A Man Whom All Men
Delight to Honor
By Dick Fallis
New Autobiography

BNL and Doliska Davis
Copyright, 1983 Dick Fallis New Autobiography Skagit-Advocate Publishing Mount Vernon, WA. 98273

Recently honored with the Heritage Award from the Skagit County Historical Society Board of Trustees, Dick Fallis has been in the forefront for the preservation and history of Skagit County for years now. I feel very privileged that Dick is allowing me to host his story on the Rev. B.N.L. Davis, "the first permanent settler of record on the upper Skagit River, above the (log) jam."- truly the first up-river personality and Man of God. I'm also proud to say-historically speaking-that the Rev. Davis performed the wedding ceremonies of two Boyd sisters-Annie and Jane (of this website) to two Hoyt brothers; Joe and Sam in the year 1890. I don't think you can find a better biography capturing the quality of a persons life than you'll find here.
Thank you also to John Ruhlman for the loan of his file on B.N.L. Davis and setting up an impromptu meeting for Skagit Valley Genealogical Society Board Members; Laura Sparr, Hazel Rasar and myself with Dick. Thank you also to Larry Spurling for transcribing the book itself.
Ye Ed. Dan Royal

      B.N.L. Davis was one of the most active and dedicated of all the hard working pioneers of the Skagit River, from the time of his arrival there in the Spring of 1873 while still in his early twenties, up to the time of his unexpected death in 1891, when he was but 41 years of age. At that time he had just been elected to public office, and was one of the wealthiest men and heaviest property owners in all of Skagit County, and at the same time was highly respected and universally recognized as a devout Christian minister, an exemplary man of faith, deeply concerned for the physical and spiritual well being of his parishioners.
      The editorial comment in the Skagit News of 1891, quite apart from an extensive obituary, stated that "Mr. Davis has always been identified with every measure that was beneficial to the community at large, contributing liberally to all public enterprises. As a man he stood out in bold relief for his sterling honesty, his work for any amount being as good as his note. Courteous and kind to all, he built up a large circle of friends, who mourn with deep sorrow at his untimely death. The death of B.N.L. Davis is a public loss and one, which the community will find it impossible to replace. His memory will be cherished as long as any of the people live who were personally acquainted with his sturdy and honest character."
      While acknowledging that "few in Skagit County had gathered together more of her wealth than Mr. Davis," the writer for the Skagit News of May 12, 1891, states that "Last fall he was elected to the office of county treasurer, which sows the high esteem he was held in by the people of this county, and his official career has been such as to command the honor and respect of the entire community."
      With what appears to be more than just the usual obituary rhetoric, the writer goes on: "Mr. Davis possessed a character that was above reproach, a reputation that was spotless. He was one of those congenial, kindly disposed and noble hearted men whom all men delighted to honor and call their friend. He was always an exemplary neighbor, an upright citizen, a kind of father and a loving husband. In his death the county loses a faithful official, the community one of its brightest ornaments, the wife an ideal companion and the children a noble father. His grief stricken wife and children and sorrowing friends are consoled by the recollection of his tender kindness, his integrity and loyalty to all the grand elements of noble manhood, and the many attributes which have always characterized him, a most excellent citizen and a splendid type of manhood."
      There are other descriptions of B.N.L. Davis in early journals and accounts, by men who had no particular reason for praising a man of the ministry, and they are equally admiring. The following statement is from the writings of Otto Klement, an early prospector on the river who then settled there and became a prominent merchant. He says this about the Rev. Davis:
      "Though in the midst of building a home and clearing a farm, not a Sabbath passed that he might be found, lantern and Bible in hand, on some Gospel mission to some remote settlement; his faith was simply beautiful."
      Other apt and appealing descriptions of the living, working B.N.L. Davis are given in The Baptist History of the North Pacific Coast, published in 1912 and compiled and written by J.C. Baker, who himself served several terms in Baptists pulpits of Skagit and Whatcom Counties and, as we shall see, became personally acquainted with the Rev. Davis.
