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Laura Bowman Davis

First Lady
January 7, 1874 - January 7, 1876

Born: Approximately 1839
in Illinois

Died: Unknown

Married September 1862 to Cushman Davis

 

Biography
Laura Bowman was born about 1839 in Illinois, the youngest Brooks and Emily Bowman's four children. By 1850 the Bowmans had moved to Wyocena, Wisconsin, where Laura's father was a physician. The family then moved to Waukesha, Wisconsin, where Laura married young lawyer and U.S. Army Lieutenant Cushman K. Davis in 1862.

In 1865 the couple settled in St. Paul where Davis continued to practice law as a partner with General Willis Gorman. Davis was elected governor of Minnesota in 1873. He chose to serve just one term, from 1874 to 1876. Governor and Mrs. Davis divorced around 1879 and Laura subsequently moved to the Kansas City area where she lived until at least 1899. The Davises had no children.

In 1880 Cushman Davis married a 22-year-old divorcée named Anna M. Agnew who had worked as a seamstress in the Davis home beginning in 1878. The new Mrs. Davis was shunned by St. Paul society for many years, though she was popular in Washington circles. The refusal of Laura Merriam, wife of Governor William Merriam, to socially recognize Anna Davis led to a long-standing feud between the two families. In 1886 Cushman Davis was elected to the U.S. Senate, where he served until his death on November 27, 1900.