"Tennessee Trails" through Bedford County
DAVIS, Ewin Lamar, (1876-1949) a Representative from Tennessee; born in Bedford County, Tenn., February 5, 1876; attended the public schools, Webb School, Bell Buckle, Tenn., Woolwine School, Tullahoma, Tenn., and Vanderbilt University, Nashville, Tenn., 1895-1897; was graduated from Columbian (now George Washington) University Law School, Washington, D.C., in 1899; was admitted to the bar the same year and commenced practice in Tullahoma, Tenn.; delegate to all Democratic State conventions 1900-1910; judge of the seventh judicial circuit of Tennessee 1910-1918; chairman of the district exemption board for the middle district of Tennessee in 1917 and 1918; director of the Traders National Bank of Tullahoma 1903-1940; trustee of Tennessee College for Women 1906-1939; elected as a Democrat to the Sixty-sixth and to the six succeeding Congresses (March 4, 1919-March 3, 1933); chairman, Committee on Merchant Marine and Fisheries (Seventy-second Congress); was an unsuccessful candidate for renomination in 1932; member of the Federal Trade Commission from May 23, 1933, until his death, serving as chairman in 1935, 1940, and 1945; member of the American National Committee, Third World Power Conference, in 1936; died in Washington, D.C., on October 23, 1949; interment in Oakwood Cemetery, Tullahoma, Tenn.
Judge Ewin L. Davis. The subject of this sketch is judge of the
seventh judicial circuit, composed of the counties of Lincoln, Moore,
Coffee, Warren, Dekalb, Grundy, Van Buren, Bledsoe, and Rhea. Before entering upon his duties on the bench, he practiced law at Tullahoma. He has shown large ability both in law and in public affairs.
Judge Davis’ various ancestors were early pioneers, migrating from
Bedford county, Tennessee, on February 5, 1876. He has resided in
Coffee county since 1882, and in Tullahoma since 1885.
Judge Davis’ various ancestors were early pioneers, migrating from England, Wales and Germany in about the middle of the eighteenth century and settling in the colonies of North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia and Georgia. He had at least four ancestors in the Revolutionary war, to wit, Nicholas Davis, of North Carolina, whose heroism is related in Ridpath’s History; Hezekiah Ray, of Cross Keys, S. C., who fought during the entire war under General Francis Marion; Martin Shoffner, a cavalryman and noted athlete, and Michael Shoffner, an infantryman, both of Orange county, North Carolina, and who fought under General Greene, and a part of the time with Steuben and Dekalb. These men or their sons settled in Bedford county, Tennessee, in the early years of the nineteenth century. John Shoffner, son of said Martin Shoffner, and a maternal grandfather of Judge Davis, came to Bedford county in 1806 in company with Newton Cannon, who afterwards became governor of the state. Ilis ancestors were prominent citizens and their descendants are numerous and well-to-do. The Shoffner family is especially numerous, family reunions being sometimes held in which hundreds attend history and genealogy of the said family has been written and published.
The father of Judge Davis was McLin H. Davis, who was born in Bedford county in 1852 and who died in 1898 He grew to manhood on the farm of his birth and was engaged in business until the time of his death; he was a Mason and a Knight of Honor, and a prominent citizen. His father was McLin Davis, who was born in 1826, was in the Confederacy, was a prominent Bedford county farmer until his declining years, when he retired and moved to Tullahoma, where he died in 1910; he was a grandson of said Nicholas Davis, and married Martha Ray, a granddaughter of said Hezekiah Ray.
The mother of Judge Davis was Christina Shoffner, who was born in Bedford county in 1854 and who still resides at Tullahoma. She was the daughter of Michael Shoffner, a prominent citizcn of Bedford county, and a granddaughter of the aforesaid John Shoffner.
Judge Davis has five brothers, to wit: Norman H. Davis, who located in Havana, Cuba, in 1902, and who is president of The Trust Co. of Cuba, and otherwise largely interested in different enterprises in that island; Paul M. Davis, of Nashville, Tennessee; Thurman J. Davis and Lamont Davis, of Tullahoma; and he also has one sister, Mrs. Henry M. Jones, of Columbia, Tennessee.
Ewin L. Davis acquired a liberal and adequate education in the noted Webb School of Bell Buckle, continued in the Wool wine School at Tullahoma, then took the literary course in Vanderbilt University at Nashville, and then received the degree of LL. B. in 1899 from the Columbian University at Washington, D. C. On being admitted to the bar he began his practice in Chattanooga, but shortly afterwards moved to Tullahoma, where lie established his office and was engaged in*a general practice up to the time of his election to the bench. His election as Judge of the Seventh Circuit occurred in August, 1910. His election followed the convictions of a majority of the people of this district that Mr. Davis possessed the qualities which eminently fitted him for the high position of judge. He possesses the judicial temperment, has an abundance of good common sense, and knows the law and its application thoroughly. As judge, several important cases have come before him, and among them may be mentioned the case of the State vs. Lem. Motlow involving the constitutionality of the whiskey manufacturing law (Cates 17); also the State vs. Brinkley, in which a number of questions were determined in reference to the holding of malt licenses (Cates 17); an interesting civil case was that of the Power Company vs. Webb (Reporter 15 Cates). This ease involved the right of the Electric Power Company with regard to the condemnation of land and the general privileges of eminent domain.
Judge Davis has been a prominent factor in political life for a number of years. He was Democratic nominee for attorney general of his district in 1902, but was defeated. He served as Democratic elector in 1904, and for several years was chairman of the Democratic county executive committee.
On December 28, 1898, he married Miss Carolyn Windsor, daughter
of John Windsor, of Americus, Georgia., Their five children are: Windsor Davis, a student at Fitzgerald-Clark School in Tullahoma, in which
school are also the two following children: Margaret Davis and Ewin
Davis. His two other children are: Latham and Carolyn. Judge Davis
is a member of the State Bar Association, and he and his wife are members of the Baptist church, in which he is a trustee. He is a member of
Tullahoma Lodge of Masons and the Knights of Pythias and the Modern
Woodmen of America. He is also affiliated with the Alpha Tau Omega
fraternity and the Phi Delta Phi legal fraternity. Judge Davis among
his other important relations with his home city of Tullahoma is a
director in the Traders’ National Bank of that city.