John Wesley Davis

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For other people named John W. Davis, see John W. Davis (disambiguation).
John W. Davis
John Wesley Davis.jpg
Davis as painted by W.D. Murphy, 1911.
4th Governor of Oregon Territory
In office
May 14, 1853 – August 1, 1854
Appointed by Franklin Pierce
Preceded by George Law Curry (acting)
Succeeded by George Law Curry
3rd United States Commissioner to the Great Qing Empire
In office
January 3, 1848 – May 25, 1850
Appointed by Zachary Taylor
Preceded by Alexander Hill Everett
Succeeded by Humphrey Marshall
21st Speaker of the United States House of Representatives
In office
December 1, 1845 – March 4, 1847
Preceded by John W. Jones
Succeeded by Robert C. Winthrop
Speaker of the Indiana House of Representatives
In office
December 1, 1851 – June 21, 1852
Preceded by Ebenezer Dumont
Succeeded by William Hayden English
In office
December 6, 1841 – January 31, 1842
Preceded by Samuel Judah
Succeeded by Thomas Jefferson Henley
In office
December 3, 1832 – February 4, 1833
Preceded by Harbin H. Moore
Succeeded by Nathan B. Palmer
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Indiana's 6th district
In office
March 4, 1843 – March 3, 1847
Preceded by David Wallace
Succeeded by George G. Dunn
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Indiana's 2nd district
In office
March 4, 1839 – March 3, 1841
Preceded by John Ewing
Succeeded by Richard W. Thompson
In office
March 4, 1835 – March 3, 1837
Preceded by John Ewing
Succeeded by John Ewing
Personal details
Born John Wesley Davis
(1799-04-16)April 16, 1799
New Holland, Pennsylvania, USA
Died August 22, 1859(1859-08-22) (aged 60)
Carlisle, Indiana, USA
Resting place City Cemetery
Nationality American
Political party Democratic
Other political
Alma mater UMB
Occupation Doctor
Profession Medical
Committees Committee on Public Lands

John Wesley Davis (April 16, 1799 – August 22, 1859) was a doctor and a prominent U.S. politician during the 1840s.

Early life and education[edit]

Davis was born in New Holland, Pennsylvania, on April 16, 1799, and later moved to Shippensburg, Pennsylvania, with his parents.[1][2] Davis graduated from Baltimore Medical College in 1821, then moved to Carlisle, Indiana, in 1823 and practiced medicine there.[2] He married Ann Hoover on November 19, 1820.

Political career[edit]

State politics[edit]

Davis started his political career as an unsuccessful candidate for the Indiana Senate in 1828. He instead became a state court judge in Indiana from 1829 to 1831. He was elected a member of the Indiana House of Representatives for 1831–1833, 1841–43, 1851–52, and in 1857.[1] He was Speaker of the Indiana House in 1832–33, 1841–42, 1851–52.[1]

National politics[edit]

He served as a U.S. Representative from Indiana in the 24th, 26th, 28th and 29th Congresses and was Speaker of the U.S. House in the 29th Congress.[1] From 1848 to 1850 he was U.S. Diplomatic Commissioner to China.[1] In 1852 he was a delegate to the Democratic National Convention from Indiana.[1]


Davis was appointed to the office of Governor of the Oregon Territory in 1853 by President Franklin Pierce. His appointment was not welcomed by Oregonians, however, and he left office just over a year later, with the position returning to his predecessor, Secretary of the Territory George Law Curry.


Davis died in Carlisle, Indiana on August 22, 1859.[1] He was buried at City Cemetery in Carlisle.[1]


External links[edit]