|House of Andrus Davis, brother of William Davis and Pioneer in Orwell, Ontario.|
Here's what Sims has to say about William Davis, one of the pioneers of Elgin County:
Orwell (Temperanceville--Catfish Corners):
"Catfish Corners [an early name for Orwell] was just a stake in the earth when Deacon William Davis and his wife settled there after a lengthy journey from his home on Schohario, New York, in 1809. In this locality he obtained a large tract of land from the Crown and established the first gristmill. It was a stump mill made out of a hollowed out buttonwood stump. This type of mill was in use by many early settlers throughout Elgin County; it was replaced by the hand-mill or quern, which was made of field stones. The daily output of a stump mill was twenty bushels. William Davis was followed by his brothers Andrus, Daniel, Simeon, and Joel, and his sisters Hannah, Polly and the one that became Mrs. Brown in 1811. Deacon Davis lived on his farm until his death in 1865 at the age of seventy-nine. During his lifetime he helped clear a road through the woods to the site of St. Thomas and on eastward to Aylmer. He became a deacon in his church and organized the first Baptist church in the township and built the first school near Orwell. When Davis first arrived here in 1809, all he had to his name was $1.00 and an axe. At his death he left behind nine hundred acres of cleared land in Yarmouth and Malahide Townships. He served in the War of 1812. David F. Davis, his son, was born in Orwell in 1822. He married Mary Birdsall, and became a magistrate. He lived on the homestead until he moved to Aylmer.
Deacon Davis married twice. His first wife was Miss Leek [Temperance Leek--they married in the United States] and by this marriage he had five children: Richard, Hempstead, Warren, Septimus, and Mathatible (sic). By his second marriage to Mary Sibley he had eight children: Betsy Jane, Temperance, David F., Joel M., Adoniram J., Ursula, John, and Edwin E. Edwin moved to Dakota in 1881 and became part of the history of the Old West. The son of Warren Davis, William Andrew, sought his livelihood in Dakota where he died in 1908 at fifty-eight. His brother, George P. Davis, ended his days as a farmer in Watertown, Dakota....Joel Davis settled on four hundred acres east of Sparta around the year 1837. Joel Davis farmed for a short time, but hearing of the great tracts of land that were available in Illinois, he left and got 1,000 acres there. He then returned to Sparta to complete the closing of his estate. He fell ill at Fingal and died suddenly at twenty-seven years of age. His body was conveyed to Aylmer and buried. One of Joel Davis's sisters married John Brown who, along with William Andrew Davis, had the first saw and gristmill on Catfish Creek at Orwell in 1817...The old Andrus Davis house was a large frame house with four fireplaces and a huge hall on the upper floor which served as a ballroom on many occasions. The old Simeon Davis hotel that was located east of Roger's Corners was of similar architecture. The old house was built in 1830..."
|A stump mill was a hollowed-out stump with an oversized pestle to grind grain|
by hand. It was hard work. I can't believe William got 20 bushels a day from this!
|Quern or hand mill to grind wheat and other grains.|