In Search of Daniel

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My trip north included, besides the furniture shopping and visiting an old friend in Pittsburgh, a trip to Somerset to see if I could find clues to the parents of Daniel E. Davis, my third great grandfather, born in 1814 in Middletown, Dauphin county, Pennsylvania and died in 1892 in Somerset, Pennsylvania. The members of the historical society were wonderfully helpful in talking through the facts that I had to get figure out points to search on.


I sat down with their card catalog of obituaries and started my search from there. By the time I was done I had found several obituaries on Daniel, one for his wife Margaret, whose death date I did not have and the obituaries of his children and their wives. I am only now missing the wife of his youngest son, Edward O. Davis.


Some of the new bits of information that I gathered about Daniel was that he had, after moving to Somerset in 1839, decided to try his luck in Minnesota. From what the obituary stated, he only stayed there a short year or two before returning to Somerset to live out his life. He was a shoemaker and seemed to have stayed that for the majority of his employed life. He did, while Judge Jeremiah S. Black was in court, become Judge Black’s court crier. He seemed to have been well connected with friends of power as another obituary claims that he was good friends with Senator Simon Cameron.


From the obituary it states that he and Senator Cameron were friends in Middletown and both moved to Somerset at the same time, which would have been in 1839. I did a bit of searching to see what I could turn up on the Senator and if it lined up with what I was reading in the obit.


The birth of Senator Cameron was in Lancaster County, from which Dauphin county would take a portion. Senator Cameron did live in Middletown, Dauphin County according to the in 1840 and 1850 Census. If he had moved to Somerset in 1839, he didn’t remain there. By 1850 he had 5 children, one son, James Donald Cameron, would also become a senator and was married. From the biographies I have found, Senator Cameron was an orphan at the age of 9, and worked his way from near poverty to a very wealthy man. By 1822, when Daniel was 8, Senator Cameron was a publisher and editor of a newspaper in Harrisburg. Ten years later he was the president of the Middletown Bank, which he had established and two railroad companies. He became a senator from 1845 through 1861, not all inclusive and was appointed as Secretary of War by President Lincoln. He would lose a brother in the first battle of Bull Run, Colonel James Cameron. His involvement in politics would continue through the majority of the rest of his life.


In 1870, the county of Cameron, Pennsylvania was developed and named for Senator Simon Cameron. Senator Simon Cameron would die, June 27, 1889.


From all of this, all I can assertion is that Grandfather was fairly well connected, if they truly were friends. Outside of both coming from Middletown, Pennsylvania, I am having trouble making other connections.


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