Davis Mound

Davis Mound Cemetery, Appanoose Township, Hancock County, Illinois

This is a family cemetery set up by the Davis family in a 1860's just after the Civil war.  Amos davis, founder of the Illinois Davis family, who sleeps in death here, is listed in the 1880 Gregg county history as a prominent pioneer founder of Appanoose Township.  See page 949, also page 950.

Amos Davis came to the Illinois frontier in an early day from Vermont where he was born December 20, 1814.  He was a man of education, an alumnus of the one of the University's of the Green Mountains state this probably was the University of Vermont at Burlington, Vermont which is one of the oldest institutions of higher education in the nation (founded in 1791 the year the state was admitted to the union).

Why a man of his high standing would come to Western Illinois which was practically Indian country and trappers domain when he got here no one now living knows.  He probably dreamed a dream about the state of Illinois rising to the status of fourth ranking state in the union and population within 20 years of the time he first set foot on its virgin prairies.  This was exactly what happened 19 years later when the census of 1860 showed Illinois the fourth ranking state in population (a ranking state it still held in 1960 one hundred years later).  He arrived in Illinois and 1841.

Maybe Amos Davis saw more than this and saw this giant among the statesbecome almost before he was in his grave a commonwealth with more manpower and resources than some European kingdoms.

There were other Vermonters already here when he came. One was Steven A. Douglas who had been here about five years.  This pint Size lawyer with the booming voice contested the presidency of the United States with Abe Lincoln in the 1860 national election, winning our County.  Amos Davis was probably one of the guys who marked the ballot for Steve.

Douglas was born in Brandon, Vermont.  If maybe he and Amos davis knew each other and he wrote to Amos and talked him into coming here.  According to these early Vermonters in Illinois like Douglas all one had to do on the Illinois prairies was to stick a plow into the black soil to tap greater resources than the fabled wealth of the Indies.

Whether these Vermonters who preceded Amos davis to Western Illinois told them this or not he soon found out about it after he got here.  He had exactly $1.50 in cash money when he arrived here in 1841.  When he died 30 years later he owned 1,300  acres of the most valuable prairie land in Hancock County.  No better farm land had ever lain in God's outdoors than the Amos Davis holdings in Appanoose Township.

Amos Davis operated a store of some kind in Nauvoo for a while but he soon got on the land where the greater wealth than the fabled wealth of the Indies was.  By 1857 he was living in a beautiful farm residents which he built on the summit of what our early pioneer ancestors here called "The big prairie mound".  This is in Section 25 of Appanoose Township.  Here according to report is the highest point above sea level in Hancock County.

Amos Davis sleeps the sleep of death now a stone's throw from the big farm home on "Davis Mound" as location is called by the 20th-century members of the Davis family.  That Davis family still lives here.  No one but them has ever lived here on the "The Mound" in the history of the white settlements in Western Illinois.

The Willard T. Gerhardt family lives here now.  Mrs. Gerhardt is a Davis family descendant of Amos Davis.  The Gerhardts graciously gave permission for this "Davis Mound" cemetery burial list when the writer of this (Warren L. Van Dine) went to their home to copy the inscriptions from the monument December 29, 1965.

There is but one monument, an enormous American white marble shaft.  There probably is no longer white marble shaft monument than this one in Hancock county.  This native Vermonter rests in death beneath marble from the famous quarries of the Green Mountains state.  (or is this marble shipped in from the southern state of Georgia?)

The burying ground is a fenced in inclosure about 20 x 20 ft..  There are but four graves, with the one monument for the four.

This farm residents is on the blacktop road running north from the east to west: Colusa-Nauvoo blacktop, about a quarter of a mile north on this.  It is one of the best known farm homes on the soil of Hancock County.

The following description of "The Big Mound" is to be found in the Appanoose Township right-up in the 1921 Schofield county history, page 1051:

"What is styled the "Big Mound" and this Township is an elevation of land about 50 ft. in height, 7 miles east of Nauvoo on the open prairie.  On the east, south and west the land is quite level for several miles but it is approached on the north by broken timberland, skirting the river bluffs.  On this elevation of mound Amos Davis built his house and barns, set out shade trees, and also planted a large orchard.  The mound in itself is about a quarter of a mile in diameter.  While Mr. Davis was having a Well sunk like the workmen discovered a piece of cedar wood down at the death of 30 ft.. "

Enormous tall marble monument
(one side)
Amos Davis
died in March 22, 1872
Aged 58 years 6 months 2ds
(one side)
Harriet L. Davis
died Feb. 11, 1866
Aged 41 ys 11 ms 19 ds
Harriet R. , daughter of E. C. & A. C. Davis
died Feb. 17, 1877
Aged 4 ms & 5 ds
(one side)
Ethan C. Davis
died March  25, 1879
Aged 25 ys and 6 ms

(The relationship of the above members of the Davis family clear to the writer of this (Warren L. Van Dine).  But it is presumed Amos davis and Harriet L. Davis for a married couple, that Ethan C. Davis was their son and-Harriet R. Davis was there granddaughter through the son Ethan.  Dates make this outline possible and feasible.  Granddaughter Harriet is listed on the same side of the marble shaft with grandmother Harriet although the grandmother had been in her grave more than ten years before the granddaughter was born and so never saw her.

The name Ethan for this young man of the Davis family comes natural for a son of Amos Davis.  Back in Vermont where Amos Davis was born and grew to manhood it was still fresh in the minds and hearts of people how in the American Revolution days Ethan Allen at the head of a force of Vermont farm hands known as "The Green and Mountain Boys" in the early morning of May 10, 1775 took the famous fortified enemy stronghold called Fort Ticonderoga.  People in our Twentieth Century know the name "Ticonderoga" as the designation of an advertised brand of lead pencils.  The name "Ethan" was a popular one on parents ' lists for boy babies in Vermont homes.

The 1880 Gregg county history shows a Amos davis marrying after he got to Illinois and marrying Mary J. Isenberger, but this marriage was contracted more than two months after the death date given for Harriet L. on the monument.  So Miss Isenberger no doubt was second Mrs. Amos Davis.
He could have married Harriet L. before he came to Illinois and she would have been at least 16 years old at that time but he probably came here as a single man at that time and met her here in Illinois and married her here as he did Ms. Isenberger later on.

The history shows Amos Davis with four children by the second marriage which was devastated to Miss Isenberger and him dying a few weeks less than six years after the marriage.  But this would easily be possible.  Many married couples produce progeny that rapidly.  He was not an old man even when he died, just middle aged and in his '50s and it would easily be possible for a strong man of like him who retained his looks to require a young wife of child-bearing age and to have a  large family of children in a marriage with her.