Thursday, Feb 02, 2023


The first mention of the Davis family in Bannock Valley, Idaho (later to be called Arbon Valley) was in June of 1892 when David John Bowen and Samuel Deer Davis, from Samaria, Oneida, Idaho (near Malad) came over the mountain looking for land and water. According to Bannock Valley, they found a stream of water coming from Knox Canyon, but it disappeared before reaching the valley. “Yet they felt encouraged that water could be conveyed to the valley by digging ditches.” Who but our pioneer forebearers would ever even consider digging ditches through sod – for miles? The men “commenced work upon a ditch the same fall and others of the brethren came over from Samaria to assist in that work.” None of them spent that winter in the valley, but all returned to their homes and families in Samaria.

The following year (1893) they returned with more men.  “They made a ditch about one and a half miles long to get the water for irrigation purposes from the mouth of Knox Canyon to the land which they staked off and secured by squatters’ rights. They plowed considerable land that fall.” Ten acres were sowed with rye by another homesteader, George Arbon, to be cut the next year for hay. Most of the men lived in their wagon boxes that season, although David Bowen built a small one-room cabin. The year 1893 was the first winter someone (George Arbon) stayed through an Arbon winter, as even the native people did not stay in the valley through the winters.

Samuel Deer Davis applied for a water right on Crow Creek in 1892 as one of the earliest homesteaders.  After that he seemed to disappear from the history of Arbon Valley, but other Davises came into the valley and farmed for several generations.  One of these was Edward Henry Davis, who married Esther Rebecca Arbon, the daughter of George Arbon, the man whom the valley was named for. Their son, Edward Arbon Davis, was also a farmer in the valley. Davises farmed in the valley until the early 2000s.

Today there is a one-mile long road called Davis Lane, two miles south of the original Davis Ranch and store which is at the confluence of Church Road and Bailey Road.