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History of the Mohawk Valley: Gateway to the West 1614-1925
Frank C. Davis

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[This information is from Vol. III, pp. 607-609 of History of the Mohawk Valley: Gateway to the West 1614-1925, edited by Nelson Greene (Chicago: The S. J. Clarke Publishing Company, 1925). It is in the Reference collection of the Schenectady County Public Library at R 974.7 G81h. This online edition includes lists of portraits, maps and illustrations. As noted by Paul Keesler in his article, "The Much Maligned Mr. Greene," some information in this book has been superseded by later research or was provided incorrectly by local sources.]

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Frank C. Davis, a veteran commercial traveler, formerly and for years traveling out of Mohawk and now living retired in that pleasant city, where he has numerous commercial and manufacturing interests, is a native of the old Empire state and has lived in this state practically all his life. He was born in the city of Syracuse, on July 12, 1871, and is a son of George R. and Eliza A. (Frank) Davis, the latter of whom was born in Little Falls and spent her last days in Mohawk, her death occurring in this latter place in December, 1908. She was a daughter of G. M. and Emeline (Hull) Frank, the latter of whom was born in Durhamville, New York, and died in Mohawk. G. M. Frank was born in Jacksonburgh, New York, and his last days also were spent in Mohawk, where for years he had been engaged in the bakery business. He was a member of one of the old Colonial families of this section of New York, his first American ancestor, Johannes Frank, having been the first county judge of Herkimer. Conrad Frank was another member of this family that attained more than local fame in Colonial days. G. M. Frank was christened by the Rev. John P. Spinner, the father of Francis E. Spinner, a former treasurer of the United States. The only book G. M. Frank had to study in his youth was an old black letter German Bible that had come down in the family for generations. George R. Davis also was a native New Yorker, born in Scipio, who served as a soldier of the Union during the time of the Civil war, a sergeant in the One Hundred and Eighth Regiment, New York Volunteers, with which gallant command he enlisted at Rochester. He was twice wounded in battle, first at the battle of Bull Run and then at the battle of Antietam. Upon the completion of his military service he took up commercial pursuits and for many years was widely known throughout the trade area he covered as a commercial traveler. He moved from Syracuse to Mohawk along in the late '70s and in the latter city made his home the remainder of his life, his death occurring there on September 24, 1893.

Reared in Mohawk, to which place his parents had moved when he was but a child, Frank C. Davis received his schooling in the public schools of that city and in 1888, when seventeen years of age, went to work as a clerk in a grocery store then being conducted in Mohawk by Charles Tucker. About eighteen months later, stimulated by this experience in commercial activities, he tried a "road" job for a while, going out as a traveling salesman, and meanwhile became strongly impressed with the growing importance of the confectionery trade. With a view to acquiring a practical knowledge of that line he secured a connection with a Boston confectionery firm and put in three years learning the details of the line from both a manufacturing and a sales end. Thus well equipped for handling a line of goods concerning which he had become so thoroughly acquainted, he made a connection as a traveling salesman for the confectionery firm of Wallace & Company, Brooklyn, and continued to represent that firm "on the road" for twenty-eight years, at the end of which time he retired from active business and has since been living retired at Mohawk, where he had maintained his home during all the years of his commercial itinerary. Mr. Davis has several important commercial and industrial connections in Mohawk, these including a place on the board of directors of the Mohawk National Bank and the vice presidency of the Elastic Spring Knit Corporation. He is the president of the Weller Library Commission of Mohawk and in other ways is actively identified with the social and cultural activities of his home town. During the time of this country's participation in the World war Mr. Davis rendered service as the secretary of the local draft board and was also one of the active "pushers" in the several Liberty Loan "drives" and other wartime activities. He is a Royal Arch Mason and a past master of Mohawk Valley Lodge No. 276, F. & A. M., of Mohawk, and a member of Iroquois Chapter, R. A. M., of Ilion. He is a democrat and a member of the Universalist Church and his favorite diversions are fishing and philately.

On February 21, 1894, in Burlington, Vermont, Frank C. Davis was united in marriage to Miss Helen Greene and to this union one child has been born: Ralph Currier Davis, who is now a professor in the Ohio State University at Columbus. Professor Ralph C. Davis was born in Mohawk, on December 24, 1894, and was graduated from the high school there in 1912. He then entered Cornell University, taking the mechanical engineering course, and was graduated from that institution in 1916, following this by a postgraduate course at the Industrial Institute of New Haven, Connecticut. He then became associated with the operations of the Winchester Arms Company as an estimating engineer and was thus connected when this country took a hand in the World war in 1917. Resigning his position in order to enlist his services in behalf of the army, he was assigned to the Engineers Corps and later was transferred to the Signal Corps, with headquarters at Washington. While thus serving he was requisitioned by the navy department and transferred to the field of naval activities at New London, Connecticut, and by the time the war had come to a close he was an ensign in charge of the installation of anti-submarine devices at the Philadelphia Navy Yard, the Cramp's Ship Yard and the New York Ship Yard at Camden, New Jersey, and upon receiving his honorable discharge at the close of this service was enrolled in the Naval Reserve Corps. Upon the completion of his naval service Professor Davis resumed his activities as an industrial engineer but not long afterward became connected with Chamber of Commerce work and was for three years thereafter the assistant commissioner of labor, acting in behalf of the Cleveland (Ohio) Chamber of Commerce, making a survey of labor relations in that district, resigning this form of service in order to accept the professorshop at Ohio State University, which chair he now holds.

Mrs. Helen Greene Davis was born at St. Albans in Franklin county, Vermont, and is a daughter of William Henry and Orpha Melissa (Currier) Greene, the latter of whom was born at Northfield, Vermont, a daughter of James Madison and Harriet Atwood (Wheeler) Currier, both members of old Massachusetts families. James Madison Currier was for many years a merchant at Northfield and had served as postmaster of that place. The Curriers are of Revolutionary stock and Mrs. Davis has in her possession an old hand-made saddlebag, a compass and a marine clock which have been handed down in this family for generations. William Henry Greene was born at St. Albans, Vermont, and his last days were spent at Burlington in that state, where for years he was in charge of both freight and passenger traffic. His father was Judge Henry Greene, for many years one of the leading men of affairs of that district. Mrs. Davis is an attendant at the local Church of Christ, Scientist, in Herkimer. She is a member of the Ladies Reading Club of Mohawk, is a past matron of the local chapter of the Order of Eastern Star of Mohawk and a past deputy grand matron of the Grand Chapter of the State of New York of this popular auxiliary to the Masonic fraternity. She completed her common schooling in the Boston high school and then was graduated from the well established finishing school for girls maintained by Professor Tetlow at Boston and has long been regarded as one of the leaders in the general social and cultural activities of her home town.

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