Aquilla J. Davis, farmer and banker, Tremont, was born in Elm Grove Township, Tazewell County, Ill., March 3, 1830, a son of Hezekiah and Sally T. (Scott) Davis. His father was born in Fauquier County, Va., December 13, I 798, and died in Tremont in 1889; his mother, born near Maysville. Ky., May 14, 1811, died December 4, 1843. Her parents James and Frances ( Tucker) Scott, were from North Carolina anti Kentucky, respectively and her grandparents from England. Her grandmother, Chloe Scott, died in Tazewell County at the remarkable age of 102 years. The paternal grandparents of Aquilia J. Davis were Aquilla and Isabella (Briggs) Davis. The grandfather was born in Virginia, but his father came from Wales. Aquilla Davis removed from Virginia to Kentucky in 1800. In 1821 he removed to what is now Logan County, Ill., and established his home on Salt Creek. There he and his wife died, the time of his decease being about 1831.
Hezekiah Davis came front Kentucky to Sangamon County, Ill., in 1818, and to Tazewell County in 1820. He returned to Sangamon County, remaining in the neighborhood of Elkhart Grove until 1823, when he came with Thomas Briggs to Tazewell County, building a cabin two and one-half miles northwest of Tremont, where there was a large settlement of Indians. Messrs. Davis and Briggs were pioneer Indian traders, exchanging various supplies for furs, taking the pelts to St. Louis, Mo., where they were sold.
In 1826 Mr. Davis started a tanyard in connection with the fur business on Section 2, Elm Grove Township, which enterprise he conducted for about ten years. In 1828 he was married in Groveland Township. He served for a few months in the Black Hawk War in 1831-1832. Like many other pioneers he followed the Indians west, locating in Western Missouri. Subsequently (in 1840) he returned to Tazewell County, where he resided, making his home for many years with Aquilla J. Davis until his death at the age of ninety-two years.
Aquilla J. Davis began life as a farmer after having secured such education as the common schools of his day afforded. On November 1, 1861, he enlisted in Company H. Eleventh Illinois Volunteer Cavalry, under Col. R. G. Ingersoll’s command, being elected Second Lieutenant. He was wounded at the battle of Shiloh, and was promoted to Captain for meritorious service, his promotion being followed by others until the close of the war, when he was mustered out at Memphis, Tenn., September 20, 1865, with the rank of Lieutenant—Colonel.
After the war he returned to Tazewell County, and in 1869 located at Tremont, engaging in the hardware and agricultural implement trade. On the completion of the railroad through the village he engaged in grain buying, and in 1872 built the first elevator at that point. In 1879 he sold his grain business to engage in banking, and, with L. M. Hobart, was the founder of the Tremont Bank. Later Mr. Hobart withdrew, and Mr. Davis’s son. A. D. Davis was associated with him until 1898. Since then his youngest son, F. J. Davis, has been associated with him in conducting the business, which has been continued as the Tremont Bank.
Mr. Davis was married in Groveland, Tazewell County, December 24, 1850, to Miss Martha A. Gowdy, a daughter of Cyrus T. and Tabitha (Roelofson) Gowdy. She was born in White County. Ill., September 30, 1834, and died at Tremont, Ill., January 16, 1905. Her father was born in Tennessee September 27, 1806, and died in Groveland Township, September 30, 1842; the mother, born in Kentucky December 15, 1808, died in Groveland Township December 18, 1848. Both branches of the family have followed agriculture as their life business.
To Mr. and Mrs. Davis were born seven children: Alvin D., Walter E. (who died September 12, 1864). Ada F., Kate A., Jennie M., Belle I., and Frank J. Ada F. married David C. Ames, February 12, 1880, and died October 7, 1888; Kate married Melvin A. McCollough, February 10, 1887; Jennie M. married Charles H. Bird, May 15, 1884; Belle I. married Josiah M. Cody, June 4, 1890; Alvin D. married Annie E. Brindley, December 24, 1878; Frank J. married Ura S. Alexander, September 25. 1901. Mrs. Davis was a member of the Baptist Church. In politics Mr. Davis is a Democrat and has been Supervisor several terms, filling this position as early as 1860, and again after the Civil War; has also held other township offices.
Historical Encyclopedia of Illinois and History of Tazewell County - page 995
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