Another IAGenWeb Project


By W. S. Pitts

Submitted by Beverly Witmer & Lynn McCleary, March 14, 2013

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ASH DAVIS. pg 39

Ash Davis came to Fredericksburg the spring of 1855. We first hear of him as a hewer of timber for the saw mill built by Fred Padden in 1856. He was also a violinist for dances and played for all the early dances. He married a daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Rufus Tisdale. Ash was a jolly fellow, In size about five feet eight inches high, weight 176 pounds, complexion light, eyes blue, hair brown. He loved to hunt, fish and fiddle. He also loved to get a joke on any of the boys or men, and if he succeeded he would laugh and crow over them for a month. He was a great tobacco chewer, and somehow a portion of the juice would get out of his mouth onto his whiskers and soil them, but he kept right along. When he laughed he opened a fearful hole in his face. He was a first-class sawyer and when we became acquainted with him in 1864 he was alternating between the Michigan pineries and the Iowa prairies. Wherever he went he would fiddle, and his advent into the village was the first step for a dance. He bought 80 acres of land in Dresden township, but farming was not his forte and he sold it to Ralph Gardner and moved to Michigan. If he were here today he could tell more about the early hoe downs than any man that we know of. At the dances when they wanted a schottische he would play Foster's song, "0,Willie We Have Missed You," and if they wanted a regular breakdown he would play "The Ham Fat Pan." In memory I can see him now as he sat on the fiddlers bench with his head cocked to oneside, scraping away for dear life. Long live Ash Davis.


Robert Davis was born in Columbus, Chenango county, New York. Married there to Sarah Madison. Three children: Egbert, Elizabeth and George. His wife died at St. Charles, Illinois. He came to Iowa the spring of 1871, locating in Dresden township. He died June 12, 1892, buried in West cemetery.


Thomas Dawson, son of William and Mary Dawson, was born in Yorkshire, England, in 1839. Came to America in 1857. Married in Illinois to Sarah L. McNaughton, (scotch.) This wife died in 1867. In 1868 he married Mary Ann Scholay, also a scotch woman. Came to Iowa in 1882. In 1883 went on the George Bishop farm, where he lived eight years, afterwards on the farm with his son, William R. This son married Retta Colt; they live at Whittier, California. Mr. Dawson sold out here and went to Whittier, California where he now resides. His second wife died in California.


William R. Dawson, son of Thomas and Sarah (McNaughton) Dawson, was born in the state of Illinois, near Chicago. His father was born in Yorkshire, England, his mother was Scotch. He came here with his father in 1882. In 1887, he married Loretta U. Colt, daughter of Wm. I. and Rhoda (Martin) Colt. Their first child, a son was born August 17, 1888, in Dresden township. Mr. Dawson bought a farm of 160 acres--80 acres on section 28, and 80 acres on section 24. They have three living children, two boys and one girl. They lost a little boy babe. The farm here they sold and the fall of 1901 removed to Whittier, California.


John Dayton was born at Westfield, Geauga county, Ohio, February 16, 1834, and was a son of John and Phebe Uayton. Young John was raised a farmer on the western reserve, a country celebrated far its dairy and stock interests. October 15, 1855, he left home, for the then far west. His object was to obtain government land. He came to Dubuque by public conveyances, then struck out on foot to Strawberry Point, and from there he went by stage to West Union. Here he met John C. Rowley, who has been mentioned before in this history as one of the early settlers of the Wapsie country.

The two Johns became warm friends, and as their names were the same, Mr. Dayton was given the nickname "Buckeye," and Mr. Rowley “Cap,” names which they bore for years after. At West Union they hired a horse and buggy of the well known liverymen "Jack Welch," drove to Decorah where the land office was located, procured the necessary papers for preempting land and returned to West Union. They then started on foot for Chickasaw county, and at Crane creek--now Alpha--they took dinner with Pioneer Potter. The dinner was eaten from off an old box which served as a table; the dinner was good though the surroundings were humble. The twenty-fifth day of November they stopped at Fredericksburg with Fred Padden. The next day they began looking at land, and Mr. Dayton pre-empted the n. w. quarter of section 28-94-11. The land office opened up at Decorah, December 24 1855. The twenty-third "Cap," Fred Padden, Baker, "Buckeye" V. H. Kendall and Amos Haley left for that city. The office opened at 9 o'clock a. m. the 24th. The crowd was immense. They pushed and jammed each other like cattle all that day and did not leave their places during the night. After the second day the Fredericksburg crowd became disgusted and with the exception of "Buckeye" and Amos Haley, returned home. The fourth day an arrangement was made whereby twenty-five men could enter the office at one time and each would be allowed to make two entries. "Buckeye" and Haley enrolled and took their places near the office door at four o'clock on the afternoon of December 27. They stood there until nine o'clock the next morning, when they mere admitted. The weather was bitter cold and the warm room seemed a very heaven to the half-frozen men. "Buckeye" entered 120 acres on section 10-94-11. Haley also entered on section 10.

