04 September 2010

A Saturday Story: He Visited at the Home of Jefferson Davis, and was a Friend of Abraham Lincoln

I usually reserve the posting of random obituaries I find for my Southern Obituaries blog, but this one I felt compelled to share here. It's a fascinating read, but the skeptic in me wonders how much of it is really true.

Inter Ocean, Illinois
28 October 1896
(Viewed online at GenealogyBank.)

THE OBITUARY RECORD

Martin Simeon Davis


J. Davis
Martin Simeon Davis, well known in the hat and fur trade of Chicago, died at 2 o'clock yesterday at his residence, No. 2803 Michigan avenue, in his fifty-eighth year, after an illness of nearly three years. He had been a man of unusual size and noted for his great physical strength, but gradually wasted away until his death. Mr. Davis was the son of Moses Davis of Niles, Mich., and with his father built all the water work on the Michigan Central Railroad through the swamps between Niles and Chicago when that road was first laid into this city. Moses Davis, his father, was a first cousin of Jefferson Davis, President of the Confederacy, and the deceased visited at the home of Jefferson Davis in the South just before the death of the latter.

A. Lincoln
Martin Simeon Davis was a pioneer in the early days of Michigan, Indiana, and Illinois, living frequently among the Indian tribes then abounding in these states, and although of Southern extraction, his father having moved to Niles from Virginia, was a strong Union man. He was a friend of Abraham Lincoln, having lived for some time at Salem and other towns in Sangamon county, Lincoln's old home, and he had many reminiscences of Lincoln.

He leaves a wife and two daughters, Miss Winnie Davis and Mrs. John Irving Pearce, Jr., of the Sherman House. His wife is a daughter of old Dr. Coover, now deceased, of Goshen, Ind., who was known for fifty years all over Northern Indiana. Mr. Davis spent many years in Niles, Mich., and in Goshen, Ind., and was for a long time the leading manufacturer of furs and hats in Toledo, Ohio, moving thence to Chicago ten years ago. He was the originator of the so-called "Mackinaw" straw hat, which was made from the grasses in the Northern Michigan lakes and braided by the Indians. His death was not unexpected. Arrangements for the funeral are deferred until word can be had from his brother and other relatives.

[A subsequent article states the remains were taken to Goshen, Indiana for interment.]

1 comment:

Dorene from Ohio said...

So interesting!! I am always interested in the inter-connections between persons of both the North and the South! My ancestor fought for the Union during the Civil War,
but my husband's ancestor was an officer in the Confederate Army!

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