Biography of William Divine Davis, M.D.

Dr. William Divine Davis, who has engaged in the practice of medicine in St. Louis since his graduation from the medical department of Washington University in 1909, save for the period of his service in the World war, was born in Terre Haute, Indiana, August 29, 1887, a son of Thomas Winfield and Mary (Divine) Davis. The father was born August 26, 1859, his parents being William G. and Jane (Thomas) Davis, of Newcastle-on-Tyne, England, who in 1868 emigrated to the new world, settling in Terre Haute, Indiana.

The father comes of a musical family that for years sang throughout England and the United States as “The Davis Family Musical Company,” Thomas Winfield Davis being the tenor, with a voice of rare beauty and exceptional quality and power. He wedded Mary Divine, who was born April 18, 1864, a daughter of David and Mary Jane (Eperson) Divine. David Divine was a direct descendant of Colonel Isaac White, who commanded the colonial forces in Virginia and was a representative of the families of Haddon, White and Divine. In the maternal line he was a cousin of Generai “Stonewall” Jackson. Mary Jane Divine was of the Jennings, Waldon and Eperson families of Virginia and Kentucky. Her daughter and namesake, Mrs. Mary Divine Davis, was born in Crawfordsville, Indiana, and in that state the Davis family maintained their residence for some time.

Dr. Davis of this review obtained his early education in the schools of Indiana and in 1905 entered the Washington University of St. Louis as a medical student, completing the full course and receiving his professional degree upon his graduation from that institution in 1909. He at once entered upon the practice of medicine and surgery and for three years after his graduation was connected with the City Hospital and with the City Dispensary, serving for two years with the former institution and for one year with the latter. He then entered upon private practice, doing a great deal of corporation work in the early, part of his professional career. After five years he entered the army and when he had served for twenty-one months returned to St. Louis, where he has entered upon a general dermatological practice and has also received an appointment at the Washington University Dispensary.

The military service of Dr. Davis is an interesting chapter in his life history. In the latter, part of 1917 he joined the army, being sent first to Fort Oglethorpe, Georgia, for military training and there he was made captain of the Ninth Company of the Third Battalion and later was sent to Camp Beauregard at Alexandria, Louisiana. From that point he went overseas with the American Expeditionary Forces and participated in the offensive at St. Mihiel. Later he served in Paris and finally with the Forty-first or Sunset Division as urologist. He was promoted from a first lieutenancy to captain of the Medical Corps and returned to the United States on the 6th of August, 1919, being honorably discharged from the military service on the 25th of August. He was promoted to major of the Medical Reserve Corps and still holds that commission.

Fraternally Dr. Davis is connected with the Masons and has become a thirtysecond degree member of the Scottish Rite. He also belongs to the Benevolent Protective Order of Elks and is a member of the Chi Zeta Chi, a medical fraternity, being state regent for Missouri. His political endorsement is given to the republican party and his religious faith is that of the Episcopal church.

He inherited the musical talent of the Davis family and while in the service of the government did considerable singing. On the occasion when General Gorgas participated in the dedication of the McLain Auditorium at Camp Greenleaf, Fort Oglethorpe, Georgia, and in the review of the sanitary troops which was held there Dr. Davis was called upon to participate in the program as one of the solo singers. He also sang for various organizations of the army while in France and thus contributed much to the pleasure of the soldiers overseas, while his talent in this direction has added much to the attractiveness of many social occasions in St. Louis.


Stevens, Walter B. Centennial History of Missouri (The Center State) One Hundred Years In The Union 1820-1921 Vol 6. St. Louis-Chicago: The S.J. Clarke Publishing Company. 1921.

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