Davis, James M.
Born: 1803-10-09 Barren County, Kentucky
Died: 1866-09-17 Hillsboro, Illinois
James M. Davis, attorney and politician, moved to Bond County, Illinois, in 1817. He had little formal education but earned admission to the Bond County bar, becoming the second lawyer to practice in the county. Davis also became active in the Whig Party and represented Bond County in the Illinois House of Representatives, from 1842 to 1844 and served in the convention that drafted the 1848 Illinois Constitution. In 1849, he moved to Vandalia, Illinois, to become register of the U.S. Land Office, a position he solicited Abraham Lincoln’s assistance in obtaining. He held the position until 1853. After his term ended, Davis moved to Hillsboro, where he practiced law, and he served a second term in the Illinois House of Representatives, from 1859 to 1860, representing Montgomery County. In 1860, he was practicing law in Hillsboro and owned real estate valued at $6,000 and had a personal estate of $12,500. After the dissolution of the Whigs, Davis became a Democrat, and strongly opposed Lincoln’s war policy as president.
John M. Palmer, ed., The Bench and Bar of Illinois: Historical and Reminiscent (Chicago: Lewis, 1899), 1:526, 2:967-69; John Clayton, comp., The Illinois Fact Book and Historical Almanac, 1673-1968 (Carbondale: Southern Illinois University Press, 1970), 210, 222; Arthur Charles Cole, ed., The Constitutional Debates of 1847, vol. 14 of Collections of the Illinois State Historical Library, Constitutional Series (Springfield: Illinois State Historical Library, 1919), 2:956-57; James M. Davis to Abraham Lincoln; U.S. Census Office, Seventh Census of the United States (1850), Fayette County, IL, 382; U.S. Census Office, Eighth Census of the United States (1860), Montgomery County, IL, 9; Register of all Officers and Agents, Civil, Military, and Naval, in the Service of the United States, on the Thirtieth September, 1849 (Washington, DC: Gideon, 1849), 135; Register of all Officers and Agents, Civil, Military, and Naval, in the Service of the United States, on the Thirtieth September, 1851 (Washington, DC: Gideon, 1851), 140; Register of Officers and Agents, Civil, Military, and Naval, in the Service of the United States, on the Thirtieth September, 1853 (Washington, DC: Robert Armstrong, 1853), 138; Gravestone, Oak Grove Cemetery, Hillsboro, IL.