Davis, Benjamin

From Lane Co Oregon

Benjamin Davis

Sex: M

Birth: 9 JUL 1808 in Portage Co., Ohio 2

Birth: ABT 1807 3

Birth: ABT 1809 in Ohio 4

Birth: ABT 1809 in Ohio 1

Death: 6 APR 1858 in Eugene, Lane Co., Oregon 5

Death: 1856 3

Death: BEF 1860 in Eugene, Lane Co., Oregon 6

Census: 25 SEP 1850 Benton Co., Oregon 1

PROP: 15 OCT 1847 Donation claim on the river road adjacent to the city of Eugene, Lane Co., Oregon 5


"In the year 1847 a portion of the emigration from the Atlantic states to Oregon took what was then known as the "southern route," coming by way of the Rogue river and Umpqua valleys. This being a long and tedious journey, and the first time that wagons had ever passed over the route, their arrival in the Willamette valley was prolonged until after the winter rains had set in, worn out and weary, many of them were only too glad to stop at the embryo settlement of Lane county, the first they encountered. Of these, Isaac Briggs, Elias Briggs, Prior Blair and Charles Martin, with their families, stopped and took up claims near Mr. Bristow, on Pleasant Hill, while Cornelius Hills, a bachelor, settled opposite, on the north side of the middle fork of the Willamette. Charnel Mulligan and Wickliff Gouley, both single men and relatives of Prior Blair, were also additions to the population of this, the upper settlement. Of the same immigration, Benjamin Davis, John Akin and H. Noble, with their families, settled near Skinner, becoming welcome neighbors, too, and relieving the monotonous life so bravely endured by the pioneer female settler, Mrs. Skinner..." - page 326, Illustrated History of Lane County, Oregon; A. G. Walling, 1884

"... Prior F. Blair and family occupied a log house a few rods from where he has his present dwelling; next to Blair's, Lemuel Davis, son of Benjamin Davis had a cabin, while the latter individual himself lived two miles and a half from the site of the town. Down the river about four miles from the butte [Skinner's butte] Joseph Davis and family had a dwelling; next to them, below, was James Peek and family; while farther down was John Vallaly..." - page 432, Illustrated History of Lane County, Oregon; A. G. Walling, 1884

"LYCURGUS DAVIS - High in the annals of Lane county pioneerdom appears time name of Davis, a family whose members have for more than sixty-five years been numbered among the enterprising amid useful citizens of the south Willamette valley, toward time progress and development of which they have substantially contributed for three generations. One of the well known representatives of this family who for many years was prominently and successfully identified with the building interests of Eugene, is Lycurgus Davis, who was born in Marshall county, Indiana in 1839. He is a son of Benjamin and Catherine (Sluyter) Davis, who were the second family to locate in Lane county, having taken up their residence here shortly after the advent of Eugene Skinner for whom the city of Eugene was named. They made the journey from Indiana to Oregon in a wagon with an ox team, their caravan spending six weary months in crossing the plains, coming by way of the southern route, which included a tortuous trip through Cow creek canyon. They encountered the difficulties experienced by the majority of the pioneers of that time, but as they possessed dauntless fortitude and unlimited courage they never lost heart even when confronted by apparently insurmountable obstacles. On the 15th of October, 1847, the Davis family located on their donation claim, which was on the river road adjacent to the city of Eugene. Here in a thick grove of giant fir trees, amid the wigwams of the Calapooyia Indians they established a home and began their life on the frontier. Their first residence was a log cabin, but in later years this was supplanted by a large, attractive frame structure that was built on the crest of a slight knoll about a quarter of a mile from the main highway, formerly an Indian trail. On either side of the drive, sentinel like, stand two giant fir trees, time only surviving representatives of the thick forest that originally occupied this site. Mrs. Davis was very fond of these trees, having formed for them the strong attachment that can only be appreciated by those who have spent much of their lives close to the heart of nature, on which they have depended for companionship, and when they sold their homestead, she asked that these trees might never be destroyed or marred during her lifetime. Her wish has been respected, and although more than fourteen years have elapsed since she passed away they are still standing. In all probability none of the women of that early pioneer group were held in deeper regard than Mrs. Davis, who was spoken of as the "administering angel". For many years she was the only physician in the county, and although she was not a professional practitioner, she possessed a wonderful natural gift for diagnosing all physical ailments and a rare faculty for administering to the sick. Her treatments for the most part consisted of simple house-hold remedies, the efficacy of which were thoroughly tested and proven in those early days, when it was no unusual thing for her to be called by messenger in the middle of the night to visit a patient anywhere within a radius of fifty miles. Night or day, rain or shine, this generous unselfish woman, laid aside her own duties and hastened to those who sought her assistance. Money was scarce at that time and few could compensate her for her services: but Mrs. Davis never thought of that. If fellow-beings were suffering it was a privilege for her to be able to relieve their pain, and with with this thought uppermost in her mind, many a night has she ridden across the plains, her life endangered by wild beasts, fording streams and following treacherous trails leading into the foothills, but she had no fear nor did she ask for escort. So highly were her services regarded that long after she had been compelled to give up her practice, owing to her rapidly failing physical powers, people sent for her in time of great need because of their absolute confidence in her skill. She lived to attain the venerable age of eighty-seven years, which from early life until she had passed the Psalmistâ's allotted span was spent in the service of others. She was a native of Pennsylvania, and belonged to long-lived, hardy pioneer stock, her father having been one hundred and seven at the time of his demise. Seven children were born to Mr. and Mrs. Davis, our subject being the fourth in order of birth. The others are as follows: Lemuel Eli, who is a resident of Yaquina ; Martha Jane who is deceased; Samantha Ann, the widow of James Huddleston, of Eugene; William L. T., and Caroline E., both of whom are deceased; and M. M. who is a practicing physician of Eugene.

