The Resource Executive Papers of Governor Westmoreland Davis, 1918-1922
- Executive Papers of Governor Westmoreland Davis, 1918-1922
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- Governor Westmoreland Davis Executive Papers, 1911-1922 (bulk 1918-1922), are organized into two series. Series have been designated for Subject Files and Extraditions and Pardons. These papers mainly consist of incoming and outgoing correspondence during Westmoreland Davis's four-year term as governor between 1 February 1918 and 1 February 1922. The largest and most significant series is the Subject Files Series. This series provides an in-depth look into the major concerns confronting Davis as governor. The Extraditions and Pardons series includes applications, correspondence, extraditions, pardons and requisitions
- The Subject files series, 1911-1922 (bulk 1918-1922) is housed in sixty-one archival boxes and is arranged alphabetically by subject. This series documents correspondence received and sent by Governor Davis during his four-year term as governor of Virginia. In addition to correspondence, there are reports, proclamations, telegrams, orders, resolutions, acts, publications, news clippings, invitations, proceedings, financial statements, invoices, and other sundry items. Topics include Agriculture, Anti-Saloon League, Attorney General opinions, Bills paid, Home for Confederate Needy Women, the Davis House (Washington Building), Deaf and Blind Virginia School in Staunton, Virginia, Flags, Game and Inland Fisheries, Hospitals, Indians, Influenza, the unveiling of the Stonewall Jackson memorial on Monument Avenue in Richmond, Lime Grinding Plant staffed by state convicts, Child labor, Lynching, Negro education, Lists of Notaries public in the state, the Richmond Penitentiary, Pensions for Confederate Veterans, Railroads, Roads, Southern Commercial Congress, State Fair, Strikes, Taxation, Virginia Military Institute, Virginia Normal Schools, Vocational Training, Washington and Lee University, William and Mary College, and YMCA, among others. Also included are appointments to various boards such as the State Board of Charities and Corrections, State Dental Examiners, Congress of Eugenics, State Board of Embalmers, Examiner of Records, Judges, and for School Superintendents across the state
- Included is information on mental hospitals in Virginia concerning conditions and investigations over issues in the state hospitals (Central State, Eastern State, Southwestern State, and Western State); the lynching of Charles Allie Thompson in Culpeper County, Virginia, and letters from Tuskegee Normal and Industrial Institute asking the Governor for assistance and sending statistics on lynching; letters regarding the appointment of people to the censor board of the Motion Pictures Association and the movie, "Birth of a Nation,"; requests for increases in pensions given to Confederate veterans, often including the service record of the veteran; requests for assistance in capturing criminals and rewards given; letters from Maggie Walker and Mary Cooke Branch Munford regarding the Virginia Industrial School for Colored Girls in Peake, Hanover County, Virginia; letters regarding the resignation of Colonel Robert Kerlin of the Virginia Military Institute due to his advocacy for African Americans in Arkansas; letters requesting appointments to the Virginia Military Institute and also issues regarding hazing rituals at the Institute; and letters and photographs regarding the statue of George Washington done by Jean-Antoine Houdon. Also included are index cards of Notary Publics in Virginia stating the name of the applicant, occupation, address, and title of official who recommended. The index cards are arranged alphabetically by the name of city or county
- Also of note are the War Correspondence materials which relate to such issues of lists of Virginia casualties, Deserters, Draft Exemptions, Gardening, Home Guard, Local Boards, National Guard, Negroes, Physicians, Returning Soldiers, Veneral diseases, War Savings Stamps, and West Virginia Troops. Included are letters from family members thanking Governor Davis for condolence letters sent in regards to a soldiers death; a letter from Governor Davis regarding his lack of confidence in Adjutant General W.W. Sale; letters from family members requesting military exemptions due to family dependence or from localities due to a persons usefulness in the farm labor; letters from family members asking for help in regards to finding the whereabouts of their sons after the war; and letters regarding the League of Nations and Bastille Day
