Westmoreland Davis

governordavis

Morven Park’s last residents were Westmoreland Davis, the 55th governor of Virginia, and his wife Marguerite Inman Davis, daughter of a wealthy New York cotton broker. Davis, who served as governor from 1918 to 1922, purchased Morven Park in 1903, leaving behind a career as an attorney in New York City to return to the state where he was born. The Davises were prominent members of the riding and foxhunting society of Virginia and Maryland. They raised Percherons and Thoroughbreds on their Big Spring parcel of Morven Park. Davis helped found the Virginia Heavy Draft and Agricultural Association in 1906, and a year later helped found the Virginia Dairymen’s Association. He also served as president of the Virginia Farmers Institute beginning in 1908. He purchased the influential Southern Planter magazine in 1912 and published it until his death. Davis ran Morven Park farm as a model of efficiency and productivity and shared what he learned with other farmers, who would eventually encourage him to run for governor. He won the governorship in 1917, leading the Commonwealth as World War I came to an end. After completing his term, Gov. Davis unsuccessfully ran for a seat in the U.S. Senate and then returned to Morven Park. In 1921, he purchased the Leesburg Loudoun Times, which merged with another newspaper to become the Loudoun Times-Mirror in 1924. Westmoreland Davis died in 1942 and is buried at Morven Park along with Marguerite, who died in 1963, and his mother, Annie Morriss Davis, who died in 1921. Today, Morven Park stands as a tribute to Davis, attracting hundreds of thousand of visitors each year who come to enjoy one of the most beautiful historic estates in America.