JOHN W. DAVIS, Dallas County’s Oldest Mason

John W. Davis (1826-1919) died at his home south of Garland Saturday evening at 8 o’clock. Immediate cause of his death was paralysis, which struck him on the preceding Thursday. Prior to that time he had been in his usual health for several months, though last year he had a serious illness from which he never fully recovered.

John W. Davis & Wife, 1919

John W. Davis & Wife, 1919

Burial was in the Knights of Pythias cemetery Sunday afternoon, Rev. Logan Martin conducting the services and burial was under direction of Garland Masonic lodge, of which deceased was a charter member. Pall bearers were old friends and lodge brothers, being W. C. Kingsley, Dr. G. W. Newman, John T. Jones, Calvin Taylor, James Gugit and H. C. Smith.

John W. Davis was probably the oldest citizen of Dallas County, coming here from Rayport County, Indiana in 1843 settling on White Rock. He came to Shreveport by boat, and walked from there to Dallas. He married Miss Chenault, another pioneer citizen, in 1855 and is survived by her and seven children, three children having died.

The living children are Ben, Dan, and Caliph, Mrs. Taylor Wallace, Mrs. Tom Brandenburg, Mrs. Margaret Deering and Mrs. Hous Ramsey. All were at home at the time of his death except Mrs. Ramsey, who could not be gotten over the wires. Mrs. Naylor, the youngest sister of Mr. Davis also survives him, together with a large number of grandchildren, nephews, nieces and relatives.

Mr. Davis was probably the oldest Mason in the county, having assisted in the organization of the Scyene lodge, the oldest in the county. He attended that lodge for many years until the organization of the lodge here.

There is some question as to his exact age, the family record having been lost, but the best information obtainable is that he would have been 97 years old on his birthday, December 24th.

Mr. Davis was an interesting character. He was a great reader and until becoming totally deaf several years ago was one of the most interesting conversationalists in the community. He possessed a remarkable memory, and kept close track of events especially political, and had a large fund of historical events at his tongue’s end. He voted for Texas’ first governor and every governor since then, and took an active interest in all elections, being a staunch Democrat with decided views on all public questions.

In the early days Mr. Davis did considerable surveying and helped to make of Dallas County one of the leading agricultural counties of the state. He owned the farm on which he died for many years and planted pecan trees around his home which have furnished many nuts for this family. Some of his last work was planting these in his yard. He worked a large garden himself and took great pride in having the best in the country. On Monday before his death he went fishing, this being his chief recreation.

The photo was taken about three weeks ago on his home porch, when the News editor accompanied a Dallas News special writer down to get some data on his life. The News and Journal carried a lengthy article about he and his wife. Peace to his spirit.

Note: Photo from Garland News clipping is almost 100 years old and very faded. May 31, 1919 Garland News.  Additional Garland History can be found here, or Garland Landmark Society.