While our physical offices are closed until further notice in accordance with Austin's COVID-19 "stay home-work safe" order, the Handbook of Texas will remain available at no-cost for you, your fellow history enthusiasts, and all Texas students currently mandated to study from home. If you have the capacity to help us maintain our online Texas history resources during these uncertain times, please consider making a 100% tax-deductible contribution today. Thank you for your support of TSHA and Texas history. Donate Today »


DAVIS, JOHN BURTON (1893–1970). John Burton Davis, newspaperman, war correspondent, and writer, was born in Perryville, Missouri, on October 14, 1893, the son of John Brooks and Laurette (Saunders) Davis. He attended high school in Brownsville, Texas, and Western Military Academy near St Louis. In 1913 he entered the school of journalism at the University of Missouri but withdrew in 1914 due to illness and moved to Brownsville to convalesce. In 1915 he took his first newspaper job with the Brownsville Daily Herald, where he covered such events as the Mexican Revolution and the activities of Francisco (Pancho) Villa. Davis acted as interpreter for Gen. John J. Pershing's punitive forces in their efforts to capture Villa. From 1919 to 1925 he worked on newspapers in Houston, San Antonio, Fort Worth, and Dallas. He was drama editor for the New York Morning Telegraph in 1925–26 and drama critic in 1926–27; he also served as general press agent for Gene Buck in 1927 and associate agent for Florenz Ziegfeld in 1928–29. In World War I Davis served with the American forces in France and Germany. In World War II he was assigned by the Treasury Department to publicize war bonds, and he subsequently remained with the department for twenty years before retiring with honors in 1962 to return to Austin.

Davis married Clare Ogden (see DAVIS, CLARE OGDEN) in 1920 in Dallas. He assumed the pen name Lawrence Saunders in the several novels on which they collaborated; most of these were serialized in such popular magazines as Liberty, Collier's, Ladies' Home Journal, and Saturday Evening Post and later published as books. These included The Columnist Murder (1931), The Devil's Den (1933), and Six Weeks (1932). One of his stories, "Snowed Under," was adapted as a screenplay for Warner Brothers in 1935. Davis died in Austin on April 15, 1970.

Austin American-Statesman, April 16, 1970.

Image Use Disclaimer

All copyrighted materials included within the Handbook of Texas Online are in accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107 related to Copyright and “Fair Use” for Non-Profit educational institutions, which permits the Texas State Historical Association (TSHA), to utilize copyrighted materials to further scholarship, education, and inform the public. The TSHA makes every effort to conform to the principles of fair use and to comply with copyright law.

For more information go to: http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/17/107.shtml

If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond fair use, you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.


The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this article.

Handbook of Texas Online, "DAVIS, JOHN BURTON," accessed August 11, 2020, http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/fda43.

Uploaded on June 12, 2010. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.
visit the mytsha forums to participate

View these posts and more when you register your free MyTSHA account.

Call for Papers: Texas Center for Working-Class Studies Events, Symposia, and Workshops
Hi all! You may be interested in this call for papers I received from the Texas Center for Working-Class Studies at Collin College...

Katy Jennings' Ride Scholarly Research Request
I'm doing research on Catherine Jennings Lockwood, specifically the incident known as "Katy Jennings' Ride." Her father was Gordon C. Jennings, the oldest man to die at the Alamo...

Texas Constitution of 1836 Co-Author- Elisha Pease? Ask a Historian
The TSHA profile of Elisha Marshall Pease states that he wrote part of the Texas Constitution although he was only a 24 year-old assistant secretary (not elected). I cannot find any other mention of this authorship work by Pease in other credible research about the credited Constution authors...