Garrett Davis

Garrett Davis (September 10, 1801 – September 22, 1872) was a U.S. Senator and Representative from Kentucky.

Garrett Davis
Hon. Garrett Davis, Ky - NARA - 528757.jpg
United States Senator
from Kentucky
In office
December 10, 1861 – September 22, 1872
Preceded byJohn C. Breckinridge
Succeeded byWillis B. Machen
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Kentucky's 8th district
In office
March 4, 1843 – March 3, 1847
Preceded byJames Sprigg
Succeeded byCharles S. Morehead
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Kentucky's 12th district
In office
March 4, 1839 – March 3, 1843
Preceded byJohn Chambers
Succeeded byDistrict eliminated
Member of the Kentucky House of Representatives
In office
Personal details
Born(1801-09-10)September 10, 1801
Mount Sterling, Kentucky
DiedSeptember 22, 1872(1872-09-22) (aged 71)
Paris, Kentucky
Resting placeParis Cemetery, Paris, Kentucky
Political partyWhig, Unionist, Democrat
  • Rebecca Trimble
    (m. 1826; died 1844)
  • Eliza Jane Morrow
    (m. 1845; died 1868)
ProfessionPolitician, lawyer

Early lifeEdit

Born in Mount Sterling, Kentucky, Garrett Davis was the brother of Amos Davis. After completing preparatory studies, Davis was employed in the office of the county clerk of Montgomery County, Kentucky, and afterward of Bourbon County, Kentucky. He studied law, and, after being admitted to the bar in 1823, pursued the private practice of law in Paris, Kentucky.

Political careerEdit

Davis served in the Kentucky House of Representatives from 1833 to 1835. Afterward, he was elected as a Whig to the United States House of Representatives, serving from March 4, 1839, to March 3, 1847. There he was chairman of the Committee on Territories.

Davis declined to be a candidate for reelection in 1846, but instead resumed the practice of law and also engaged in agricultural pursuits. He refused to reenter politics the next fifteen years. Davis declined the nomination for Lieutenant Governor of Kentucky in 1848 and declined the American Party nomination for Governor in 1855 and for the presidency in 1856.

Davis was opposed to secession, however, and supported the Constitutional Union Party ticket of John Bell and Edward Everett in the 1860 presidential election. This convinced him to reenter politics, and he was elected to the U.S. Senate as a Unionist by the Kentucky General Assembly in a December 1861 special election to fill the vacancy caused by the expulsion of John C. Breckinridge for supporting the Confederacy. He was reelected as a Democrat in 1867. At the time of his death he was chairman of the Committee on Private Land Claims (during the 42nd Congress).

Personal lifeEdit

Davis was married twice, first to Rebecca Trimble, the daughter of Associate Justice Robert Trimble, and then to Eliza J. Elliott. He was the father of four children: Rebecca, Robert, Carrie and Garrett.[1]

Death and legacyEdit

Davis died in office on September 22, 1872. He is interred at Paris Cemetery, Paris, Kentucky.[2] Davis' home, called Woodhome, was afterward sold to George Edgar who used it for a military academy.[1]

Davis is the namesake of Davis County, Iowa.[3]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ a b "Garrett Davis". Paris, Kentucky: Hopewell Museum. Retrieved September 10, 2019.
  2. ^ "Garrett Davis". Find a Grave. Retrieved September 10, 2019.
  3. ^ Gannett, Henry (1905). The Origin of Certain Place Names in the United States. Govt. Print. Off. pp. 101.


U.S. House of Representatives
Preceded by Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Kentucky's 12th congressional district

1839–1843 (obsolete district)
Succeeded by
Seat lost to redistricting
Preceded by Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Kentucky's 8th congressional district

Succeeded by
U.S. Senate
Preceded by U.S. senator (Class 3) from Kentucky
Served alongside: Lazarus W. Powell, James Guthrie, Thomas C. McCreery, John W. Stevenson
Succeeded by