|Martin L. Davey|
Born: July 25, 1884
Died: March 31, 1946
Political Party: Democrat
Term of Office: January 14, 1935-January 9, 1939
Buried: Standing Rock Cemetery Kent, Ohio
No. 44 of 58
Martin L. Davey was born in Kent, Ohio in 1884. His father, John Davey was an English immigrant who eventually started the Davey Tree Expert Company. The company was the first tree care company in the United States and today is the largest residential tree care company in North America, doing business in both the United States and Canada. The company was recently on Forbes top 500 (#294) list of best employers.
Despite the eventual success of his family business the Davey family struggled to make ends meet when Martin was growing up. When Davey was growing up he made and sold his own horseradish to help his family financially. Martin attended Oberlein College, but between helping found the family business and starting a family, he never graduated.
As a child, Davey went to a county fair and heard William Jennings Bryan give his "cross of gold" speech. This experience later influenced Davey to run for political office. Davey was elected Mayor of Kent, serving from 1913-1918. In 1918, there was a vacancy in the district's US House of Representatives seat. Davey was chosen to fill it. With the exception of a 2 year reelection fair gap, Davey served in the US House until 1929. Davey first ran for Governor of Ohio in 1928, but lost to Myers Y. Cooper. Davey ran for Governor again in 1934 and won. He won reelection in 1936. But lost reelection for a 3rd term in 1938 to John Bricker.
As Governor, Davey tried to help Ohioans cope through the Great Depression. He found himself at odds against President Franklin D. Roosevelt and his New Deal policies when the Federal programs seized control of assistant programs already put there by the state. Federal official brought corruption charges against Governor Davey because of his opposition to FDR's New Deal. In spite of being cleared of any wrong doing, the Federal Government withheld relieve funds from the state of Ohio at a time when people really needed it. So Governor Davey implemented the Ohio Unemployment Compensation Law, the first state funded unemployment insurance package in the U.S.
After Davey's defeat for a 3rd term as Governor in 1938, he tried again in 1940, but lost again. After this he retired from politics and focused on his family tree business. He died in Kent in 1946.
After about a year of being very busy with my kids sporting, scouting, ect... I finally was able to cross off a couple of more Governor's off of my list on Memorial Day weekend 2018. My wife and I saw an Indians game the night before and then headed to Kent, where we walked around the site of the Kent State shooting. After that we headed to Standing Rock Cemetery in Kent to find Governor Davey's final resting place. After driving around for awhile I asked one of the guy's mowing if he knew where it was. I was expecting a "who" response, but he smiled and said "follow me!" After Kent we headed north towards Lake Erie and hit a few more sites along the way.
|Governor Davey and I|