Library of Congress
DAVIS, Henry Gassaway (1823-1916)

DAVIS, HENRY GASSAWAY, (brother of Thomas Beall Davis and grandfather of Davis Elkins), a Senator from West Virginia; born near Woodstock, Howard County, Md., November 16, 1823; attended the country schools; worked on a farm until 1843; employed by the Baltimore Ohio Railroad Co. for fourteen years as brakeman and conductor, and later had charge of the Piedmont terminal and shops; commenced the banking business and the mining of coal at Piedmont, W.Va., in 1858; engaged in railroad building and in the lumber business; elected to the house of delegates of West Virginia in 1865; member, State senate 1868, 1870; elected as a Democrat to the United States Senate in 1871; reelected in 1877 and served from March 4, 1871, to March 3, 1883; declined to be a candidate for renomination in 1882; chairman, Committee on Appropriations (Forty-sixth Congress); settled in Elkins, Randolph County, W.Va., where he resumed his banking and coal mining interests; represented the United States at the Pan American conferences of 1889 and 1901; unsuccessful candidate for Vice President of the United States on the Democratic ticket in 1904; chairman of the permanent Pan American Railway Committee 1901-1916; died in Washington, D.C., on March 11, 1916; interment in Maplewood Cemetery, Elkins, W.Va.

Syracuse University
George Arents Research Library
Syracuse, NY
Papers: Correspondence in Arthur Pue Gorman papers, 1804-1903.

West Virginia University
West Virginia and Regional History Collection
Morgantown, WV
Papers: 1865-1916. 86 feet. Correspondence and other papers on politics and business; private account books (1867-1915) on 1 microfilm reel; and 1 letterbook (1898-1916). Contains material on Davis' interests in lumbering, coal, and banking enterprises; the West Virginia Central and Pittsburgh railroad; the Coal and Coke railroad; the Davis child shelter; and state and national politics. Finding aid.

  • Caruso, John A. "Henry Gassaway Davis and the Pan American Railway.'' Ph.D. dissertation, West Virginia University, 1949.
  • Pepper, Charles Melville. The Life and Times of Henry Gassaway Davis, 1823-1916. New York: Century Co., 1920.
  • Ross, Thomas Richard. Henry Gassaway Davis: An Old-Fashioned Biography. Parsons, W.VA: McClain, 1994.
  • Williams, John Alexander. "Davis and Elkins of West Virginia: Businessmen in Politics.'' Ph.D. dissertation, Yale University, 1967.
  • Williams, John Alexander. "The Final Confrontation of Henry G. Davis and William L. Wilson in the Election Campaign of 1894.'' West Virginia History 32 (October 1970): 1-9.