DAVIS, HARRY LYMAN (25 Jan. 1878 - 21 May 1950), 4-term mayor of Cleveland (1916-20, 1933-35) and governor of Ohio (1921-23), was born in NEWBURGH to Evan and Barbara Jones Davis. He left school at 13 to work in the steel mills, studying at home and night school. At 21, he became a solicitor for the Cleveland Telephone Co., and 3 years later founded the Davis Rate Adjustment Co., selling telephone securities. He later established the Harry L. Davis Co., selling insurance. He married Lucy V. Fegan in 1905 and had a son, Harry L., Jr.
Davis was elected Republican city treasurer in 1909. In the 1915 mayoral election, the preferential election process used (see HOME RULE) gave his opponent, PETER WITT, more first-place votes; however, Davis won with a plurality of over 2,800 on a combination of first, second, and other choice votes. Davis established the MAYOR'S ADVISORY WAR COMMITTEE, and was reelected for 2 more terms, but resigned in May 1920 to campaign successfully for governor. During his term, he restructured the executive branch to include a cabinet of 7 directors to help administer state affairs. He did not run in 1922, but campaigned in 1924, losing to incumbent Vic Donahey. Returning to Cleveland, Davis opposed the CITY MANAGER PLAN, and worked unsuccessfully for passage of an amendment to abolish it in 1927, 1928, and 1929. He took little part in the successful 1931 attempt, although afterwards he was again elected mayor (1933-35). Davis died in Cleveland.
Harry L. Davis Papers, WRHS.