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You are here: Davis of Iowa > Jim Davis's Biography > Appendix One                     Click HERE to go to Appendix Two








My mother’s families were paternally the Ware and maternally the Pemberton families.  Both families were largely of Quaker religious persuasion.   At that time the population of Iowa represented 2.5% of the U.S. population, however, 10% of the U.S. residing Quakers lived in Iowa.


My mother was born December 23, 1912, I believe at home on the farm where we grew up, as the Deaconess Hospital in Marshalltown, IA where most of us who were born later, was not yet open.  She was the youngest of five children.  Her older brother Ralph, was born 1898 and died of Scarlet Fever in 1903.  Her sister Bernice (Bea) was second born on December 2, 1900.  Brother Lisle was the next born on December 1, 1902.  Sister Beulah was born July 30, 1910 and died in 1912 of stomach flu.  Both Ralph and Beulah are buried in the Hartland Cemetery which is located adjacent to the Hartland Friends Church.   Later, grandfather and grandmother Ware staked out a family plot in the Hartland Cemetery adjacent to where their young children were buried.  This plot is also close to where a number of grandmother Ware’s extended Pemberton family are buried.


Mom’s father, Howard Ware was born December 29, 1870 in Butlerville, IN.  He came to Iowa in 1889 to attend Penn College (now known as of William Penn University (WPU)), entering as a freshman in 1891. While attending Penn he taught at New Providence Academy, where his brother Alfred was principal. He starred in football, baseball and track while at WPU as well as serving as the “Department Editor” for the WPU student newspaper, the Chronicle.  One of his teammates in both football and baseball was John Outland.  Beginning in 1946, the best college football interior lineman is recognized annually with the award of the Outland Trophy named in honor of this John Outland. Grandfather Ware did not graduate from WPU.  He and his prospective wife, also a classmate at WPU both dropped out of college, possibly lacking the money to continue college.  Mom’s mother, Emma Pemberton was born January 22, 1872 near Hartland, IA and graduated from Marshalltown High School. 


My mother’s parents were married in Marshalltown, IA in Harmon Pemberton’s, mom’s grandparents (Emma’s parents) home on October 14, 1896.  They moved to Des Moines after their marriage, where my grandfather Howard Ware worked four  years as a carpenter.  Early 1901 the family moved to Marshalltown, and later that spring moved to  what became the family farm one and a quarter miles west of Hartland.  At that time the farm was 80 acres.  Later grandfather purchased a nearly contiguous 80 acres.  The farm house was too small for the growing family, as it only had a kitchen, pantry, living room and small bedroom on the main level and two bedrooms upstairs.   In 1910 grandfather Ware significantly expanded the house adding a new living room (and converting the previous living room into an entry and a dining room) and another upstairs bedroom above the new living room as well as expanding the downstairs bedroom. 


In 1913 after the death of Beulah in July 1912 and the birth of mom the prior December, my grandparents spent two  to three months in California visiting Ware and Pemberton relatives, possibly taking Bernice and Lisle who were 13 and 11 at the time or maybe they stayed with Iowa relatives – mom’s grandparents possibly.  However, they must have taken my one month old mother!  I presume they drove, but I don’t know. In 1913 the Ware family left the farm and moved back to Marshalltown.   For what reason, I don’t know and can’t find any information about that time other than, grandfather Ware worked as a carpenter in Marshalltown until 1918 at which time they moved back to the farm.  The period of 1913 to 1918 was of course the time of World War One (officially 1914-1918).  Whether or not that had any bearing on the Ware family decision to leave the farm for five years or not we do not know.  Grandfather Ware farmed until 1936 when my parents moved to and rented the farm. 


In 1937, our grandparents moved to a rented house in Albion, IA about 7 miles northeast of the farm.   Shortly thereafter, they purchased a two bedroom ranch style home nearby in Albion.  Albion was a very small town, with a post office, hardware store, a grades 1 through 12 school, a grain elevator, two churches and a one square block city park in the center of the town.  Albion was serviced by a gravel two lane road from the north and south of the town as well as a third gravel road between Albion and Marshalltown running southeast from Albion, and a single track railroad which also ran north and south.  I am guessing that the population at that time was maybe 200 residents.


