The history of Idaho would be incomplete if the biographies of two of her pioneers, Francis M. and Thomas Davis, brothers, and old residents of Boise City, were omitted. They were always believers in the great future which was in store for the state, and were influential factors in the development of its resources. When death summoned Francis M. Davis to lay aside his many enterprises, to leave to other hands his uncompleted work, the whole community mourned and, though nine years have rolled away, the memory of his goodness, his many worthy deeds and fine traits of character, is undimmed in the minds of his numerous friends.
A native of Warren County, Illinois, born July 7, 1838, Francis M. Davis passed his boyhood in the Prairie state, and gained a fair education, as he made the best of his limited advantages. (For his ancestral history the reader is referred to the sketch of his brother, Thomas Davis, printed elsewhere in this work.) Having completed his education in the schools of Monmouth, Illinois, our subject determined to seek his fortune in the west, and in 1863, in company with the brother already mentioned, he crossed the plains. They settled at Boise City, and were thus among the first of the permanent citizens of this place. For many years the brother, George D. Ellis and William L. Ritchey (who now resides in Polman. Washington) were in partnership in the management and ownership of a ranch, and they planted the first apple orchard in this state. Very large returns were had from this venture, and others hastened to follow the good example set, and thus today one of Idaho’s sources of income lies in the fine fruit raised here. At length F. M. Davis sold out his interest in the ranch and for some time engaged in the hardware business in Boise City. In the Centennial year he purchased a quarter section of land near the city limits on the west and embarked in dairying, which business he had formerly followed to some extent. He erected a fine farmhouse and substantial barns and dairy buildings, and as long as he lived kept everything about the place in excellent condition. As a just reward for his industry and good management success crowned his efforts, and he was well off at the time of his death.
In his political views Mr. Davis was conservative, and his allegiance was given to the Republican Party. An honored member of the Masonic order, he was buried under the auspices of the local lodge. In the Methodist church he was a member and took a leading part in the religious work of the denomination. The date of his demise was March 8, 1891, he then being but little past the prime of life. His influence for good in this community has been far-reaching, and no better example of sincere Christian manhood can be found.
In January 1865, Mr. Davis married Miss Hester A. Cory, who was born in Ohio, a daughter of John and Susan (Carpenter) Cory, of that state. In 1864 she came to Idaho with her brother, and here made the acquaintance of her future husband. Two children blessed the union of our subject and wife. The son, Charles A., is with his mother at the old home, and the daughter, Laura E., is now the wife of P. W. Porter. Mrs. Davis has ably managed the fine property which was left to her at her husband’s death. Her home is a beautiful one, and everything about the place is kept in good order; the grounds surrounding the house are especially lovely, and reflect much credit upon the good taste of the owner.