Morgan J. Davis

Morgan J. Davis

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Morgan J. Davis was born in Anson, Texas, on 18th November, 1898. After leaving school in Fort Worth, Morgan spent a while in Texas Christian University. He served briefly in the armed services during the First World War.

In 1918 Davis he was appointed as assistant engineer for Holway and Associates in Oklahoma. He attended the University of Texas (1924-1925) where he studied geology. After leaving university Davis became a field geologist with Humble Oil. Over the next few years he made rapid progress and eventually he became chairman of the company.

Davis was a member of the Suite 8F Group. The name came from the room in the Lamar Hotel in Houston where they held their meetings. Members of the group included Lyndon B. Johnson, George Brown and Herman Brown (Brown & Root), Gus Wortham (American General Insurance Company), Jesse H. Jones (multimillionaire investor in a large number of organizations and chairman of the Reconstruction Finance Corporation), James Abercrombie (Cameron Iron Works), James Elkins (American General Insurance and Pure Oil Pipe Line), William Vinson (Great Southern Life Insurance), William Hobby (Governor of Texas) and John Connally (Governor of Texas). Alvin Wirtz and Edward Clark, were also members of the Suite 8F Group.

Davis was appointed as president of the American Association of Petroleum Geologists (1952-53). He retired in 1963 but continued to work as a petroleum geology consultant in Houston. Davis was also president of the Geological Society of America (1969-1970).

Morgan J. Davis died of cancer in Houston on 31st December, 1979.

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Morgan J. O’Brien

Justice Morgan J. O’Brien was born on April 28, 1852 in New York City to an Irish immigrant family. He was educated at the city public schools and earned degrees from St. John’s College, now Fordham University, in 1872, the College of St. Francis Xavier in 1873 and Columbia University Law School in 1875. O’Brien was admitted to the bar in 1875 and began practicing law, specializing in corporate law. Hewitt appointed O’Brien to the position of corporation counsel for the city of New York in 1887.

Later that year, he was elected to a 14-year term as a Justice of the State Supreme Court. He was only 35 years old, the youngest person at the time to be elected to that position. Justice O’Brien was appointed to the General Term of the Supreme Court in 1892 by Governor Hill. When the Appellate Division was established in 1895, Justice O’Brien was named one of its first members by Governor Morton. He was re-elected to the Supreme Court in 1901 and re-designated to the Appellate Division. In 1905, Governor Higgins elevated him to the position of Presiding Justice of the Appellate Division, First Department. He retired from the bench in 1906 to practice insurance law at the firm of Boardman, Platt & Dunning.

Justice O’Brien was appointed chairman of the city planning and survey committee in 1926, and two years later he represented the U.S. at the Pan-American Conference in Havana. In 1936 he chaired the Citizens Charter Campaign Committee, leading to the adoption of a new city charter. He also served as a trustee of several organizations, including the Equitable Life Assurance Society, the New York public schools and the New York Public Library, and as a director of the Metropolitan Life Insurance Company. O’Brien was a prominent Catholic layman and was knighted by the Pope, and participated in several clubs and charitable organizations.

He was married to Rose Mary Crimmins for over fifty years and had ten children and several grandchildren and great-grandchildren. He died on June 16, 1937 at the age of 85.

“Honorable Morgan J. O’Brien.” Eminent Members of the Bench and Bar of New York. San Francisco: Knight- Counihan, 1943. 296. Print.

“Justice M. J. O’Brien Resigns from the Bench.” New York Times (1857-1922): 7. ProQuest Historical Newspapers: The New York Times (1851-2008). Nov 06 1906. Web. 11 June 2012.

“Morgan J. O’Brien Dead at Age of 85.” New York Times (1923-Current file): 23. ProQuest Historical Newspapers: The New York Times (1851-2008). Jun 17 1937. Web. 11 June 2012.

About The Society

The Historical Society of the New York Courts was founded in 2002 by then New York State Chief Judge Judith S. Kaye. Its mission is to preserve, protect and promote the legal history of New York, including the proud heritage of its courts and the development of the Rule of Law.

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Morgan J. O’Brien

Morgan J. O’Brien has been described as having a winning nature. He made his mark in many areas — city and state politics, the bar, the bench, education, charity and the church. He was a prominent Catholic layman. Over the years, O’Brien has been embraced at times by both political parties, one describing him as “strong, true, upright, studious, vigorous,” while the other spoke of his “candor, kindness, and thorough excellence.” (Charles Johnston, Men of To-Day: Hon. Morgan J. O’Brien, Presiding Justice of the Appellate Division, Harper’s Weekly, March 31, 1906.)

Justice O’Brien was born April 28, 1852 in New York City, the son of a merchant who had come from southern Ireland 30 years before. After attending New York City public schools and the Christian Brothers School, he graduated in 1872 from St. John’s College with an A.B. degree. The following year he received an A.M. from St. Francis Xavier’s College. Columbia Law School was next, and he graduated in 1875 with an LL.B. His post-law school education includes an LL.D. from St. John’s College in 1887.

