Documenting the American South Logo
Davis, George R.

George R. Davis (1820-1896) was born on the plantation of Thomas Frederick and Sarah Isabella Eagles Davis in what is now Pender County, NC. He entered the University at the age of fourteen, became a member of the Dialectic Society in 1834, and graduated with first honors in 1838. He studied law with his brother Thomas and began practicing in Wilmington, NC. By 1860 Davis was politically aligned with the Constitutional Union party, believing that "the preservation of the Union preempted any sectional controversy" (Dictionary of North Carolina Biography 2:32). He was elected to the Washington Peace Conference in 1861 but returned a confirmed secessionist. Later that year he was elected to the Confederate Senate for a two-year term, and in December 1863 Jefferson Davis appointed him attorney general of the Confederacy. At the end of the Civil War, George Davis attempted to flee to England but was captured in Key West, FL, and taken to Fort Hamilton, NY. Paroled in 1866, he returned to Wilmington and attempted to rebuild his law practice. An Episcopalian, Davis was twice married—to Mary A. Polk in 1842, with whom he had four children before she died in 1863, and to Monimia Fairfax in 1866, with whom he had at least two children.