Edmund Jackson Davis

Edmund Jackson Davis was born in St. Augustine, Florida, October 2, 1827; but as a child he was taken to Galveston, Texas, by his widowed mother. He studied law in Corpus Christi, was admitted to the bar, and practiced successfully in Brownsville, Laredo, and Corpus Christi. He served as district attorney for the Rio Grande Valley district and judge thereof from 1854 until 1861. It is stated that his defection from the Confederate cause arose from his defeat as a candidate to the Texas Secession Convention. At this juncture he crossed into Mexico and recruited the 1st Texas Cavalry, reportedly raised from large numbers of "disaffected Texas Unionists." As its commander, Davis held the rank of colonel of United States volunteers from October 26, 1862, and established "political beachheads" in Matamoras, across the Rio Grande from Brownsville. On November 10, 1864, he was made a brigadier general of United States volunteers. At the end of the war Davis was a delegate to the constitutional convention of 1866 and president of the convention of 1869. He advocated unrestricted Negro suffrage, the disfranchisement of all ex-Confederates, and the division of Texas into three states, among other proposals. With the help of the military he was elected governor in 1869 over General Andrew Jackson Hamilton by less than a thousand majority. It is alleged that as governor Davis was personally incorruptible; however, for his four-year term he was virtual dictator of the state, having absolute power of appointment over eight thousand state and local employees. Ousted by a majority of forty thousand Democratic votes in 1873, Davis appealed unsuccessfully to General U. S. Grant in the White House to be sustained in office. He thereupon resumed his law business in Austin and died there on February 7, 1883. He was buried in the State Cemetery.

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Reference:  Generals in Blue.  Lives of the Union Commanders by Ezra J. Warner.  Louisiana State University Press.  Baton Rouge.