Upon his admission to the bar in 1875, Justice O’Brien opened his own law firm. At the same time, Justice O’Brien, who had a deep interest in educational matters, accepted a position as trustee of the public schools of New York City, a position which he held for many years. In 1887, at age 35, he was selected as corporation counsel of New York City by Mayor Hewitt. Later that year, O’Brien was elected a justice of the Supreme Court — the youngest to serve in that capacity up to that point. In 1892 he was assigned by Governor Hill as a Justice of the General Term in the First District, which he held until Governor Levi P. Morton designated him Justice in the Appellate Division First Department in 1895. In 1905, upon the death of Presiding Justice Charles H. Van Brunt, Governor Higgins designated Justice O’Brien Presiding Justice, a position from which he resigned in 1906. Throughout his long career on the bench, only a small percentage of his opinions have been reversed by higher courts.

After retirement from the judiciary, Justice O’Brien returned to his firm, acting in an advisory capacity. In 1926, he was appointed chairman of the city Planning and Survey Committee by Mayor Walker, formed to study zoning, sanitation, traffic, highways, parks, port facilities and revenue. In 1936 he became chairman of the Citizens Charter Campaign Committee which worked successfully to make known to the people of New York City the need for charter revision. As an advocate of charter reform, he led the Campaign Committee in spite of the open opposition of the local Democratic organization, and the new charter was overwhelmingly adopted.

Justice O’Brien was very active outside the judiciary in charitable and educational work. In recognition of his service as a prominent Catholic layman, he was knighted by the Pope. O’Brien was married to the former Rose M. Crimmins and they had nine children. He died at age 85 of pneumonia. His funeral was a who’s who of New York–Lehman, La Guardia, Rockefeller and Farley, to name a few.

Charles Johnston, Men of To-Day: Hon. Morgan J. O’Brien, Presiding Justice of the Appellate Division, Harper’s Weekly, March 31, 1906.

Who’s Who in New York (City and State) 1929, Ninth Edition, Winfield Scott Downs [ed.], Who’s Who Publications, Inc., New York, 1929.

The Brown Book, A Biographical Record of Public Officials of the City of New York for 1898-9, Martin B. Brown Company, New York, 1899.

About The Society

The Historical Society of the New York Courts was founded in 2002 by then New York State Chief Judge Judith S. Kaye. Its mission is to preserve, protect and promote the legal history of New York, including the proud heritage of its courts and the development of the Rule of Law.

Join Our Mailing List

Sign up to receive our free quarterly newsletter, invitations to public CLE programs, important announcements & much more!

Imam, A. Morgan, J. Yuval-Davis, N. 2004. Warning Signs of Fundamentalisms.

Imam, A. Morgan, J. Yuval-Davis, N. 2004. Warning Signs of Fundamentalisms. Nottingham, UK: Women Living Under Muslim Laws (WLUML). 182p. Available at www.wluml. org/english/pubsfulltxt.shtml?cmd%5B87%5D=i-87-98541

This seminal publication presents many of the papers at WLUML's 2002 conference on the warning signs of fundamentalisms. Some of these pieces analyse the common danger signals indicating the rising intensity of right-wing political projects, and some focus on specific strategies of resistance. The papers cover a range of geographical contexts and global issues (the latter includes lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender rights, multiculturalism, legal systems, the media, as well as fundamentalisms in Catholic, Hindu and Jewish contexts). Of particular note to Asia-Pacific readers are the articles by Chayanika Shah (India), Zainah Anwar and Nora Murat (Malaysia), and Sara Hossain and Tazeen Murshid (Bangladesh).

Census records can tell you a lot of little known facts about your Davis Morgan ancestors, such as occupation. Occupation can tell you about your ancestor's social and economic status.

There are 3,000 census records available for the last name Davis Morgan. Like a window into their day-to-day life, Davis Morgan census records can tell you where and how your ancestors worked, their level of education, veteran status, and more.

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There are 3,000 census records available for the last name Davis Morgan. Like a window into their day-to-day life, Davis Morgan census records can tell you where and how your ancestors worked, their level of education, veteran status, and more.

There are 642 immigration records available for the last name Davis Morgan. Passenger lists are your ticket to knowing when your ancestors arrived in the USA, and how they made the journey - from the ship name to ports of arrival and departure.

There are 1,000 military records available for the last name Davis Morgan. For the veterans among your Davis Morgan ancestors, military collections provide insights into where and when they served, and even physical descriptions.

Census records can tell you a lot of little known facts about your Davis-morgan ancestors, such as occupation. Occupation can tell you about your ancestor's social and economic status.

There are 3,000 census records available for the last name Davis-morgan. Like a window into their day-to-day life, Davis-morgan census records can tell you where and how your ancestors worked, their level of education, veteran status, and more.

There are 642 immigration records available for the last name Davis-morgan. Passenger lists are your ticket to knowing when your ancestors arrived in the USA, and how they made the journey - from the ship name to ports of arrival and departure.

There are 1,000 military records available for the last name Davis-morgan. For the veterans among your Davis-morgan ancestors, military collections provide insights into where and when they served, and even physical descriptions.

There are 3,000 census records available for the last name Davis-morgan. Like a window into their day-to-day life, Davis-morgan census records can tell you where and how your ancestors worked, their level of education, veteran status, and more.

There are 642 immigration records available for the last name Davis-morgan. Passenger lists are your ticket to knowing when your ancestors arrived in the USA, and how they made the journey - from the ship name to ports of arrival and departure.

