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Below is a family biography included in The History of McLean County, Illinois published by Wm. LeBaron, Jr. Co. in 1879.  These biographies are valuable for genealogy research in discovering missing ancestors or filling in the details of a family tree. Family biographies often include far more information than can be found in a census record or obituary.  Details will vary with each biography but will often include the date and place of birth, parent names including mothers' maiden name, name of wife including maiden name, her parents' names, name of children (including spouses if married), former places of residence, occupation details, military service, church and social organization affiliations, and more.  There are often ancestry details included that cannot be found in any other type of genealogical record.

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DAVID DAVIS, Bloomington. Cecil Co., Md., claims the proud distinction of being the birthplace of Mr. Davis; he was born in 1815; his education was received at Kenyon College, which, located at the village of Gambier, in the State of Ohio, was a half century ago one of, if indeed not the leading educational institution west of the great Eastern universities; here Mr. Davis formed the acquaintance of men, who have become equally famed with himself; Edwin M. Stanton, the great War Secretary under the lamented Lincoln, was an intimate college friend of the subject of this sketch; at the same institution Stanley Matthews erected the foundations of a future that has made him famous as the trusted adviser of a President; here, too, Rutherford B. Hayes, President of the United States, implanted the germ of a wonderful career; Henry Winter Davis, the “prince of parliamentary orators,” if not an immediate associate, was a student at the same college, so that we find that the Alma Mater days of Mr. Davis were cast among associations which could not have failed to leave a lasting impression upon his mind, and no doubt, exerted an important influence upon his future. In 1847, he was elected a member of the Constitutional Convention; in 1848, he was chosen Judge of the Eighth Judicial Circuit, embracing four counties; in 1862, he was appointed one of the Associate Justices of the Supreme Court of the United States. In 1835, Mr. Davis removed to this city, and immediately stepped into a lucrative law practice, and that he was deserving of this, his application and his fidelity to the interests of his clients gave ample proof. As a mere lawyer Mr. Davis was conscientious, even to his own disadvantage and pecuniary loss, as some of his professional colleagues claimed, and yet his career has abundantly demonstrated the truth of the old axiom that honesty is the best policy, though it is not the intent to infer that the subject was honest from policy. He never sought political preferment, never aspired to political place —though his name has on several occasions been mentioned in connection with high civic honors; he has always clung steadfastly and proudly to the chosen profession of the law, and to this directness of purpose and concentration of effort we must ascribe much of his great success. As a judge Mr. Davis has won an enviable place among the ermined magnates of the Bench; the conspicuous traits of his character as a jurist, are his inflexible and unswerving devotion to truth, his rigid impartiality upon all cases brought before him for adjudication, and his honest desire that every accused should have his case properly presented before the Court; if accused had not what he considered able counsel, he would not hesitate himself to consult the authorities to see that they had been fully set forth before the jury; he saw truth as if by intuition; he had an inborn, natural inclination toward equity, in illustration of which many incidents are recalled by attorneys who have had cause to remember this truly commendable trait, but none more pertinent than this: At a session of the Danville Court, at which Judge Davis presided, a “celebrated case,” known as the Jones cause, was up for adjudication; able counsel were employed on both sides, as interests representing a large sum were at stake; Daniel W. Voorhees, now United States Senator, appeared for the defendant; the case was conducted in a skillful manner on both sides, the trial occupying several days in the hearing. Judge Davis took a keen interest in all the proceedings, and as usual discovered the equitable side. Mr. Voorhees overwhelmed the opposition with authorities parallel with the case, and it was universally conceded that this authority preponderated in the favor of his client; the attorneys were congratulating Voorhees upon the probable successful termination of the trial. “ No,” said he, “it’s of no use to argue the case; Davis will take it under advisement and will have a special law passed rather than give a decision that would rob the defendant of his rights, even though the weight of the authorities seemed to be against him.” No greater compliment could be pronounced upon any Judge illustrating his love of equity. On the Bench Mr. Davis was a perfect model of a Judge—full of dignity and decision, and yet with mildness and suavity; his high personal character and his unbending morals have given an elevated tone and a purer atmosphere to the bar; as an Associate Justice of the United States, his decisions were learned and able, and commanded the respect and admiration of his associate members. In the Senate, to which he was elected, Mr. Davis is the same dignified and conscientious gentleman, and whatever legislation he has introduced into that body has been based upon equity and justice, and with a view to resulting in the “greatest good to the greatest number.” For the young law student no more profitable study can be found than the life of the jurist and statesman David Davis.

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This family biography is one of 1257 biographies included in The History of McLean County, Illinois published by Wm. LeBaron, Jr. Co. in 1879.  View the complete description here: The History of McLean County, Illinois

View additional McLean County, Illinois family biographies here: McLean County, Illinois Biographies

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