The Davis Family of Cherry Valley

Thaddeus and Katherine Kirkland Davis, early pioneers from New York, settled in Rockford, Illinois, in 1839. Their son Jacob, born in 1833, married Harriet Campbell, and they had two sons and a daughter. Abram E. Davis, Jacob and Harriet’s son, purchased a farm on Mill Road and had a son, Fred, born in 1894. Fred, who served in World War I, later developed Davisville and served on the Cherry Valley School Board. He married Emma Enders in 1932, and they had two daughters, Anne and Leslie. The Davis family has a long history of community involvement and land ownership in Cherry Valley.

by Emma Enders Davis

Fred Davis when young
Fred Davis when young

Thaddeus Davis and Katherine Kirkland Davis were among the early pioneers of Winnebago County. Originally from New York state they moved to Canada where their ten children were born.

In 1839 they moved on to Rockford, Illinois. Their Journey to Illinois was with ox teams and covered wagons, driving their cattle. They camped for a week where Rockford College now is while they looked around for a farm to buy. They purchased land which was later the Frank Davis farm on State Road.

One of the children, Jacob, born in 1833, married Harriet Campbell from the Durand area. Harriet’s family was among the early settlers in Winnebago County. Harriet and Jacob lived on the farm just north of the Guilford Grange hall on Lyford Road. They had two sons and a daughter. The oldest son died in infancy. The second son, Abram E., married Carrie Whittle and bought the farm on Mill Road from Freeman Ackerly some time before 1894. Freeman Ackerly was a contractor and had built Cherry Valley School. Abram and Carrie’s son, Fred, was born on the farm in November, 1894.

Fred Davis
Fred Davis

Fred went to school in Cherry Valley, graduated from Rockford High School and the University of Illinois. His studies were interrupted during World War I when he enlisted in the Air Force. While in the Service he served as an instructor. He later returned to the University to complete his education.

Around 1921 Fred sold a portion of his land north of Cherry Valley to C. Henning Johnson. This man developed a beach area and picnic grounds and built a beach house, summer cottage and dance pavillion. This was a very popular recreation area in the 1920’s. Old Swedish families from Rockford would come out on week-ends for swimming, picnics and dancing. During the winter months there was skating on the Mill Race to the dam. Later the Sportsman’s Club used this recreation area for their pig roasts.

Fred married Emma Enders in 1932. Emma was the Cherry Valley Postmaster for several years before their marriage. Emma’s parents, Karl and Anna Enders owned and operated the greenhouse in Cherry Valley.

Davisville, a small unincorporated area, east of North Mill Road was developed by Fred Davis. It began with one summer cottage and a barn. Ben Garrett lived in one home while building others. This development grew out of need for more homes during the depression.

Fred served on the Cherry Valley School Board, District #112, for 20 years. He was also a member of the original board for #211 Non High School District, serving for several years into the 1950’s.

Emma and Fred had two daughters, Anne and Leslie, who also attended Cherry Valley Schools as have some of the third generation. Anne married Norman H. Meyer from Kansas, and they now live on another Davis farm north of Spring Creek and Bell School Roads. This farm has been in the Davis family approximately 100 years. Anne and Norman have five children, Karl, Carrie, Danny, Becky, and Erick. Leslie Davis Oswald lives with her three children, Douglas, Kelly and Tracy in a home on North Mill Road. Her home is located in a part of the original Abram Davis farm.

Davis ladies
Davis ladies

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