spokane. Mr. Davis gives his political support to the Democracy. Almost the entire period of his manhood has been passed in California and coming to this state at an early period in its development, he has witnessed its growth and progress through many decades. He has seen the great changes which have occurred, transforming it from a wild frontier region to a state equal to any in the Union in its advantages, its possibilities, and its accomplishments. He has a wide acquaintance throughout this section of the country, and the extent and volume of his business interests and the success which has attended his efforts indicate his superior capability. He has been watchful of all the details of his business and of all indications pointing toward prosperity, and in all transactions, he has been energetic, prompt, and notably reliable.

Source: Leigh H. Irvine; A History of the New California Its Resources and People, 2 Volumes; New York and Chicago: The Lewis Publishing Company, 1903.

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