There are 1,000 military records available for the last name Davis-morgan. For the veterans among your Davis-morgan ancestors, military collections provide insights into where and when they served, and even physical descriptions.

Morgans in Dressage – Past and Present

The lists below of Morgans who have competed at Third Level and above in Open Dressage competitions are updated frequently throughout the year. If you have a Morgan who has competed at Third or above and has not been included in these databases, please email us at [email protected] and give us the details.

Database of Morgans that have competed in Dressage at Third Level or Above .


This timeline chronicling highlights of Morgans competing in dressage was originally compiled by Morgan historian Gail Perlee. If you would like to add information to this timeline of high-level accomplishments by Morgans in the sport, please e-mail us at [email protected]

High Pastures Samson (Ethan Eldon x Lippitt Ramona), a 5-year-old gelding owned by Harriet Hilts places third in ASHA Dressage B2 at USET headquarters in Gladstone, NJ. He is trained and ridden by former Dutch Olympic rider H.L.M. Van Schaik of Cavendish, Vermont. Samson becomes one of the first Morgans to be trained in classical dressage.

Van Schaik and High Pastures Samson give a dressage exhibition at Morgan National Show.

Two Morgan stallions, Parade (Cornwallis x Mansphyllis) and his son Broadwall Drum Major (x Debutansque) owned by J. Cecil Ferguson are invited by Colonel Alois Podhajsky to tour the United States and Canada with the Royal Lipizzan Stallions.

Van Schaik and Samson win Open Dressage at Woodstock, VT.

The first dressage competition is held at Eastern National Morgan Show.

Prince of Pride (Dickies Pride x Utah Queen), a palomino WWF stallion owned, ridden and trained by Mary Woolverton, wins the dressage class at Western National Morgan Show.

Margaret Gardiner’s stallion Kennebec Ashbrook, trained and ridden by Dr Van Schaik, win the Second Level dressage class at York, Pennsylvania. He is the first Morgan to win at that level.

Broadwall Felicity (Triumph x Arribonita), a 15-year-old mare ridden by her owner Lee Ferguson wins her class at the Readington, NJ Dressage & Combined Training Show. They also win Second Level Dressage at the Eastern National Morgan Show.

Lee and Felicity are Second Level New England Regional Champions.

Lee and Felicity are Third Level New England Regional Champions.

There are nine Morgans among the nineteen participants in a Thomas Poulin dressage clinic held in Jamesville, NY. Poulin uses the Morgan stallion Meadowbrook Dancer as his demonstration horse.

Gwen Stockebrand and her half Morgan/half Tennessee Walker, BAO are named to the USET Dressage Team.

Stockebrand and BAO place sixteenth in the World Championships and third in the Musical Kur. They win a Silver Medal at the Pan American Games.

At the Alternative Olympics at Goodwood, England BAO and Stockebrand are second in the Kur, and the highest placed Americans at both Goodwood and Rotterdam. The same year they win the U.S. Grand Prix Championship.

Lee Ferguson is awarded a USDF Bronze Medal.

There are almost twenty Morgans at the Stoneleigh Burnham Dressage Show. First and second places at Fourth Level are Madeline Swircek and her 14.2h black stallion, Bald Mt Con Man (Bar-T Vigilman x Bald Mt Connielect) and Lee Ferguson on her gelding Broadwall Jazz Time (Broadwall Tempo x Especially). Both place above Lendon Gray on Mariupol. The Pas de Deux is won by Mona Sansoucy on Big Bend Doc Davis and Lee Ferguson on Broadwall Jazz Time.

Big Bend Doc Davis, a 15.2 h stallion, and owner/rider Mona Sansoucy are Northeast Regional Sweepstakes Reserve Champion at Third Level.

Mrs. Bruce (Lee) Ferguson is named AMHA Woman of the Year for her work in promoting Morgans in Dressage.

In Canada the Morgan stallion WAW Beau Heir (Beckridge BeauField x My Donna Gal C), owned and ridden by Trudie Northcott is third in Prix St George and second in Intermediare I at the Pacific Division of the Canadian National Dressage Championships. The pair ranks tenth in Prix St George and fifth in Intermediare I in the Canadian national standings.

Kathy Theissen of Maple Plain, MN and her 16.2 h gelding Just Fine Fortune (IL Supreme x Sunflower Countess), AKA “Bullwinkle”, wins the AHSA Zone 6 Championship at Third Level.

Mona and Davey are again Northeast Regional Reserve Sweepstakes Champion at Third Level and earn their USDF Bronze Medal.

Kathy and Bullwinkle (Just Fine Fortune) win the ASHA Zone 6 Championship at Fourth Level.

Mona Sansoucy and Big Bend Doc Davis grace the cover of the March issue of the Morgan Horse Magazine.

Trudie Northcott-Steele and her home-bred Morgan stallion WAW Beau Heir make history at the Southlands Spring Morgan show, becoming the first registered Morgan to compete at Grand Prix.

On June 28, during the first U.S. competition devoted entirely to musical freestyle dressage, Mona Sansoucy and 11-year-old Davey win the Fourth Level and Above class and receive the high score of the day.

Trudy Northcott-Steele and 17-year old WAW Beau Heir are awarded the AMHI $2500 Grand Prix Dressage Prize for being the first Morgan to obtain four scores of 50% or above at Grand Prix Level.

