Monday, July 6, 2009

William Columbus Davis

Here's a connection to Itawamba County that most folks probably don't know about. Alabama's 11th Lieutenant Governor was an Itawamba County native. Unfortunately, a biography of William Columbus Davis that appeared in Alabama's statistical register indicates that Iuka, Mississippi was his birthplace, a fact that I am pretty sure is an error. There were other errors in his biography as well, such as the statement that his great-grandfather Jesse Davis Sr. was born in England when all other information indicates that Jesse and most of his siblings were born in South Carolina.

William C. Davis was the son of Samuel McGee and Emily Lacey Davis and was first cousin to my great-grandfather, James K. Davis. The 1870 census finds the couple living in Township 9 of Itawamba County with a three-year old William. Although the census indicates that William was born in Alabama, all subsequent census records indicate Mississippi as his birthplace. Further, both William's parents and grandparents lived in extreme northeastern Itawamba County, although his parents later moved across the state line into Marion County (but just barely). Jesse Davis Jr., William's grandfather, and Samuel M. Davis, William's father, are both buried at Providence Cemetery north of Tremont and next to the state line.

Below is an excerpt found online at the website of the Alabama Department of Archives and History, as printed in the Official and Statistical Register, 1927.

Mr. Davis was educated in the public schools of his native state and studied law in the office of Judge Harvey Murphy, Aberdeen, Miss., at which place he was admitted to the bar. He taught in the public schools of Miss. until 1890 when he located to Hamilton, Ala., to practice law. In 1899, he removed to Jasper where he now resides. He was a member of the House of Representatives of the Alabama Legislature from Marion County, 1891-1899, and from Walker County in 1915. He was Solicitor of the 14th Judicial Circuit, 1907-1911, inclusive. He was a Democrat and served his party as a member of the State Commmittee and as Chairman of the Congressional Committee and was active in numerous political campaigns. He was a Baptist, a Mason, and Woodsman.

Here is an excerpt that appeared in the Itawamba County News that also indicates that William Columbus Davis was an Itawamba native:

Itawamba County News
(Abstracted by Virble Booth)
April 22, 1909

Hon. W. C. Davis who was reared in the eastern part of this county has entered the race for congress in the 6th Ala. District to succeed Capt. R. P. Hobson. Mr. Davis is presently from Jasper, Ala.

To see a picture of the home of William C. Davis in Jasper, Alabama, as well as a photograph of William and his family, check out this Google Books website. The photographs appear in a book about Walker County, Alabama by Pat Morrison.

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