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Governor Westmoreland correspondence, 15 May 1919




Westmoreland Davis was born 21 August 1859 to Annie Morris of Gloucester County, Virginia, and Thomas Gordon Davis of South Carolina. Soon after his birth his father, brother, and sister died, and Mrs. Davis moved from South Carolina to Richmond, Virginia. He graduated from Virginia Military Institute in 1877 and Columbia University Law in 1886. In 1909 he became president of the Virginia State Farmers’ Institute and began lobbying the Virginia legislature for agricultural reform. In 1912 Davis purchased the Southern Planter, an agricultural monthly, which he developed into a strong voice for the Progressive farm lobby in Virginia and later as a means of expressing his own political ambitions. Virginia elected Davis governor in 1917 on a "wet," or anti-Prohibition, platform. As governor, Davis sent increased funding to Virginia’s colleges and universities. He also pressed for aid to farmers and funding for scientific farming research. In general, he reformed and modernized the Virginia government. After leaving the governor’s office in 1922, he ran unsuccessfully in the Democratic primary for a seat in the United States Senate. Davis died on 22 September 1942, at the Johns Hopkins University Hospital in Baltimore, Maryland.

Bibliographic Citation

Virginia. Governor (1918-1922 : Davis), Executive Papers, 1918-1922. Accession 21567a State government records collection, The Library of Virginia, Richmond, Virginia.