HISTORY

     Davis became a well know and boisterous lumber town in the late 1800's and early 1900's. The plateau area was locally known as "Canada" consisting of a dense forest of spruce and hardwoods. US Senator and industrialist, Henry Gassaway Davis (1823-1916) paid between $5.00 and $15.00 an acre for the land, which is now, Davis. On the mouth of Beaver Creek, Col. Robert Ward Eastham of Canaan Valley built the first house in Davis after he secured a contract to clear the site for the town.

     The first actual residents of the Town of Davis were Mr. & Mrs. James Parsons who arrived by train in 1884 and lived in a box-car.

     Mr. Parsons was a surveyor for the Railroad Company and he laid out the town, naming the three main streets for the Davis Brothers; Henry, Thomas, and William.

     Growth was rapid and according to Pearl G. Mott (History of Davis & Canaan Valley), Davis was called "stump town" for several years because it was possible to travel all over by stepping from tree stump to tree stump.

     Davis enjoyed great prosperity for nearly forty years.

     In 1886 Davis had a post office and the Jacob L. Rumbarger Lumber Co. and the Fayweather & Ladew Tanning Co. opened. This established Davis as one of the earliest lumber towns in the state.

     Davis was incorporated in 1880 with a population of 909. In 1893, just 13 years after Edison invented the electric light a power plant at the mouth of Beaver Creek furnished electricity for town streetlights and some homes.

     By 1902, Davis had a population of about 3,000 and more than 80 businesses, including three hotels, the first of two banks, five restaurants, two sawmills, a box factory, shingle mill and tannery. There were seven churches and soon to be seven saloons. Davis had the first hospital in Tucker County. Founded in 1907, Allegheny Heights Hospital operated until 1929 in the large house where Fairfax S. Landstreet (of Buxton and Landstreet stores lived.)

     Although it had a succession of owners and names the mill started by Rumbarger in 1886 operated two mills, one for hardwoods and one for softwoods. They cut timber along much of the Blackwater River, in Canaan Valley, along Beaver Creek, on Canaan Mountain, the Blackwater Manor Tract, Cabin Mountain and Backbone Mountain. In nearly 38 years their mills produced nearly 9-million board feet of lumber.



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Town of Davis
P.O. Box 207
Davis, West Virginia 26260
townofdavis@daviswva.com
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