January 18, 1905
William Edwin Davis was born in Georgia, February 9, 1827 and died in Louisiana, December 10, 1904.
When a great soul who has influenced our lives, passes away into that state commonly called death, we begin to wonder what particular attribute in him influenced us. Wherein lay his influence?
Was it political, commercial, moral, personal, or was it his great success in acquiring material wealth? Was it elegance and refinement in manner? Was it his polished eloquence in speech or his taste in great learning, or in letters or art? Was it outward show and superior knowledge?
No. None of these qualities are the attributes that have or ever will wield a lasting influence on our lives. All externalities are effects.
They can live but a short time.
The cause, the motives. of the innerman, the soul, are the subtleties that reach out and touch us with an essence that is fine, powerful, uplifting, soothing healing; “the things not seen,” the thing that eludes definition. This inner self that shines the exterior, this very day abiding self is the power that goes out, either like, and does great good or great harm. This is the man. This is the essence that no one can hide. It is that, that influence us. It is the soul qualities. And a great soul is he that every day of his life, sends out the divine influence or gentleness, meekness, humility, charity, patience, long suffering gentleness. These attributes were all embodied in the personality of William Edwin Davis to a marked degree. Fewer had greater trials than he and still fewer ever bare them as uncomplainingly as he. He knew how to suffer in silence. He had great intuitive perceptions and guided by these his life was as quiet as the growing of the trees, the gliding of the clouds. In his last hours he seemed not to have suffered. He seemed to be simply tired and went to sleep, a long peaceful sleep.
His great success in life was not in accumulating wealth, nor drawing to himself any worldly honor, but his personal self control. When twenty years old he began to use tobacco. At sixty, after having used it forty years and knowing its injurious effects on his system, he stopped its use by one resolution and never touched it thereafter. One determined resolution for a good cause and he was always the winner of his resolution.
He was twice married and left ten children — five girls, two of whom are married. The five boys are honorable and influential men in the communities where they live.
The passing of this great soul leaves a valuable spiritual lesson to all whose privileges it was to call him Father, Grandfather or Uncle; and his going through life a divine benediction to all who were blessed with a radiance of his gentle, meek, simple life.