Hallie Davis Elkins (December 9, 1854-March 1, 1933) was the daughter, wife, and mother of U.S. senators from West Virginia. She was born Mary Louise Davis, the eldest child of Henry Gassaway Davis. Her early years were spent in Frederick, Maryland, and Piedmont, (West) Virginia, where her father was station agent and superintendent for the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad. She was educated in the Frederick schools and later at Mrs. Casey’s School in Baltimore.
In 1871, her father was elected U.S. senator, as a Democrat. In Washington, Hallie at age 20 met the new delegate from the New Mexico Territory, Stephen Benton Elkins, a Republican. On April 14, 1875, they were married in Baltimore. When Elkins’s term as delegate ended in 1877, he opened a law office in Washington, then a year later relocated to New York City where he devoted himself to the development of business interests in partnership with his father-in-law.
The Davis and Elkins partnership prospered, expanding into a business empire based on coal, timber, rail, and related enterprises. Since much of it was located in West Virginia, the Elkinses began construction in 1890 of a new home in the new town of Elkins, a sprawling mansion called Halliehurst. In 1895, Elkins was elected as a Republican to the first of three terms as U.S. senator from West Virginia.
Senator and Mrs. Elkins were the parents of four sons and one daughter. Following Elkins’s death in 1911, their eldest son, Davis, was appointed to fulfill his father’s unexpired term in the Senate. In 1918, Davis Elkins was elected to the U.S. Senate in his own right, also as a Republican.
In 1926, Hallie Davis Elkins made a gift of Halliehurst, including the house, a 60-acre tract of land, and $25,000 for an endowment to Davis & Elkins College.
This Article was written by Margo Stafford
Last Revised on October 18, 2012
Ross, Thomas R. Henry Gassaway Davis. Parsons: McClain, 1994.
Lambert, Oscar Doane. Stephen Benton Elkins: American Foursquare. Pittsburgh: University of Pittsburgh Press, 1955.
Cite This Article
Stafford, Margo "Hallie Davis Elkins." e-WV: The West Virginia Encyclopedia. 18 October 2012. Web. 30 April 2017.