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Davis served as Senate president pro tempore from 1881 to 1883, and was known unofficially as "Mr.
Vice President." He retired from the Senate in 1883 and spent the remainder of his life at Clover Lawn.
Davis had the distinction of being the largest landowner in Illinois.
Although he was not as wealthy as the state's wealthiest businessman, Cyrus Mc Cormick, Davis owned more land than any other man in Illinois.
The three-story, yellow-brick, genteel home, which Sarah Davis helped to design at the eastern edge of downtown Bloomington, comprises 36 rooms and was very advanced for its day.
It not only had elegant furnishings and architectural features, it also had the most modern technological conveniences of the era: indoor plumbing, hot and cold running water, a central furnace, the most up-to-date gas lighting, and two modern communication systems.
In 1862, President Lincoln appointed Davis to the United States Supreme Court, where Davis wrote the majority opinion in Ex parte Milligan, a landmark decision restricting the rights of military courts to try civilians.
There were 4,593 housing units at an average density of 1,709.4 per square mile (659.2/km²).
This generation, which included David Davis, Sarah Davis and Abraham Lincoln, based its leadership upon a set of rules and values that might be called genteel.