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Mahlon James Davis, one of the best physicians and surgeons in the Nishnabotna valley, belongs to an old Pennsylvania family. He was born in Juniata county, in that state, on the 20th of October, 1838, and is consequently in his fortieth year. His parents were Judah and Charlotte Leas Davis, both of whose ancestors were early settlers in the Keystone commonwealth. Mahlon lived on his father's farm until about fourteen years of age, when he was placed in the Tuscarora Academy, in his native county, and a little later in the Kishacoquillas Seminary, Mifflin county. After receiving a good academic education, including the higher mathematics and classics, he commenced in 1859 reading medicine with Dr. D. M. Crawford, of Millerstown, Perry county; took two courses of medical lectures in the University of the City of New York, and received his diploma in March, 1862.

Civil war had been in progress nearly a year, and after practicing for a few months in Newport, Perry county, in August, 1862, Dr. Davis went into the regular army as acting assistant surgeon, being located for a long time in the hospitals at Washington, District of Columbia. In May, 1864, he was assigned to the position of surgeon-in-chief of the artillery of the second army corps, on the staff of General Hazard, being in some of the heaviest campaigns and serving until mustered out in November, 1865.

Dr. Davis returned to Newport the same month, and the next summer located at Lewis, where he is still in practice, and where he soon secured the confidence of the people. Few young men just out of a medical college have had better opportunities to improve themselves in surgery, or made better use of such opportunities. His experience in the army has been of great assistance to him, and he stands among the foremost men in his profession in this part of the state. He has other qualifications besides skill to make him an eminently useful physician.

In addition to his general practice Dr. Davis acts as examining surgeon for pensions, has a drug store, and is also postmaster. He is a very busy man.

In politics, he is a republican, firm and active, and has at times served as chairman of the county central committee.

In religion, his views may be denominated liberal.

Dr. Davis is a Freemason, and was master of the Lewis lodge for three or four years.

On the 27th of December, 1864, he chose for his wife Miss Priscilla K. Shuman, of Millerstown, Pennsylvania, a cousin of Hon. Andrew Shuman, lieut. governor of Illinois; they have three children.

Dr. Davis has a phlegmatic temperament, a fair complexion and gray eyes; he is five feet and eight inches tall, is always good-natured and inclined to be jovial.

From "The United States Biographical Dictionary and Portrait Gallery of Eminent and Self-Made Men. Iowa Volume." Chicago and New York: American Biographical Publishing Company, 1878, pg. 646.