Biography of Albert P. Davis
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Albert P. Davis, attorney-at-law and one of the most active, prominent, and pushing citizens of Warner, was born May 2, 1835, in the village of Waterloo, Merrimack County, N.H. The Davis family originated in Wales, from whence the first ancestor in this country emigrated in 1638, settling in Amesbury, Mass.
Gideon Davis, the great-grandfather of Albert P., and a nephew of Francis Davis, who led in the early settlement of the town, was born in Amesbury, where he lived until after his marriage with Mary Cheney. In 1784 he came to Warner, and, taking up a large tract of timber land, engaged in manufacturing, in the winter months, oars, selling them in Salem and Boston. He was also a skilled mechanic. He reared a large family, his son John being the next in line of descent. John Davis, born in Amesbury, Mass., in 1775, was a lad of eight years when he came with his parents to Warner. He was a natural mechanic, one of the best of his times, and as a carpenter framed nearly all the ancient buildings now standing, and for sixty years was the master mason and builder of Warner. He bought land about one mile from the village of Waterloo; and, after he gave up mechanical pursuits, devoted himself to farming, living there until his death in 1865. He was a well-developed man, both physically and intellectually, having the broad shoulders and stocky build characteristic of the Davis family. He possessed great force of character, a firm and resolute spirit, and a personality that made him a leader among men. He reared eight children, of whom but one is living, Eleazer, who resides on the old homestead.
Zaccheus Davis, father of Albert P., was born near Waterloo in 1806. Like his father, he was both carpenter and farmer, carrying on his joint occupations in Waterloo during his life, which was brought to a close in 1854, at the age of forty-eight years. He married Miss Lucinda Pervere, of Sandown, who survived him, dying in 1881, at the age of sixty-nine years. They were the parents of four children, namely: Albert P.; Mary, who died in early womanhood; Charles S., a soldier in the Eleventh New Hampshire Volunteer Infantry during the late Rebellion, now engaged in agricultural pursuits in Warner; and Zaccheus, a resident of Rochester, N.H. Maternally, Mr. Davis comes from the well-known Pervere and Bennett families of Sandown, N.H.
Albert P. Davis was fitted for college, and just ready to enter Dartmouth when his father died. This affliction caused an entire change in his plans, his widowed mother, with her family of little ones, needing his care at home; and the college had to be abandoned. He at once assumed the management of the farm, carrying it on until 1866, when he sold out, and moved into this village, bringing his Mr. Davis was appointed Deputy Sheriff, an office which he filled about ten years. In the meantime he studied law with John Y. Mugridge, of Concord, and in 1876 was admitted to the New Hampshire bar. At once opening his office in Warner, he has since continued in the active practice of his profession, making a specialty of pension law, in which he has been particularly successful. He examines each case thoroughly, testing its merits prior to placing it before the department of pensions, and has invariably succeeded in his efforts to benefit his clients. His knowledge of law, and of the intricacies of pension law especially, makes him a very efficient pension attorney.
Mr. Davis has been actively identified with the highest and best interests of the town and county since arriving at man’s estate. A true and loyal citizen, his patriotism was aroused to its highest point during the progress of the late Civil War. When the papers containing the accounts of the second battle of Bull Run were thrown from the train, he and his brother Charles were in the hayfield. They at once decided that one must don the blue and go to the front as a soldier. Sitting down on the hay, they drew cuts, agreeing that one should remain at home and care for the two families. The lot falling on Charles, he at once volunteered his services to his country. In the advancement of educational interests Mr. Davis has labored indefatigably, doing especially good work as superintendent of the Simonds High School for two years. Mr. Davis has likewise served as Town Treasurer. He was private secretary to Governor Harriman in 1868 and 1869; in 1889 was a member of the Constitutional Convention; and from 1891 till 1893 represented this town in the State legislature, serving on the Judiciary Committee, in company with such strong members as Briggs, of Manchester; Bingham, of Littleton; Spring, of Lebanon; and Nash, of Conway. He is an ardent Prohibitionist and a close student of political economy, his investigations in this science leading him to write a series of articles on the tariff question that attracted large attention. He subsequently wrote the “Warner Papers,” including such topics as “Warner in the Rebellion,” “Warner in the Revolution,” giving a full history of events in Warner during those two great wars.
Mr. Davis owns a good deal of real estate, mostly village and town property, though he has large tracts of land in both Kansas and Nebraska. He was one of the original proprietors of the Warner Glove Factory, but sold out his interests, and in earlier life was a stockholder in the Melvin Woollen Mills, and was also engaged for a time in the lumber business. He was the projector of the system of water-works just completed in the village; and it was mainly through his untiring efforts it was established, he having secured the necessary capital from abroad and otherwise materially encouraged the enterprise. Warner has a fine public library founded through the instrumentality of Mr. Davis, who agitated the question for years, and finally secured a room in the Town Hall, beginning with a few books as the nucleus. He then interested the Hon. George A. Pillsbury, of Minneapolis, Minn., who was for some years in business here, and Warner. Mr. Pillsbury donated generously, the result being a handsome and conveniently arranged building, stocked with five thousand volumes of choice literature, valued at about twenty-five thousand dollars.
In June, 1855, Mr. Davis married Miss Lavona Harvey, daughter of Abner Harvey, of Warner, and of Mary Fisk, of the famous Fisk family. She is a most estimable, capable, and accomplished woman, deeply interested in all reform movements and every other that tends to help the poor and unfortunate, who find in her a friend. She is a valued member of the Baptist church and of the W. C. T. U., but, being an invalid, is not able to do any active work in either organization. Mr. and Mrs. Davis have two children, namely: Ida M., wife of Walter W. Wheeler, of Boston, Mass.; and Woodbury E., who is engaged in the grocery business in Warner.
Mr. Davis is naturally aggressive, persistent, and tenacious. Once having carefully and deliberately marked out his course, he never yields to any obstacle in the way of the consummation of his plans and purposes; and he usually succeeds in what he attempts. This determination has necessarily led him to antagonize others with pet plans and schemes, and has made intense personal and political enemies of men smarting under defeats and disappointments. When provoked or pushed, he wields a vigorous and merciless pen, as his enemies can testify.
Aside from this class Mr. Davis possesses in a large measure the confidence and respect of his fellow-townsmen, who willingly credit him with great personal courage, independence, and originality, and with having benefited his town in his efforts to establish a free public library and a system of public water-works; by his investments in local industrial works, to give labor at home to the laboring class; by his intense interest manifested in the educational institutions of the town; by his active support given gladly to promote and develop the moral, social, and religious interests of the people; and by his active co-operation with any and all movements that tend to make a healthy and vigorous community, with a community of interests and aspirations.