April 14, 1875: Hallie Davis Marries Stephen Elkins, Creating Business Empire

Apr 14, 2017

Hallie Davis Elkins
Credit e-wv, The West Virginia Encyclopedia / via West Virginia & Regional History Collection

On April 14, 1875, Hallie Davis married Stephen Elkins, bringing together two powerful political families. Hallie Davis was the eldest child of Henry Gassaway Davis, a U.S. senator and one of West Virginia’s richest men. She grew up primarily in the Mineral County town of Piedmont and in Frederick, Maryland. When she met Stephen Elkins, he was serving as a delegate to Congress from the New Mexico Territory. They later lived in Washington and New York.

Despite the fact that Davis was a Democrat and Elkins was a Republican, the two families created a business empire driven by coal, timber, and railroads. Since many of their investments were in West Virginia, the Elkinses relocated to the new town of Elkins and built a sprawling mansion named Halliehurst in 1890. In 1895, Stephen Elkins was elected to the U.S. Senate from West Virginia.

After his sudden death in 1911, the legislature appointed the Elkinses’ son Davis to fill his senate seat.

In 1926, Hallie Davis Elkins donated Halliehurst and a $25,000 endowment to Davis and Elkins College. She died in 1933 at age 78.