Aunt Bea, Grandma Ware, Jim And  Mom (Fall 1935)


Their home in Albion which was located only a couple of blocks from the center of town was modest - possibly 1200 square feet, a single story five room house.  The combination living and dining room and adjacent small kitchen was gathering central.  There were also two bedrooms and a bathroom.  My grandparents lived in that house until grandfather Ware died at their home on May 14, 1945 of cancer.   A year later their house was sold, and grandmother Ware moved in with us on the farm.   She died of cardiac problems on April 6, 1947 at our home. They are buried in the Ware Family plot at the Hartland Cemetery.


I enjoyed spending over-nights and other times with my grandparents Ware.  They were a caring, loving and nurturing couple.  They shared their insight, knowledge and thoughts with me.  I took walks with my grandfather both in Albion and around our family farm.  He taught me how to use a pocket knife and to safely carve/whittle with a knife. However, I don’t remember talking with him or grandmother Ware about their lives or extended families, something I deeply regret.


Their daughter Bernice graduated from WPU in 1924 then taught school, primarily home economics and related courses in several high schools in central Iowa.  She concluded her teaching career at Carlisle High School located about 10 miles southeast of  Des Moines.  Aunt Bea was a regular visitor to her parent’s home on the farm and their Albion homes.  She stayed with us when mom was in the hospital delivering our brothers and sisters, if she was not required to be in the classroom.  After the death of her parents, aunt Bea, was a regular visitor to our farm home.  She frequently stayed with my brothers and sisters on the few occasions when my parents were travelling without us.  She also stayed with some of our sibling’s children in the later years, once she stayed with our two daughters when they were in junior high school  and me while my wife, Karen was traveling in Europe with her parents.


Aunt Bea and a lady friend, Ethel Luce also a primary school teacher, shared a house in Des Moines.  During WWII, Aunt Bea continued teaching while Ethel joined the war effort working on an assembly line manufacturing military parts, at a local manufacturing plant.  After the war, Ethel returned to teaching.  Aunt Bea, celebrated family occasions and holidays with us as we grew up.  Our family was particularly close to aunt Bea.  Ethel typically joined her family for those occasions although over the years, Ethel joined our events more frequently.  Aunt Bea and Ethel sold their house and moved into a nearby retirement home in about the mid-1970s.   When Ethel died, aunt Bea continued living in the retirement home until her death.  I am not aware that she was ever in a hospital.  She died April 3, 1990 and is buried in Hartland cemetery in the Ware Family Plot.


Lisle graduated from WPU in 1926 where he lettered in football.  He worked as Physical Director of the Chicago YMCA for two years and then returned to WPU to be Dean of Men. Helen Hutchins graduated from WPU in 1927.  She and Lisle were married in 1927.  They returned to Chicago where Lisle was named Secretary of the YMCA.  They moved to CT in 1940 where Lisle continued working for the YMCA.  They adopted a son, David who was born in 1937, and a daughter, Linda who was born about four years later.    In about 1946, Lisle was recruited to the position of Development Director for Colorado University, in Boulder, CO and they relocated to CO.  They frequently came to Iowa, to visit us on the farm, and Helen would visit her family in Oskaloosa, IA.  Uncle Lisle, was a jovial, fun loving, caring man who cherished the Colorado vistas and weather. He had a rewarding career with the CO University and later with the Denver College for Women, where again he directed development (fund raising) for this college.  Lisle loved camping, hiking and fly fishing in Colorado’s lakes.  On one occasion when our family was visiting uncle Lisle and his family, Lisle persuaded my dad, my brother Bob and me to go hiking and camping overnight in a Colorado forest.  We cooked dinner that evening over our camp fire, slept in sleeping bags in small tents and awakened to Lisle cooking lake trout that he caught that morning before we were up.  It was a fun event, except for being very cold while trying to sleep.


Lisle and Helen were on a driving trip in Mexico with friends in 1972 when a motor coach crashed into their car.  Lisle was fatally injured and died in Mexico on February 11th, as officials and authorities argued over his care and the motor coach driver’s responsibility for the accident.   Helen and their traveling companions were only slightly injured but the ordeal of trying to get health care for Lisle was excruciating for her and their companions.  Getting the necessary approvals to return Lisle’s body to Colorado was also extremely difficult as the local authorities required the payment of excessive fees prior to releasing Lisle from Mexico..  Eventually, he was returned to CO for a funeral service, attended by aunt Bea, mom and dad, as well as many, many other relatives, community and church officials.   Helen lived until 1995.   They are buried together in Green Mountain Cemetery in Boulder, CO.


