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DAVIS, FLETCHER

DAVIS, FLETCHER (1874–1964). Fletcher Davis, editor and publisher, was born at Taska, a cotton farm near Mount Pleasant, in Marshall County, Mississippi, on February 1, 1874, one of thirteen children of Francis Marion and Mary (Lockhart) Davis II. Davis received a Mississippi teacher's certificate when he was quite young. His fragile health constrained him to go to Texas; he arrived in San Antonio, stayed for a brief time in 1895, and then moved on to Castroville in the spring of 1896. After receiving a Texas teacher's certificate, he taught for several years in the nearby schools.

When the Castroville Anvil, a weekly newspaper that had begun publishing in May 1886, was put up for sale in the spring of 1900, Davis-without any previous newspaper experience-bought it for $275. Meantime, the Hondo Herald, published in the new county seat, was also offered for sale. Davis bought it as well and combined the two papers, naming the new paper the Anvil Herald. He moved all operations to Hondo. The first issue came out on October 17, 1903, as a weekly; the paper has been published without interruption since that time. Davis sold the paper to William E. Berger in 1946, but continued to write a column for it for years afterward. The Centennial Edition of the Hondo Anvil Herald was published on December 25, 1986. Davis also owned and published the D'Hanis Star from 1914 to 1923.

From 1915 to 1921 he lectured at farmers' institutes for the Texas Department of Agriculture. Later, he traveled over South Texas speaking to various farm groups about the beneficial applications of science to agriculture. He became editor of the monthly Market Journal for statewide mailings to farmers; and in 1921 he became editor of the Monthly News Bulletin, another publication devoted to agriculture. Davis returned to full-time editorship of the Anvil Herald in late 1921 or early 1922. From 1915 to 1921 Davis's wife, Roberta, was in effect both editor and publisher of the Anvil Herald. She made sure the paper reached its readers each week, edited and wrote copy, managed the bookkeeping and stock room, sold advertising, and oversaw the printing, while taking care of her home and four children.

In 1922 Davis started his Fletcher's States' Rights Farming, a monthly farm journal. It was discontinued in 1944 because of shortages attendant upon World War II. Davis was a confirmed states' rightser and Democrat. He was also a strong believer in the power of the ballot; he emphasized in his papers that voting was not only a privilege but a duty. He spent his adult life working and writing for the conservation of natural resources, the preservation of the area's unique history, for a good educational system, and for the promotion of the wellbeing and progress of his hometown and county.

He was recognized by the South Texas Press Association in 1952 for his fifty years' service in the publishing industry. In 1953 the Hondo Chamber of Commerce named him Man of the Year for outstanding service since 1903. The board of trustees of Hondo schools honored him and a group of other former board members with a certificate and a banquet in 1954. The Masons presented him with the Fifty Year Pin in 1956. He was awarded a commendation by the Texas Election Bureau for his long years of tabulating and reporting the county's election returns. He was also cited as one of the 1909 charter members of the Hondo Volunteer Fire Department and for his years of service to it. On August 7, 1900, he and Roberta Octavia Hopp were married. Mrs. Davis was a Catholic. She died on March 28, 1956. Fletcher Davis was a Methodist and a Mason. He died on May 8, 1964. They both died in Hondo and are buried in Oakwood Cemetery there.

BIBLIOGRAPHY: 

Castro Colonies Heritage Association, The History of Medina County, Texas (Dallas: National Share Graphics, 1983). Hondo Anvil Herald, July 5, 1946, May 15, 1964, December 25, 1986. Charles E. Van Doren, ed., Webster's American Biographies (Springfield, Massachusetts: Merriam, 1975).

Martin O. Noonan

Citation

The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this article.

Martin O. Noonan, "DAVIS, FLETCHER," Handbook of Texas Online (http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/fdauv), accessed August 22, 2014. Uploaded on June 12, 2010. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.