      "The first time the author met this devoted brother," writes Mr. Baker, "was in 1882, at LaConner, Skagit County, where the author had been requested to come and examine conditions relative to the establishing of a house of worship. Brother Davis had taken up the work at this place and organized a church in March of the same year. He lived eleven miles away, and had to come to his appointments on foot following tails across what is known as LaConner Flats.
      "On this Sabbath morning the water was over the flats, and there was some doubt if he would be able to reach his appointment. But good Sister Gaches said, "He will come. He comes sometimes when the water is higher than it is this morning." The meeting and Sunday school were being held in an old barnhouse hall, once used as a schoolhouse. (NOTE: the building, old then, is the original Grange hall and courthouse, first seat of Skagit County government, and is still standing and in use, preserved and maintained by the members of the La Conner Civic Garden Club as a community Hall.) We stood looking at the hall, wondering if the pastor would come, or anybody else, when we saw a man approaching with high-top gum boots, a coat and a bundle under his arm, and a long stick in his hand. He looked like a pilgrim, and when we greeted him with 'Wither bound?' he replied, 'Is this Brother Baker?'
      "I said, 'Yes, that's what they call me sometimes; and is this Brother Davis, the pastor?' He replied with an extended hand, which, when I grasped it, I knew I had found a friend and a man of God, and ever afterward found that my first impression was correct. I said, 'You look as if you were prepared for emergencies.' 'Yes,' he said, ' have to wade much of the way; the water was up to my knees, and my long stick is to protect me from the pits.' (Holes washed out by the tides.) 'You must have to start early; they tell me you have to walk eleven miles.' 'Yes,' he replied, 'I start before daybreak. When I get my chores done, I take my lantern and start out.' Asking if he had lost his lantern, he replied: 'Oh, no; when it gets to be daylight I set my lantern down on a root or stump, and then pick it up on the way back home.'"
      Baker's account goes on to say: "Going into a room by himself, he came out with his bundle distributed on his feet, etc., looking more like a clergyman. We went into the hall where we found a good congregation had gathered, and I'm sure I ought to have been prepared for a sermon on consecration, having such a living example of it before me. Such was the spirit of the early ministry of our Baptist brotherhood of the North Pacific Coast in those early days. For myself I often took valuable lessons from them as I did in this case. Preaching without salary, as this man did, yet they often had the reputation of giving the first $100 that was given to the general work of the Convention in the Puget Sound country. Later God gave this man means, but the first $100 was from his hard earned work on his homestead."
      As to how hard earned that $100 was for B.N.L. Davis in 1881 is only a matter of speculation. A dollar was considered to be a good wage for a good day's work at that time, but Davis seems to have had a knack, a natural talent for making money and for more than paying his way in the world. These are traits that go back to his early childhood, and it might be profitable for us to trace back what we can find of these, during his growing up years.
      Young Brisbane Napoleon Longinus Davis was born in East Tennessee on November 20, 1849. His mother died when he was but six years old, and his father worked as a traveling photographer at a time when that art of mystery was making the first great technical advancements. As a result, B.N.L. and his several brothers were often left in the care of others, where they had to carry their part of the burden of earning their livings.
      They frequently worked on farms in the area, doing whatever needed to be done, and turning a wage wherever possible. Brisbane may not have been as strong as some boys his age, but he was quick and energetic, and he did have a drive and endurance that would keep him going long after the other boys were worn out.
      He attended the district schools when in session and when he could afford the time, with a marked zeal for learning. He earned a teaching certificate that allowed him to continue in his studies at Tennessee College in Riceville, and in 1870 he attended the Baptist school at Neodesha, Kansas, where he was ordained in the Baptist ministry.
      The young Rev. Davis was appointed as a traveling missionary through the Kansas counties of Montgomery, Chautauqua, Elk and Wilson, and appears to have gained enough momentum in traveling the circuit that he headed right on out to the Pacific Northwest frontier in 1873, in company with his brother J.R.H. (Harvey) Davis.