My mother was raised primarily on the family farm except for her first five years, when her family lived in Marshalltown and her father worked as a carpenter.  That was the time of WW I but I am not aware of any of her relatives being in the military service at that time nor that being the reason the family moved to Marshalltown.  Also, being Quakers many of the young Quaker men were Conscious Objectors and were given alternative government service to serving in the military.  Also, we don’t know who farmed the home place between 1913 and 1918. 


My mother attended school the nearby one-room country school enrolling in the fall of 1918 and completed her first eight years there, most likely walking  to school as soon as she was old enough to walk the ¼ mile to and from school. She then attended Marshalltown Senior High School for her next four years graduating in 1930.  My mother probably lived with family or friends in Marshalltown while attending school there, maybe even working for the party where she stayed or part-time in a local store.  Upon graduating from high school, mom enrolled at William Penn University from where her older brother and older sister had recently graduated.  She however, transferred to Iowa State Teachers College in  Cedar Falls, Iowa where she earned a two-year elementary teaching certificate in 1932.  My mother was then employed as the teacher at the Hurricane #5 country school only a quarter mile from the family farm.  She lived at home while teaching there.  My mother died in the Methodist Hospital, Des Moines, IA of cardiac failure on December 15, 1988. She had lived with and managed several cardiac problems, namely high blood pressure for a number of years.



My Mother’s Elementary Education Diploma





William Penn University was founded in 1872 as Penn Academy/Friends High School,  it was named Penn College in 1873 when it began offering college courses and named William Penn University  in 2000.   William Penn University (WPU) is located in Oskaloosa, IA on the site where the Friends High School was located in 1872.

The Ware family, particularly my great uncle, - Alfred, who was a Friends Minister - and a great aunt, Edith Ware McGrew, who were the  older brother and a younger sister of my grandfather, Howard had prominent roles in the college’s early years.  Their father, Talbot was very active in the New Providence Friends Meeting and the Iowa Yearly Meeting (the Iowa Friends organization). Alfred graduated from WPU, in 1892, Howard (and his wife to be Emma Pemberton) were in the class of 1895, however neither of them graduated.  Edith married Edwin McGrew who graduated from WPU in 1895.  Alfred’s two sons, Willard and Alfred (Raymond) and one daughter Margaret graduated from WPU in 1921, 1921 and 1923, respectively.  Edith died prematurely in 1919, however Edwin and Edith’s daughter, Marion, graduated from WPU in 1920.  

Edwin McGrew served as the eighth (1917-1928) and the twelfth (1936-1942) president of WPU.  Edwin’s knowledge of WPU’s history, tradition, purpose and contributions to society, provided him with a very strong basis for leading WPU in these tumultuous times.  My grandparents met with Edwin numerous times during Edwin’s tenure at WPU.  Willard Ware served on the WPU board of directors from 1962 to 1982.  Willard’s  leadership skills and contributions to the board were greatly appreciated.  He and his wife, Edith made the lead gift of $100,000 to finance the Edwin McGrew fine arts center which was constructed in 1973.  Edwin McGrew’s daughter Marion attended the ground-breaking festivities.  Howard and Emma (Pemberton) Ware’s three surviving children Bernice, Lisle and Ruth (my mother) all attended WPU.  Bernice graduated in 1924, Lisle graduated in 1926 (Lisle married Helen Hutchens a 1927 WPU graduate in 1929).  In 1928 Lisle returned to WPU for two years to serve as Dean of Men.  Lisle served on the WPU board of directors from 1931 to 1935. Willard faithfully attended as many board meetings as practical as he lived in Worchester, MA most of the time he served on the WPU board of directors.  Whenever he traveled to Iowa to attend a board meeting he made it a practice to visit our  family on our farm.  He was the  closest to our parents of any of Grandfather Ware’s relatives. In 2013, Howard and Emma Ware were awarded (posthumously) the annual WPU Torch Award in recognition for the contributions of their children (Lisle, Bernice and Ruth as well as Ruth’s husband Ralph), nephew (Willard Ware) and grandchildren (my brother, Bob, and me) to WPU.   

