Colonel Elmer Ellsworth was the first Union officer to die in the American Civil War. No new biography of his life has been published since 1960--so I am writing one.
Monday, June 11, 2012
Judge David Davis--Lincoln's Campaign Manager
The happy-looking gentleman to the left is David Davis, born to a wealthy family in Cecil County, Maryland, on March 9, 1815.
Upon his graduation from Yale in 1835, Davis moved to Bloomington, Illinois, to practice law. He also served as a member of the Illinois House of Representatives in 1845 and a delegate to the Illinois Constitutional Convention in McLean County, 1847. In 1844, Davis won election as a Whig to the Illinois legislature, and four years later was elected Judge of Illinois' Eighth Judicial Circuit, the circuit in which Abraham Lincoln and Ward Hill Lamon practiced law.
The three became close friends, and Davis worked diligently (and then some!) as Lincoln's campaign manager at the 1860 Republican nominating convention in Chicago.
In 1862, President Lincoln appointed Davis to the United States Supreme Court, where he served until 1877.
He resigned from the court after being elected to the United States Senate by the Illinois legislature. He retired from the Senate in 1883 and spent the remainder of his life at Clover Lawn. He died on June 26, 1886.
Davis had the distinction of being the largest landowner in Illinois. Although he was not as wealthy as the state's wealthiest businessman, Cyrus McCormick, Davis owned more land than any other man in Illinois. At his death, his estate was valued at between four to five million dollars-a huge fortune in his day. He is interred at Evergreen Cemetery and his home is listed on the National Registry of Historic Places.
Not only did he weigh over 300 pounds, he had an equally large appetite for politics.