Lycurgus Davis was only a lad of eight years when he crossed the plains with his parents, but young as he was upon him devolved some of the work and responsibility connected with the journey, and he now tells with great pride how drove two and part of the time three yoke of oxen all time way from Plymouth, Indiana to Lane County. The next few years in his life were spent in very much the same manner as those of other youths living in Oregon during the pioneer period. He made friends with the chief of the Calapooyias, who taught him to shoot with a bow and arrow and often took him on hunting trips. Although the Davis family lived for many years close to the camp of this tribe which numbered two hundred and fifty Indians, they never had any difficulty with them. Benjamin Davis, the father, possessed a gentle nature and was most considerate of the rights of others, then, too, he was gracious and tactful as to manner and his diplomacy more than once averted serious difficulties not only here but when their party was en route from Indiana. When be was a lad of thirteen years, Mr. Davis left the parental roof and started out to earn his own way. Having been reared a farm he was familiar with the duties of the agriculturist and for three years thereafter worked on the ranches in this vicinity. At the expiration of that time he learned the carpenter's trade, and subsequently engaged in the contracting and building in Eugene, being identified with this occupation for thirty-eight years. After withdrawing from business. Mr. Davis retired to his his ranch located on Pacific highway three miles northwest of Eugene. His holding comprises one hundred and sixty acres of land which is well improved and under high cultivation. For this last five years he has been devoting his entire time and attention to the further development of his homestead, and now owns one of the most attractive as well as most valuable properties in his immediate community.

On Christmas Day, 1861, Mr. Davis was married in this country to Miss Elizabeth A. Butler, a daughter of Thomas and Minerva (Blatchly) Butler, natives of Pennsylvania, who later removed to Ohio and then to Indiana, whence they came to Oregon in 1852. Benjamin Davis and Thomas Butler, the fathers of our subject and his wife respectively, were near neighbors while residing in Indiana. When the Butler family crossed the plains they were for six weeks without food except the cattle, which they killed on the road as their pilot had lost their wagon with provisions. The Indians gave Mr. Davis information of their predicament and he made up a train loaded with provisions and set out to meet them, in which feat he was successful. The Indians, as formerly mentioned were very friendly to Mr. Davis and he expressed himself often that I they were to be considered the telephones of the time. Upon their arrival in Lane county Thomas Butler filed a donation claim of three hundred and twenty acres in the vicinity of Junction City, where Mrs. Davis was reared to womanhood. She is the third in order of order of birth in a family of five, the others being as follows: Jonathan J., who is living in Junction City; James, who is deceased; Thomas Q., who lives in Idaho; and one who died in infancy. On Christmas day 1911, Mr. and Mrs. Davis celebrated their golden wedding, the event occurring on their homestead, which is a portion of the old Davis donation land claim. They are the parents of six children: Rosetta, the wife of George W. Dickinson of Eugene, by whom she has had one child, Delton D.; Cynthia Ann, who is deceased and was married to George C. Cronen; Anzonetta Bell, the deceased wife of Frank Hulburt of Eugene; Henrietta who married William R. Hollenbeck of Florence, Oregon; Fonna M., the wife of O. F. Kellison, of Grants Pass; and Merritt, who is a teacher in the high school at Salem, Oregon.

Mr. and Mrs. Davis affiliate with the Christian church, and formerly he gave his political support to the republican party, but of late years he has been casting his ballot for such men and measures as he deemed best qualified to subserve the highest interests of the people. He has never been prominently identified with the official life of the community but has served as school director and road supervisor. Mr. Davis is well known in Eugene where he was one of the first to engage in the business of contracting and erected many of the residences, which are associated with the early history of the city." - Centennial History of Oregon

Father: Enos Davis b: ABT 1770

Mother: Hannah Marshall b: 26 JUN 1778 in Chester Co., Pennsylvania

Marriage 1 Catherine S. Sluyter b: 23 JAN 1811 in New York

  • Married: 26 OCT 1831 in Limaville, Stark Co., Ohio 2
  • Married: 26 OCT 1831 in Ohio 5


1. Has Children Lemuel Eli Davis b: 3 SEP 1832 in Stark Co., Ohio

2. Has No Children Martha Jane Davis b: ABT 1834 in Ohio

3. Has No Children Samantha Ann Davis b: ABT 1835 in Ohio

4. Has Children Lycurgus Davis b: 1839 in Marshall Co., Indiana

5. Has Children William L. T. Davis b: ABT 1840 in Indiana

6. Has No Children Caroline E. Davis b: ABT 1843 in Indiana

7. Has Children Marshall Melancthon Davis b: 30 SEP 1851 in Eugene, Lane Co., Oregon


1. Title: 1850 US Federal Census Repository:

Media: Book

2. Title: http://freepages.genealogy.rootsweb.com/~steelquist

3. Title: Immigrants of 1847, http://awt.ancestry.com/cgi-bin/igm.cgi?op=GET&db=benton&id=I02285

4. Title: 1900 US Federal Census

5. Title: Centennial History of Oregon

6. Title: 1860 US Federal Census


Media: Book

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