TX-13934 Governor Edmund Jackson Davis


(October 2, 1827 - February 7, 1883) Born in Florida, E.J. Davis became a lawyer and judge after moving to Texas. During the Civil War (1861-65), he commanded a regiment of Texas Unionists and rose to the rank of Brigadier General. During the Reconstruction era, Davis led the Radical wing of the Texas Republican Party. In Nov. 1869 he narrowly defeated moderate Republican A.J. Hamilton for the governorship in an election marred by charges of fraud. Davis took office in Jan. 1870, and Texas was readmitted to the Union the following March. Davis' four-year term was marked by controversy over the formation of a state police force and alleged financial corruption. His administration drew praise, however, for its support of free public education. Davis was defeated for re-election in Dec. 1873 by Democrat Richard Coke, but he refused to leave office. From Jan. 13 to Jan. 17, 1874, Davis occupied the first floor of the State Capitol, while Coke and members of the 14th Legislature held the second floor. Armed conflict was prevented when President U.S. Grant declined to intervene in the dispute, and Davis left the building peacefully. Davis married Anne Elizabeth Britton (b. 1838) and had two sons. His grave is in the State Cemetery in Austin. (1976)

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