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By Joseph Wallace, M. A.
of the Springfield Bar
The S. J. Clarke Publishing Co., Chicago, IL

W. L. DAVIES. - W. L. Davies, who was deputy United States marshal and was also actively identified with the improvement of Sangamon county as the builder of Ridgely, was born in Pembrook, South Wales, on the 13th of May, 1841, and was reared in Swansea. He obtained his education there and was married in that country. He was employed as a laborer in a roller mill until 1872, when, wishing to take advantage of the opportunities which he had heard were afforded in America, he severed the business connections binding him to his native land and crossed the Atlantic. He took up his abode in Allegheny City, Pennsylvania, where he again secured employment in a roller mill, and in 1874 he arrived in Springfield, where he became connected with the Ridgely roller mills as superintendent of the saw department. His connection with that institution continued from 1874 until the mills were shut down in May, 1896. On the 1st of July, 1897, Mr. Davies was appointed deputy United States marshal by Charles P. Hitch, who was the marshal and he proved a capable officer, ever prompt, faithful and fearless in the discharge of his duties.

Mr. Davies was united in marriage to Miss Gwenllean Williams, who was born in Wales, April 22, 1841, and they had two living children: Mary Ann, the wife of Albert T. Hey, a florist of Springfield; and Sarah G., the wife of George Pehlman, a coal miner of Springfield. They also lost four children, one of whom, William E., was accidentally shot and killed.

Mr. Davies in his religious faith was an Episcopalian, and he was connected with the Modern Woodmen of America, the Knights of the Maccabees, Crystal Light and the Fraternal Army. A stanch Republican in his political views, he never wavered in his allegiance and for fifteen years he served as police magistrate of the village of Ridgely. He organized that village and drew the bounds for incorporation. There were but four houses not owned by the milling company in what is now Ridgely when Mr. Davies took up his abode there in 1874, but at the present time the town has a population of eleven hundred and is one of the populous suburbs of the capital city. He died November 16, 1903, honored and respected by all who knew him, and was buried in Oak Ridge cemetery. Mrs. Davies sailed April 30, 1904, for Wales, for an extended trip.

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