Maritime History of the Great Lakes
Silas Davis
Oswego Daily Times, 8 Jan 1891
Full Text
Silas Davis

A casual notice of the ready of this old and for many years a prominent citizen of Oswego, at his home in Chaumont, Jefferson county, on the 13th ult., appeared in our paper at the time, but it is not proper that one so well known and who filled so important a place, formerly in the business community of this city should be allowed to go to his long rest without a more fitting tribute to his memory.

Mr. Davis had for several years resided at Chaumont, where in the days of his active business life he had large limestone quarry interests, and his occasional visits to relatives and friends in Oswego were so quiet and unobtrusive that when his death came it escaped the attention of those who had the personal knowledge of him to enable them to write a fitting tribute to his character when it should have been done.

Silas Davis came from Revolutionary stock. His parents, Phineas and Sarah Davis, were natives of Hartford, Conn., and removed to Mexico, this county, in 1798. Mexico, which has ben called the Mother of Towns, was then a wilderness and much larger in territory than Oswego county. Silas was born April 4, 1805, in the first log house within the present limits of the village of Mexico, by his father, Phineas Davis. He was named for Silas Town, a noted scout in the Continental Army of the American Revolution. Town spent his last days at the house of Phineas Davis, where he died  and as a mark of patriotic gratitude, Silas erected a monument to perpetuate the memory of the hero ranger which can be seen at Mexico Point.

Mr. Davis inherited military spirit from his patriotic ancestors, his grandfather having served in the French and Indian Wars, and also in the War of the American Revolution; while his father went to the front of the War of 1812 and was present at the Battle at Sackets Harbor, May 29, 1813. Mr. Davis was appointed first lieutenant in the 182nd Regiment of Infantry, N.Y.S.M., and served under Col. William S. Fitch, his commission being signed by Governor Nathaniel Pitcher, July 11, 1828.

Young Davis worked on his father’s farm and served on coastwise vessels and learned the trade of stone cutter and came to Oswego in 1836, where he engaged in business connected with stone quarries at Chaumont. He furnished the cut stone for the United States government pier which was started under Capt. John W. Judson in 1838-39. The stone was brought here in his vessel, which with his brother, was lost on her passage from Chaumont. He furnished the stone for the Gerrit Smith building and many other structures of various kinds in our city.

Mr. Davis was twice married, in 1839 to Lois Louisa Beadle of orwell, in 1842 to Mary A. Stone, sister of Mrs. Capt. E.H. Brown of this city, who with two daughters by his first wife, Mrs. Mary E. Kenzer of Aniston, Ala., and Mrs. Helen A. Lewis of Chicago, survive him.

From the little hamlet where he first saw the light, has grown up the beautiful and prosperous village of Mexico, and the surrounding country from a howling wilderness. has become dotted with the fair fields of prosperous agriculture. In religion he was a Universalist and was an active and influential member of that denomination, and was a firm believer in Faith, Hope and Charity, and exemplified his belief that Charity was the greatest of these by giving largely of his means to the poor and needy.

In politics he was formerly a Whig and became an active Republican and drifted into Greenback views of finance. While he was somewhat eccentric in his ways, he was a man of great push and industry and will long be remembered as a good citizen and honest man.

One of the oldest native residents of the county, Mr. Davis was informed in all matters of general interest, took an active interest in all that concerned the local history of his county. He was a member of the “Old Settlers” organization and was present at its last annual meeting in Fulton in the past fall and took an active part in its proceedings. It is thus the early residents of Oswego county, the hardy and pushing race who found the land a wilderness and whose industry and perseverance have done their work in making it a delightful county of eighty thousand people humming with the pursuits of industry, are passing from us one by one.

Such is the law of nature which no humans hand can stay. But the race which comes after them and witness and enjoy the fruits of their labors can and should imitate their virtues and cherish their memories.

Item Type
Date of Publication
8 Jan 1891
Richard Palmer
Language of Item
Geographic Coverage
  • New York, United States
    Latitude: 44.067 Longitude: -76.13021
  • Connecticut, United States
    Latitude: 41.76371 Longitude: -72.68509
  • New York, United States
    Latitude: 43.45951 Longitude: -76.22882
  • New York, United States
    Latitude: 43.45535 Longitude: -76.5105
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Maritime History of the Great Lakes
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Silas Davis