      How or why they went west there is not now known but they were entirely on their own resources which were ample to any occasion, as far as energy and imagination were concerned. They arrived first at the bustling sawmill town of Port Gamble, on Puget Sound, and found ready work at the mills there for a few months, then made their way to permanent, destined locations on the Skagit River.
      The Skagit region was still a part of Whatcom County in 1873, and though it had considerable promise as an undeveloped country with beckoning through undetermined resources, all this was quite forbiddingly locked up behind a massive log jam in the river, were snags and roots and branches, whole trees and all the other debris that washes down an often rampaging river had been piling up for centuries.
      The several mouths of the river were fairly clear, where the salt tides from the bay would wash in with a surge and pull out those floatables within its reach. This kept much of the flatlands in a marshy condition, though diking and draining were already in progress at several places, proving that useable farmland could be reclaimed from the grip of the salt tides. There were several places on the lower river where logging and settlement had begun, and there were old Indian trails on both sides of the river, leading around the great bends that were the most heavily ensnarled with the tangled mass from bank to bank, extending down to whatever depth, and piled high above the river banks, even with trees of considerable size growing straight up from the groaning, cracking rafts and jams.
      The young Davis brothers walked the portage trail along the east side of the river, around where the towns of Mount Vernon and Avon would be built, though there was little prospect of even so much as a settlement or a clearing there at that time. The young Davis men were apparently on their way to explore the upper river, where many prospectors and even a few prospective settlers had been before them, though few remained in that remote and isolated wilderness and certainly no families, attempting to make a home and earn a living.
      They did get around to the end of the jam, to a high rock hill that looks out on the free-flowing river beyond that point, flowing to the very base of this rock cliff that sharply turns the river to the west, forcing it into that first arching curve which is where the logs and debris were so hopelessly tangled.
      This sharp curve in the river, just above present Mount Vernon, was long known as "The Devil's Elbow," and it was at this diabolically named place that the young minister, B.N.L. Davis, determined to make his home.
      The hill, now known as Hoag Hill - just above where the railroad bridge crosses the river toward Burlington and right where the old interurban line once cut across to the station marked as Riverside - had been part of a major Indian village in much earlier times, with its protected but commanding view of any traffic on the river, and with deep coves and broad, sandy beaches on the upper, outer bend of the elbow.
      The Indians, with their numbers drastically reduced from the diseases of civilization, had long since abandoned this and other once powerful village sites, and it was at that precise moment available to the young minister as a homestead claim, with the government survey of the region then being made. Some records indicate that a man named Kerr may have had a squatter's claim on the property, before the survey could be taken, but B.N.L. Davis acquired clear title, possibly buying out any previous claims.
      The brother, Harvey, took an adjoining claim which would eventually be part of the extensive holdings of B.N.L. Davis, while Harvey would go on to the upper reaches of the river, once cleared and open for navigation, and with other relatives and in-laws, would make his own home and substantial estate up there.
      B.N.L. Davis was, then, the first permanent settler of record on the upper Skagit River, above the jam. There were prospectors above him, and at least one other extensive ranch - that of A.R. Williamson, one of the first hop ranchers of the Kent and Puyallup Valley areas, who had put in a field of hops up by Lyman where he felt that they might do well.
      Beyond that, the settlements were along the lower river with clearings and scratch-farms along both the north and south forks, though with no dominant town or village yet taking shape.
      At LaConner, over on the saltwater channel not far from the mouth of the North Fork of the Skagit River, there was a trading post and a townsite being laid out that seemed to hold some promise, and there were some extensive land draining and home building operations at Pleasant Ridge outcroppings, just east across the mudflats from LaConner.
      And due east of that, where you touched at the river just below the log jams and just above the fork, where the two branches wended off on their separate courses, and where boats could reach when the salt tides were high enough, was the site of the first trading post and settlement on the Skagit River, predating even Skagit City.
