For three months out of the year, Tennessee native Dr. Cos Davis can be found in his cottage overlooking the Bon Secour River, taking in the scenery and soaking up the peaceful habitat.
“This is my favorite place,” he says of the property. “Just look at the view. We have a lot of history, a lot of memories here.”
A retired pastor, Davis grew up in the hills of Tennessee and attended Belmont College before moving to New Orleans to begin seminary in the 1960s. “I actually felt a calling when I was 16,” Davis says of his service in ministry. “I was very fortunate to discover at a young age what I was going to do with my life.”
In July of 1967, Davis was asked to preach one Sunday at Bon Secour Baptist Church (now called Oyster Bay Baptist Church), a request that changed the course of his life.
“I drove over from Mobile and was just enchanted,” he says. “The trees, the landscape, it was like nothing I’d ever seen growing up. And then there was this gorgeous white church.”
It was at that white church that Davis preached for a four-week trial and was asked to stay for a while. “I was 22 years old and was given this opportunity and almost immediately violated one of my standing rules when I found myself attracted to this young woman in the church,” he laughs. “That was Cecelia. We married in 1969 and have been together ever since. We have two children and four grandchildren, and we love spending time with them here.”
Over the course of his career, Davis served as a pastor, taught at seminary, worked in management for the Sunday School Publishing Board in Nashville, counseled as a licensed pastoral therapist, and wrote ten books, the last of which is about the history of Bon Secour.
Titled “Land of the Beautiful River,” Davis says it was the most fun he’s ever had writing a book.
“I’d never written a history book before,” he says. “It was a great experience, and I hope it helped service the community by saving these stories of Bon Secour history.”
Throughout his life, Davis says his favorite moments are the things that have put him in touch with people directly. “You know, Bon Secour literally means ‘good help.’ I’ve enjoyed the relationships I’ve made with people and most of all, helping people. That’s what it’s all about.”