Kathy and Bullwinkle are ranked 13th in USDF national standings at Intermediare II.

Button Baker riding Patti Broulette Barrett’s 16.3 h mare, Malibu’s Fawnita (Las Posas Bravo x Waer’s Fawnette) win the Fourth Level Musical Kur at the California Dressage Society’s Regional Championship Show. They are also named Third Level CDS champion and AHSA Zone Champion at Third Level. By year’s end the duo are tied for 13th place (out of 542 horses) in the USDF national standings at Third Level.

At the USDF National Young Riders Championships, 18-year-old Amy Husted and her 9-year-old gelding Jamori Troubadour (Fidddlers Georgetown x Mackinac Queen) are members of USDF Region 2 Team and, performing at Intermediare II, they earn an individual 6th place in the Consolation Test.

At their first show at Grand Prix Level at the NEDA Freestyle Sweepstakes, Big Bend Doc Davis and Mona Sansoucy-Gaudet place second and fourth in Grand Prix Musical Kur. Davey is the only American horse on the grounds and defeats several horses that are long listed by USET for that year’s Olympics.

At age 15 Just Fine Fortune (Bullwinkle) competes successfully in Grand Prix dressage.

Malibu’s Fawnita is ranked third in USDF national standings at Prix St George and eleventh at Intermediare I. She and Button Baker are selected as alternate to a USET team competing in Canada, becoming the first Morgan to win a place on a USET dressage squad.

H.L.M. Van Schaik, mentor to Morgan dressage riders for over 30 years, dies at age 92. An AMHI Morgan Dressage Scholarship is established in his honor.

Big Bend Doc Davis retires at the New England Morgan Show to thunderous applause from a standing room-only-crowd. His brilliant performance inspires a renewed interest in dressage within the Morgan community.

Browns Fiddle Dee (Dobson x Hoosier Holly) with owner Deborah Gyulay are one of the first to win the AMHA Open Competition Gold Medallions in Dressage, which require eight FEI scores including two from Grand Prix.

Ten Penny Action (Applevale Voyager x Doverdale-Bambi-Jean) with owner Janet Moulding share the honor of earning their AMHA Gold Medallion.

A 20-year-old Morgan gelding, Delmaytion Gaylad (Corinth Renaissance x Gemini Centaurus x Tutor) becomes the first Morgan to be included in the USDA annual listing of stallions who have sired three or more recipients of USDA year end high-score awards. The three winning offspring he sired before being gelded were Foxwin Deja Vu, Foxwin Pirouette and Foxwin Sir Echo.

Deb Dougherty and Beckridge Patrex are fifth in the USDF national rankings in Intermediare I Musical Freestyle. A total of 77 horses nationwide competed in this category.

Mona Sansoucy wins the first Van Schaik Morgan Dressage Scholarship awarded annually thereafter through the American Morgan Horse Institute.

Deb Dougherty is awarded a USDF Gold Medal, becoming the first to achieve this honor on a Morgan. She is one of only 94 riders to earn a Gold Medal up to the end of 1994. To receive a Gold Medal, a rider must earn two scores at Intermediare I or II and two scores at Grand Prix of 60% or better, in front of at least two different judges at two different USDF competitions.

Alix Szepesi and her palomino gelding Triple S High Noon (Topside Eager Beaver x Triple S Soap Suds) win USDF Horse of the Year honors and are ranked 15th in the United States among all horses competing at Third Level.

The Morgan Dressage Association is formed.

Cathy Echternach and Whippoorwill Ebony, aka “Black Tie” (Blackwood Correll x Whippoorwill Locket) are 21st in Intermediare II in USDF national rankings and earn the AMHA Gold Medallion in Dressage.

EFM Desperado (EFM Odin x Woodside Celebrity), owned by James and Laura Smith, is the sixth Morgan to earn the AMHA Gold Medallion in Dressage and is retired at the end of the season.

Amy Fowler Larson and BTMM The Colonel’s Lady compete at Grand Prix. The Colonel’s Lady is the only Morgan mare to reach this level.

Sally Anderson competes on Mehrs Eloquince at Grand Prix and receive their AMHA Gold Medallion. Anderson also competes Iron Forge Starman at Fourth Level and they receive their AMHA Silver Medallion.

Dressage at Devon offers their first sport horse breeding class for Morgans. Eight Morgans competed on the triangle, and the class was won by Spring Hollow Kyros (Statesman’s Silhouette X Foxridge Destiny), a 3-year-old gelding owned by Spring Hollow Morgans.

Ann Taylor of Woodland Stallion Station is named United States Equestrian Federation Breeder of the Year. Her Wintergreen Morgans are renowned for their success in the sport disciplines, including dressage.

Iron Forge Starman competes at Grand Prix with Sally Anderson, who earns her USDF Gold Medal.

David Macmillan becomes the first rider to show three Morgans at the FEI level at a USDF competition. Wendy Bizarro’s Greentree EverReddi and Greentree Courtney take first and second at Prix St Georges and Karin Weight’s West Mt Winston wins the Intermediare l class. All three Morgans received scores in the 60’s.