      In 1873 according to old records, at this point above the forks and below the jam, the Rev. B.N.L. Davis established a church at "Harmony" with six members. The church apparently met every requirement and was accepted into the Puget Sound Association of Baptist Churches the same year. Some records say that this church was located at what was later Skagit City, but it seems more reasonable to believe that it was actually was the site that is still known as the Harmony District, just above the point where the two river branches meet, and due east of Pleasant Ridge and LaConner. That point, which was also the site of a major Indian village and burial ground, was also the site of the first store or trading post on the river and passed through several hands in a process that moved it further down the river to the known sites of Skagit City.
      Whatever the original location, the Harmony Church prospered only for a little while. Rev. B.N.L. Davis held it together for three years, preaching there regularly and holding prayer meetings and other services, and he had the capable assistance of Samuel Summers and his wife, Rhoda, early settlers near the mouth of the North Fork who were from Trowbridge, England. Rhoda Summers (later Mrs. James Gaches, after her husband, Samuel, died at an early age) was one of the first of many people baptized by the Rev. Davis, through an act of total submersion in the Skagit River. For the rest of her long and useful life, her devoutness and her dedication to helping other people, particularly the children and the Indians, teaching in the Indian school and having always many young people at her home for social and educational exchange, are among some of the brightest memories in Skagit County's history.
      Samuel Summers, however, seems to have been the Deacon and Sunday School superintendent at the early Harmony Baptist Church, serving as an inspired and inspiring leader in this wild and forbidding country, where there was much need for reassurance and uplifting of the spirits.
      The river was being cleared of its ancient log jam during these years of the Harmony Church, mid to late 1870s, and there were more people coming in, new communities and settlements getting started. Samuel Summers seems to be the one man who kept the community centered at Harmony, and when he died suddenly in 1876, that broke the hold and the church was discontinued, not being able to draw enough people together to form a quorum to conduct the church's business.
      The funeral of Samuel Summers, one of the first to take place at the pioneer cemetery at Pleasant Ridge, was conducted by B.N.L. Davis, who had to be fetched from his home at Riverside and the messenger who went to fetch him - Charles Conrad, then a mere boy - had to stay overnight at a settler's cabin at present Mount Vernon, in order to accompany the minister back in the morning to mouth of the North Fork. Details of that funeral have been described by historian John Conrad (son of that messenger boy) and have been reprinted widely, most recently in the book Skagit Memories, compiled and edited by Charles Dwelley, which is here recommended to the interested reader.
      Davis, as we have seen, was preaching at several early churches and communities, and doing missionary work and performing ministerial duties at many places along this fluid frontier, going out with his Bible and lantern to wherever he heard the call. All of this dedication and devotion was taken as a matter of course for this man of God, and he received no regular compensation from any source. He was expected to find the means of earning his own living, and that to some extent was a measure of his ability to do the Lord's work. Not afraid of hard labor and organized effort, Davis leased the hop ranch at Lyman for one year, from Williamson, putting in a massive planting, with the aid of Indian help. Davis earned the incredible sum of $40,000 for the season's work.
      This is the result of a fluke in world markets, where Germany had been overcharging the English who in turn sought new sources of supply and were willing to pay premium prices just at the time that Davis's crop was ready, and there were ships at Victoria Harbor looking for cargo to take back to England. It couldn't happen every year like that, and it couldn't happen to everyone (some people saw the hand of Providence, amply extended to the Rev. B.N.L. Davis), and a whole lot of people in the Skagit region and all through Puget Sound, suddenly got very interested in hop culture.
      As for the Rev. Davis, it is said that he had thought that hops were used for some medicinal purposes, and when he found out that they were used for brewing beer, he not only got out of the business but tore out several fields that he had planted at his property at Riverside.

"This house still standing atop Hoag Hill in North Mt. Vernon, long owned by the Hoag Family, was built in the early 1880's by B.N.L. Davis for his family home. Only a few change have been made, most notably the changing of the main entrance from the river side to face the road."
The photo on the right shows the same home at top center during the Fall 2003 Skagit River Flood.

