30 September 2010

Judge David Davis's Wives & Cousins

The excerpts from the letters to Sarah Davis (1814-1879), Judge David Davis's first wife, on the sign below, were part of an exhibit at the Historic Metamora Courthouse in Woodford County, Illinois.

An earlier blog post at my "Relatively Fiction" blog featured the husband of Judge Davis's second wife, Adeline Burr. Her second husband, Wharton Green, was a Confederate officer in the Civil War. So Judge Davis, who was a friend of Abraham Lincoln's (Lincoln is mentioned in three of the five letters to Sarah) and an executor of Lincoln's estate, married a woman who as Davis's widow, married a Confederate officer. Another blog post at "In Deeds" has a bit more information about Wharton Green and Judge David Davis.


A vivid picture of life on the Eighth Circuit comes from letters Judge David Davis wrote to his wife Sarah and son George. They show that living conditions did not compare will with those he was used to.

From Pekin September 22, 1851
"The tavern at Woodford is miserable, but it may be that Mr. Cross may take compassion on us & take us in his house."

From Springfield, September 7, 1851
"The Thermometer for the last four days, has [been] over 90, and in fact the entire two weeks has been as oppressive. Holding courts in such weather, has exhausted lawyers, jurors, witnesses, & Judge too. If such weather continues....the prospect in Pekin will be anything but agreeable--Mosquitoes prevail there, and a body will have to be in a constant state of warfare."

From Shelbyville, May 24, 185_
"The road from here to Charleston is horrid. We have met no such road any where round this circuit. My horses were very tired & Mr. Lincolns old horse nearly gave out."

From Clinton, April 24, 1851
"The tavern in Pulaski is perhaps the hardest place you ever saw. A new landlord by the name of Cass, just married--every thing dirty, & the eating Horrible. Judge Robbins, Lincoln, Stuart & every body else from Springfield. The old woman looked as we would suppose the witch of Endor looked. She had a grown daughter who waited on the table--table greasy--table cloth greasy--floor greasy and every thing else ditto. The girl was dressed in red calico, with a black silk cardinal over it, with a wreath of artificial flowers...around her head--waiting among greasy things. Think of it. I wonder if she ever washed herself. I guess the dirt must be half an inch thick all over her."

From Clinton, May 6, 185_
"Mr. Lincoln is with me & sends his love to you. He says [his horse] 'Old Buck' is alive. We don't use buggies so much in travelling since rail roads have come in vogue."

A letter Judge Davis wrote to his son, George Perrin Davis, mentioned Judge Davis's cousin, David Davis Walker. David Davis Walker's granddaughter, Dorothy, married Prescott Bush; they were George H. W. Bush's parents. More ancestry can be found here. The story of David Davis's early years can be found here.


Karen said...

I'll bet he was always glad to come home! :)

PalmsRV said...

Karen, I'll bet you're right!


rodohu13 said...

Actually, there's even another twist to this one.

Turns out Addie Burr, the second spouse of Judge Davis, was a distant cousin of President Lincoln (5C1R). It's doubtful, though, that either Addie or the Judge knew of that tie to Lincoln during their lifetimes.

And for considerably more on Judge Davis and the mostly unknown Walker Family early history, see these articles: http://genealogyinstlouis.accessgenealogy.com/RogerHughes.htmhttp://genealogyinstlouis.accessgenealogy.com/RogerHughes.htm

PalmsRV said...

Wow. It gets even better. Thanks for the additional information.