Founders of the Massachusetts Bible Society - 1809

The Massachusetts Bible Society began on July 6, 1809 and is an ecumenical, Christian organization dedicated to promoting Biblical literacy, understanding, and dialogue. This blog lists brief biographies of our founders who gathered in the Massachusetts State House Senate Chamber on that historic day to sign the Charter founding MBS. Please visit our website: www.massbible.org.

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Location: Newton Centre, MA, United States

Thursday, June 18, 2009

The Honorable John Davis


It was on a Northborough, Mass. farm that John Davis was born on January 13, 1787. At our founding, Mr. Davis was still a law student at Yale (where in 1835 he would become a founder of the famed Skull and Bones society), graduating in 1812. He was admitted to the bar in Worcester in 1815.


In ten years’ time, he was a Representative to the US Congress and by 1834 he was elected Governor of the Commonwealth. At the conclusion of that term he went to the U.S. Senate and then was elected again as Massachusetts Governor. After a brief time in private life, he again was elected United States Senator, where he served until his retirement in 1853.


In Congress, Mr. Davis was a noted and successful promoter of business protections (chairing the Commerce Committee), protested against the war with Mexico, and fought the introduction of slavery into the U.S. territories. He became known as “honest John Davis,” and it was in one of his speeches, where he claimed President James Buchanan was in favor of reducing the wages of American workers to ten cents a day, that the cry of “Tencent Jimmy” was created and then used by Buchanan’s opponents.


His early interest in the work of the Massachusetts Bible Society never waned and when the American Bible Society formed in 1816, he supported them, eventually becoming President of the Worcester Auxiliary Bible Society. He died at his home in Worcester on April 19, 1854.

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