Born June 29, 1845
|One of the well known and substantial men of Lovell township is Andrew Davidson, who was for some years one of the most extensive breeders of pure bred shorthorn cattle and Clydesdale horses in this county. He was born in South Ontario, Canada, June 29, 1845, his parents being James I. and Barbara (Hendrie) Davidson, both natives of Aberdeenshire, Scotland. In 1841, shortly after their marriage, they crossed the Atlantic settling in South Ontario county, Ontario, Canada, which remained their home throughout the remainder of their lives. There James I. Davidson engaged in agricultural pursuits but he soon became interested in breeding shorthorn cattle, looking to the land of his birth for the foundations of his stock. His first animals were brought from the herd of Amos Cruikshank, of Sittyton, who has since won a world-wide fame for his breed of animals, and arrived about 1871. Speaking of this consignment, one who knew of his work said: "(It) transferred to America some of, the most valuable blood of the Cruikshank herd, from which have descended a large number of the best cattle in the breeding herds of Canada and the United States, and predominates largely in the most successful show cattle of the present day." In the course of years, although he remained loyal to his first choice, he never let slip an opportunity to better the quality of his animals or bring them to a grade that met with his ideals. A friend, John Dryden, the Ontario minister of agriculture, in speaking of his work after his death said in part: "He was always a liberal feeder and was able to bring out the best in any of his animals. He had the canny ways of a well-bred Scotchman in dealing with his customers, and was always considered among those of us who knew him best to be a good salesman; but when a bargain was made, his word as always as good as his bond. His judgment of a beast was always sound, and even in his latter years, when his eyesight had partially failed, if his hands could be allowed to run over a few animals on which his judgment was desired, he seldom failed to select the best. His name will always be connected with the history of shorthorns in America.
Such a man was it who had the distinction of having polled a majority in his home town when he was the reform candidate to represent the riding in the Canadian parliament. It was only through constant urging that he accepted the nomination, for he was a man of modest and retiring disposition, but he had many friends and few if any enemies, as the result of the election demonstrated. Four sons and one daughter were born to him and his wife: John, of Ashburn, Ontario; James I. and Mrs. Miller, who live with their father; George, of Monticello, Iowa; and Andrew. who is the subject of this sketch. The father's death occurred February 15, 1902, when he was in the eighty-fourth year of his age. His life was noble and the remembrance of it makes for better citizenship and will always exercise an inspiring influence both in the immediate fields in which he was active and beyond in the world of men and affairs.
Andrew Davidson, who has proved himself a worthy successor of his father and has engaged in similar lines of work, was reared at home, while he received his education in the common schools. Even after he reached man's estate he remained with his father until he was past the age of thirty. In 1877 he and his brother George came to the United States, locating in Castle Grove township, this county, where they purchased the White farm of three hundred and twenty acres. In the following years they added to it until it embraced five hundred and thirteen acres, which was for many years the scene of their joint labors. In partnership they engaged in the breeding and importing of registered horses and of shorthorn cattle, becoming widely known throughout the country as having some of the finest stock in the middle West. In 1902 the brothers severed their connection and Andrew Davidson removed to his present handsome home, with a plot of forty acres in the suburbs of Monticello. Here he has in a small way continued the breeding of shorthorn cattle, but has practically given up his interests in horse breeding. His name is still potent among those engaged in like pursuits and his judgment of animals is regarded as valuable, being frequently sought by others.
On the 25th of December, 1874, Mr. Davidson wedded Miss Janet Burns, of South Ontario. Three daughters have been born to them: Margaret B., who is now the wife of Samuel P. Eberhart, of Laredo, Missouri; Mary, who is at home; and Jessie G., who is the wife of Lawrence T. Gaylord, a civil engineer in the employ of the government at Port Arthur, Texas. All three daughters graduated from the Monticello high school, and the two younger ones received degrees from the State Agricultural College at Ames. The family are members of the Congregational church, in which Mr. Davidson is a deacon.
When he was made a citizen of this republic Mr. Davidson espoused the principles of the republican party, but he has never been an aspirant for public office. He holds active membership, however, in various societies connected with his particular field of activity, including the Shorthorn Breeders Association and the Clydesdale Breeders Association. Looking back over his life's record, open and patent as it has been to all, it may well be said not only that he is one of the leaders of his line of work, but that he richly deserves the high esteem in which those who have known him intimately, socially and in a business way hold him.
Source: History of Jones County, Iowa, Past and Present, R. M. Corbitt, S. J. Clarke Publishing Co., Chicago, 1910, p. 96.
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