Alma Charles Davis


ALMA CHARLES DAVIS was born 6 June 1848 in Liverpool, England. He was the third son of John Tucker Davis or Davies (1806-1888) and Letitia Ann George (1815-1872). Alma Charles' parents were converts to the LDS Church from Wales. In 1851, when Alma Charles was 3 years old, the family made the voyage to America and across the plains.

Alma Charles "was a very active boy and always worked in the Church. He helped haul logs from the canyon which were sawed into lumber to build the Old Central Meeting House in Spanish Fork, later remodeled and called the Opera House.

"At the age of eighteen (1866) he was called to go to Sanpete to help prevent the Indians from killing the people; he was in the services for forty-three days in the Jonathan Page company (during the Black Hawk Indian War). After he returned home, the Indians made a raid on Spanish Fork and drove away a herd of cows and work horses. He was then called to go with a company of boys and men to overtake and bring them back. They caught up with the Indians and had a battle with them, called the "Diamond Creek Battle." A number of Indians were killed along with one white man by the name of Albert Dimick.

"After this, Father freighted for a few years with mule teams from American Fork to Pioche, Nevada. While on one of those trips his mother Letitia Ann George died (26 Jan 1872 in Spanish Fork, Utah, at 56 years of age); but traveling was so slow he couldn't get home for her funeral.

"In January 1874 he was married to my mother, Margaret Ann Miller (1856-1934), in the Old Endowment House in Salt Lake City. She was the daughter of Scottish converts James Miller and Margaret Ann Anderson. They settled in Spanish Fork, and became the parents of twelve children.

In 1888, after the first six children were born, Alma Charles Davis was called to fill a mission for the LDS Church to Great Britain; he labored in his parents' homeland of Wales. He was called from the Spanish Fork First Ward, where they lived, and left his wife with six children to care for. "Father rented out his farm, but both years there was a shortage of water and very little crops were raised, but Mother being a good seamstress took in sewing and did very well earning money to send to Father and to help the family. Father spent two years preaching the Gospel."

While he was gone, his father John Tucker Davis passed away, Dec. 30, 1888 in Spanish Fork, at 82 years of age. Also the children got scarlet fever, and the youngest boy, John A., was left an invalid at 4 years old. Later this boy went to school part time and tried to do light work but was always in poor health. "However, we were blessed in many ways. After Father returned home, he donated both work and means to help erect the 1st Ward Meeting House. He served as president of the YMMIA in Spanish Fork 2nd Ward a short time. Six more children were born to the family after Father's mission. The children of Alma Charles and Margaret Ann Miller Davis were:

