Sarahville History

Sarahville was the settlement of the two Davis brothers, John T. (1805-1855) and Thomas D. (1814 1873), sons of the family who settled on Davis prairie. The Davis store was opened in 1830, and the mill two years later where the old road from Golconda crossed Saline River. Beyond the ford the road branched, northwest to Bainbridge and Kaskaskia or north over the Worthen trail. Heavy travel over these roads made the crossing an ideal site for a village.

John T. Davis served as adjutant in the Black Hawk war and when he came home he was appointed justice of the peace. These public duties brought more visitors to his store.

Sarahville Google ViewA post office was opened there August 2, 1837 and Mr. Davis was asked to suggest a name. His first daughter was less than a year old, and her name was given to the office. Sarah Davis, born in 1836, became the wife of Richard P. Walker in 1853. This marriage was performed by Dr. Samuel H. Bundy of Gum Springs church.

James A. Arrington was the first postmaster, but John T. Davis took over the duties October 6, 1838. His services ended with his death in 1855, though he was busy with other things and the clerks in the store must have done the actual work. Postmaster Davis never took the trouble to notify his superiors of the county division and post office directories list Sarahville as a Franklin county post office until 1855.

The Davis store dispensed liquid refreshment, and the Franklin county commissioners’ court on March 4, 1839 renewed the license of John and Thomas Davis “to keep a house of entertainment at their house in Sarahville.” Milo Erwin relates that when Mr. Davis went to Springfield as a member of the legislature he heard Abraham Lincoln deliver a lecture on temperance, and came home to shut the door of his saloon forever.

When the sale of Marion lots was held November 17, 1839 the Davis brothers bought lot 1 in block 9, later the site of the Goodall Hotel, for $100. Thomas and Mary (Ferrell) Davis moved into the new town and built the first frame house there in 1841. Thomas Davis was elected county clerk, but after his two year term he returned to his farm in section 4 of Stonefort Township where he ran a saw mill.

About this time John Davis went to Springfield as a representative. Thomas Davis was recalled from private life to be county treasurer in 1851-1853, and from 1857 to 1861 he was an associate justice of the county court. He moved to Texas in the fall of 1872 and died there.

At Sarahville the clerk Elijah Cross was appointed postmaster September 10, 1855 when John Davis died. Mr. Cross came from Tennessee to Sarahville, and was counted a man of superior education. Years later he was justice of the peace in Saline County, and some Negroes had vital information in a case tried before him. The Negroes were in court, but someone questioned their right to testify. Justice Cross produced his last copy of the Toledo Blade, his favorite newspaper, and read a national proclamation about the fourteenth and fifteenth amendments to the federal constitution. Then he ruled the Negroes were citizens and their testimony admissible. From Sarahville Mr. Cross went to Bolton.

George W. Grant succeeded to the post office duties, by appointment November 22, 1858. After April 1, 1859 Charles Parks was postmaster. Mr. Parks married Miss Mary E. Davis, sister of the girl for whom the village and post office were named. For twelve years Mr. Parks worked in the store at Sarahville, and then they returned to their farm south of Saline River on his father’s homestead.

William J. Davis took over the work March 30, 1875 but mail service was discontinued May 27, 1875.

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(Extracted from Pioneer Folks and Places, Barbara Barr Hubbs, 1939, on sale at the Williamson County Museum)