      He did use part of the money to improve his property, to acquire more land, and to build the graceful house that still stands at the top of Hoag Hill, 1515 Hoag Road, with its solid rock foundation, beam construction, graceful, sweeping rooflines, wide verandas and balconies, and commanding view out over the Skagit River as it come flowing down from the north. He built other buildings on the property then and in subsequent years, including a huge barn that stood as a landmark and refuge on the hill until torn down quite recently, and a milkshed and creamery building that still stands on its fieldstone foundation, and has a spring of cool water from the hillside that passes through a concrete trench, as a cooling device within the creamery.
      And then with a new home and sufficient means, the young minister (he was then 33 years old), in 1881, went back to his former home at McMinn County, Tennessee, to claim as his bride the winsome dark-haired Doliska Cochreham, a tall, slender girl of 19 bright springimes, who came with him to the home atop the hill at Riverside, Skagit County.
      The transplant proved successful, and there were other Cocrehams coming out from Tennessee to the wooded hills and grassy valleys of the Skagit region, and its upper reaches. To this day, one of the prettiest valleys anywhere, nestled into a fold of the river and with high, mist-shrouded hills behind it, is known as Cochreham Valley, midway between Lyman and Hamilton, where a river ferry once crossed to Day Creek, forming a once-thriving community that is still on some maps as "Heart of the Skagit."
      There was a proliferation of Davises, too, not only into the upper valley, but also into the home at Riverside. Doliska bore her husband five children in fairly quick succession, one of whom died in infancy and was buried in a quiet grove over by the barn that is no loner there.

      That great landmark barn, measuring 85 by 125 foot, that stood so long at the top of the hill, was originally built in 1885 for B.N.L. Davis's next enterprise, the importing and breeding of select Holstein cattle. Records indicate that Davis was the first to begin importing prize Holstein-Fresian cows into the Pacific Northwest in any number, and that Davis traveled directly to Aurora, Illinois to personally select the first of his breeding stock. From there he imported them in great herds, grazing them on his extended ranch at Riverside that included the sites of the present malls and commercial districts of North Mount Vernon, over to the river, and east to include the present campus of Skagit Valley College.
      Certification of that first herd bore the date of September 26, 1885, and was followed by many other shipments. Even during this period it is said that he never missed an appointment and never turned aside from a call to perform missionary or ministering work, though he became intensely involved in the work of breeding, raising and selling the prize cows that would form the basis of the great, productive dairy herds of the entire Pacific Northwest.
      Of the sketchy glimpses of B.N.L. Davis that we find in the accounts of this time period, there are two quite different views, both of which are probably true. He is issuing catalogues of cows and bulls available at his Riverside ranch, and he is also entering champion-quality stock in exhibitions from Vancouver, B.C. to Portland, Oregon, and through all of the present Washington State. At the British Columbia Agricultural Exhibition in October, 1886, held at Victoria, on Vancouver Island, B.N.L. Davis won a total of 75 first and second place awards for his Holstein cattle.
      The other description of Davis at this time, while building up the dairy herds of other areas, indicates that there was very little demand for milk locally, where a cow was more likely an adjunct of each family home than a lawnmower is today. According to one remembrance: Mr. Davis drove his own spring wagon into Mount Vernon, selling his product from house to house, measuring it out in cans."
      Sort of like Tevye, in "Fiddler on the Roof," although of a different persuasion, and also the fact that Davis was a rich man, at least as far as property went.
      There is some suggestion that Davis may have been too much tied up in real estate and expensive breeding stock, on which he was obliged to pay some of the highest taxes in all of Skagit County, whether he was able to get a sufficient return on his investment or not. On the several lists of highest taxes paid in Skagit County, the name of B.N.L. Davis was consistently near the top of the list, above any other single individual tax payer, and above most of the active merchants and business concerns.
      Even so, he remained true to his ministrerial and missionary work, available at all times for baptisms, weddings, funerals, church services and personal comforting and counseling, anytime and anywhere. He was frequently called on to take medicines or other necessities to people in isolated locations, being often the only one available who would get there or who knew the way over flooded, trackless fields, or through heavy forests.
