John Davies

The following is a tribute to John Davies that appeared in The Thoreau Society Bulletin in Spring 1972 by John Pontin:


The death occurred on February 17th last of Mr. John Davies at Margate. He was 88 years of age. John Davies and his wife Agnes (Mrs. Davies died in 1969) had many years of close personal friendship with Henry Salt, the English biographer of Henry D. Thoreau. John Davies and his wife Agnes became acquainted with Salt in 1923 and remained life long friends until Salt died in 1939. John Davies made his first encounter with Thoreau at the mature age of 16, the same time as he became a vegetarian. In a letter he wrote to me some six years ago he said his first reading of ‘Walden’ “was in the nature of an enlightenment as if timeless in one’s consciousness”. He was also influenced by Blatchford’s ‘Clarion’, in which Thoreau was commended to its readers.

John Davies was born in Liverpool in the year 1884, some 22 years after Thoreau’s death. He was a senior officer with the British Civil Service until his retirement in 1945. Members of the Thoreau Society may remember his personal recollections of Henry S. Salt in the October, 1949, issue of the Thoreau Bulletin, and his contribution in the fall of 1953 “On Reading Thoreau”. John loved to talk about Thoreau the mystic, about the meetings with Salt and many of his famous friends. He loved to be in the open. Walking was a simple joy and his love of nature deepened further our personal friendship and respect for Thoreau.

Thoreau was undoubtedly a major influence in his life. He had a great love of life and was vitally interested and concerned with Man and his real purpose of life.

“It is strange that men will talk of miracles, revelations, inspirations, and the like, as though past, while love remains.” H. D. T.