Julia and Tom Davis - Boise, ID
Posted by: Groundspeak Premium Member silverquill
N 43° 36.544 W 116° 12.265
11T E 564202 N 4828762
Quick Description: This marker details the history of Julia and Tome Davis, pioneers in the valley. Tom and his brother Frank were granted a homestead of 360 acres, and laid out the plot for Boise. This park was donated by Tom in memory of his wife, Julia.
Location: Idaho, United States
Date Posted: 3/12/2012 1:46:34 AM
Waymark Code: WMDZ3V
Published By: Groundspeak Premium Member Team GeoDuo
Views: 3

Long Description:
The 87 acres of this park, established over a hundred years ago, contains a beautiful rose garden, fountains, and sculptures. The information sign for Julia Davis Park gives a bit of history of the park and its benefactors:

The Story of Julia & Tom Davis

Few things in Boise compare with the quiet charm of Julia Davis Park. Edging the north bank of the Boise River downstream from Broadway Ave. to just beyond Capitol Blvd., this emerald jewel is the setting for the city's major cultural institutions: Boise Art Museum, Idaho Historical Museum, Zoo Boise, the Discovery Center of Idaho, the Rose Garden, Gene Harris Band Shell, Log Cabin Literary Center and the Idaho Black History Museum as well as many recreational facilities. This plaque is located on the park's initial 43 acres that were donated to the people of Boise in 1907 by Thomas Jefferson Davis in memory of his beloved wife Julia McCrumb [sic] Davis.

Tom and his brother Frank Davis headed west from Cincinnati, Ohio, in 1862, hoping to strike gold. In 1863, Tom filed the first homestead claim of 360 acres in Idaho Territory, which was signed by Ulysses S. Grant. he and six other men laid out the original Boise town site on part of it. Then he applied for Idaho Water Right No. a, which allowed him to divert the Boise River water into ditches he built to irrigate his land. His first crops were potatoes, onions, and cabbage. In the spring of 1864 he planted his first orchard in this section of the country using 7,000 apple trees purchased in Portland for $1.25 each. Eventually, he owned hundreds of acres of orchards and row crops (now the Boise State University campus and Garden City) finding it more profitable to sell produce to Silver City and Boise Basin miners than to dig for gold himself.

Julia McCrumb [sic] came to the Boise Valley from her home in Ontario, Canada in 1869 to visit her uncle, an Army surgeon at Fort Boise. Two years late, she married one the [sic] of the city's most eligible bachelors, Tom Davis. When they married, the Idaho Tri-weekly Statesman could not resist headlining the wedding story "Another Veteran Gone." and joined them in wishing them happiness. After Julia returned from a visit to the East in 1874, the paper noted the young couple's reunion by saying, "Tom is happy again."

Julia gave Tom six children, five of whom survived to adulthood. *(See family tree at the bottom and on bricks around sculpture) Known for her kindness and gracious hospitality, Julia would welcome and assist emigrants traveling to the Oregon Trail as they stopped their wagons along the river to rest from their journey across the high desert.

By the turn of the century, Tom, Julia and the Davis orchard were ready to retire. In 1899, the offered the city 30 to 40 acres of land for a public park (a private park already existed) if the city would care for it and control flooding that regularly eroded the bank. Concerned about the taxes that would be needed to maintain a park, the city first refused the Davises' gift. But, in 1907, arrangements were made to deed the land "always and forever (to) be used for public park purposes," as Tom put it.

Julia died soon after, on Sept. 19 at the age of 60. Heartbroken, Tome directed that the site be known as Julia Davis Park in her memory. Less than a year later on June 10, 1908, Tome himself passed away.

In 1960, Hazel Davis Taylor, one of the couple's daughters said, "My father deeded. . . the land . . . (so) the spirit of Boise's early pioneers would never die as long as Julia Davis Park remained a memorial to their efforts."

Today the park has grown to 87 acres and generations of Boiseans and visitors have indeed treasured this generous, far-sighted gift. The Davis' pioneer spirit, love for each other, hard work and vision created an enduring oasis in the desert, ensuring them a place forever in the hearts of those to come.

Tom & Julia Davis Family Tree

Marion Davis

Thomas I Davis & Bertha Davis

Harry M. Davis

Thomas Jefferson Davis & Julia McCrum Davis Julia Etta Davis Quinn & W.L. Quinn
Davis Quinn

Edwin Horace Davis & Marcella Torrence Davis
Julia Davis
Thomas I. Davis
Marcella Davis Kirby
Mary Davis Cross Kerby

Hazel Davis Taylor & R.C. "Scrappy" Taylor
Tom Taylor
Craig Taylor
David Taylor
Jane Taylor

The sculpture "Julia" by Jerry Snodgrass, dedicated August 5, 2002.

The claim made here that Thomas Davis received the first homestead in Idaho, is somewhat in doubt. According to records held by the Bureau of Land Management:

"The first people to receive homesteads granted under the 1862 Homestead Act in Idaho apparently did not receive patents to their homesteads until September 30, 1874. None was patented earlier.

On September 30, 1874, BLM records show that 31 homestead patents were issued to persons in Idaho, with the following breakdown by county: Ada County (24)"

Thomas Davis does not appear on this list.

Other Sources:

City of Boise: Julia Davis Park
Wikipedia: Julia Davis Park
Idaho State Historical Society
BLM: Guide to Homesteading Resources
USGenWeb Archives
East End Neighborhood Association
Range Magazine
History of Idaho by James H. Hawley
Southfork Companion

Marker Name: Julia & Tom Davis

Marker Type: City

Marker Text:
see detailed description

County: Ada

City: Boise

Web link(s) for additional information:
see detailed description

Date Dedicated: Not listed

Group Responsible for Placement: Not listed

Marker Number: Not listed

Visit Instructions:
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Recent Visits/Logs:
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n2life visited Julia and Tom Davis - Boise, ID 6/26/2014 n2life visited it