      And he worked hard at building both the structure and the spirit of Baptist churches in Skagit County, starting as we have seen with the Harmony Church in 1873, and in 1881 with the church that was actually at Skagit City, and also with a "Hopewell" Church, located "about six miles from LaConner at the home of H.B. Peck." This church was established by Rev. Davis in conjunction with Rev. George Taylor, a man described as "an English Baptist," who was also of great service in the early days at the Skagit region, particularly at the lower river and among the island and salt-shore reaches.
      The Bethesda Church at LaConner, we have seen, was first organized by B.N.L. Davis in 1882 at the old courthouse building, and later built its own substantial structure which is now the Methodist Church in LaConner with some considerable alterations. As a major Baptist church, while LaConner was a leading town of the entire region, it drew its membership from a large area of the lower flats and river delta, and it is noted that Davis preached and held regular prayer meetings at Padilla and Pleasant Ridge, and that the LaConner church had flourishing branches at Ridgeway, Bay View, and Fir.
      At a location described as "some 25 miles above Mount Vernon" (up by Lyman?) the "New Hope" church was established by the Revs. B.N.L. Davis and A.J. Hunsaker, with Davis serving regularly through the first year, traveling, be it noted, on a 50-mile round trip via canoe, with and against the varying current in a river that was still treacherous with snags, log rafts, and other obstructions.
      In relation to the "New Hope" church there is one note of more than passing interest to the effect that "In 1885 it ordained one J.N. Brown to the ministry but he proved to be an impostor."
      This fits in with the church at Skagit City, which had kept a good Sunday school from the first and also regular services most of the time. However, according to records, "In 1886 it was imposed on by a scoundrel who claimed to be a Baptist minister, and his disgraceful conduct injured and discouraged it to some extent."
      Whatever the nature of the disgraceful conduct of this "scoundrel," he must have been impressive in his performance and showmanship for there are many records of his baptizing crowds of people from Lyman to Skagit City on the river, and even over to Clear Lake. He centered in at the Temperance Tow of Avon, where he attracted quite a number of people from up and down the River, old and young alike.
      John Isaacson, a young man from Clear Lake who was courting Lizzie Kimble, from just below Mount Vernon, notes in his diary for November 22, 1885: "Went to Avon to meeting with Lizzie Kimble. There were a lot baptized and among them Lizzie and Elsie Kimble." The, curiously, he adds without any further explanation, "I don't know why, but it made me feel very bad all day."
      Whatever the reason for his being so disturbed, John Isaacson seems to have put it aside in a hurry for a few days later, under date of Nov. 24, he noted that "in the afternoon I went to see Mr. Brown, the new preacher who has been holding revival meetings at Skagit and Avon and who has converted a good many people and baptized them. I engage him to marry me & Lizzie Kimble next Saturday." Which the preacher did for a fee of $10.00, the equivalent of ten day's wages!
      The church at Avon, we note in the Baptist History, was organized in October, 1885, and "consisted almost exclusively of members converted in a meeting held by J.N. Brown." Beyond that, the Baptist History states only that "it received into the Association, but was disbanded in 1887."
      It would seem that the "impostor" Brown, while he may have been good at baptizing them in the river, could not, like the Rev. B.N.L. Davis, succeed in baptizing them in the spirit.
      With the clearing away of the log jam and the opening of the river, accomplished by 1880 enough for most navigation, Mount Vernon succeeded in becoming an important center of activities and even captured the honors of the County Seat from the longer established and more accomplished Town of LaConner. Skagit City gave way in deference to Mount Vernon, and even LoConner, after a period of decline in population, found that it could not support a separate church by itself and had to consolidate with the First Baptist Church, then in a thriving condition at Mount Vernon. But this, of course, was long after the influence and example of B.N.L. Davis who would have urged them to stand up and be strong as a people in their own right.
      The Baptist Church in Mount Vernon, that still stands as one of the most imposing and enthusiastically supported of many substantial churches in Mount Vernon and Skagit County, technically bears his name as the Davis Memorial Church, though there are no visible signs that proclaim that proud and important fact.
