George M. Davis, a venerable octogenarian and pioneer citizen of San Joaquin county, where he settled among the earliest inhabitants, has had a long and varied career, but more than a half century of it has been spent in San Joaquin county. About seven miles northeast of Stockton, off Cherokee Lane, he has a beautiful estate of three hundred and twenty acres, which he located upon nearly fifty years ago, and its proper cultivation has been the principal object of his endeavors ever since. Most of his farm is devoted to general agricultural purposes, and twenty acres are given to grape culture, a department of his enterprise which he has made very profitable.

This aged Californian, so deserving through long residence and useful life of a place in the history of the state, was born in Louisa county, Virginia, September 28, 1818. His parents were Heartwell and Elsie (Bunch) Davis, both natives of the Old Dominion. In 1836, at the age of eighteen, he left his Virginia home and went to Pike county, Missouri, which was his home until he came to California. While in Missouri he followed the trade of blacksmithing, worked with a steam sawmill, and also drove a four-horse stage coach during the days when that vehicle was in vogue in the middle west.

In 1850 he set out across the plains from Missouri and on the 9th of August of that year arrive in Hangtown, later called Placerville, California. For a time he mined gold on the north fork of the American river, and in 1852 he returned to Missouri, by the isthmus and New Orleans, and in the same year brought his family out over the plains to this state. He came direct to San Joaquin county. In 1852 Stockton consisted mainly of a small population dwelling in tents, and even the business of the place was carried on under that sort of shelter. As for the country, that was of course practically untouched, and it has been the lot of Mr. Davis to witness all the wonderful transformations that have occurred in the county in every department of activity. After arriving in Stockton he, in company with his brother Joseph Davis, for a time conducted a feed yard and a blacksmith shop under the firm name of Davis Brothers. Mr. Davis later engaged in freighting from Stockton to the southern mines. About 1855 or 1856 he went to ranching, and at that time settled on the ranch northeast of Stockton which has been his home to the present time.

Mr. Davis' first wife, whom he married in Missouri, was Mrs. Cynthia Shepard, whom he brought to California in 1852, and who died in 1853. There were three children of this marriage, and the one surviving is William H., of San Joaquin county. by his second wife, Helen Stevens, he had one daughter, Lulu, now the wife of John Morrison. The present Mrs. Davis was before her marriage Margaret Flehn, who was born in Bavaria, Germany, March 21, 1850, a daughter of Henry and Barbara Flehn, both native Bavarians, who in 1858 brought their family to America, settling in Marion county, Missouri, where the daughter Margaret grew up. She came to California in 1872, and has since been a resident of San Joaquin county. Mr. and Mrs. Davis have three children, all at home, Otho E., Elsena L. and Pearl U. Mrs. Davis is a member of the Christian church. In politics Mr. Davis is a Republican.

Source: History of the New California Its Resources and People, Volume II

The Lewis Publishing Company - 1905
Edited by Leigh H. Irvine

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