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John J. Davis (1824-1916) Papers

Collection Number: A&M 1366

Scope and Contents

Davis was a Clarksburg lawyer and a prominent West Virginia Democratic politician who served in the House of Delegates, 1873-1877.

The collection includes Davis' correspondence while a student at Judge John W. Brookenbaugh's law school in Lexington, Va.; letters from his aunt, Margaret Steen, a Mississippi school, 1848-1861 (these letters are a revealing social commentary on the Old South); letters of Emma Davis to her mother, Mrs. John J., 1871-1904; correspondence from Davis' brother Rezin C., a Louisville lawyer and judge, 1871-1910; and letters from Julia T. McDonald to Davis' son, John W., 1897-1900.

Other papers are the records of the Clarksburg and Philippi Turnpike, 1850-1860; account books and estate papers of Davis' father, John, a Clarksburg saddle-maker; Davis' school and legal account books; clipping scrapbooks, 1861-1896; family photographs; Davis' manuscript essays and addresses; broadsides, newspapers, and printed speeches; and the writings of Julia Davis (daughter of John W.), including a manuscript of a published novel.

Subjects covered include: Know-Nothings in Clarksburg, 1855; the Virginia Legislature, 1860; John S. Carlile's financial affairs, 1869; the Virginia Springs in the 1850's; Woodburn Seminary; secession sentiment in Morgantown, 1861; Presbyterian Church in Clarksburg; Bourbon politics in W. Va.; and Kentucky and the Presidential elections, 1896-1908.

Correspondents include: John Taylor Bird, John S. Hoffman, John W. Davis, George W. Atkinson, Daniel B. Lucas, Francis J. Brooke, Granville D. Hall, Jacob B. Blair, John J. Jacobs, and O. G. Schefield.

This collection also contains several artifacts, including three leather billfolds, two of which belonged to John J. Davis and a school slate (or book slate) that belonged to John J. Davis. Davis carved his name into the slate in several places and also carved the name of his hometown of Clarksburg, W. Va. into the frame of the slate.


  • Creation: 1824-1935


Language of Materials


Conditions Governing Access

No special access restriction applies.

Conditions Governing Use

Permission to publish or reproduce is required from the copyright holder. For more information, please see the Permissions and Copyright page on the West Virginia and Regional History Center website.


3.9 Linear Feet (3 ft. 10 1/2 in. (8 document cases, 5 in. each); (1 document case, 2 1/2 in.); (1 flat storage box, 4 in.))


Papers of John J. Davis, a lawyer and politician from Clarksburg, West Virginia. This collection contains correspondence, account books, photographs, essays, speeches, and other material. Also included in this collection are writings of Davis' granddaughter, Julia McDonald Davis. There are also artifacts, including a school slate and three leather billfolds. Please see "Scope and Contents" for further detail.

Physical Location

West Virginia and Regional History Center / West Virginia University / 1549 University Avenue / P.O. Box 6069 / Morgantown, WV 26506-6069 / Phone: 304-293-3536 / Fax: 304-293-3981 / URL:

Related A&M Collections

1366, 1946

John J. Davis (1835-1916) Papers
Staff of the West Virginia & Regional History Center
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Repository Details

Part of the West Virginia and Regional History Center Repository

1549 University Ave.
P.O. Box 6069
Morgantown WV 26506-6069 US