Source: Crawfordsville Weekly Journal Friday, 28 July 1899
St. Petersburg (Fla.) Sub-Peninsula: At 1 o’clock Tuesday afternoon Col. William J. Davis died at his residence on Fifth Avenue in this city from chronic kidney troubles, with which he had been suffering for some time. His ailment had only assumed an alarming phase a few days ago, having only necessitated his confinement in bed from Sunday last. At sunrise Tuesday morning he began to show signs of sinking and from that time until an hour after noon he continued to lose ground, when shortly after 1 o’clock the end came without apparent pain. Col. Davis was 63 years and six days old when death came, and had been a resident of St. Petersburg for about eight years. He was a native of Crawfordsville, Ind., where his father was a prominent Baptist minister and had during his ministry in the west became quite noted as an eloquent preacher. Col. Davis, after leaving his native place, engaged in business pursuits in New York, Richmond, and Charlotte, N. C. At the latter place he conducted a large mercantile establishment for six years, in which he amassed a fortune. He moved to Florida from Charlotte. After a visit of one season to St. Petersburg, he became very much pleased with the place and the next year returned and located permanently. He at once became a purchaser of property here and at the time of his death was one of the largest property owners in the city. He, a couple of years ago, became interested in growing pineapples and associating with his brother-in-law, Mr. J. C. Heard, under the firm name of J. C. Heard & Co invested in a tract of land, shedded it and set it in plants which are now yielding a handsome income. This pinery the late Colonel Davis took especial pride in and took great interest in showing it to friends. On Saturday last only a few hours before he was taken with his last illness, he had made a generous proposition to the city to donate a valuable piece of land on the bay front for public park purposes. He was at the time of his death a large stockholder in the Citizens’ National Bank of Tampa and vice president of that institution. He was for a number of years connected with the well known hat firm of H. J. Harding & Co., of New York. Col. Davis’ near relatives who survive him are a wife, mother, daughter and one sister. The remains were embalmed by Undertaker Bussey, of this city. The funeral services took place this afternoon at 1 o’clock at the family residence on Fifth Avenue. The parlor, in which room the services were conducted, had been most tastefully arranged with a profusion of appropriate flowers by admiring friends whose thoughtfulness had also banked the casket in white blossoms and buds. Rev. J. W. Heard, pastor of the Methodist Church of this city, officiated and preached a touchingly appropriate sermon. The pall bearers were Messrs. John Trice, C. E. Allen, W. B. Gray and John Savarese, of Tampa, L. Y. Jenness, W. N. Ireland, J. F. Harrison and Cyrus W. Butler, of St. Petersburg.
Immediately after the services at the house the remains were conveyed to Greenwood Cemetery, where the interment took place in the presence of a large number of friends. - s