YUBA COUNTY OBITS
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ORESTA FRANK DAVIS
Daily Ledger - 9/6/1880, p3 - Murdered - Information reached this city by telegraph about one o'clock to-day that the body of Mr. O. F. Davis formerly of this city had been found on the track of the Southern Pacific Railroad east of Tucson. No particulars are obtainable up to this time. Mr. Davis was in the employ of C. N. Dickey & Co., for some time, during which he made a large circle of warm friends. In a letter to Mr. Dickey, written some ten days ago, deceased stated that he was in charge of a railroad office, near the locality of his subsequent murder, and that he was about to go out to repair a telegraph line some distance from his headquarters. It is probable that it was on this journey that he was made the victim of one of the many atrocious murders which are so often reported from Arizona. Mr. Davis left Marysville about the 25th of June for Tucson. - - Later. - The body of O. G. Davis was found on the railroad track 2 miles west of Panton's this morning mangled to such an extent that it was recognized only by the clothing. He had evidently been murdered and thrown on the track. The body is not in a condition for transportation. We brought it here and turned it over to the coroner.
Daily Appeal - 9/7/1880, p3 - Sad Death of O. F. Davis - Yesterday came the sad news of the death of Oresta Frank Davis. The first information received was a telegram from the Railroad Superintendent to Chas. E. Swezy, a brother-in-law of the deceased. It read as follows: "The body of O. F. Davis was found on the railroad track two miles west of Pantano this morning mangled to such an extent that it was recognized only by his clothing. He had evidently been murdered and thrown on the track. Break the sad news to his folks. The body is not in condition for transportation. We bring it here and turn it over to the Coroner." Later in the day William Hirsh, formerly an operator in this city, but now located at Tucson, and J. Ross Trayner, who was recently employed in Wells, Fargo & Co.'s office here, telegraphed that they had just returned to Tucson with the body. In the evening the following dispatch to the press was forwarded to the Appeal office: "O. F. Davis, employed by the Southern Pacific Railroad at the washout near Pantano was run over Sunday night and his body frightfully mangled. His remains were not discovered until to-day, after the second train had passed over the body. The head of the deceased was found fifty feet from the body." - The first information, vague and mysterious, indicated that deceased was murdered, but the later communication makes this doubtful. It is understood that he was located at Pantona, and it was his duty to spend the evening at a small office down the road near the frontier where he was found, returning to the larger station after telegraphing that the last train had passed. It is therefore supposed that he might, after telegraphing the train, have sought to avoid a lonesome walk of two miles by boarding the train from which he fell, though this is but supposition. Private telegrams received in the evening stated that the remains would be sent from Tucson to Marysville this morning in charge of J. Ross Trayner. - Deceased was slightly past the age of twenty-one years, and was well known in this city where he had many friends, and where his father, B. F. Davis resides. He has been engaged in various offices here, but for some time past was a clerk at the store of C. N. Dickey & Co., and was a polite and gentlemanly employe. On the morning of the 10th of August, in company with Mr. Trayner, another young man of this place, he left for Arizona to seek a new home and other business. Letters received afterward indicated that both succeeded quickly in their desires. This is a sad ending of his laudable venture, and is a terrible blow to his devoted mother, for he was the only son.
Daily Ledger - 9/7/1880, p3 - Death of O. F. Davis - From the information received in time for our last evening's issue the conclusion that Mr. Davis had been murdered was the only surmise that could be made. Later advices, however, throw some doubt on the original theory, and indications are that the deceased was run over in attempting to board the train while in motion. A private dispatch received here at one o'clock to-day, contradicts the Press dispatch which stated that the head was severed from the body. Such is not the case. Mr. Ross Trayner is expected to arrive in this city on Thursday evening in charge of the body. Prior to that date nothing further or more definite can be ascertained. We were unable to obtain the Coroner's jury verdict at the inquest held yesterday at Tucson. The untimely and horrible death of a beloved son is a heavy blow to the parents, whom but a few weeks ago he left in the full promise of growing manhood.