Additionally, several of my relatives from my grandmother’s side of the family, played a prominent role in WPU.  Specifically,  Donald John Wagoner, (who preferred using his middle name), a third cousin of mine who graduated from WPU in 1958, earned a Masters in Divinity from Garrett Evangelical Theological Seminary, became a faculty member of WPU in 1964, became the 20th (actually the 21st, as Edwin McGrew served two terms) president of WPU, serving from 1984 to 1995.  Additionally, John’s younger brother, Bill graduated from WPU.  Bill and his wife, Joyce, dedicated their lives to serve as Friends Missionaries serving in the Caribbean. John Wagoner served as development and advancement director of WPU for twenty years before being promoted to President of WPU in 1984.  John reached out to me soon after becoming President of WPU asking me to join the WPU Board of Trustees.  In as much as I was residing in Connecticut and later in Pennsylvania while working mainly in NYC, I declined the invitation as I did not feel that I could attend enough of the board meetings to warrant the position.  However, in 1988 my responsibilities changed and business travel was expected of me.  Consequently, I felt that I could schedule business travel to coincide with WPU Board meetings reasonably well.  When I advised John of this change, he asked me again to join the Board. I accepted and joined the board in 1988.  

At that time Horsehead Industries, the private company employing me distributed an unexpected and generous bonus to we key employees.  Karen and I decided that we would use part of this windfall to establish the Davis-Ware Scholarship Program at WPU.  In 1989 we donated $50,000 to begin this program and we have supported it every year thereafter to varying degrees.  

L to R:  Ralph Davis, Helen Ware, Bernice Ware, John Wagoner WPU President, Ruth Ware Davis,

Jim Davis and Karen Davis (In 1989 announcing the Davis-Ware Scholarship)

During my early board tenure, I served on the Recruitment Committee.  I was able to attend a high percentage of the board meetings.  During the early 1990s, the WPU encountered a particularly difficult financial stretch as enrollment was stagnating and financial resources, particularly donor support, were not sufficient to accomplish the programs that were offered at WPU. The then Chair of the Board had some family conditions which caused her to ask to be relieved of the Chair’s responsibility.  I offered my service as Chair to John, who endorsed my offer to the rest of the Trustees.  I was elected Chair for the years 1994 through 1996.  

John Wagoner had  served eleven difficult years as WPU’s president and submitted his plan to retire from WPU as soon as the Board found his replacement.  The Board did a search for the next president of WPU and since I desired to transition off the Board in the not too distant future, I persuaded another Board member who was a logical successor to me as Chair of the Board, to assume the responsibility of chairing the search committee with the understanding that I would propose his succeeding me as chair of the Board, with the installation of the new WPU President.  A new President was selected, hired and installed.  I stepped down as Chair of the Board of Trustees and served another ten years as a board member, making most of the meetings even though nearly every one of them required some long distance travel.

The initial $50,000 donation in 1989 was the first of my many donations to WPU, the total of which currently exceeds $2.2 million.  Fortunately, several other strong financial supporters of WPU have been even more generous in their support of WPU, enabling WPU to operate on a tight budget with the lowest or nearly the lowest tuition of any Iowa private university/college.  I was honored to deliver the WPU commencement address in 2016.

I am honored to meet annually with the WPU president for a report on WPU’s progress. The university continues to grow and to produce exceptional graduates.  At  a recent meeting with the president, I learned that WPU is the only Iowa University that has increased its enrollment in each of the past five years, which of course includes the Covid pandemic years.  This progress is admirable as several of Iowa’s private universities have or will  soon be closing for lack of students and funding. WPU university continues to make good progress with its educational programs, its infrastructure and  its service to the local community.  Recently it has initiated both a four year nursing program and a program to educate para-teachers of education to a level of qualifying as a credentialled teacher, thereby providing graduates to fill important roles in Iowa’s health and educational fields.  

Consequently, I am extremely proud to be able to perpetuate somewhat what started with Alfred Ware, my great uncle some 130 years ago by providing  support of William Penn University.  I will  be leaving an undetermined amount as an estate gift to this wonderful university which has played an important role in the lives of so many young men and women since its founding in 1872. The Ware-Davis Scholarship is permanently endowed.   Now with the publishing of this autobiography in 2023, which is the 150th anniversary of  William Penn University,  I will need to return to Oskaloosa for the celebration!

I am hopeful that one or more of our family descendants will perpetuate the Ware legacy for WPU, as unfortunately, I believe that I am the lone current Ware family member who is a descendant of Alfred Ware and who is currently involved with and who supports WPU.  If not, our permanently endowed scholarship fund will keep the Ware family name alive in the annals of William Penn University.  In addition, there are two rooms in WPU buildings named for the Ware family with a plaque in each describing the Ware – WPU connection.




 Click HERE to go to Appendix Two