West Mt Winston wins USDF All-Breed Championships at Grand Prix and Grand Prix Musical Freestyle levels, the AMHA Gold Medallion, and his fifth Morgan World Championship with scores as high as 68.7%. Rider David Macmillan earns his USDF Gold Medal on Winston and they receive the Grand Prix Achievement Award from the AMHA.

West Mt Winston becomes the first Morgan in history to receive a Performance Certificate for Grand Prix from the United States Dressage Federation and is named “Dressage Horse of the Decade” by

Whippoorwill Ebony, a former Grand Prix dressage horse, is successfully shown at Fourth Level — at age 26! Seven Morgans compete at Prix St Georges this season — a new record for the breed.

Whippoorwill Dorado (Triple S Golddust Correll X Whippoorwill Larissa) becomes the twelfth Morgan Grand Prix competitor. Trained and shown by Catherine Echternach, he earned 60% on his first Grand Prix test.

Blue and White Raven (Night Hawk of Rocking M X Four-L Black Magic) becomes the thirteenth Morgan to be competed at Grand Prix. He and his owner and rider, Jennifer Drescher, qualify and and are the first Morgan to compete at the U.S. Nationals at Grand Prix.

Avatar’s Jazzman (KJB All That Jazz x Avatars Cassandra) and Lauren Chumley become the fourteenth Morgan to successfully compete at Grand Prix.

Morgans take the top two spots at the National Dressage Pony Cup in FEI Test of Choice Open, with Forsite Renor and Debra M’Gonigle earning the Championship title, and Avatar’s Jazzman with Lauren Chumley Reserve Champions.

Howard Schatzberg photography Howard Schatzberg photography

Blue and White Raven and Jennifer Drescher are U.S. Dressage Finals Grand Prix Adult Amateur Freestyle Reserve Champions.

Three of the four horses competing at FEI at the National Dressage Pony Cup are Morgans: Forsite Renior with Debra M’Gonigle (Reserve Champion), Avatar’s Jazzman and Lauren Chumley, and Forsite Zephyr also with Debra M’Gonigle.

HD Redford (Tedwin Titlist x Perinton Serenity) and his rider Josephine Trott, Coulee Bend Kahlua (Season’s Forever French x Coulee Bend Anticipation) with Emily Gill, and Gladheart Linhawk (Funquest Diviner x Rogue’s Midnight Melody) and Kimberlee Barker become the fifteenth, sixteenth and seventeenth Morgans to successfully compete at Grand Prix.

Howard Schatzberg Photograpy

Susan Stickle Photography

EMR Maximus (Coal Creek Dallas x EMR Starfire) with Lisa Romano Johnson becomes the eighteenth Morgan to compete at Grand Prix. HD Redford is the first to win an AMHA Open Competition Platinum Medallion in Dressage, which requires eight scores at Grand Prix with an average score of 60%. Blue and White Raven finishes second in the USDF national rankings in Amateur Grand Prix Musical Freestyle and is Region 1 Amateur Champion Grand Prix.

Morgan Dressage Association
1069 N. Geneva Road
Provo, UT 84601
Email: [email protected]
Phone: 406-212-1231


Family background Edit

Davis's paternal family had roots in western Virginia and what became West Virginia. His great-grandfather, Caleb Davis, was a clockmaker in the Shenandoah Valley. In 1816, his grandfather, John Davis, moved to Clarksburg in what would later become West Virginia. Its population then was 600–700, and he ran a saddle and harness business. His father, John James Davis, attended Lexington Law School, which later became the Washington and Lee University School of Law. By the age of twenty, he had established a law practice in Clarksburg. John J. Davis was a delegate in the Virginia General Assembly, and after the northwestern portion of Virginia broke away from the rest of Virginia in 1863 and formed West Virginia, he was elected to the new state's House of Delegates and later to the United States House of Representatives. [1]

John W. Davis's mother Anna Kennedy (1841–1917) was from Baltimore, Maryland, daughter of "William" Wilson Kennedy and his wife Catherine Esdale Martin. Kennedy was a lumber merchant. Catherine was the daughter of Tobias Martin, dairy farmer and amateur poet, and his wife, a member of the Esdale family. The Esdales were members of the Religious Society of Friends, or Quakers, who had settled near Valley Forge, Pennsylvania. They had reportedly helped provide support for the Continental Army under George Washington, which had camped there in the winter of 1777–1778. [2]

Early years Edit

Davis's Sunday school teacher recalled that "John W. Davis had a noble face even when small." His biographer said, "[h]e used better English, kept himself cleaner, and was more dignified than most youngsters. He was also extraordinarily well-mannered." [3]

Education Edit

Davis's education began at home, as his mother taught him to read before he had memorized the alphabet. She had him read poetry and other literature from their home library. After turning ten, Davis was put in a class with older students to prepare him for the state teachers examination. A few years later, he was enrolled in a previously all-female seminary, that doubled as a private boarding and day school. He never had grades under 94. [4]

Davis entered Washington and Lee University at the age of sixteen. He graduated in 1892 with a major in Latin. He joined the Phi Kappa Psi fraternity, participated in intramural sports, and attended mixed parties. [5]

He would have started law school directly after graduation, but he lacked funds. Instead, he became a teacher for Major Edward H. McDonald of Charles Town, West Virginia. Davis taught McDonald's nine children and his six nieces and nephews. His student Julia, nineteen at the time, later became Davis's wife. Davis fulfilled a nine-month contract with McDonald.