Daily Appeal - 9/8/1880, p2 - Died: Near Pantona, Arizona, September 5th, Oresta Frank Davis, only son of B. F. and Lydia J. Davis, of Marysville, aged 21 years, 8 months and 17 days. (Notice of funeral to-morrow.) Daily Appeal - 9/8/1880, p3 - Death of O. F. Davis - Nothing further has been learned here in regard to the sudden death of O. F. Davis, which occurred either by accident or murder in Arizona Sunday night, except that the press report of the head being found fifty feet from the body was incorrect. The remains will arrive here Thursday evening in charge of J. R. Trayner. The date of the funeral has not been fixed yet. The Native Sons of the Golden West hold a meeting to-night to make arrangements to attend the funeral.
Daily Ledger - 9/9/1880, p3 - In Memoriam. Whereas, It has pleased Almighty God to remove from our midst our beloved companion, O. F. Davis, Resolved, That we, the officers and members of Marysville Parlor of Natives Sons of the Golden West, keenly lament his untimely death and sincerely tender to his sorrowing family in their severe bereavement our heartfelt sympathies. Resolved, That these resolutions be entered upon our minutes, and that the Secretary be instructed to transmit a copy to the family of the deceased, and one to each of the city papers for publication. Committee: Geo. T. Gribner, W. J. Andrews, B. F. Sooy, Phil. W. Griffiths
Daily Appeal - 9/9/1880, p3 - The Remains - The remains of O. F. Davis, killed in Arizona a few days since, will arrive this afternoon in charge of J. B. Trayner. Fred P. Schworm, who since early boyhood has been almost a constant companion of deceased, went to Lathrop yesterday to meet the remains. The funeral will take place at 10 o'clock to-morrow from the M. E. Church.
Daily Appeal - 9/10/1880, p3 - Probable Murder of O. F. Davis - Last evening J. R. Trayner returned to this city with the remains of Oresta Frank Davis, a meager account of whose death in Arizona last Sunday night has already been published as telegraphed. From Mr. Trayner further particulars of the sad affair are learned. The two young men left this city August 10th to seek employment along the lines of the Southern Pacific Railroad in Arizona. Shortly after reaching Tucson Mr. Davis was employed as telegraph operator and taken out on the road where repairing was being done. About twenty-five or thirty miles beyond Tucson eight or ten miles of graded track had been destroyed by a flood and three construction trains were engaged there in building trestles over that space. It was necessary to have an operator to take and receive orders and accordingly the line was tapped and a set of instruments placed under a rude shed and here the young operator settled down to steady work, passing almost his entire time at his post, having another employe for company at night. Last Sunday he went into Pantano, a small station three miles further from Tucson and spent the evening there. He made some purchases and started to walk back to his station about 12 o'clock in a fearless, cheerful and entirely sober condition. The next morning a trackman found the mangled remains on the track about one mile from his station. Three trains had passed over the body, cutting it up and leaving no vital part in a condition to show whether there were knife or bullet holes. The place where he was found was at a sharp curve where it was impossible for an engineer to see more than a few feet in front of the engine even in the day-time. The body was literally torn to pieces in a manner to [sic] horrible to describe. It was known that he had no money and wore no weapon. In his pocket was a watch, but upon the inside of the case a photograph was indelibly stamped, so that a robber would not have retained it. This was found, but the chain had been severed apparently by a knife. Many of the workmen employed about there were reckless and desperate characters, being Indians, Mexicans, half breeds and of every nationality almost. The remains were examined at Tucson and an inquest resulted in a verdict that "deceased was killed by a train of cars, though it is unknown whether foully or by accident." The first train that passed had blood and flesh upon the wheels of the engines and the others did not, proving that he had not fallen from a train. Neither of the engineers saw the body. One reported having seen what he supposed was a coat that had been thrown away, but heard no cry, felt no jar, and therefore paid no especial attention to the object. Railroad men in that locality feel sure that deceased was attacked, and left upon the track. It was horrible death and a tragic ending of the young man. The funeral services will take place from the M. E. Church to-day, at 10 o'clock, the procession moving first from the family residence on Seventh street. The members of the Native Sons of the Golden West will attend in a body, and the Pacific Brass Band, of which deceased was a member, will be present. There will doubtless be a large attendance of people who knew the young man.
