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Dictionary of Miramichi Biography

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DAVIDSON, ALEXANDER (1788-1860)

DAVIDSON, ALEXANDER, businessman, JP, JCP, and militia officer; b. Miramichi, 1788, s/o William Davidson and Sarah Nevers; m. Ann Saunders, d/o Joseph Saunders and Margaret Anderson; d. Newcastle, 26 Sep 1860.

Alexander Davidson was an employee of Fraser, Thom & Co. and later a merchant in his own right with stores and a wharf at Nelson. He was experiencing financial problems in 1828 and again in 1832, and was bankrupt in 1844. In the census of 1851 for Nelson he was enumerated as harbormaster.

Davidson was appointed a justice of the peace in 1811. He was also a justice of the Inferior Court of Common Pleas from an early date and its 'chief justice' in 1848. For nearly forty years he was one of the leading figures in the Northumberland County militia. From 1822 to 1828, when there was a 4th Battalion in the county, he was its major and commanding officer. When the 2nd Battalion was organized at Derby in 1829 he was promoted to lieutenant colonel and given command of the unit. In January 1837 he hosted a special dinner for forty-five officers of the battalion at Hamill's Hotel in Newcastle, an account of which was published in The Gleaner. He retained his command until his death in 1860.

In 1819 Davidson was worshipful master of Fortitude Lodge, the first Masonic lodge on the Miramichi. During the construction of St James Church he was a trustee of the Presbyterian congregation at Newcastle. He and his wife, Ann Saunders, had a large family, eight of the members of which survived their mother when she died at Derby in 1878, at age eighty-five. Besides Allan A. Davidson, their sons included Richard Davidson, a general merchant and ship chandler who had stores at Newcastle and Nelson between the 1860s and 1881, when he declared bankruptcy. The daughters of the family included Sarah Ann Davidson, the first wife of Henry Thaddeus Stevens, who taught school at Derby for two years in the 1860s. Stevens was later the founder of the Moncton Daily Times and was Moncton's first mayor.

Sources

[b] Davidson [d] Morning News 10 Oct 1860 / Advocate 10 Jul 1878; Facey-Crowther; Gleaner 28 Aug 1832, 24 Jan 1837, 14 Feb 1844, 4 Jul 1848; Graves (re. both Davidson and H. T. Stevens); Hoddinott; Manny Collection (F182); Mercury 9 Sep 1828; Spray (ENC)


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