Davis, John, 1787-1854

Alternative names
Birth 1787-01-13
Death 1854-04-19
Bay Staters

Biographical notes:

John Davis (1787-1854) of Massachusetts was serving in the U.S. Senate at the time this letter was written. He served from March 4, 1835 to January 5, 1841, and March 24, 1845 to March 3, 1853.

From the description of Letter : Washington, D.C., to J. G. Marshall, Hancock County, West Virginia, [1835?-1853?] February 11. (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 122609063

American statesman and Governor of Massachusetts.

From the guide to the John Davis testimony and affidavit, 1841, (L. Tom Perry Special Collections)

American statesman and Governor of Massechusetts.

From the description of Testimony and Affidavit, 1841. (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 145435347

U.S. senator from Massachusetts and governor of Massachusetts.

From the description of John Davis correspondence, 1830-1848. (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 79423566

John Davis (1787-1854), son of Isaac and Anna Brigham Davis, was born in Northborough, Mass. He graduated from Yale College in 1812 and studied law with Francis Blake of Worcester. He was admitted to the bar in 1815 and soon after settled in Worcester, where he made a reputation as a forceful advocate in the courtroom. In 1822, he married Eliza Bancroft (1791-1872), daughter of the Rev. Aaron Bancorft and sister of George Bancroft. Three of their sons, John Chandler Bancroft, Horace, and Andrew McFarland had distinguished careers.

Davis was a U.S. Congressman, 1825-1834, Governor of Massachusetts, 1834-1835 and 1841-1843, and a U.S. Senator, 1835-1841 and 1845-1853. In Congress, first as a Federalist and later as a National Republican and Whig, he held conservative views on most controversial questions. He was a spokesman for New England interests, which demanded a protective tariff. He was a consistent opponent of President Andrew Jackson, and was against any further spread of slavery in the states or territories. He was one of two senators to vote against declaring war on Mexico. His uncompromising position on slavery prevented his nomination as Henry Clay's running mate on the Whig ticket in 1844. He was opposed to the Compromise of 1850, and exerted all his influence in support of the Whig candidate, General Winfield Scott, in the presidential campaign of 1852. After more than twenty-five years of public service, "Honest John" Davis retired, leaving the Senate on March 3, 1853. Davis was president of the American Antiquarian Society, 1853-1854, and received many honors. He died in Worcester at the age of sixty-seven.

From the description of Papers, 1812-1902. (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 207129555


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  • Politics, Government, and Law
  • Canals
  • Women--Correspondence
  • Census districts
  • Politicians--Biographies--Sources
  • Civil Procedure and Courts
  • Politicians--Massachusetts--Biography--Sources
  • Governors--Biography--Sources
  • Illinois and Michigan Canal (Ill.)--Design and construction
  • Lawyers


  • Senators, U.S. Congress--Massachusetts
  • Governor--Massachusetts


  • Massachusetts (as recorded)
  • Worcester (Mass.) (as recorded)
  • Northwest, Old (as recorded)
  • Washington (D.C.) (as recorded)
  • Massachusetts (as recorded)
  • Massachusetts (as recorded)
  • West Virginia (as recorded)
  • Illinois and Michigan Canal (Ill.) (as recorded)
  • United States (as recorded)
  • Massachusetts (as recorded)
  • Illinois (as recorded)