        1. LETITIA ANN DAVIS LANT (1874-1919).
             She married JOHN TANNER LANT in 1897,
	     lived in Payson and Garland, Utah,
	     and had seven children:
	       LUCILE LANT OBERHANSLEY,
	       DONNA LANT BARNEY,
	       DAVID LESTER LANT (who died at age one),
	       JOHN GLEN LANT,
	       HAROLD LANT,
	       ERMA LANT SHULER, and
	       one boy who died at birth.
	2. MARGARET DAVIS HANSEN (1877-1959).
	     She wrote, "I was the second child in a family of 
	     twelve, so there was always plenty to do around the 
	     home.  My older sister became a school teacher, but 
	     my education ended with the eighth grade as I was 
	     needed at home to help mother ... 
	     I married Heber Johansen HANSEN on Nov. 23, 1898 
	     in the Salt Lake Temple.  When we had four small 
	     children, my husband was called to go to Norway on 
	     a mission ... we had five more children after his 
	     return ... Our nine children are:
	       HAROLD DAVIS HANSEN,
	       WILMA CHRISTINA HANSEN LUDLOW,
	       PREAL HANSEN SNOW,
	       HEBER EUGENE HANSEN,
	       MARY LaFAYE HANSEN McKELL,
	       WAYNE HANSEN,
	       LEE HANSEN,
	       AFTON HANSEN BRADFORD,
	       DALLAS DAVIS HANSEN, who died of meningitis
	         one month before his eighth birthday.
	     Two of our children have filled missions;
	     PREAL to Northwestern States and
	     EUGENE to Czechoslovakia.
	     Sorrow came to our house when WILMA's husband, 
	     DANIEL LUDLOW, was killed.  He left his wife with a 
	     small girl and a yet-to-be-born child.  WILMA moved 
	     back with us and here her son, DANIEL HANSEN LUDLOW, 
	     was born six weeks after his father's death.  DAN 
	     lived with us most of the time until he was married.  
	     He now (1966) teaches at BYU."  
	     (His son, VICTOR L. LUDLOW, also became a religion 
	     professor at BYU, and an author).
	3. JAMES MILLER DAVIS (1879-1919).
	     Since JIM was the eldest son, he took the 
	     responsibility for the family after his father's 
	     death in 1903,
	     "acting as father, friend and financial assistant 
	     for the family."  He worked in the mines in Eureka 
	     for several years, and then in 1905 he married 
	     Estella Ann LEWIS in the Salt Lake Temple.  
	     Shortly after his marriage he went to work for the 
	     Utah-Idaho Sugar Co., and continued in their employ 
	     until the time of his death.  
	     "JIM was sincerely religious, and expressed this 
	     conviction by subscribing to the brotherhood of man.  
	     He also laid considerable emphasis on the law of 
	     tithing, and felt that his many blessings were due 
	     in no small measure to his adherence to this law."  
	     JIM and STELLA had five children:
	       DALE DAVIS HART,
	       MILDRED DAVIS HATTON,
	       MAXINE DAVIS ANDERSON,
	       KATHRYN DAVIS REEDER, and
	       JAMES DOUGLAS DAVIS.
	     JIM's untimely death, in the flu epidemic of 1918-19,
	     robbed him of the pleasure of seeing his children 
	     grow to maturity.  His widow wrote in 1966: "I have 
	     remained a widow since (JIM's death).  Through much 
	     hard work, and many prayers, I have been able to 
	     maintain the family as a unit until the children 
	     have all completed college and established homes of 
	     their own.  In spite of the difficulties of an early 
	     widowhood, I have realized a life-long ambition of 
	     having our youngest child, DOUGLAS, fulfill a mission."
	4. ALMA CHARLES DAVIS, Jr. (1881-1942).
	     He was educated in Spanish Fork and at the Utah 
	     State Agricultural College in Logan, Utah.
	     He was an Elder in the Church.
	     He worked in Eureka, Utah, in the mines for many 
	     years.  After his marriage to Mary Ellen FLYGARE he 
	     settled in Salem, Utah, where he owned land and was 
	     a very successful farmer. His first wife Mary died 
	     in 1938, and he then married Agnes Lewis JACKSON and 
	     moved to Spanish Fork.  He had no children.  
	     ALMA CHARLES DAVIS Jr. died in 1942.
	5. JOHN ARCHIBALD DAVIS (1884-1900).
	     See below.
	6. MARY ELLEN DAVIS EVANS (1886-1911).
	     She married William M. EVANS 10 Jan 1906.  They 
	     lived in Spanish Fork a short time and then moved 
	     to Mammoth, Utah where her husband was employed.
	     They had two boys:
	       WILLIAM STERLING EVANS and
	       JENNINGS DAVIS EVANS.
	     In the summer of 1911 Mary became sick, leaving 
	     Mammoth and coming to the home of her mother where 
	     she stayed ten days and then passed away with 
	     Typhoid-Pneumonia, 16 July 1911, at age 25.  
	     Soon after her death her husband went to the temple 
	     and had her work done and the boys sealed to them.  
	     Their son W. STERLING EVANS was the Salt Lake County 
	     Clerk for many years.
	7. JANE ELIZABETH DAVIS (1890-1891).
	     She died of whooping cough at the age of nine months.
	8. HOWARD LEWIS DAVIS (1892-1949).
	     After graduation from high school in Spanish Fork,
	     he went to a business college in Salt Lake City.
	     He took a job with the Utah-Idaho Sugar Company in
	     Garland, Utah.  
	     He there met and married Ellen McFARLAND.  They lived 
	     in Spanish Fork, Salt Lake, and Idaho Falls,
	     but also had to travel a lot for Howard's work, going
	     to California, Colorado and other western states.
	     They became the parents of five children:
	       STERLING HOWARD DAVIS,
	       MELBA HELEN DAVIS JACK,
	       LILY BERYL DAVIS GRIFFITH,
	       MARY ELAYNE DAVIS, and
	       MARGARET ALLEN DAVIS
	     (the youngest two had not yet married at the time
	     the book was written in 1966, and were employed as
	     legal secretaries in Salt Lake City).
	     All of them in this family attended college,
	     and MELBA and LILY both served in the WAC before 
	     their marriages.  HOWARD Jr. was in combat in the 
	     Air Force during WWII.
	9. FARREL CHRISTINE DAVIS REESE (1894-1918).
	     After graduation from high school she lived in 
	     Payson, Utah, with her older sister until she met and 
	     married Amos REECE.  They moved to Salt Lake, where 
	     she died of the flu on Nov. 27, 1918, at age 24.
	     FARREL had one son,
	       NILES DAVIS REECE,
	     and was an active member of the Church.
	     "She was known for her ambition and spunk."
       10. WILMA DAVIS WETZEL (1897-1965).
             She was the tenth child born to the family and was 
	     teased by her older brothers as being "tithing".  
	     At the age of 18 she moved to Salt Lake City and 
	     resided with her older sister FARREL and worked at 
	     the Auerbach Department Store.  
	     WILMA married Franklin E. WETZEL in 1920, and they
	     had three children:
	       MARGARET, who died at birth,
	       DICK DAVIS WETZEL, who became a pediatrician
	         in Salt Lake City, and
	       ARDA WETZEL LEATHAM, who graduated in elementary
	         education and taught in the Salt Lake City 
		 schools before her marriage.
       11. VERNON MILTON DAVIS (1899-1951).
             When a young man VERNON went to Idaho Falls to work
	     and there he met and married Eva FIELDING in 1927.
	     VERNON stayed in Idaho Falls, and with his wife owned
	     and operated a very successful grocery business.
	     Although they had no children of their own, they were
	     very good and helpful to all their nieces and nephews.
       12. LILY BYRL DAVIS (1903-1918).
             "She was only nine months old when her father died,
	     and throughout her short life was a great comfort to
	     her mother."  She attended school in Spanish Fork.
	     The family had moved to Salt Lake City when the flu
	     epidemic hit, and she died of the flu on Nov. 29, 1918
	     at the age of fifteen.