      The church, with its present building now located on the brow of the hill, just above the downtown business district, was started by B.N.L. Davis during the Easter season of April, 1884, with a series of meetings conducted by Rev. Davis and N.B. Homan, The church had no building of its own at that time, but by 1885 had secured two lots on the corner of First and Division, just across from the present Condensery Building, and near what was then the ferry crossing of the river, now where the bridge crosses to West Mount Vernon.
      In 1886 the church was reported as taking steps to build, and in 1887 had "a house enclosed." Even so, it was some time before the church was finished and furnished sufficient for dedication, which did not take place until November 17, 1889, when it was described as "a very comfortable and tasty church."
      Davis had been very busy during those years, not only with the duties imposed by his special calling, but also with his farming, dairy and cattle breeding enterprises, with an added line of thoroughbred horses. He was also involved in starting an agricultural and horticultural society; and was secretary to a committee setting out to organize and write a charter for the Skagit County Pioneer Association, and also engaged in partisan politics, beating out the widely popular R.O. Welts in 1890 for the position of County Treasurer with a vote of 1,018 to 779.
      In the midst of all this influence, acclaim popularity and sincere respect, B.N.L. Davis died on May 8, 1891, at the age of 41. The cause of death was listed as "LaGrippe" or influenza, contracted as a result of going out across swampy land during chilly weather, to comfort an aging woman who was dying of influenza.
      He died at his own home, the pleasant solid shake house that he had built on the hill overlooking the river, just to the south of the bustling, thriving county-seat town that hadn't even been there in prospect eighteen years before, when he had come there as the first to settle permanently "above the jam."
      As the front-page article in the newspaper said, he was a man of solid accomplishment and "a man who all men delighted to honor and to call their friend."
      And honor him they did. The funeral services took place at the Baptist Church, then right down town in Mount Vernon, attended by the largest crowd that had ever assembled in Skagit County. His old friend and fellow worker, Rev. Taylor delivered what was termed "a fine address," and after the touching services, the cortege moved across town to the cemetery on Fir Hill, traveling at a measured, solemn pace, in careful order.
      Old pioneers of the Skagit region were first, followed by county officials, then city officials and the hearse, the pall bearers, church choir, immediate family members, close relatives, an empty vehicle draped in black, followed by over sixty carriages, following in procession.
      The editor of the Skagit News wrote that "His memory will be cherished as long as any of the people live who were personally acquainted with his sturdy and honest character."
      It is our wish that the character and dedication of B.N.L. Davis be known by all who will come to this spirited and blessed place beside the Skagit River, and the memory be cherished that here was once a man, always ready to go off across the flooded land, with high-top gum boots and Bible, lantern and long pole in hand, to be of service and of help to others.
      We, too, can be uplifted by is example.

Dick Fallis 1926 - 2011

      Dick Fallis is a professional writer, journalist, publisher, teacher and researcher who makes his home at Mount Vernon. He is a former publisher of THE PUGET SOUND MAIL of LaConnar, has conducted classes in journalism and local history at Skagit Valley College, is Historian for the Skagit County Historical Society, and in 1983, the Cooridinator for the Skagit County Centennial Celebration.
      He has established SKAGIT-ADVOCATE PUBLISHING COMPANY as a means of getting regional material on history and culture published in substantial form and at reasonable costs, and to sthis end has been working closely with North Coast Printers of Mt. Vernon and Conway, exploring the full range of printing and reproduction technology, from hand-set type to photo copying processes.
      Previous publications include THE 1901 LACONNER COOK BOOK, STUMP COLLECTOR ALBUM NO. 1, and the 1920 CLEAR LAKE LUMBER COMPANY BOOK, which are available through Skagit-Advocate Publishing, North Coast Printers, and other outlets.
      Portions of this present book on B.N.L. Davis have appeared in different versions in the SKAGIT VALLEY HERALD as part of a series written by Dick Fallis. This bio from 1983, Dick is currently updating for us. Dick shown at the gravesite of BNL Davis.

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