- The Extraditions and Pardons series, 1918-1922, is housed in sixteen archival boxes and is arranged alphabetically by folder title. This series documents extraditions, pardons, and requisitions for fugitives in Virginia. Included are letters, pardon applications, petitions, prison records, telegrams, and newspaper clippings. Included are letters from family members asking for pardons of relatives; letters from governor granting or not; letters from prisoners asking for pardons; letters from politicians on behalf of prisoners; and petitions signed from people asking for pardon for someone. Also included are index cards of requisitions from other states to Governor Davis and also those from Governor Davis to other states. The prison records include the name of prisoner, date committed, age, occupation, court, crime, and term information
- Updated and EAD Guide
- Biographical or historical data
- Westmoreland Davis was born 21 August 1859 on board a ship in the North Atlantic Ocean during his parents' annual voyage to Liverpool, England. His parents were Annie Morris of Gloucester County, Virginia, and Thomas Gordon Davis of South Carolina. Soon after his birth his father, brother, and sister died, and Mrs. Davis moved from South Carolina to Richmond, Virginia. He obtained a scholarship to Virginia Military Institute in 1873, at age fourteen, the youngest cadet ever to enroll at VMI. He graduated in 1877, just two months before his eighteenth birthday.
- After two years teaching, he took a job in the offices of the Richmond and Allegheny Railroad until 1883. Davis then spent a year at the University of Virginia and studied law at Columbia University from 1884 until graduating in 1886. Davis remained in New York to practice corporate law; there he met Marguerite Inman of Atlanta, daughter of W. H. Inman, a New York cotton broker. The couple married in 1892 and soon moved to Orange County, New York, where from 1893 to 1902 they enjoyed fox-hunting as members of the Orange County Hunt Club. By 1903, at age forty-four, Davis had been successful enough to retire to Loudoun County, Virginia, where he and his wife purchased Morven Park, a country estate.
- In 1907 he helped found the Virginia State Dairymen's Association. In 1909 he became president of the Virginia State Farmers' Institute and began lobbying the Virginia legislature for agricultural reform. One of his achievements was persuading the legislature to create state-owned fertilizer plants so that individual farmers could directly buy fertilizer in bulk. Davis also succeeded in lobbying for a legislative reference bureau in 1914. In 1912 Davis purchased the Southern Planter, an agricultural monthly, which he developed into a strong voice for the Progressive farm lobby in Virginia and later as a means of expressing his own political ambitions.
- Spurred on by his success in the agricultural lobby, Davis ran for governor in 1917 as an independent Democrat in a three-way race with independent John Garland Pollard and Lieutenant Governor James Taylor Ellyson, the candidate of the Democratic Party's Martin Organization. Virginia elected Davis governor in 1917 on a "wet," or anti-Prohibition, platform. As governor, Davis sent increased funding to Virginia's colleges and universities. He also pressed for aid to farmers and funding for scientific farming research. In general, he reformed and modernized the Virginia government. While governor, he was a delegate to the Democratic National Convention of 1920.
- After leaving the governor's office in 1922, he ran unsuccessfully in the Democratic primary for a seat in the United States Senate against incumbent U.S. senator, and former governor, Claude A. Swanson. Davis was a strong supporter of U.S. president Franklin Delano Roosevelt's New Deal policies during the Great Depression of the 1930s and a vocal opponent of the Byrd Organization, the successor to the Martin Organization. Davis never again held public office. Davis died on 22 September 1942, at the Johns Hopkins University Hospital in Baltimore, Maryland.
- Cataloging source
- Citation source
- Salmon, John S., comp. A GUIDE TO STATE RECORDS IN THE ARCHIVES BRANCH OF THE VIRGINIA BRANCH OF THE VIRGINIA STATE LIBRARY AND ARCHIVES. Richmond: Virginia State Library, 1985
- Location of other archival material
- Library of Virginia,
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