Rev. John H. Davis Found Dead In Woods Pasture

Had Been Missing From His Home In Woodland Township For Two Days

This community was terribly shocked Monday noon when the news spread that Rev. John H. Davis was found dead in a woods pasture about a mile from his home in Woodland township.

Rev. Davis and his son Harvey lived alone on the farm they had purchased a few months ago. Saturday morning he told his son that he intended going to the home of Orville Trone, a neighbor, who lived a distance of about a mile and a half, for his dog and for him to remain at home until he returned. He arrived at the Trone home at about nine o’clock and left their place leading his dog. That was the last time anyone saw him alive.

Harvey, the son, remained at home waiting for his father to return. The dog arrived home dragging a chain tied to his neck. Monday around noon, Hugh Curless, a neighbor, called at the Davis home and asked Harvey where his father was. The boy said he had gone away Saturday morning and that he had not seen him since, that he did not know where he was.

This information was spread among the neighbors and a posse was organized to look for him. Among those to volunteer to make the search were: Robert Curless, John Farwell, Hugh Curless, Charles Phillips, Jerry Wilkins, Phillip Wherley, Ross Wilson, and others whose names we do not have. While the search of the woods was being made, Mr. Phillips left his companions and took up a deep hollow and had not gone far when he came upon the body of Rev. Davis lying face downward, with his feet in the water of the small branch. His cane was at his side and he had removed his gloves. The body was badly frozen. Death was said to be due to heart failure. It was generally known that Rev. Davis had been suffering from heart trouble for some time.

Coroner C. L. Lambert was notified and he ordered the body removed. Fred Davis, a brother, accompanied Cline Horton, undertaker, to the Davis farm at about 2:30 Monday afternoon for the body. An inquiry was held this forenoon at 8 o’clock at the Horton Undertaking Parlors and it was found that death resulted from a heart attack.

Rev. Davis was born near Astoria, December 3, 1873, the son of William and Sarah Sears Davis. He was aged 72 years, one month and nine days.

Rev. Davis was united in marriage to Anna Prather on April 30, 1900. To this union three children were born, namely: Dwight Davis of Minneapolis, Minn., William Davis of Canton, and Harvey Davis at home. Besides the children he is survived by one sister, Mrs. Ellen Craig of Macomb; three brothers, J. Grant Davis of Canton, Charles of Adair, Lemuel and Fred Davis of Astoria.

Since the death of his wife March 30, 1942, Rev. Davis and his son Harvey have lived alone. For a time they lived on a farm southwest of Bader. After selling the farm, they purchased property in Bader. Later they purchased a small farm in South Woodland township, about nine miles east of Astoria, where they put in a crop last year. After selling their property in Bader, they moved on the farm about two months ago, where they have since resided.

Early in life, Rev. Davis entered the ministry of the United Brethren church. For eleven years he served in the Astoria circuit. From Astoria he was transferred to Baylis, Ill., where he remained pastor of the U. B. church one year. From there he was assigned by the conference to Alexis, where he filled the pulpit of the church one year. Then he was transferred to Adair where he was pastor two years. It was while at Adair that he retired from the ministry to engage in farming. His ministerial work covered a period of sixteen years in the Illinois conference of the United Brethren church.

Rev. Davis built the United Brethren church at Marbletown and when the church was dedicated, he had sixty-five conversions. He enjoyed relating the wonderful success of this meeting.

Rev. Davis located on a farm with his family in South Fulton and followed the occupation of farming up until the time of his death. However, Rev. Davis did not entirely give up his pastoral work, for on numerous occasions he filled pulpits of various churches of the community and performed other religious services of varied nature when called upon to do so. He was always willing to lend his services and a helping hand, never refusing to give liberally of his time and talents in various capacities to his friends and neighbors. For the past few months he has filled the pulpit at the Marbletown church, on Route 100 in Kerton township.

Rev. Davis was held in high esteem by a large circle of friends and acquaintances in this vicinity where he had spent most of his lifetime. He possessed a jovial disposition, made friends easily and will be sadly missed by numerous friends and relatives who mourn his sad and untimely ending.

Funeral services were held from the United Brethren church in Astoria this afternoon at 1:30 o’clock, conducted by Rev. C. W. Martin of Dalton City, Ill. and close friend of Rev. Davis, assisted by Dr. C. W. Perkins and Rev. Fred Thompson. Burial was made in the Oak Grove cemetery southwest of Astoria.


Published in the Argus-Searchlight on 1/16/1946


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