Note: The biography appearing in Jordan, Green and Ettinger, 1905, is identical
George Davies, deceased, formerly the senior member of the well-known foundry and machine firm of Davies and Thomas, Catasauqua, Pennsylvania, was born in the village of Merthyr-Tydvil, Glanmorganshire, Wales, April 9, 1837. The firm of Davies and Thomas was formed in 1879 and rapidly built up a very large business. In the execution of some responsible contracts they established a great reputation throughout the eastern portion of the United States. His father, Daniel Davies, also a native of Wales, and a molder by trade, left his native land in June, 1846 accompanied by his family, and arrived in New York in July of the same year. He found employment as a foundryman in the Novelty Works, New York City, afterward being employed in Jersey City, New Jersey, and Phoenixville, Pennsylvania; later he went to Tamaqua, where he entered the employ of the late Hopkin Thomas, father of the junior partner of Davies and Thomas. In the early part of 1849, Mr. Davies left Tamaqua and went to Weatherly, and in July of 1865, came to Catasauqua, entering the foundry of the Crane Iron Company, under the late David Williams, manufacturing castings on contract. Severing his connection with the Crane Iron Company in 1865, he entered into partnership with William Thomas in the foundry business, purchasing the old planing mill in East Catasauqua; three months later his son, George, was admitted to partnership. After two years, the firm of Davies and Thomas was dissolved, Mr. Thomas withdrawing his interest after which the title became Davies and Son, and the business was thus conducted until the death of Daniel Davies, in April, 1876, at sixty-three years of age.
He was a man of staunch integrity and honorable, upright principles, and for many years held membership in the Presbyterian church. His wife, Mary (Phillips) Davies, was born in Wales, and died there in the year 1839. Their children were: John, who died in 1862; George, mentioned hereinafter; and Mary A., who became the wife of James Thomas. George Davies spent the first nine years of his life uneventfully in the land of his birth. Coming to Catasauqua with his father in 1850 he worked at the trade of molder for two years, after which he served an apprenticeship of five years at the trade of machinist with the Crane Iron Company, under Hopkins Thomas, he entered Eastman's Business College at Poughkeepsie, New York, and graduated with honors from that noted commercial school. In 1863, while at Parryville, he enlisted as first sergeant of Captain James Thomas' Company, Thirty-fourth Regiment Pennsylvania Emergency Volunteers, Colonel Charles Albright commanding. He marched with his company to Gettysburg, thence to Port Richmond, Philadelphia, and was honorably discharged at the expiration of his term of service.
Mr. Davies, prior to the war, was employed as master mechanic in Belvidere, New Jersey, Camden and Amboy, New Jersey shops, the Novelty Works, New York City and at Parryville, Pennsylvania. After the close of hostilities he returned to the latter named place and became master mechanic there for a short period of time. He then took up his residence in Catasauqua, and with the exception of about five years, (1871 to 1876) when he had charge of the Carbon Iron Works at Parryville, he remained there until his death. In 1879 his brother-in-law, James Thomas, with whom he had been on terms of intimacy from childhood, purchased a one-half interest in the foundry and machine shop at Catasauqua, and this business relationship continued until the death of Mr. Davies. The two men were devoted companions, the wishes of one being law with the other. The firm manufactured castings for many important enterprises, including the underground electric railway in Washington, D. C., the Broadway cable in New York, the East River Tunnel, the Hudson River Tunnel and the Traction and People's cable lines in Baltimore. They also manufactured car castings and were the designers and original manufacturers of the Davies and Thomas engine. The works occupied at the time of Mr. Davies' death about ten acres, the foundry covering one acre, and the machine-shop being one hundred and thirty-five long by fifty feet wide. There were four large boilers, two blowers operated by two Davies and Thomas engines of one hundred and fifteen horsepower and fifteen cranes, two of which, made by William R. Thomas, will lift fifteen tons each. The firm was identified with the Wahnetah Silk Company, of which Mr. Thomas was president and Mr. Davies a director. There was also the principal stockholders, in the Electric Light and Power Company, which was established in 1890.
Mr. Davies was also a director in the Bethlehem Electric Light and Power Company, which was established in 1882, and of which James Thomas was president. He was the owner of valuable real estate in West Bethlehem, and a stockholder in the Catasauqua National Bank.
