Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War
Augustus Plummer Davis

The following article on A.P. Davis is taken from an August 16, 1888 article from The Wheeling Intelligencer. It was submitted by Virginia Simms Toney, Houston, Texas, April 20, 2000.


MAJOR A. P. DAVIS

The Originator and Founder of the Order of Sons of Veterans Major Augustus P. Davis was born in the city of Gardiner, Kennebeck county, State of Maine, May 10, 1835, and is therefore 53 years old. His family originally from Wales, came to this country from England shortly after the arrival of the Pilgrim Fathers, and located in and about Boston, Mass. Major Davis is a descendant of the same stock as Captain Isaac Davis, who fell April 19, 1775 at the battle of concord Bridge, the first engagement of the Revolutionary war. His great grandfather, Lieutenant Jacob Davis, of Rotbury, Mass, responded to the call of his country on that memorable day, and with his company was active and earnest in sustaining the cause of human liberty. His grandfather, Captain Jacob Davis, did faithful service for the country in the war of 1812. In the year 1819 he was a representative from the Province of Maine to the general Court in Massachusetts, and in the same year he was elected a delegate to the convention which arranged for and prepared the way for Maine becoming a State in the Union. Capt. Jacob Davis died in the year 1870 at his home in Gardiner, Maine, at the ripe age of 91 years, respected and honored by all who knew him. His father, Anthony G. Davis, was born in Gardiner, Maine, September 14, 1807. He died in Mapleton, Maine, on July 5, 1883. Through a long and active business and public life, he even enjoyed the full esteem and confidence of his many personal friends, his associates and the public at large.

The boyhood of Major Davis, up to the fourteenth year, was passed at his home in Gardiner. In the spring of 1849, and on the breaking out of the California excitement, he became imbued with the spirit of adventure, and as a sailor he took ship, and in charge of the captain, a friend of his family, he passed around Cape Horn to the new Eldorado. Arriving at San Francisco safely; he spent about a year in the country, and them returned to the ocean and took his occupation as a seaman. For the next nearly ten years he followed a sailor's life. During this time he served for a period in the United states navy, leaving the same as a petty officer. On the breaking out of the Crimean war he made his way across the ocean and as a volunteer entered the French (Ed note: English) Naval Marine Service, doing duty as a subordinate officer. At the close of that war he returned to the Merchant Service of the United States, and in the year 1860, having concluded to abandon his seafaring life (and after varied experience on the ocean wave), he returned to his home in Maine and engaged in business with his father.

On the breaking out of the civil war of 1861-1802{sic} Major Davis at once enlisted into the service of the Union, in one of the first regiments recruited in his native state. In due time he reached the rank of captain and was finally commissioned as such in the 11th regiment of Maine volunteers. During the year of 1863 he was transferred from his regiment to duty and service under the order of the Provost Marshal General of the war department. In the spring of 1865 he reached the grade of Major, and was honorably mustered out of service in the fall of said year, some six months after the close of the war. During the war the Major was conspicuously noted for his coolness on the field of battle and total disregard of personal danger, so much so that his superior officers expressed themselves in the most enthusiastic terms of praise in letters at the war's close.

On his retirement from the service Major Davis returned to his home in Maine and resumed his occupation as an insurance agent. He continued in the same until the spring of the year of 1872, when through failing health, resulting from wounds and disabilities incurred in the line of duty, he was obliged to leave his native state and seek a milder climate. After traveling some months in search of his health, he finally settled in Pittsburgh, PA where he now resides being well and favorably known as a fire underwriter in that city and section of the State.

Major Davis is a member of the Military Order of the Loyal Legion, the Grand army of the republic, and the Societies of the Army of the Potomac and the Army of the James. He is also prominently connected with different social and charitable organizations and in religious belief is connected with the Protestant Episcopal church, his ancestors having for many generations worshiped {sic} in that faith. The Major is a jolly old gentleman, always ready to drop everything to talk to an old soldier or a soldier's son, and enthusiastic in the work for the promotion of the S. of V's. He is getting along in years, and the duties involved in his position as superintendent of the badge department have necessitated the dropping of everything else and the giving of all his available time to the duties of his office. He is a hearty old soldier, a grasp of whose hand means something. A face all over which shines honesty and good nature. Weighing a goodly number of stone with long silvered locks, Major A.P. Davis may be said to form the beau ideal of a grizzled veteran. He loves to talk of his experiences, and an hour with him is worth a day of history. His wife is a pleasant lady and an active member of the Ladies' Aid Society, (the Auxillary {sic} of the Sons of Veterans). She enters in her husband's plans with interest, and has been a great help to him in his work for the Sons of Veterans.

HISTORY OF THE ORDER

How it has Become a Great Order with a Period of Eight Years. The order of the Sons of Veterans was organized in Pittsburgh November 12, 1881, by Major A.P. Davis and Mrs. Davis. There were eight boys, nearly all under fourteen years of age, present and from this humble beginning the organization has grown to be a vast army of about 80,000 men, 60,000 of whom are in actual good standing, uniformed and equipped, and has a foothold in every State of the Union except four. It extends from ocean to ocean and from the lakes to the gulf, and comprises in its membership many of the most distinguished men of the country. Strict military discipline prevails, the rules governing the Camps being more rigidly enforced than those of any other order. For this reason the membership is fluctuating.

The Sons of Veterans is destined to become one of the most thoroughly organized and equipped bodies in the country, and in this respect is far ahead of the G.A.R. whose place it will take within a generation. It is complete in all its appointments, the organization possessing all the features of an army; is commanded by a General, who is chief of all the divisions in the United states, and by reason of these features comprises a vast reserve army as efficient almost as the regular militia. It is predicted that in a very few years the order will have fully a half-million members. Some idea of its rapid growth may be obtained from the statements that during the past year 12,000 names have been added to the rolls. A properly equipped camp is uniformed, armed and drilled as a military company, the uniform being similar to that of the United states Army. A valuable and rapidly increasing auxiliary is the Ladies' Aid Society, organized about two years since. Its objects and aims are similar to those of the Womens' Relief Corps, and it is composed of the daughters of veterans and the daughters, sisters and wives of sons of veterans. Major Davis builded {sic} better than he knew when he started the ball rolling in Pittsburgh eight years ago.


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