Alexander County

Biography - William Davidson

WILLIAM M. DAVIDSON, tinner, Cairo, Ill., was born February 7, 1838, in Allegany County, N. Y., and was reared from childhood to maturity in Wyoming County, of that State. James Davidson, father of William M., was born in 1808, in the State of New Jersey, but of Scotch parentage. He grew to manhood in his native State, and in Tompkins County, N. Y., he was married to Miss Lucy Comstock, of that State. Their family comprised eight children, seven of whom are now living, William M. being the second of the family. The mother died in Pulaski County, Ill., on May 29, 1877. The father is still living, making his home with his son William M., and though seventy-five years old retains much of his youthful vigor. William Davidson first came West in 1854, located at Rockford, Ill., where he adopted the trade of tinner, and where he worked until 1858, returning that year to New York, there engaging at the trade until May, 1861, when he became a member of Company I, Thirty-second New York Infantry. He participated in both the Bull Run battles, and most of the active service incident to Gen. McClellan's campaign of the peninsula. He was mustered out in New York City at the close of his term of enlistment, with the commission of First Lieutenant of his company. Immediately after being discharged, he came to Cairo, Ill., where for a short time he was employed as a clerk in the post office. Soon, however, in connection with a man named Brown, he opened a tin store on a very limited capital, and a portion of that was borrowed funds. Fortune smiled upon them in this enterprise, and they were soon able to expand their business, and to do .so they leased the Cunningham Building on Commercial avenue, paying an annual rental of $2,000. Mr. Davidson has stemmed the tide of business depressions, overcoming some severe financial reverses, and to-day has a very complete stock of stoves, tinware, etc., occupying Nos. 25 and 27 on Eighth street. He was married in Cairo, Ill., on the 30th of October, 1867, to Miss Anna Helby, daughter of Herbert Helby. She was born in Liverpool, England, September 26, 1847. Their family consists of William, James H., Charles E., Harlow C., Lucy and Frank M. Davidson. Mr. Davidson is a member of the American Legion of Honor.

Extracted 31 Mar 2017 by Norma Hass from 1883 History of Alexander, Union, and Pulaski Counties, Illinois, Part V, page 13.

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