Davidson Drive

Davidson Drive is named in honour of William Davidson, alderman and mayor

William Davidson

William Davidson was born in County Monaghan in 1833, the second son of Abraham Davidson. The family immigrated to Canada in 1845, at the beginning of the Irish famine of the late 1840s. Abraham Davidson came at once to the Huron District and took up land on Lot 14 Concession 7 in Fullarton Township. He later acquired more property on concessions 6, 7 and 8, all of it in the area of what came to be the villages of Fullarton and Carlingford in Perth County. William was left behind in Toronto Township to go to school for a year, before joining the remainder of the household in the labour of clearing 100 acres of bush.

William Davidson and some of his family Stratford-Perth Archives

Davidson Home 135 Church St.

In the spring of 1846 the boy William walked from the neighbourhood of Cooksville to Fullarton. He had more to do on the journey than simply find his way along 90 miles of dirt roads and bush trails because he was entrusted with two head of cattle, which were to be the beginning of livestock on the Davidson clearing. One can only imagine the problems faced and resolved by a boy several months short of his 13th birthday, in driving two animals, finding water and grazing, tethering at halts, and making four overnight stops in strange places.

In 1859, when he was 26, William Davidson was appointed the Fullarton Township clerk, and the following year took on the added responsibilities of township treasurer. He remained the clerk through 1867. The choice made by his neighbours, when they looked among themselves for somebody to do the official bookwork for a raw, new municipality, seems remarkable. Not only was he unusually young, but his formal schooling had been minimal, consisting of one year in Ireland and less than a year in Canada.

In 1868 (through 1878), Davidson was elected reeve of Fullarton Township. In 1875 he was elected the Perth County warden, in a close race with James Trow see (Trow Avenue) of North Easthope Township. Davidson remained the county warden through 1878. From 1878 through 1920 he was the county clerk. In 1900 he was also the county treasurer.

In 1879 he moved to Stratford. After Stratford became a city in 1885, Davidson was elected an alderman, 1887 through 1894. In 1895 he won the mayor's chair, 933 votes to 533. He was also the mayor in 1896. He was returned to the council for three more years: 1899, 1900 and 1902. (see Hibernia Street) for a photo of Mayor James Stamp and the city's 1902 council.

In March 1920, William Davidson climbed a ladder to remove some ice from his house at 135 Church St. The ladder slipped and he fell to the ground. Three days later, on March 8, he died while sitting at a table eating a meal. He was 86. Source: History of Perth, Stratford-Perth Archives