Professor Davis is probably more fully identified with the educational interests of the county than any other man. He was born in the county June 21, 1847, attended the public schools until fifteen years of age, and then a term at the Clarion Collegiate Institute at Rimersburg. In 1863 he was employed as a farm hand at six dollars per month, working from early morn to evening twilight.
On the 20th of February, 1864, he enlisted as a private in the Civil War, and was assigned to Battery B, Third Pennsylvania Artillery, One Hundred and Fifty-second Regiment Pennsylvania Volunteers; was attached to the "Naval Brigade," and did gunboat service in Eastern Virginia and Eastern North Carolina; was with the armies of the James and the Potomac during the siege of Richmond and Petersburg.
On his discharge, in July, 1865, he returned home and again took up his studies at the school in Rimersburg; then taught in the public schools of the county, alternately teaching and attending schools, among others the State Normal School, until the summer of 1869, when he took charge as principal of the West Freedom Academy, which position he held for three years, conducting the institution with marked success.
In 1874 Mr. Davis was elected principal of the Clarion Collegiate Institute, where he remained until chosen superintendent of public schools of Clarion county, May, 1875. He entered upon the duties of his office with a degree of energy, perseverance and tact, that merited the two re-elections to the same position that followed in succession, and during the eight years and fifteen days that he remained superintendent it is safe to say that no other county in the State experienced a more rapid advancement in the grade of her common schools or in the proficiency of her teachers.
While at West Freedom Professor Davis organized the first company of the National Guard of Pennsylvania in the county, and was, elected captain of the same. In May, 1876, he was elected major of the Seventeenth Regiment National Guard of Pennsylvania, and in 1877 was appointed judge advocate of the Seventh Division on the staff of General Huidekoper.
He was married December 23, 1875, to Miss Anna M. Kerr. In March, 1883, he was tendered a position as statistic clerk in the department of public instruction, which he accepted after some deliberation, and was appointed April 1st. During the incumbency of this clerkship he was sent to Alaska under the joint auspices of the National Bureau of Education and the Board of Home Missions of the Presbyterian Church, and spent several months in that territory, organizing industrial and training schools for native children at Sitka. On his return he resumed his position in the department of public instruction, and continued to hold the same until February, 1887, when he resigned, having accepted the position of principal of the State Normal School at Clarion, Pa.
He is a regular graduate of Edinboro State Normal School, and holds an honorary diploma from the National Normal University of Lebanon, Ohio. In 1886 he was tendered the nomination for Congress in his district, which he declined.
Source: History of Clarion County; Davis, A. J.; Syracuse, NY; D. Mason and Co., 1887.