DR. WILLIAM HAROLD DAVIS
ARLINGTON CITY MAYOR
Dr. William Harold Davis came to Arlington from Virginia in 1881 after receiving his medical degree from Baltimore, Maryland.
He was active in the social and civic life of the community and served as both alderman and mayor. While mayor he signed the first bond issued for the first sewer system of the town.
He was a charter member of the Arlington Chamber of Commerce and served as its first president.
Dr. Davis owned the third automobile in Tarrant County. He also owned hundreds of acres of land around Arlington and was noted for his progressive methods in farming and raising fine dairy cattle.
Thursday January 25, 1940
(The TARRANT COUNTY CITIZEN)
Death Ends Colorful Career Of Dr. Wm. Harold Davis
Dr. William Harold Davis, 81, physician and surgeon here for 53 years, died early Wednesday at his home. He had been ill for the last 27 months as a result of a partial stroke of paralysis.
Dr. Davis was born in Smythe County, Va., Dec. 12, 1858. He attended neighborhood school, two sessions at an agricultural college and two years under a preceptor before he entered Physicians and Surgeons College, now combined with the State University at Baltimore, Md. He was graduated from the college in time to have his kit filled and go down to Washington the morning of March 4, 1881, to hear President Hayes inaugurated.
Texas was considered "the jumping off place" at that time, but Dr. Davis saw opportunity in the new State, and set out on the 10-day trip. He landed safely at Handley, for some reason he never later could recall, and set up practice.
Dr. Davis spent $25 of his $65 capital for a quick-stepping pony. A saddle took $30 more. He accepted the offer of sleeping quarters at the back of a drug store and waited for his first patient.
Three days later, breaking his picket rope in a storm, the pony was crippled. It hardly would have been more tragic if the doctor had lost his medicine kit. The Handley folks, however, were neighborly. They lent him a horse, and it wasn't long before he got one of his own for treating two cases of scarlet fever.
Arlington with its bigger population and frequent gun battles looked more profitable to Dr. Davis after six years of treating Handley's aches and pains, and he made the move.
Frequently he recalled that at the time he opened his Arlington office there were seven saloons in the town and seven "feuds" of every saloon. Consequently, though malaria raged in those days, he administered first aid for gunshot wounds oftener than he measured out quinine.
After a few years he was appointed city physician, a post he held for 20 years.
Once in a wholesale shooting on the railroad station platform on Christmas Eve, four men were shot to death and another was so seriously wounded that he lived barely long enough to be taken to the county jail and made comfortable on a cot. Dr. Davis took him to the jail on a midnight train and had to wait in Fort Worth until he could get a train back the next day. When he got back the town was in an uproar. The shooting had been the outburst of an old feud. It involved dozens. Two men came to the doctor and got a list of all his patients, so that if he were needed quickly it wouldn't be difficult to find him.
Shortly after arriving in Arlington Dr. Davis joined partnership with the late Dr. H. C. Stevens. The partnership lasted four years, until Dr. Stevens moved to Fort Worth.
Dr. Davis was interested in the growth of Arlington and took part in many civic enterprises. He served as both alderman and mayor. While mayor he signed the first bond issue for the first sewer system of the town. He also was a charter member of the Arlington Chamber of Commerce and served it as president.
He was active in the Fort Worth and Tarrant County Medical Association and at one time served as vice president of the body.
Dr. Davis also was a charter member of the Arlington Knights of Pythias Lodge. He was an elder of the Arlington Presbyterian Church at the time of his death.
Pilitias was another of his interests. A lifelong Democrat, at one time he was a member of the Tarrant County executive committee.
Notwithstanding his other interests, Dr. Davis' chief delight was his automobile. (unreadable) more patients on horseback, than by horse and buggy.
When automobiles came, Dr. Davis was the owner of the third one in Tarrant County. Then for (unreadable) he found himself unpopular. Farmers saw the car chugging down the road and rushed out brandishing shotguns. His machine scared their horses.
Dr. Davis is survived by his widow; two sons, Olin Davis, 1419 Thomas Place, Fort Worth, and Dr. Charles H. Davis, Arlington; two daughters, Mrs. G. C. Thompson and Mrs. W. Harold Watson, Arlington, and seven grandchildren.
Funeral services were conducted at 2:30 p.m. Thursday at the Arlington Presbyterian Church. Rev. John H. Patterson, pastor, and Rev. S. M. Bennett, past pastor, of the church, and Rev. A. M. Hall, pastor of the Arlington Methodist Church officiated. Burial was in the Arlington Cemetery.
Pallbearers were Charles Coulter, Walter Leverett, Francis Harvey, Will G. Hiett, Web Rose, John Houston and Champ Barnes, all of Arlington, and George Beggs of Fort Worth.
Death Certificate transcription:
Name William Harold Davis
Event Type Death
Event Date 24 Jan 1940
Event Place Arlington, Tarrant, Texas, United States
Marital Status Married
Birth Date 12 Dec 1858
Father's Name H P Davis
Mother's Name Snavely
Certificate Number 5352
Citing this Record
"Texas, Deaths, 1890-1976," database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:K3MK-3WY : accessed 16 October 2015), William Harold Davis, 24 Jan 1940; citing certificate number 5352, State Registrar Office, Austin; FHL microfilm 2,118,470
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