Mr. Davies was identified with the Masonic fraternity, holding membership in Porter Lodge No 284 at Catasauqua. He was a staunch adherent of the principles of the Republican Party, but was unwilling to allow his name to be presented for official position, preferring to devote his entire time to business pursuits. As a member of the school board, upon which he was serving at the time of his death, he was instrumental in promoting the grade of scholarship in the Catasauqua Schools. He was a member of the Methodist Episcopal Church, in which body he served in the capacity of trustee, steward and class-leader. He was a member of the building committee at the time of the erection of Grace Methodist Church and parsonage and was one of the most liberal contributors thereton.
On August 4, 1864, in Catasauqua, Pennsylvania, Mr. Davies was united in marriage to Mary A. Evans, who emigrated from Wales and daughter of Thomas R. Evans who emigrated from Wales to America, settling in Catasauqua, there for many years he followed the trade of blacksmith. Mrs. Davies received an excellent education in Tremont Normal School and was a successful teacher prior to her marriage. The following children were born to them: John M. who died in 1885; Elizabeth, who became the wife of Harry E. Graffin, of Catasauqua; Rowland T. mentioned hereinafter; George, who was superintendent for the Westchester Lighting Company at White Plains, New York, for a couple of years; later was connected with the Davies and Thomas Company's Works but is now serving a responsible position in New York; James T., who is mentioned later, and two infant children who died at Parryville. Mr. Davies passed away at his late residence, Second and Race Streets, Catasauqua, Monday evening, October 1, 1894, after an illness of two days. The funeral took place on Thursday afternoon from his late residence, the Rev. C. M. Simpson, his pastor, preaching an eloquent discourse, the Rev. Dr. Earle, of the First Presbyterian Church, offering the prayer, and a selected choir rendering appropriate music. It was one of the largest and most eloquent tributes ever paid to a deceased citizen of Catasauqua. The workmen attended in a body, and numbered about one hundred and fifty. The remains were interred in the family plot in Fairview Cemetery. Mr. Davies was a most affectionate husband, a devoted father, a loving brother, a true and excellent citizen, a consistent Christian, a considerate employer and on all sides were spoken words of praise for the manner in which he acted the part of a true man. His like is seldom met, and his sudden death was universally regretted. At a meeting of the board of directors, of the Catasauqua School District, the president announced the death of their late fellow-member, George Davies, whereupon the following was unanimously adopted: In view of the death of our fellow school director, Mr. George Davies, we, the remaining members of the Board, desire to put on record our conviction that in the death of Mr. Davies the educational interests of Catasauqua have suffered a heavy loss. The public schools have lost a liberal-minded and liberal-handed patron; the teachers and pupils have lost a kind and considerate friend, who was ever ready to promote their interests. In the School Board we have always found in him a congenial associate, a wise and prudent counselor and an enthusiastic advocate of everything that seemed to be necessary for the improvement of our schools.
As a mark of respect for the departed, we close the schools on the day of the burial, in order that the teachers, as well as the Board of Directors, may attend the funeral in a body; and as a farther mark of respect, we agree to fill the vacancy occasioned by the death of Mr. Davies by the appointment of his eldest son, Rowland T. Davies, as a member of the Board until the next election.
A special meeting of the Board of Health called and convened October 3, 1894,to take action on the death of Mr. George Davies. On motion the following resolutions were adopted: Resolved, That in the death of Mr. George Davies the Board loses an honored, esteemed and efficient member, whose wisdom and council will often be missed in our deliberations. Resolved, That we extend to his bereaved family our heartfelt sympathy in this their hour of trial and sorrow. Resolved, As a last tribute of respect, we attend his funeral on Thursday, October 4, 1894, in a body. Austin W. Glick, Secretary
Portrait & Biographical Record, Lehigh, Northampton, and Carbon Counties, 1894 , p. 251
GEORGE DAVIES, formerly the senior member of the firm of Davies & Thomas, and one of the leading business men of Catasauqua, was born in Glamorganshire, Wales, in the village of Merthyr-Tydvil, April 9, 1837. He was the son of Daniel Davies, likewise a native of Wales, and a molder by trade, who in 1846 brought his family to America and for a time was employed in New York City. Later he followed his trade in Phoenixville, Tamaqua and Weatherly. Coming to Catasauqua in 1850, he took charge of the molding department of the Crane Iron Works, manufacturing castings on contract.