Daily Ledger - 9/10/1880, p3 - Probable Murder - The original theory advanced by this journal regarding the probable murder of O. F. Davis was confirmed by the further particulars received last evening. The young man was employed as a telegraph operator on the Southern Pacific Railroad. A washout beyond Tucson was being repaired and as a large number of men were employed in bridging over the gap it became necessary to have telegraphic connection with the spot. Mr. Davis was dispatched to fill the position of temporary operator where the line had been tapped. The instrument not working satisfactorily he went to a small station called Pantona, three miles distant, on Sunday last, and having accomplished his errand started back. His departure from the latter place is the last tidings known of him until the following morning when the trackman in his daily rounds found the mangled remains as heretofore described. So complete is the mutilation that even if it were known that the deceased had been murdered, the body would not furnish any evidence on the point. The engineer on one of the three construction trains engaged in the work of repairing the road, reports that he saw by the glow of the head-light an object lying prostrate on the road but he was not able to discover precisely what it was, and no attention was paid to it. From this it would seem that no reason exists for the supposition that he was killed in attempting to board the train. The coroner's jury at Tucson were unable to find any clue as to the cause of his death, but simply returned a general verdict. Many of the employees in that region are of a desperate character and would not hesitate to take human life for the most trifling pecuniary reward. The general opinion among those conversant with the circumstances is that Mr. Davis has been foully dealt with and what little is known points inevitably to the same conclusion. A watch was found upon the body but was so marked as to furnish a clue to the identity of the murderers had they retained it. The funeral took place from the Methodist Church according to announcement, this morning. The building was crowded with friends of the deceased, who filled the church before the arrival of the remains. Rev. P. L. Carden conducted the obsequies and long before their conclusion there were but few dry eyes in the house. The intimate associations of the deceased among those with whom he grew up from early childhood, his many excellent qualities, the horrible and untimely ending of this young and promising life, and the overpowering grief of the sorrow-stricken parents and relatives of the young man filled every heart with a profound sorrow and sympathy. The uniform of the Pacific Band, which deceased had worn in his lifetime, laid upon the casket, which was likewise covered with a profusion of floral tributes. The bank preceded the delegation of the Native Sons of the Golden West, of which he was a member, in the mournful procession to the last resting place. - The following acted as pall bearers: Chas. Dickey, Geo. B. Baldwin, Murat Brown, B. B. Booth, Geo. T. Gribner, Fred L. Krause. - At the cemetery appropriate ceremonies were held and the veil of the grave sadly drawn over the sorrowful end of a promising life.
Daily Appeal - 9/11/1880, p3 - Funeral of O. F. Davis - The funeral of O. F. Davis took place yesterday morning at 10 o'clock from the M. E. Church, which was filled with friends of the deceased. Rev. P. L. Carden conducted the services, which were affecting indeed to the minds of those who recalled so well the horrible circumstances of the death of the young man. Upon the casket that enclosed the remains, was placed the uniform of the Pacific Band which deceased had worn and many beautiful floral tokens of affection. En route to the cemetery the Pacific Band marched with muffled drums, and following behind on foot were many members of the Native Sons of the Golden West. There was a large attendance to witness the exercises at the cemetery. The following acted as pall bearers: Charles Dickey, Geo. B. Baldwin, Murat Brown, B. B. Booth, Geo. T. Gribner and Fred. L. Krause. Deceased was born in Yolo county, but when he was an infant his parents removed to El Dorado county, living there until their son was eleven years old, when they removed to this city. Since that time deceased has resided here, growing up with the youth of the city and forming many friendships among them. In the schools he was a bright, active and popular pupil among his classmates for his generous, pleasing disposition. He was a natural musician also, and this added to his popularity. After leaving school he was active in seeking employment and always avoiding idleness. He was kind, considerate, scrupulously neat in his appearance, and liked by everyone. He was the pride of his parents and sister, whom he ever treated with marked affection. His spirit of independence led him to seek a new field for labor and he went to the Arizona frontier, found remunerative employment immediately, and was settling into the steady responsibilities of manhood and important business, when a horrible accident or murder ended his life. His parents are almost prostrated with grief and will mourn his loss with the greatest anguish.
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