Norah Clinton Davis

 A Novelist Best Known for Her Book

Born:October 20, 1861 (?), Huntsville, AL
Residence:436 McClung Avenue SE
Daughter of:Zebulon Pike Davis


•  The Northerner is a parody of Virginia Clay Clopton, also from Huntsville. -

•  "MISS NORAH DAVIS Is a Southern woman. She was born in Huntsville Alabama. Her mother was English, and her father Welsh. She speaks of herself as 'a penniless lass wi'a long pedigree.' Every generation or so of the Davises produced a Norah with a Celtic temperament and Miss Davis has proved no exception to the rule. Speaking of it herself, she says: 'I was christened Norah and proceeded as promptly as I could to betray the cloven hoof of the Celtic temperament. I was registered the fool of the family, and turned over to my own devices, which probably accounts for my particularly happy childhood.'
     Miss Davis's childhood was spent in an old-fashioned Southern home, filled with her father's books, which were a constant source of delight to her. When asked about her childhood she said:
     'I lived in a charming world of my own, and builded with roofs of gold my beautiful castles in Spain.' Every book I took down from the wall opened a chink to its glories, for in those blissful days all was grist that came to my mill in the way of books. I had an unappeasable hunger for them, and I swallowed Smollett and Fielding without a wink, and Scott and Balzac and chronicles or one -- Froissart -- nothing came amiss to me. I read all that came into the house, history, law, politics, down to the yellow-backed novels that my big brothers smuggled in for their private delectation and no one said me nay.
     But this happy, joyous childhood came to an end when Miss Davis was 16, for her father died, and she had to take care of herself. Some friends got her a position to teach in one of the public schools of Huntsville. Speaking of that period of her life, say says:
     "It seems to me now a very humorous thing to have done, but I took myself more seriously then, and did not hesitate to try to fit my square stick into the round hole that presented itself. I knew a lot of things out of books, it is true.
     But there are books and books, and what I knew was about as useful to the little minds I was supposed to stuff as a handful of shining pebbles would have been to their stomachs. But I held on and the School Board put up with me for some reason. I never could think why, unless because the children loved me. But after a couple of years I had picked up a few of the things a teacher is supposed to know, and what was more to the purpose, lost some of the things they are not desired to know, though I never could altogether rid myself of this latter inconvenience." - Excerpts from a New York Times article dated April 20, 1907

•  There is some debate over the year of her birth. Alabama Biography says 1878 and the Huntsville Historical Review and say 1861. - Alabama Biography and

•  "Miss Davis was educated by tutors in her father's home and in private schools; and was a teacher in the public schools of Alabama, Florida, Mississippi, Tennessee and Arkansas, 1893-1900. She later became a stenographer and newspaper writer and held several government positions, among these being deputy clerk, U. S. district court, Northern district of Alabama, 1901-05." - Alabama Biography 1

•  "Author: "The Northerner," 1905; "The World's Warrant," 1907; "Wallace Rhodes," 1909. She was a Progressive Republican." - Alabama Biography 1

•  She was the sister of Anne Lavinia Eason (Davis) Shelby (widow of Judge David Davie Shelby). -, Home

•  Daughter of Zebulon Pike and Wilhametta (Eason) Davis of Huntsville, AL; granddaughter of Nicholas Davis, a native of Virginia, a distinguished leader of the Whig party in Alabama, and president of the Alabama State senate for several years, a descendant of John Davis, a soldier of the American Revolution. - Alabama Biography 1

Related Links:

• - Maple Hill Stroll Role Played by Mary Daniel (Originally found at

•, Home - Article about her home as featured in Twickenham Historic Preservation Tour of Homes by Jean Brandau (Originally found at

•  Alabama Biography 1 - History of Alabama and Dictionary of Alabama Biography, Volume 3 by Thomas McAdory Owen, Marie Bankhead Owen, © 1921, pp. 467-8.

•  Alabama Biography 2 - History of Alabama and Dictionary of Alabama Biography, Volume 4 By Thomas McAdory Owen, Marie Bankhead Owen, © 1921, p. 1541. This short statement made in the DD Shelby bio (Shelby married Norah's Sister).

•  Amazon - The Northerner, hard copy, can be purchased here.

•  Google Books: The Bookman - Reference made to "The Northerner" in The Bookman, Volume XXXIII (1911) in an article titled "The South in Finction", page 157-8 by Montrose J Moses.

•  Google Books: The Northerner - The entire book is available online, free.

•  Huntsville Historical Review - Article: "Norah Davis, 1861-1936" by Eleanor Neman Hutchens, The Huntsville Historical Review, Volume 13, Numbers 3&4, July-October 1983, Pages 21-29.

•  New York Times - Article including a part about Norah Davis by Otis Notham. dated April 20, 1907 (Originally found at

The Following Pages Link to this Page:
•  436 McClung Avenue SE
•  Alabama Biography 1
•  Alabama Biography 2
•  Google Books: The Northerner
•  Huntsville Historical Review
•  Zebulon Pike Davis