Severing his connection with the Crane Iron Company in 186S, Daniel Davies, with William Thomas, bought the old planing mill in East Catasauqua and opened a foundry and machine shop, in which three months later our subject joined them. After two years the firm of Davies & Thomas was dissolved, Mr. Thomas retiring from the partnership. The title then became Davies & Son and the business was thus conducted until the death of the father, in April, 1876, at sixty three years of age. He was a man of stanch integrity, a sincere member of the Presbyterian Church, and a public-spirited citizen of his adopted country. His wife, Mary Philips, was born in Wales and died there in 1839. They had three children: John, who died in 1862; George, and Mary .A., who married James Thomas.
The first nine years of the life of our subject were passed uneventfully in the land of his birth. He came to Catasauqua with his father in 1850, and for two years worked at the molder's trade, after while he was apprenticed to the machinist's trade with the Crane Iron Company. For a time he worked under David Jones, later under Hopkin Thomas, spending five years at the trade. In 1862 he enlisted in the Fourth Pennsylvania Militia, under Colonel Cluty, of Mauch Cbunk, and went south into Maryland, but returned without participating in active service. In 1863 he was mustered into Colonel Good's regiment, the Thirty fourth Pennsylvania Infantry, and marched with his company to Gettysburg, thence to Ft. Richmond, Philadelphia, and was honorably discharged at the expiration of his period of service.
At different times Mr. Davies had been in Parryville, and at the close of the war he returned thither and took charge of the machine shops there for a short time. From that time until his death, he resided in Catasauqua, with the exception of about five years (1871 to 1876), while he had charge of the Carbon Iron Works at Parryville. In 1876 he returned to Catasauqua, but the works were not opened until the spring of 1879, when James Thomas bought a one-half interest in the concern. Since then various improvements have been made, and the class of work now turned out is superior in every respect.
The firm has manufactured castings for many important enterprises, including the underground electric railway in Washington, D. C., the Broadway cable in New York, the East River Tunnel, the Hudson River Tunnel, and the Traction and People's cable lines in Baltimore. They also manufacture car castings and are the proprietors and original manufactured of the Davies & Thomas engine. The works occupy ten acres, the foundry covering one acre, and the machine shop 135x50 feet. There are four large boilers, two blowers operated by two Davies & Thomas engines of one hundred and fifteen horsepower, and fifteen cranes, two of which, made by William Thomas, will lift fifteen tons each.
With a number of other important concerns the firm of Davies & Thomas is identified, among which may be mentioned the Wahnetah Silk Company, of which Mr. Thomas is President, and our subject was a Director. They are also the principal stockholders in the Electric Light & Power Company, which was established in 1890. The powerhouse is situated on the Lehigh River adjacent to the canal, and the enterprise has proved an assured success. Its officers are: Rowland Davies, President; Rowland Thomas, Treasurer; and Charles R. Horn, Secretary. The Edison system is used and the plant is the finest in the entire state.
Mr. Davies was also a Director in the Bethlehem Electric Light & Power Company, which was started in 1882, and of which James Thomas is President. In addition to his elegant residence on Second and Race Streets, erected in 1868, he was the owner of valuable real estate in West Bethlehem, and was a stockholder in the Catasauqua National Bank. His marriage occurred in Catasauqua in 1864, and united him with Mary Evans, a native of Wales. Her father, Thomas Evans, emigrated from Wales to America, and settling in Catasauqua, here followed the trade of a blacksmith until his death. Mrs. Davies received an excellent education in Tremont Normal School, and was a successful teacher prior to her marriage. She has four children now living: Rowland, President of the Electric Light & Power Company; Bessie; George, a student of the University of Pennsylvania, and ,James, at home.
Socially Mr. Davies was identified with the Masonic fraternity, belonging to Porter Lodge No. 268, at Catasauqua. As a member of the Republican party, he took an intelligent interest in political matters, though not willing to allow the use of his name for official positions. He did his utmost to advance the welfare of the school system, and by his efficient service as a member of the School Board was instrumental in promoting the grade of scholarship in the Catasauqua schools. In the Methodist Episcopal Church he served as Trustee, Steward and Class-leader. He was recognized as one of the best and most public-spirited citizens of this community, until his death, October 1,1894, was deeply mourned.