Davis, Albert A.

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Davis, Albert A.

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1856-1946

History

Albert Davis was born in Yovil, Somerset, England in 1856. At the age of sixteen, Davis booked passage to the United States to join an uncle in Michigan who had promised to teach Davis cigar manufacture. Davis later moved to Chicago where he was active in the Cigar Makers Union eventually serving as President. He quit this job to join a travelling stage show. Arriving in California, he quit the touring company and tried prospecting for gold. He soon discovered, however, that he could make better money rolling cigars and returned to that trade and to performing. In 1880, Davis was in a stage show that appeared in Nanaimo at the Institute Hall. After several subsequent visits to Nanaimo, he decided to settle here in 1894. Davis found employment with Phil Gable's Cigar Factory and eventually became a partner. In 1896, Davis left for the Klondyke to prospect for gold but, unsuccessful, he returned to Nanaimo. While continuing to work as a cigar maker, Davis, with partner W.K. Leighton, became a representative for shows at the Opera House owned by John Mahrer. They brought in wrestling, boxing, and plays. Gable sold his interest in the cigar factory to Davis. In 1902, Davis was a charter member of the Ancient Order of Arabic Shriners and was active in several other organizations. The Loyal Order of Moose, Nanaimo Lodge No. 1052 was founded by Davis. Davis was well known for his expertise in hand rolling cigars under the trade name "Enterprise". With the introduction of cigar making machines in 1908, Davis continued to hand roll, but on a limited scale until the federal government introduced the new Excise Laws and Tax on imported tobacco leafs and cigar boxes. After that, Davis made fewer cigars for selected patrons willing to pay a premium for hand rolled cigars. Davis died in Nanaimo on March 12, 1946.

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