Biography of William Davidson
Winona County, MN Biographies

WILLIAM DAVIDSON, farmer, is probably the first man who settled and opened up a farm in Winona county. He was born in Meiselburg, Scotland, October 21, 1810. At six years of age lie began work at the shawl looms, for which Paisley is so famous. His father was a soldier, and his mother died when he was but seven years old. He continued his labor in the manufacture of shawls until eighteen years old, and then came to America, arriving in Montreal in April, 1829. Proceeding to Lowell, Massachusetts,. he found employment in the factories of that city. where his knowledge of weaving served him well. Here he was married in September, 1832, to Mary Stinson. born near Sterling, Scotland, January 25, 1805; she was a faithful helpmeet and mother till her death, which took place at St. Charles, May 27, 1873. In 1836 Mr. Davidson went to Thompson vile, Connecticut, and was employed fourteen years in a carpet factory there: Here his father, Walter Davidson, who had joined his son in the new world, died. In 1848 Mr. Davidson removed to Clayton county, Iowa, and engaged in farming. Early in the spring of 1853 he set oft up the Mississippi on a prospecting tour, and landed on Wabasha prairie, now the site of Winona, on April 6. Setting out on foot with a compass for companion, by the 10th he had selected, his location on Sec. 10, in this township. and removed his family here the following June. He was prominent in the organization of the county, and was one of its board of commissioners from 1855 to 1857; was one of the delegates to the convention which nothinated G-ov. Ramsay. The first road in the county led westward from Winona, past Mr. Davidson's place, and was called the Davidson road, and many a tired and hungry prospector had reason to be grateful for "Mother" Davidson's hospitality. The first election in the county was held at Mr. Davidson's house in 1854. At this election but one democratic vote was cast; George Thorn walked twelve miles to deposit that. Mr. Davidson was one of the original republicans, having formerly adhered to the whig party. He was reared in the Presbyterian church, and was a member of that church while a society existed at St. Charles, being an elder therein. He is a member of the St. Charles Lodge and Chapter, A. F. and A. M. Six children were reared in this family, and have been a stay to their parents. Herewith is appended their record of births, etc: Elizabeth, March 17, 1834, married H. Lybarge, as elsewhere noted below, and with whom her father makes his home; Walter. May 12, 1836, married Annie Anderson and resides in San Francisco; William, July 18, 1838, married Mary E. Varr and resides near Waseca; Robert W.. January 25, 1841, married Ellen E. Jones, lives in Pipestone county, this state; John D., March, 1843, married Abbv Vandewalker and is now living near Waseca; Mary G., July 21, 1846, married Charles Brewer and dwells at Atkinson, Nebraska.

The History of Winona County
Together with Biographical Matter, Statistics, Etc.
BY: A. T. Andreas
H. H. Hill and Company, Publishers
Chicago 1883.


Winona County, MN
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