WILLIAM H. DAVIS, M. D. - That Dr. William Hope Davis, of Springfield, is accorded a prominent position in the ranks of the medical fraternity in America is indicated by the fact that he has twice been honored with the position of secretary in the American Medical Association, that draws its membership from among the most distinguished and eminent representatives of the profession in the United States. His residence in Springfield covers thirty-five years and the volume and extent of his practice has made him one of the substantial residents of the city.
Amid the wild scenes of frontier life he was reared to manhood. He married Harriet Wilder, a native of Worcester, Massachusetts, born in 1802, and a daughter of Dwight and Harriet Wilder. The ancestors of Mrs. Davis were numbered among the first settlers of New England, having come from the mother country on the Mayflower. Her mother died in Worcester, Massachusetts, at the extreme old age of one hundred and five years, find the family is noted for longevity. For a time Dr. David Davis and his wife were residents of Greene county, New York, but when their son William H. was five years of age they removed to Michigan, where they spent their remaining days, Dr. Davis passing away in 1871, while his wife long survived him and died at a very advanced age.
Between the ages of five and eighteen years William Hope Davis resided with his parents in Michigan and supplemented his early educational privileges by study in Lapeer. He then went to New York, where he attended school for two years, subsequent to which time he went to Memphis, Tennessee, where at the age of twenty years he became a member of the Christian church, of which he has since been a loyal adherent. There he also began preparation for his life work, becoming a student under Professor Gabbett, who held a prominent position in the Worcester Eclectic Medical College, of Worcester, Massachusetts. He continued under that tutelage for some time and in the winter of 1854-5 be attended a course of lectures in the Memphis College of Medicine, while later be was a student in Barbee's Academy until the spring of 1857. At that time he went to Paris Texas, where be began practice, and in the summer of 1858 he made a trip to California, by way of Mexico, traveling the entire distance on horseback. The followi ng year he returned to Memphis in the same manner,, covering four hundred and seventy-five miles in eight days, his way leading largely through an almost unbroken wilderness. On again leaving Memphis be became a resident of Hillsboro, Ohio.
In September, 1859, Dr. Davis was united in marriage to Miss Rachel Ann, the daughter of Dr. John Scudder Davis, who, though of the same name, was not a relative, but came of the family of William Penn. In 1860 the Doctor purchased a bookstore in Leesburg, Ohio, but soon afterward disposed of it and returned to Memphis, but the troubles occasioned by the division of sentiment between the north and the south over the slavery question made it unpleasant for the Doctor-a northern man-to remain there, and he went to Goodrich, Michigan, where he opened an office and began practice. At the same time be purchased and managed a drug store. While residing there he was drafted for service in the army, but sent a substitute. Later, disposing of his drug store and closing his office, be went to Cincinnati, where he further perfected himself in his chosen calling by study in the Eclectic Institute of that city, in which lie was graduated with honor. He next settled in Flora, Illinois, whence he came to Springfield in 1867, and here he has since led a busy and useful life, his practice constantly increasing in volume and importance as be demonstrated his ability to cope successfully with the complex problems which are continually being met in the effort to restore health and prolong life.
In May, 1900, Mrs. Davis, who was a devoted wife and mother, and was beloved by all who knew her, passed away, leaving a son and daughter-Dr. John Scudder Davis, a physician, of Chicago, and Emily, the wife of John E. Tilley, who is in the railroad service and resides in St. Louis, Missouri. Dr. Davis' present wife bore the maiden name of Alletta Brooks and is a native of Sangamon county and a daughter of J. W. Brooks, of Massachusetts. Dr. Davis is a Democrat in politics, where state and national questions are involved, but at local elections votes independent of party ties. Fraternally, he is connected with Springfield Lodge, No. 4, A. F. & A. M., and the chapter and council, and is a member of the Independent Order of Odd Fellows. For years he has been a prominent and valued representative of the State Medical Society, of which he was the secretary for nine years, while for two years he was the secretary of the National Medical Association- an honor well merited and worthily worn.