"History of Lincoln, Oneida, and Vilas Counties Wisconsin"

Compiled by George O.Jones, Norman S. McVean and Others. Printed in 1924 by H.C.Cooper. Jr. & Co., Minneapoli-Winona MN. ill. 787 pages. The first two hundred pages are history of the three counties, the remainder of the book is biographies.


Davies, Rev. William J. pastor of the Congregational Church and Society at and in the vicinity of Eagle River, Vilas County, who for a number of years has been actively engaged in religious and charitable work, was born in Wales, Nov. 27, 1873, son of William S. and Janes DAVIES. His parents were also natives of that country and the father a miner by occupation. In 1887, to better their condition, they came with their family to the United States, settling at Wilkesbarre, in the mining district of Pennsylvania. Later they moved to Scranton, then to Port Royal, then to Johnstown, then Kingston, the father continuing to work as a miner. Born in Wales July 2, 1846, he died in Plymouth, Pa., Feb. 18, 1920. His wife Jane, born July 4, 1849, died in October, 1916. Their family number five children: Mary J., now Mrs. Benjamin AMOS, of Plymouth, Pa.; William J., now of Eagle River, Wis.; Stephen O., a salesman living in Chicago; Sarah, wife of James BOYD of Cannonsburg, Pa.; and Emrys L., of Scranton, Pa. William J. DAVIES as a boy attended a common school in Wales until he was 12 years old, when, the family being poor, he went to work in the coal mines. It was about two years later that they all came to America, and he was employed consecutively in the coal mines, steel and tin plate mills, and finally operated a bakery in Newcastle, Pa., until 1909. In that year he went to Chicago with the intention of entering the Moody Bible Institute, but on finding that he did not have money enough to complete the course, he went instead to Hirscher, Ill., where he was placed in charge, as pastor, of the Evangelical Church, a position that he held for two years. In 1911 he returned to Chicago and entered the Moody Bible Institute, taking a two-year course, being orgained as a minister in 1913. Then to complete his pastoral training, he took a two-year course in The Chicago Theological Seminary, after which he served for two years and a half as pastor of a church at Fox Lake, Wis. On July 1, 1917, Mr. DAVIES came to Eagle River, becoming associate pastor of the Vilas County Missionary Field with the Rev. George WATERS. After Mr. WATERS left he was alone in the field for three years, having 17 rural places to cover, but later the parish was divided and other ministerial assistance obtained, relieving him of a part of the work, which was too much for one man to handle effectively. In addition to the Eagle River Congregational Church, Sunday schools and preaching services are maintained by him in a number of rural school neighborhoods, at Sayner and as far west as Manitowish district. Mr. DAVIES has also proved effective as a charity worker, most of his work of this kind being done outside the village of Eagle River, in Vilas County, where many of the settlers have been recently in hard circumstances. In 1922 he took care of 45 families, furnishing them with clothing and other necessities, which he receives from 20 different churches; he also looks after the sick, seeing that they have proper medical treatment. The money needed for this work he obtains by giving vocal concerts as the different resorts during the summer months. His musical ability comes to him almost as a matter of birth and race. Wales being a country noted for its many fine singing societies and the general interest taken in voice culture. Mr. DAVIES has also given some attention to instrumental music. When he first came to Eagle River the local band was in hard circumstances and struggling under adverse conditions. He became its director and soon infused new interest into the organization. New uniforms were obtained for its 25 members with the aid of the local Inter-Se Club, a minstrel show by Camp Winnepe boys, and money obtained by playing at concerts and outdoor celebrations; and in 1922 a new set of instruments was purchased, so the band now has a good equipment and its members are taking a new interest in their work. While this country was engaged in the World War Mr. DAVIES did some good home work, serving as chairman of the Salvation Army Commission of Vilas County, also as a worker in the different loan drives, and as chairman of the Near East Relief Committee of Vilas County, which outdistanced all other counties in the state in proportion to their quotas. Mr. DAVIES has also been working for a new Congregational church and parsonage in Eagle River, which will be bult in the year 1924. He has made himself loved by the poor people of his district and respected by the citizens of the county generally. Mr. DAVIES was married in October, 1897, at Wilkesbarre, Pa., to Elizabeth AMOS, daughter of William and Mary (DAVIES) AMOS, her parents being natives of Wales who came to the United States in 1882, the father subsequently working as a miner in Wilkesbarre until his death. Mr. and Mrs. DAVIES have been the parents of five children: William T., born in Scranton, Pa., June 16, 1899, who entered the U.S. navy in World War service, and died soon after his discharge, whose further record will be given in this article; Mildred, born Nov. 17, 1901, in New Castle, Pa., who is now a student in Ripon College; Mary, born July 10, 1904, in Newcastle, Pa, also a student at Ripon; Margaret E., born Sept. 26, 1912, in Chicago, Ill., a pupil in the public school in Eagle River; and Evelyn R., born Jan. 26, 1918, in Eagle River, Wis.

Transcribed by Susan Swanson, from pages 452-453, History of Lincoln, Oneida and Vilas Counties Wisconsin; Compiled by George O. Jones, Norman S. McVean and Others 1924, H. C. Cooper, Jr. & Co

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