Joel K. McDavid, whose extensive property holdings class him with the substantial citizens of Montgomery county and who is also a factor in its financial interests, was born upon a farm two and a half miles east of Hillsboro, October 31, 1853. The family is of Scotch-Irish lineage and through various generations its members have been farming people. His paternal grandfather, William McDavid, came from Tennessee to Illinois at a very early period in the development of this portion of the state, making a settlement east of Coffeen. His son John T. McDavid, was born in Montgomery county, upon a farm a mile west of Coffeen, to which his parents had in the meantime removed, He is now living in Irving at the advanced age of eighty-two years. Through the greater part of his active business career he carried on agricultural pursuits, and, prospering in his undertaking, became one of the well to do citizens of his community. In his political views he has long been a stalwart Democrat and has served as supervisor of his township, while in 1868 he was elected to the office of county sheriff, discharging his duties without fear or favor, he was formerly actively identified with the Masonic fraternity and the Odd Fellows Lodge and he is a consistent member of the Cumberland Presbyterian church. He married Miss Edna J. Knight, who was born in Montgomery county and died in March, 1870, at the age of forty-three years. She was a daughter of William Knight, who came to this county at an early day and followed agricultural pursuits. He was of German lineage and was a member of the Cumberland Presbyterian church. Onto Mr. and Mrs. McDavid were born six children: Albin B., who is a minister and also an agriculturist of Sullivan; William J., who is filling the position of county superintendent of schools; John T. Jr., a stock buyer of Irving; Joel K.; Augustus B., a farmer of Irving; and James L., a hardware merchant of Hillsboro. After the death of his first wife, John T. McDavid was married to Miss Malinda Snell, and they became the parents of one son. Frank L. who is now assistant cashier of the Montgomery County Loan & Trust Company.
Joel K. McDavid acquired his early education in the district schools and afterward attended Hillsboro Academy and the Lincoln University at Lincoln, Illinois, He was graduated from the latter institution with the class of 1878 on completing the Latin scientific course. After leaving school he entered the office of Rice & Miller, attorneys of Hillsboro, with whom he read law and in 1880 he was admitted in the bar. He then became a member of firm and practiced successfully for a number of years, but in more recent years has been devoting his time and energies to the supervision of his large property interests, having placed much of his capital in that safest of all investments, real estate. He is, however, closely associated with financial concerns of the county and in 1900 was chosen president of the Montgomery County Loan & Trust Company's Bank the oldest bank of the county, in which position he has since served. He is, likewise, president of the Hillsboro Building & Loan Association, which is capitalized for two million dollars and is one of the largest concerns of the kind in the state. He and his wife have three hundred acres of land and he is also interested in the McDavid Hardware Company. He stands today as the type of the American business man of the middle west, alert and enterprising, watchful of opportunities and so utilizing the means at hand as to gratifying success. At the same time his business methods are in close conformity to the ethics of the business world and he has thus made for himself an honored name while winning the confidence of his fellowmen by the prosperity that he has achieved.
In September, 1879, Mr. McDavid was married to Miss Emma Tiffin, a representative of the family to which Judge Edward Tiffin, the first governor of Ohio, belonged. She was in Madison county, Illinois, in 1860, a daughter of William and Alcinda (Blackwell) Tiffin, formerly a farmer and stock-buyer of Madison county. Mr. and Mrs. McDavid have one child, Edward T., who was a graduate from the Missouri Valley College at Marshall. Missouri. in June, 1903. Mr. and Mrs. McDavid are members of the Cumberland Presbyterian church and his political support is given to the Democracy. He is a man of enterprise, positive character, indomitable energy, strict integrity and liberal views and has been fully identified with the growth and prosperity of the county of his nativity in which his entire life has been passed.
Taken From: Past and Present of Montgomery County, Illinois (1904)