Governor Daniel F. Davis
As found in REPRESENTATIVE MEN OF MAINE
A Collection of Biographical Sketches of all the Governors since the formation of the State.
Prepaired under the direction of Henry Chase
Portland, ME.
The Lakeside Press, Publisher
1893

Free Trial - Ancestry.com World Deluxe Membership

----------------------------------------------------------


THERE was no election by the people of Governor in 1879. There were four men voted for, viz., Daniel F. Davis, of Corinth, the Republican candidate, Hon. Joseph L. Smith, of Oldtown, the Greenback candidate, Hon. Alonzo Garcelon, of Lewiston, who was the Governor that year and the Democratic candidate, and Hon. Bion Bradbury, Democrat, of Portland, who was not a candidate. The total vote thrown at this election for Governor was 138,806; of this total, Davis received 68,967, Joseph L. Smith received 47,643, Governor Garcelon had 21,851, and there were 264 votes thrown for Mr. Bradbury, with 81 scattering.

The Democrats and Greenbackers did not unite on candidates for Governor, but did "fuse" generally throughout the State on candidates for the House and Senate. Therefore, while there was no election of Governor by the people, there appeared to be a majority of anti-Republican members in the Legislature when it as.embled on the first Wednesday in January, 1880, as provided by the Constitution.

The Fusionists, as the Democrats and Greenbackers were called, succeeded, on the date named in the Constitution, in duly organizing both branches of the Legislature by electing a Speaker of the House and a President of the Senate, together with the minor officers in both houses. In these elections of officers the Republican members holding certificates of the Governor and Council participated. It would seem that many returns made of the State election of September, 1879, to the Secretary of State were imperfect, and when they came to be canvassed in the autumn of that year by the Governor and Council, some were thrown out because of the alleged imperfections, and others were counted which it was claimed should not have been counted.

Therefore, a most bitter dispute arose between the Republicans and Fusionists as to the justice of the certification of a considerable number of the members of the Legislature. The Republicans claimed that certificates were granted to men who were not really elected and withheld from men who were elected. On the other hand, the Fusionists claimed that a correct canvass had been made of the legal returns received at the Secretary of State's office, and that each house must be the judge of the election of its own members when all the returns, good and bad, were laid before it. As certified by the Governor and Council, the House stood 78 Fusion and 61 Republican, with 12 vacancies, and the Senate 20 Fusion and 11 Republican.

Very many of the questions involved in the dispute were submitted to the Supreme Court, which was composed of seven Republicans and one Democrat. Three opinions were given by the Court, the first on January 3, 1880 the second January 16, 1880, and the third January 27, 1880. These opinions sustained the Republican position at every point, and in effect that the organization of the Legislature by the Fusionists on the first Wednesday in January was illegal. As a matter of course, the Democratic press severely assailed the opinions of the Court, and they were much discussed in legal circles both in and out of the State. They were frequentiy commented upon most severely.

That body continued to meet daily in the State House, after its organization on the first Wednesday of January, 1880, until and including January 12, 1880. On the evening of that day, at about seven o'clock, the Republican members and those claiming to be elected marched in a body to the State House and proceeded to organize another Legislature. A gatling gun was placed at the entrance of the State House by the Republicans, and the Dernocratic and Greenback members were refused admission to the building for some time. There was intense excitement all over the State, and it was feared that lives would be lost.

It was this second Legislature that elected Daniel F. Davis Governor, In which capacity he served during the year 1880. All the questions involved in this great political fight were made issues in the next campaign, and fully and freely discussLd upon the stump and in the press. In the election in September, 1880, Governor Plaisted, the Democratic-Greenback candidate for Governor, was elected by a vote of 73,770 to 73,544 for his opponent. The Democrats and Greenbackers boastfully claimed that their side of the contest had been sustained by the people and that the Republican position had been condemned. Mr. Davis went into retirement, and is now practicing law at Bangor.


Return to [
Maine Governors ] [ Online Biographies ]