Lakefield Township Early Pioneers of Saginaw County, Michigan
Lakefield Township Early Pioneers of Saginaw County, Michigan

Ishmael Davis

Ishmael Lemuel Davis










Ishmael Lemuel Davis was born March 15, 1868 in Kochville Township, Saginaw County, Michigan; his parents were Maranda Daniel and Olive A Niles Davis.

Ida Mary Buell Davis

Ishmael married Ida Mary Buell on January 3, 1894 in Saginaw, Saginaw County, Michigan. Ida May was born September 27, 1875 in Kochville Township, Saginaw County, Michigan to Charles and Sophia Anna Schomaker Buell.


Ishmael and Ida came to Lakefield Township in 1897. They owned and operated an 80 acre farm in Section 22 on Merrill Road between Lakefield and Nelson Roads.


According to the book, "Lest We Forget" by Myron F. Gulick, “The Beaver Creek ran through the north end of their farm and on their property was a sawmill. Ishmael had a steam engine for use in his sawmill and for a thrashing grain machine. His first steam engine was a Russell. It was an engine on wide wheels in the rear, with smaller wheels in front. These wheels had a band of iron in the center of the wheels that made steering easier. Before the Russell engine, he had a stationary steam engine used in the saw mill. Also used was a 10 horsepower gasoline engine with flywheels about 12 feet in diameter. I believe it was the largest gasoline engine I ever saw. Later, he had a Hartparr tractor with a two cylinder engine built by the Oliver Engine Works. The flywheel was a balanced wheel; if these wheels were not large, heavy and well-balanced, the engine would not have much power. The Hay balers were heavy machines with heavy balanced wheels to help keep the power steady. Stationary engines were on skids made of oak timbers; later wheels were added under the timbers, much like the wagons of today. This made moving from one job to another much easier. Before the skids or wheels were put under the engines, farmers had to haul grain or hay where the threshing could be done; but there was lots of manpower to do this. Mr. Davis always had several men working for him for their board during wintertime. He lost his arm by getting it caught in his machinery and he had a wooden arm with a hook on it. He had played the violin before losing his arm. Ishmael had a good sense of humor and he liked to tell the most unbelievable stories and then laughed if he thought you believed him.”


A quote from the book, Looking Backward – History of Merrill and Jonesfield Townships, Saginaw County, Michigan – Memories That Shaped The Township As Seen through the Eyes Of a Pioneer Son – written by W.G. Shannon, “Another stand-by amusement was the 'Basket Picnic'. The Gleaner's held one almost every year on Ish Davis' Beaver Creek Flats. Everyone brought a basket of food. There were all kinds of contests; foot races, jumping contest, three-legged races and always a baseball game. Everyone had a wonderful time. In those days the state did not allow intoxicants at public gatherings."


Ishmael served Lakefield Township as Lakefield Highway Commissioner and Supervisor. He was also elected Constable on April 4, 1898 and Overseer of Highways District # 3 on April 3, 1899. Ida belonged to the Lakefield Ladies Society. In 1933, Ida moved to Merrill, Michigan.



Ishmael and Ida had the following children:


  1. Dorsey Davis was born October 9, 1894 in Kochville, Saginaw County, Michigan. He married Lucy Tolfree. Lucy died January 11, 1933. Dorsey then married Ethel Dusinger. Dorsey died February 1, 1973

  2. Leola Davis was born October 12, 1897. She married Otto Lange on June 2, 1917 in Flint, Genesee County, Michigan. Leola attended Ferris College and taught in the Saginaw County Schools system for many years. Leola died on August 18, 1980.

  3. Arla Davis married Donald Cummings

  4. Kathleen Laura Davis was born in November 28, 1903 in Lakefield Township. She married John Maynard Brush on November 30, 1921 in Brant, Saginaw County, Michigan. Kathleen died on February 18, 2001.

  5. Edith L. Davis was born January 26, 1906 in Lakefield Township. She married George Levi Carl on December 11, 1922. Edith died on April 29, 1983.

  6. Elmer Davis was born May 28, 1908 in Lakefield Township. He married Lucille Pretzer on July 16, 1932. Elmer died May 10, 2000.

  7. Alice M. Davis was born on May 23, 1910 in Lakefield Township. She married Spencer J. Cundy on October 12, 1927. Alice died August 4, 2001.

  8. Norman Blaine Davis was born October 5, 1912 in Lakefield Township. He married Grace Swarthout. Norman died on June 27, 1975.

  9. Jack Leroy Davis was born on November 9, 1916. He married Helen Clark on April 27, 1942. He died on February 25, 1971


10.  Maynard Lyle Davis was born July 2, 1920 in Lakefield Township.  He was killed in action during WWII in France on May 5 or 8, 1945 and is buried in the Lakefield Township Cemetery.


Maynard enlisted on January 15, 1942 in the U.S. Army and was in the 63rd Military Police Company.  He was trained at Camp Wolters, Texas; Fort Bragg, North Carolina.  His embarkation was October, 1942 and served in the European-African-Middle Eastern Theatre.  Maynard was awarded the Purple Heart in North Africa and Service Stripes for American European-African- Middle Eastern Service.


He was one of many WWII Gold Star Boys.



Ishmael died on February 12, 1931 in Lakefield Township. Ida died on September 3, 1958. They are both buried in Lakefield Township Cemetery.



SOURCES: 1916 Lakefield Township Plat Map; Myron F. Gulick book “Lest We Forget”; U.S. Census;Ken Cundy; Wilbur (Bill) Bow; Alice and Spencer Cundy's marriage license; Ishmael and Ida Buell Davis marriage record; Della Miller McKay's obituary collection; John and Kathleen Brush's marriage record; Kathleen Brush's obituary; Leola Lange birth and marriage records; Edith and George Carl marriage record; Service Record WWI and WWII Merrill and Community Book; Sponsored by the VFW Post #8135.

Pioneers of Lakefield Township - Left to Right: Jacob Brown, Lawrence Dubay, Alva Hinterman, David Dubay, Mr. Harris, George Easlick, Calvin Harris;   Ray Rowell standing towards the top of photo and his daughters, Mildred, Dorothy, and Carrie Rowell,  sitting on the wood pile.    Carry Rowell later married Fred Honaman.     photo from John and Linda Honaman Johnson.



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