William Preston Davies, known as W.P., was born on a farm in Brant County, Ontario, near Brantford, on October 29, 1862 . His father’s parents immigrated to Pennsylvania from Wales and his mother’s parents from Lancashire, England to Canada between 1830 and 1840. He spent his youth on a farm near the village of Newport, just south of Brantford, and attended a country school until he was fifteen. He then worked as a grocery store clerk, leaving in 1882 for North Dakota where he became a railroad surveyor in the James River Valley.
In 1885, he married Rachel Spence of Ethel, Ontario, and they farmed for several years near Angus, Minnesota . W.P. and Rachel moved to Grand Forks, North Dakota in 1893. W.P. worked as a carpenter and a teacher and then as a reporter in 1896 for the Northwest News . Before he joined the Grand Forks Herald in 1897, he worked briefly for the Grand Forks Plaindealer. Davies was a reporter, managing editor of the Morning Herald, assistant editor and then editor of the combined morning and evening editions of the Herald. Having assumed a slower schedule in 1930, he began writing a daily column called “That Reminds Me.”
Davies was civic minded and active in several community organizations. He was president of the Grand Forks Building & Loan Association and president of the Grand Forks Chamber of Commerce, also called the Civic & Commerce Association, and served as the association’s national councilor from 1933 until 1944. He served on the board of Wesley College and received an honorary degree in 1932. He was active in the I.O.O.F., Kiwanis, and the Franklin and Fortnightly clubs of Grand Forks. Davies was also an avid gardener and was a long time member of the Grand Forks Park Board.
The Davies had two children, both born in Grand Forks, Russell in 1894 and Mabel in 1896. During 1943 through May 1944, Mabel was the Director of UND’s Student Employment Bureau and National Youth Administration. Russell was the Northwest editor for the Grand Forks Herald . The Davies also had three grandchildren. Rachel Davies died August 25, 1939, followed by W.P. on May 19, 1944.