Friday, May 1, 2009

David Davis (1815-1886)

The theme for the 71st edition of the Carnival of Genealogy is local history.

As genealogists, we are used to tracing our ancestors and the history of the places they lived. But not all of us live where our ancestors did - do we take the time to see the history all around us? Use some of your investigative skills to research the house, street, or town/city where YOU live. Write about an interesting person, place, or event of local history.

Bloomington, Illinois is rich with history, as I've come to learn over the last 13 years of living in the area.  There are many places and people of interest, but I am going to focus on one gentleman, David Davis.

David Davis was born on 9 March 1815 in Cecil County, Maryland.  He attended Kenyon College in Gambier, Ohio and went on to study law at Yale.

He relocated to Bloomington, McLean, Illinois in 1836 (although some sources say 1835; I'm not sure which is correct), where he practiced law.  Davis had a long political career, which included helping Abraham Lincoln get elected as president of the United States, by serving as Lincoln's campaign manager in 1860.  Other political accomplishments are as follows:

  • Member of the Illinois House of Representatives (1844)
  • Delegate to the 1847 Constitutional Convention
  • Judge for Illinois' 8th Judicial Circuit (1848-1862)
  • Associate Justice of the U.S. supreme court, appointed by Lincoln (1862-1877)
  • U.S. senator (1877-1883), where he also served as President Pro Tempore from 1881-1883

Davis died on 26 June 1886 in Bloomington, McLean, Illinois.  His home, the David Davis Mansion, is an Illinois Historical site.  Davis is buried at Evergreen Cemetery in Bloomington.


You can learn more about Davis and the David Davis Mansion at



Biographical Directory of the United State Congress.  (, accessed 1 May 2009), "Davis, David."

David Davis Mansion.  (, accessed 1 May 2009), "David Davis Mansion History."

The History of McLean County, Illinois.  Chicago:  W.M. Le Baron Jr. & Co, 1879.


Bill West

Hi Julie,
What great pictures of the cemetery.
There's something about Autumn foliage in graveyards that's so poignant!

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