What's on this page:
On related pages:
- A group photo showing B. F. Davis and others with President
Mckinley in 1886
This was a "Featured
Photo" posting on the home page in 2013. I have additional information
to add about Benjamin Davis, but for now I'm putting this page up with
the earlier post, to be updated.
Group photo with B. F. Davis
- including a U.S. president and a presidential home!
[THERE IS ALSO MORE INFORMATION about this photo on a
related page about Christian T. Miller.]
photo comes from Bill Davis, and when I first
posted it I wondered whether the Benjamin Davis purportedly shown in
the 1886 photos above would have been the same B. F. Davis who had the
feed mill. When he originally sent the photo Bill wrote: Freeland
'movers and shakers'. No names other than B F Davis is 9th from the
left or 8th from the right. After looking at the picture with other
software, I think it is a fraternal group. On the right side of the
picture, several people are wearing large round medals with a head on
them. I have not found a source for fraternal organizations to compare
with. Why not post the picture on the Freeland web site and ask
visitors if they have any information." When I emailed him recently to
let him know that I'd posted the photo, he took a look and sent this
follow-up note: That is the BF Davis who owned the Feed Mill and was my
grandfather. His son William M
Davis I, and his son William M Davis II
continued to operate the feed mill until the 60's (?). I have no other
info on the picture as all my relatives from that era are gone.
According to Bradsby's History
of Luzerne County, Benjamin F. Davis was born at Buck Mountain
and was a dealer in flour, feed, hay and grain in Freeland. His feed
mill and store opened sometime between 1888 and 1895, as it's listed in
the 1895 city directory but not in the one for 1888. It lasted for
approximately 70 years in Freeland, at Johnson and Birkbeck streets. On
the page about 20th-century feed mills,
there's an entry for the B. F.
Davis feed mill with a photo from Ed Merrick taken just
after the 1964 fire that burned down the building had been put out. The
feed mill had closed just a few years before the fire happened.
In the photo from Danny Balon showing part of the celebration
of Freeland's 10th anniversary, Ben
Davis would have been about 37. For the photo shown above, though, we
don't have a
date yet, but keep reading and you'll see that we now have an
approximate idea as to what it might be. I had posted this photo as an
open mystery, asking for assistance, and Charlie Gallagher took on the
challenge. At first he walked around Freeland looking for existing
homes to see if he could see any possible matches, and he identified a
few in the old part of town with the same door and window
configurations, but there was nothing conclusive. A little later he
sent this note:
>> Now I may be way off base here..
>> Here's the answer..
>> (Ted Williams missed 60% in his best year)
>> But, here's my theory..
>> Mr. Davis must have been a political animal to be appointed
>> Now this is only a theory, but I don't believe the picture may
>> at Freeland at all.
>> The person in the center of the photograph with the top hat
appears to be
>> President McKinley.
>> I think this may have been a Republican Party meeting or
delegates to a
>> As Mr. Davis appears younger than when he was appointed
postmaster and he
>> was postmaster throughout the McKinley years.
>> If the person is in the middle is McKinley, it appears that he
>> than when he became President.
>> This picture may be of both gentlemen before they held office.
>> Maybe late 1880's early 1890's.
>> This may have been laying the groundwork for his appointment.
>> Look at a photo of McKinley and compare it to your image.
Well, wow!!! Sure enough, that's William McKinley there in the center
of the photo. But where was that house? Charlie did a bit more reading
and sent this follow-up note:
>> Same House (you can see the lanterns better on this photo
running across the roof line).
>> It's also on the William McKinley
page on Wikipedia.
>> About halfway down.
>> It's McKinley's home in Oil City, PA [Correction from
Katherine Miller 7-2015: Canton, Ohio]
>> And yes, I recognized him from memory once I started paying
attention to the people and not the building.
>> Sister Philomena at St. Ann's said I never studied !!
>> Ha !!
So I sent all that back to Bill Davis, who wrote back: "Thanks so much
for this information. I have learned more in a few emails than I ever
knew. Yes, from all I have heard, my family has always been into the
Republican Party. So much so than when I tried to get an appointment to
West Point from the Congressman for the Freeland area, I was turned
down because of the political ties of my relatives. So, I went to Penn
Amazing what can be learned from these old photos. Thanks to Danny
Balon, Bill Davis, Charlie Gallagher, and everyone who enjoys these
pages. Your comments and contributions of information and photos are