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Davis Cemetery

Section 36, Township 14 North, Range 5 West (New Boston Township). See New Boston plat map for location. Also see Kevin Martin's map #6 on the Cemeteries Page (link above). In May of 2000 a Davis Cemetery Association was formed. They have done major cleanup at the cemetery (see photos below) and have had an access road made. Larry McHenry is Secretary of the Davis Cemetery Corporation (not for profit). If you plan to visit the cemetery contact Larry at or email "Larryonthebay" at "" (put the two parts together without the italics and use the @ symbol for at).

To reach Davis Cemetery: The access road is off Bluff Road between Joy and New Boston. Go east at the intersection of Bluff Road and 65th Avenue. The hilly gravel road leads to flattened corn fields, which go north to the cemetery.

The tombstones in the Davis Cemetery were censused by the William Dennison Chapter of the DAR in the early 1960's. The results are included in Volume 6 of the National DAR Books "Mercer County, Illinois Cemetery Records" (1966). An index to the surnames in the DAR books for Davis Cemetery by surname and given name is on the IlGenWeb Mercer County Web Site (see Mercer County Research Resources and scroll down to Illinois Gen Web for instructions on how to access the indexes). There are many errors in the DAR records, the tombstones were old and worn when read, and errors were made in transcription, so be forewarned.

Larry McHenry, Vice President of the New Boston Historical Society and Secretary of the Davis Cemetery Association has researched the Davis Cemetery and will do lookups at the email address above. The DAR list above includes only 38 surnames. Larry's list of 55 surnames includes: Aubrey, Beeson, Bird, Bloomer, Brewer, Carr, Cook, Criss, Cunningham, Danford, Davis, Davison, Dennison, Dobbins, Faulkner, Garrison, Glancey, Hall, Halsted, Hollingsworth, Hubbard, Hurst, Jack, Jackson, James, Jenkins, Jones, Kile, Kirlin, Lingafelter, McDaman, Meredith, Miller, Mills, Mitchell, Mossman, Noble, Olson, Palmer, Sanford, Shields, Sisk, Strong, Swafford, Terrell, Tomkins, VanEaton, Venable, Vinarit, Wade, Waters, Whitlock, Willits, Wilson and Wolf/Wolfe. The information was taken from hard to read documents that were very worn. So as in any document of this type, the information may have many errors. It is intended to be a guide only. It is up to you to determine the accuracy of any information you receive. As always the information comes from several sources, including articles and obits from newspapers, cemetery records, stones, history books, land documents, birth and death certificates, marriage licenses, and from memories of family members. Every one of the sources is subject to errors! Larry McHenry kindly furnished the following historical information on the Davis Cemetery.

"Mrs. Mahala Willits and Mrs. Evaline C. Swafford relate the following story: In 1835 Mr. William Jack and his wife and son and daughter were moving from Fayette county, Indiana to Mercer county Illinois by boat. When between Oquawka and New Boston, Mrs. Jack died of Cholera. The stricken husband and children landed at New Boston and the remains of Mrs. Jack were taken to the residence of John Denison, and were buried where the New Boston Cemetery now is; Mrs. Erastus Denison, being the only person buried at the place previous to the interment of Mrs. Jack. The bereaved husband and two children went to the residence of Joseph Glancey who then resided on what is known as the Davis farm in New Boston Township. At ten o'clock on the day following the day of the burial of Mrs. Jack, the son (Samuel) took the cholera and died at four o'clock in the afternoon of the same day, and was buried on the bluff where the Davis Grave yard now is; he was the first person buried there." (History of Mercer County, Illinois 1882, page 513)

On April 3, 1841, Adam Davis of Mercer County, Illinois, conveyed to William Willits, Martin M. Kellog, and William Prouty, as Trustees, a tract of land located in the Southeast Quarter of Section 36, Township 14 North, Range 5 West of the 4th P.M., New Boston Township, Mercer County, Illinois, for the purposes of a burial ground (now known as the Davis Cemetery).

At the time of this conveyance, the cemetery connected to the existing State Route that connected Knoxville, Illinois to New Boston and then by the ferry connected Knoxville to Iowa City as it was the Capital of Iowa in 1839.

There are four Civil War Veterans buried here. Levi Jackson, Pvt. Co. G 30th., Ill. Voluntary Inf. 5/22/1862; William Lingafelter, Pvt. Co. B 65th. , Ill. Voluntary Inf. 1900; Theodore Glancey, 2nd. Lt. Co. F 17 , Ill. Voluntary Inf. 8/26/1880; and F. C. VanEaton, Pvt. Co. H 84th. , Ill. Voluntary Inf. and Co. F and 2nd. Ill. Voluntary Inf. 9/17/1876.

One freed Slave is buried here: Charles H. McDaman, 1840 - 1913. Captain W. A. Lorimer of Company I. 17th Regiment engaged him (Charles) for personal service in which capacity he proved to be both faithful and efficient. Captain Lorimer came home with the veterans whose time had expired, but had re-enlisted to return to service after a short furlough, Charley remained with Lieutenant Theodore Glancey until the regiment mustered out at Springfield, Illinois. One month later, when Theodore Glancey returned to Mercer County from his duties in the Civil War, he brought with him the former slave, Charles H. McDaman, to the Glancey farm four miles north of Keithsburg, where the slave found in this kind hearted pioneer family a home. With characteristic devotion he was faithful to the interests of these friends making his home with them until by the just remuneration of his labors and industry he secured a small tract of land, adjacent to the Glancey farm, where he lived the remainder of his life, a good neighbor to all the surrounding citizens. McDaman, his wife, Rosella, and their two children, a son, Cannie and a daughter, Mary E. were the first black family to reside in Mercer County. They are all buried in Davis Cemetery near his friend, Theodore Glancey. It is said that Mr. McDaman left money for the upkeep of the cemetery, but the funds where lost with the failure of the Keithsburg Bank. In past years the upkeep of the Davis Cemetery was the responsibility of New Boston Township.

There are over two hundred and twenty two burials in this cemetery.

Larry McHenry has much more information on the modern odyssey to clean up the cemetery and get an access road established.
Davis Cemetery before and after cleanup - photos courtesy of Lois Retherford