Mr. Dayton said that the winter of 1855-6, he experienced good times as well as rough ones. February 1856, he assisted in getting the engine and machinery from Dubuque for Fred Padden's saw mill and helped to get out the timber for the frame. Ash Davis did the hewing. Dances were the leading features of the winter, Davis being the fiddler. February 22, everybody had a grand time, and dancers came from far and near. "Buckeye" said that his partner for supper was a Miss Tisdale. March 16, 1856 he went back to Ohio, but returned during the summer. Times were good the fall of '56 and the mill was running. He brought back a pair of horses and went to teaming. The fall of 1857 he went to Ohio again, returning the next June. He broke land upon the R. W. Kiddar and Buel Sherman farms. April 25, 1860, he went to Pike's Peak in company with Charlie Zwick, James Potter and William Case. They had a good time crossing the plains. Returned home August 1, 1865. Soon after his return from Pike's Peak he was married to Emily E. Chandler, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. H. L. Chandler.

In the month of August 1862 he enlisted for the war in the 38th Iowa Vol. Infantry, Co. "C." He was with the regiment during its war service; was mustered out at Houston, Texas; discharge papers received at Davenport, Iowa. Drew a pension of $17 per month. August 1st 1865, he returned home, The first thing he did was to haul lumber from McGregor and build a house, into which he moved April 1866, and began farming on a small scale. He was successful and his small farm grew to one of over 400 acres.

In personal appearance he was short, broad and fat. He was slightly deaf in one ear, carried his head a little one side; was naturally jovial, loved a good cigar and lots of fun. Five children were born to Mr. and Mrs. Dayton: Elmer E., Stella M., Bert E., Willie F. and Bertha M. Mr. Dayton died October 18, 1900, of cerebal apoplexy in the office of J. H. Powers at New Hampton, while making his will. Mrs. Dayton is still a widow; lives in Fredericksburg.


David Dom was born in Courtland county, N. Y., March 6, 1826. Came with parents to Ashtabula county, Ohio, in 1836. Married to Susan Robinson of Clark's Corners September 13, 1849. Removed to Rutland, Dane county, Wisconsin, the same fall. Remained in Rutland seven years in the mercantile business. Came to Fredericksburg May, 1857. In the fall of '68 went into the Julien house, kept it eight months. At this date Ingalls, Dorn and French purchased the entire town plat except lots that were sold. Sold some of these lots, the balance went for taxes. Mr. Dorn purchased the 8O acres where C. L. Whitcomb now lives, on the northeast quarter of section 16, and broke it up. Left Fredericksburg March 18, 1867, went to Conover and remained there two years in the livery business, then moved to Ridgeway, Winneshiek county, where he engaged in the stock, grain and farming business. Seven children were born to these parents, Herbert, '51 ; Byron, '52; Florence, '54; Lillie, '57: Lida, ‘6O, died in '62; Abner, '87, at Conover; Mabel, July 5, '74, at Ridgeway. Mrs. Robinson, mother of Mrs. Dorn, came here with them and died November 11, '62. Their son Herbert is married and lives at Ridgeway. Byron lives in Washington state. Florence married Rev. T. E. Flemming of the M. E. church, September 16, 1875. LilIie is married. Abner is married and lives in Nebraska. Mabel is married. Mr. Dorn died in 1901 at Ridgeway. Mrs. Dorn died at Ridgeway.


Horatio N. Doty, son of Isaac and Lucreta Doty, was born in Michigan, in March 1839, and lived in Michigan during boy-hood. In 1858 he was married to Sarah H. Barber, went to Illinois in '63, and lived there till '82, when he came with his family to Fredericksburg township. He owns 240 acres of land, located on section 4, 5. Had four children, Isaac, Ida, Fred and Ray. Isaac died when two years old. Ida is married and lives at York, Nebraska. Fred is married. Ray was drowned at Hoquiam, Washington, November 20th, 1897.


John Dunbar, son of John and Lydia Dunbar, was born in Ware, New Hampshire, February 23, 1844. He came to Iowa in August 1865. Married in August 1872 to Anna Dawson, who was born in Yorkshire, England. Located on section 32 in Fredericksburg township in 1876. They have had three children, two of them died soon after birth, one son remains, his name is Willie. Mr. Dunbar was a soldier in the civil war.

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Page created by Lynn McCleary, March, 2013