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Oliver P. Davis family correspondence

 Collection — Multiple Containers
Identifier: S3478

Scope and Contents

This collection contains photostats of correspondence of Oliver P. (O.P.) Davis and his family. The correspondence from 1846 to 1861 includes letters written by Davis to his wife Eliza during his travels for business and while he was in Indianapolis during the Indiana Constitution Convention and his service in the Indiana Senate; three letters from Congressman Edward W. McGaughey; and letters sent by Davis to the Oldridge family.

The correspondence from 1864 to 1868 conisists of letters sent to Oliver P. Davis, Jr. while he was at school in New London, New Hampshire from his father, sisters Alice and Mary, cousins, and friends. The remaining letters range from 1874 to 1899 and includes correspondence to Alice Davis and her husband, Albert Greenwood, and an August 14, 1885 letter sent to O.P. Davis from William H. English regarding a reunion meeting of the surviving members of the Indiana Constitutional Convention of 1850. The collection also includes a photostat copy of a picture of the Newport (Indiana) Friends church that was built in 1927.


  • 1846-1899, circa 1927


Conditions Governing Access

This collection is open for research.

Conditions Governing Use

Legal title, copyright, and literary rights reside with Rare Books and Manuscripts, Indiana State Library, Indianapolis, IN. All requests to publish or quote from manuscripts must be submitted to Rare Books and Manuscripts.

Biographical Note

Oliver Perry (O.P.) Davis was born November 7, 1814 in Warner, Merrimack County, New Hampshire. He attended common schools and left his native state for the west at the age of 15. He first went to Toronto, Canada, then moved to Rochester, New York where he was employed as a superintendent of a paper mill. Davis moved on to Ohio and then to Fort Wayne, Indiana before settling in Greencastle, Indiana. He'd studied dentistry and was practicing in Greencastle when we was persuaded by Edward W. McGaughey to study law. Davis passed the bar and became a law partner with McGaughey. He moved to Vermillion County, Indiana in 1840 and became an extensive land owner and was active as a New Orleans flatboat trader. Davis served in the Indiana Senate in 1851-1852, 1863, 1865, 1879, and 1881 and also served as a member of the Indiana Constitutional Convention (1850-1851). He began as a Democrat, served as a Republican in the 1860s, was a Greenback in 1879 and then returned to the Democratic Party. Davis married Eliza Oldridge in 1847 and they had four children: Oliver P, Jr. (1847-1873), Alice (1851-1938), Harriet (1854), and Mary Gertrude (1855-1926). Following Eliza's death in 1860, he married Mrs. Emily Collett Montgomery in 1861 and they had one child, Josephus C. (1862-1922). Davis died at the age of 77 on September 25, 1892.

Sources: "Olver Perry Davis." Find a Grave Memorial ID 67607468. Accessed October 4, 2021.

Hon. O.P. Davis: The Sage of Opedee, Passes Beyond the Shores of Time. Newport Hoosier State (IN), September 28, 1892.

Shepherd, Rebecca A., Charles W. Calhoun, Elizabeth Shanahan-Shoemaker, and Alan F. January, comp. A Biographical Directory of the Indiana General Assembly. Volume 1: 1816-1899. Indianapolis: The Select Committee on the Centennial History of the Indiana General Assembly: Indiana Historical Bureau, 1980.


0.03 Cubic Feet (3 folders)

Language of Materials



This collection is arranged chronologically.

Custodial History

This collection was received by Rare Books and Manuscripts as a donation from the Vermillion County Public Library on 1965/06/10.


No further additions are expected.

Processing Information

Collection processing and finding aid completed by Brent Abercrombie during October 2010. EAD finding aid revised 2021/10/05 by Laura Eliason.
Oliver P. Davis family correspondence
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the Rare Books and Manuscripts Repository

140 North Senate Avenue
Indianapolis, Indiana 46204 U.S.A.