"After his mission, Alma Charles Davis moved his family out on his farm a few miles west from Spanish Fork. Other families were also moving out to this area, and Father gave some land to the School Board to build a school house. It was also used for Sunday School and Sacrament meetings, being a branch from the Spanish Fork 2nd Ward. My father was called to preside over the branch, and in due time it was made into a ward, known as the Leland Ward. Don O. Markham was called as bishop, with Alma Charles Davis as 1st counselor and John H. Koyle as 2nd counselor.

In 1894, while they were serving in the bishopric together, Brother Koyle had his dream or vision of the controversial "Dream Mine" above Spanish Fork. After promoting it for many years (while he was serving as a bishop), Koyle was eventually excommunicated from the Church. The Dream Mine became his lifelong pursuit, and he persuaded many people, particularly in the Spanish Fork area, to purchase stock in it. Many still hold stock in this mine today, and many believe that it will yet be discovered, and that the prophecies given by Koyle will be fulfilled.



"While they were building the Leland Ward Meeting House, Father Alma Charles Davis was helping haul rock from the canyon. He was getting his ninth load of rock when his team backed down a hill and crushed him against a ledge of rock. Three of his ribs were broken, pressing against his heart and causing inflammation, which gave him a lot of trouble. During his illness about one year later he went to Eureka to visit with his boys who were working in the mines, and with his sister. While at his sister's home he took a stroke (probably a blood clot which formed because of the previous damage to his heart); they brought him home and he died four days later at age 55, on Sept. 24, 1903. Mother was left with ten children; the oldest, Letitia Ann or "Letty" Davis Lant being twenty-eight years old, and the youngest, Lily Byrl Davis, nine months.


THE FAMILY OF ALMA CHARLES DAVIS -- ABOUT 1910



"My father was a very religious man and liked to be friends with everyone. He went with the first company of men to locate a site for the reservoir for the Strawberry Water Project. He was Water Master for the South Field Irrigation Company and served as director for many years."

Alma Charles Davis and his wife Margaret Ann Miller are buried in the Spanish Fork cemetery, near his parents (Capt.) John Tucker Davis and Letitia Ann George. Her parents and other members of the Miller family are also buried nearby.


Information Compiled
by Karen Bray Keeley

INTERNET Adaptation
by Sandra S. Bray