He returned to Clarksburg and apprenticed at his father's law practice. For fourteen months he copied documents by hand, read cases, and did much of what other aspiring lawyers did at the time to "read the law". [6]

Davis graduated with a law degree from Washington and Lee University School of Law in 1895 and was elected Law Class Orator. [7] His speech gave a glimpse of his advocacy skills:

[The] lawyer has been always the sentinel of the watchtower of liberty. In all times and all countries has he stood forth in defense of his nation, her laws and liberties, not, it may be, under a shower of leaden death, but often with the frown of a revengeful and angry tyrant bent upon him. Fellow classmates of 1895, shall we . prove unworthy? [3]

Early legal career Edit

After graduation, Davis obtained the three signatures required to receive his law license (one from a local judge, and two from local attorneys, who attested to his proficiency in the law and upstanding moral character) and joined his father in practice in Clarksburg. They called their partnership Davis and Davis, Attorneys at Law. Davis lost his first three cases before his fortunes began to turn.

Before Davis had completed his first year of private practice, he was recruited to Washington & Lee Law School as an assistant professor, starting in the fall of 1896. At the time, the law school had a faculty of two, and Davis became the third. At the end of the year, Davis was asked to return but demurred. He decided that he needed the "rough & tumble" of private practice. [8]

Family connections Edit

On June 20, 1899, he married Julia T. McDonald, who died on August 17, 1900. They had one daughter together, Julia McDonald Davis. She later married Charles P. Healy, and then William M. Adams. Several years later, the widower Davis married again, on January 2, 1912, to Ellen G. Bassel. She died in 1943.

Davis was the cousin [9] and adoptive father of Cyrus Vance, who later served as Secretary of State under Jimmy Carter.

Davis' daughter Julia was one of the first two female journalists hired by the Associated Press in 1926. (The other was probably Marguerite Young. [10] [11] ) As noted above, Julia married William McMillan Adams, president of Sprague International. He was the son of Arthur Henry Adams, president of the United States Rubber Company. Both father and son were aboard the luxury liner RMS Lusitania when it was sunk by a German submarine in 1915. Arthur died his son William survived.

Julia and William divorced, and both remarried. She divorced again, and later they remarried in their old age. Adams had two sons by his second wife, John Perry and Arthur Henry Adams II. Julia died in 1993 with no natural children but claimed six "by theft and circumstance." [ citation needed ]

Early career Edit

His father had been a delegate to the Wheeling Convention, which had created the state of West Virginia, but he had also opposed the abolitionists, Radical Republicans, and opposed ratification of the Fifteenth Amendment. Davis acquired much of his father's southern Democratic politics, opposing women's suffrage, Federal child-labor laws and anti-lynching legislation, Harry S. Truman's civil rights program, and defended the State's rights to establish the poll tax by questioning whether uneducated non-taxpayers should be allowed to vote. He was as much opposed to centralism in politics as he was to the concentration of capital by large corporations, supporting a number of early progressive laws regulating interstate commerce and limiting the power of corporations. Consequently, he felt distinctly out of place in the Republican Party, which supported free-association and free markets and maintained his father's staunch allegiance to the Democratic Party, even as he later represented the interests of business opposed to the New Deal. Davis ranked as one of the last Jeffersonians, as he supported states' rights and opposed a strong executive (he would be the lead attorney against Truman's nationalization of the steel industry).

He represented West Virginia in the U.S. House of Representatives from 1911 to 1913, where he was one of the authors of the Clayton Antitrust Act. Davis also served as one of the managers in the successful impeachment trial of Judge Robert W. Archbald. He served as U.S. Solicitor General from 1913 to 1918. As Solicitor General, he successfully argued in Guinn v. United States for the illegality of Oklahoma's "grandfather law". That law exempted residents descended from a voter registered in 1866 (i.e. whites) from a literacy test which effectively disenfranchised blacks. Davis's personal posture differed from his position as an advocate. Throughout his career, he could separate his personal views and professional advocacy.

Davis served as Wilson's ambassador to Great Britain from 1918 to 1921, he reflected deep Southern support for Wilsonianism, based on a reborn Southern patriotism, a distrust of the Republican Party, and a resurgence of Anglophilism. Davis proselytized in London for the League of Nations based on his paternalistic belief that peace depended primarily on Anglo-American friendship and leadership. He was disappointed by Wilson's mismanagement of the treaty ratification and by Republican isolationism and distrust of the League. [12]

Presidential candidate Edit

Davis was a dark horse candidate for the Democratic nomination for President in both 1920 and 1924. His friend and partner Frank Polk managed his campaign at the 1924 Democratic National Convention. He won the nomination in 1924 as a compromise candidate on the one hundred and third ballot. Although Tennessee's Andrew Johnson served as President after Lincoln was assassinated, Davis' nomination made him the first presidential candidate from a former slave state since the Civil War, and as of 2020 he remains the only ever candidate from West Virginia. [13] Davis' denunciation of the Ku Klux Klan and prior defense of black voting rights as Solicitor General under Wilson cost him votes in the South and among conservative Democrats elsewhere. He lost in a landslide to Calvin Coolidge, who did not leave the White House to campaign. Davis' 28.8 percent remains the smallest percentage of the popular vote ever won by a Democratic presidential nominee. He won every state of the former Confederacy and Oklahoma.

