Jonathan Fairbanks and Clyde Edwin Tuck

Past and Present of Greene County, Missouri

Early and Recent History and Genealogical Records
of Many of the Representative Citizens


EMIL O. DAVIS. Though no land is richer in opportunities or offers greater advantages to its citizens than America, success is not to be attained through desire alone, but must be persistently sought. In this country "labor is king," and the man who resolutely sets to work to accomplish a given purpose is certain of success if he has but the qualities of perseverance, untiring energy and practical common sense. Emil O. Davis, well known Frisco passenger conductor, of Springfield, through his diligence and perseverance has attained definite success in his calling and has won the respect of all who know him through his unfailing courtesy and trustworthiness.

Mr. Davis was born at Springfield, Greene county, Missouri, February 1, 1870. He is a son of Robert Henry and Victoria (Caynor) Davis. The father was born in Nashville, Tennessee, and the mother is a native of Greene county, Missouri. Robert H. Davis left his native state and located in this county in an early day and here established his permanent home. He was a soldier in the Civil war, in Company H, Eighth Missouri Volunteer Infantry, under Capt. "Bob" Mathias, serving over four years in a most faithful manner, taking part in several engagements, including the battle of Wilson's Creek. He was mustered out and honorably discharged at St. Louis. After the war he returned to Springfield and spent the rest of his life engaged as traveling salesman for many years for the J. Baum Shoe Company, of St. Louis.

Emil O. Davis, only child of his parents, grew to manhood in his native community, and he received his education in the common schools of Springfield. He spent his boyhood days at home, but in early life took up railroading for a career, which he has followed ever since. In his early boyhood, however, he was employed as a grocery clerk, and once when delivering goods a patrol wagon overtook him and two policemen climbed into his delivery wagon and were rapidly driven by young Davis to a place where they desired to make an arrest, and in their haste most of the groceries were lost along the street. This resulted in his employer discharging him upon his return to the store. This seemingly insignificant incident resulted in changing the lad's subsequent career, for soon thereafter he took up railroading. In 1885, he accepted a position with the Frisco as caller and later worked as switchman until 1899, when he began his road service as brakeman, continuing thus for three years, then was promoted to freight conductor and, in 1896, to passenger conductor. Leaving the road service he was appointed yard master of the terminal in 1900, which position he held until 1904, when he went back to a passenger run and has continued to the present time. During his entire service with the Frisco, covering a period of nearly thirty years, he has never been discharged. He has done his work faithfully and conscientiously and is one of the company's most trusted employees.

Mr. Davis was married in this county, November 23, 1890, to Axie Burford, a daughter of Phillip L. and Martha (Nichols) Burford, both natives of Tennessee, where they spent their earlier years, but came to Missouri in pioneer days and settled in Webster county on a farm, and became prominent citizens in that section. In 1888 the family located in Springfield, and here made their permanent home, in which the parents spent the rest of their lives, the father dying in January, 1908, and the mother in March, 1904. They were the parents of twelve children, namely: William L., deceased; Jonathan D.; Daniel; F.; Ferdinand L., deceased; Albert N.; Mrs. Elizabeth Callaway; Benjamin T.; Morris B.; Mrs. Lucy Pipkin; Phillip I.; Mrs. Mattie H. Edwards, deceased; and Axie, wife of our subject. Mrs. Davis had the advantage of an excellent education, in the public schools of Marshfield, Morrisville College and Drury College.

Two children have been born to Mr. and Mrs. Davis, namely: Robert O. and Alma, twins; they have been given excellent educational advantages; the son is married, and the daughter is living at home.

Mr. Davis is a member of the Order of Railway Conductors, Knights and Ladies of Security; his wife and children also belong to the latter order, and he and his wife are members of the Methodist Episcopal church, South.

[1812-1814]


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