Later political involvement Edit

Davis was a member of the National Advisory Council of the Crusaders, an influential organization that promoted the repeal of prohibition. He was the founding President of the Council on Foreign Relations, formed in 1921, Chairman of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, and a trustee of the Rockefeller Foundation from 1922 to 1939. Davis also served as a delegate from New York to the 1928 and 1932 Democratic National Conventions.

Davis campaigned on behalf of Franklin D. Roosevelt in the 1932 presidential election but never developed a close relationship with Roosevelt. After Roosevelt took office, Davis quickly turned against the New Deal and joined with Al Smith and other anti-New Deal Democrats in forming the American Liberty League. He later supported the Republican presidential candidate in the 1936, 1940, and 1944 elections. [14]

Davis was implicated by retired Marine Corps Major General Smedley Butler in the Business Plot, an alleged political conspiracy in 1933 to overthrow United States President Franklin D. Roosevelt, in testimony before the McCormack-Dickstein Committee, whose deliberations began on November 20, 1934 and culminated in the Committee's report to the United States House of Representatives on February 15, 1935. Davis was not called before the committee because "The committee will not take cognizance of names brought into the testimony which constitute mere hearsay."

In 1949, Davis (as a member of the board of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace) testified as a character witness for Alger Hiss (Carnegie's president) during his trials (part of the Hiss-Chambers Case): "In the twilight of his career, following the end of World War II, Davis publicly supported Alger Hiss and J. Robert Oppenheimer during the hysteria of the McCarthy hearings" (more accurately, the "McCarthy Era" as the Hiss Case (1948–1950) preceded McCarthyism in the 1950s). [15] [16] [17]

Davis was one of the most prominent and successful lawyers of the first half of the 20th century, arguing 140 cases before the U.S. Supreme Court. [18] His firm, variously titled Stetson Jennings Russell & Davis, then Davis Polk Wardwell Gardiner & Reed, then Davis Polk Wardwell Sunderland & Kiendl (now Davis Polk & Wardwell), represented many of the largest companies in the United States in the 1920s and following decades. From 1931 to 1933, Davis also served as president of the New York City Bar Association.

In 1933, Davis served as legal counsel for the financier J.P. Morgan, Jr. and his companies during the Senate investigation into private banking and the causes of the recent Great Depression. [19] [20] [21]

The last twenty years of Davis's practice included representing large corporations before the United States Supreme Court challenging the constitutionality and application of New Deal legislation. Davis lost many of these battles.

Appearances before the U.S. Supreme Court Edit

Davis argued 140 cases before the U.S. Supreme Court during his career. [18] Seventy-three were as Solicitor General, and 67 as a private lawyer. Lawrence Wallace, who retired from the Office of the Solicitor General in 2003, argued 157 cases during his career but many believe that few attorneys have argued more cases than Davis. [22] Daniel Webster and Walter Jones are believed to have argued more cases than Davis, but they were lawyers of a much earlier era. [18]

Youngstown Steel case Edit

One of Davis' most influential arguments before the Supreme Court was in Youngstown Sheet & Tube Co. v. Sawyer in May 1952, when the Court ruled on Truman's seizure of the nation's steel plants.

While Davis wasn't brought into the case until March 1952, he was already familiar with the concept of a presidential seizure of a steel mill. In 1949, the Republic Steel Company, fearful of advice given to President Truman by Attorney General Tom C. Clark, asked Davis for an opinion letter on whether the President could seize private industry in a "National Emergency." Davis wrote that the President could not do so, unless such power already was vested in the President by law. He further went on to opine on the Selective Service Act of 1948's intent, and that seizures were only authorized if a company did not sufficiently prioritize government production in a time of crisis.

Arguing for the steel industry, Davis spoke for eighty-seven minutes before the Court. He described Truman's acts as a " 'usurpation' of power, that were 'without parallel in American history. ' " [23] The Justices allowed him to proceed uninterrupted, with only one question from Justice Frankfurter, [ citation needed ] who may have had a personal feeling against Davis relating to his 1924 presidential campaign. [24] It had been predicted that the President's actions would be upheld, and the injunction would be lifted, but the Court decided 6–3, to uphold the injunction stopping the seizure of the steel mills.

Washington Post writer Chalmers Roberts subsequently wrote that rarely "has a courtroom sat in such silent admiration for a lawyer at the bar" in reference to Davis' oral argument. Unfortunately, Davis did not allow the oral argument to be printed because the stenographic transcript was so garbled he feared it would not be close to what was said at the Court. [25]

Of particular note in the case is that one of the Justices in the majority was Tom Clark, who as Attorney General in 1949 had advised Truman to proceed with the seizure of Republic Steel. Yet in 1952 Justice Clark voted with the majority without joining Black's opinion, in direct opposition to his previous advice. [26]

Brown v. Board of Education Edit

Davis' legal career is most remembered for his final appearance before the Supreme Court, in which he unsuccessfully defended the "separate but equal" doctrine in Briggs v. Elliott, a companion case to Brown v. Board of Education. Davis, as a defender of racial segregation and state control of education, uncharacteristically displayed his emotions in arguing that South Carolina had shown good faith in attempting to eliminate any inequality between black and white schools and should be allowed to continue to do so without judicial intervention. He expected to win, most likely through a divided Supreme Court, even after the matter was re-argued after the death of Chief Justice Fred M. Vinson. After the Supreme Court unanimously ruled against his client's position, he returned the $25,000 (equivalent to $200,000 in 2020), [27] that he had received from South Carolina, although he was not required to do so, but kept a silver tea service that had been presented to him. [28] It has also been reported that he never charged South Carolina in the first place. [29] He declined to participate further in the case, as he did not wish to be involved in the drafting of decrees to implement the Court's decision. [28]

Davis had been a member of the American Bar Association, the Council on Foreign Relations, Freemasons, Phi Beta Kappa, and Phi Kappa Psi. He was a resident of Nassau County, New York and practiced law in New York City until his death in Charleston, South Carolina at the age of 81. He is interred at Locust Valley Cemetery in Locust Valley, New York.

The John W. Davis Federal building on West Pike street in Clarksburg, West Virginia is named after Davis.

The building housing the Student Health Center at Washington and Lee University is named for him, as is the Law School's appellate advocacy program, and an award for the graduating student with the highest grade point average [30] [31]

In the 1991 television film Separate but Equal, a dramatization of the Brown case, Davis was portrayed by the famed actor Burt Lancaster in his final film role.

First Generation - James Davis - 1751

The first James Davis was born in 1751 in Wales. At what age he came to America, or why, is not known. He married a woman by the name of Mary but we don’t have her maiden name. She was born in America and one or both of her parents were Welsh.

Emigration from Wales

From an Ohio State History site I found the following: “Migrants from Wales were among the first people to come to Great Britain's North American colonies in the 1600s. By the late 1700s, Welsh migration slowed dramatically. American independence from Great Britain virtually ended Welsh immigration for several decades.“

In researching emigration from Wales I found that beginning in the 1630s, emigrants left Wales to seek opportunity in a new land or fled poverty or oppression in Wales. Beginning in 1815-1900 qualified emigrants received passage money or land grants in the destination county as an alternative to receiving poor relief—they were referred to as Assisted Emigrants. We’re not sure what brought James to America but all three of their children were born in Virginia.

James and Mary lived in Loudon County, Virginia. Though we don’t have a last name for Mary I did find four possible marriages in Virginia around the appropriate time: Mary Moore, Mary Hadley, Mary England, and Mary Johnson--I'm doing more research on this. James and Mary had three sons.

If the old family bible is correct William and James were twins. So far we have been unable to trace the descendents of Hugh and William Davis although there was a man in Parkersburg, West Virginia, by the name of Edward Wildt, a tailor by profession. This man’s grandmother was a Davis and we think the daughter of either Hugh or William Davis. I can’t find any other information on Hugh and William, or whether they had wives or children

Mary, the mother of the three boys, Hugh, William and James, is the first person mentioned in the old family bible, having died October 15, 1801 at the age of 51. She was born in America in 1750. The old bible is now in the possession of Mr. R. H. Vaughn, granddaughter of Alexander Davis. Alexander is a grandson of the first James Davis who came from Wales. The above record is taken from a letter written to Dr. C.M. Davis, Centerville, Iowa.

Some Interesting Notes on History in James & Mary’s Time

John and Mary settled in Loudon County, Virginia. To this day Loudon County has a very small population. For more than two centuries, agriculture was the dominant way of life in Loudoun County, which had a relatively constant population of about 20,000. That began to change in the early 1960s, when Dulles International Airport was built in the southeastern part of the county.

Loudoun County constitutes a part of the five million acre Northern Neck of Virginia Proprietary granted by King Charles II of England to seven noblemen in 1649. This grant, later known as the Fairfax Proprietary, lay between the Potomac and Rappahannock Rivers. Between 1653 and 1730, Westmoreland, Stafford and Prince William Counties were formed within the Proprietary, and in 1742 the remaining land was designated Fairfax County.

In 1757, by act of the Virginia House of Burgesses, Fairfax County was divided. The western portion was named Loudoun for John Campbell, Fourth Earl of Loudoun, a Scottish nobleman who served as Commander-in-Chief for all British armed forces in North America and titular Governor of Virginia from 1756 to 1768.

In 1774, a meeting a freeholders and other residents was held in the County Courthouse to discuss the protection of rights and liberties in North America. The group adopted the Loudoun Resolves as well as a formal protest of the Stamp Act. Later, a number of Loudoun County men fought in the Revolutionary War.

Life on the Farm and What Was Happening in History

I don't have any pictures of James and Mary but as a working farming family their clothing would have been simple. They may have had one good outfit that they wore to church, christenings and funerals. Mary may have worn her mother's wedding dress but we just don't know. To the left is a typical garments from the 1780s for working class people.

I think it helps to set the mood when we try to imagine what live was like for our ancestors if we know what was going on in the rest of the world during their lifetime. Since Mary was born in the United States it is most likely James and Mary were married sometime around 1778-79--during the Revolutionary War which ended in 1783. They lived in a very exciting and historical time at the birth of this nation.

We don't know when or where James died but we do know from the family Bible that Mary died in 1801. Let's move on the second generation of the Davis Clan. Click on James L. Davis below to continue.


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