Some notes on the descendants of William Davidson

of Londenderry, Colchester County, Nova Scotia

Jump directly toWilliam's will (1791).

1. As the same personal names tended to be used generation-after-generation, I have used a simple sequential numbering system to clarify the generations.
2. This document was originaly created many years ago for intra-famly circulation, hence the lack of references or other source documentation.
3. There are several separate and distinct DAVIDSON families in Nova Scotia. These include Falmouth, Hants County and Bridgewater, Lunenburg County. Please note that in this document I am only tracing the direct ancestors of Morris Fulton Davidson (1908-1978). It is not intended to be a comprehensive genealogy for the DAVIDSON family.

Return to the Nova Scotia Genealogy Resources Page.

This work is based almost entirely upon primary sources, there having been no previously published work specifically on the DAVIDSON family. The family does, however, recieve mention in published genealogies of the CURTIS, HINGLEY, FULTON, and O'BRIEN families, for example. Wherever possible, facts and details have been verified by consulting a variety of sources. The primary sources (e.g. the Londonderry Township book, census returns, obituaries, civil vital statistics) have been consulted whenever possible.

The first Nova Scotia DAVIDSON in the line was William1 Davidson. He was born in "the North of Ireland" around 1740. Tradition states that he came on board the Hopewell in 1761 but it is not possible to verify this as no complete passenger list has survived. He settled at the village of Portapique, in Londenderry Township, Colchester County, about 1762. It is not known WHERE in Ireland he came from.

In the 1770 census of Londonderry Township, he is listed as having a household consisting of four people: 1 man, 2 women, and 1 girl. All four were listed as Protestants and the Country of origin was divided equally between Irish and American. Sometime before 1770, he had married Jane FLETCHER (1743 - 1785), whose family had come from New England. After Jane's death, he married Susannah VANCE. It is possible the the woman of Irish ancestry listed in the 1770 census was his Mother.

William1 also appears as an original grantee of the township in March, 1775 where he received two rights (1000 acres altogether). When he died in February, 1792, his five [eldest] sons -- William2, Thomas, Samuel, and David -- "were all willed pieces of land in and around the Portapique area". The [Halifax] Royal Gazette of June 19, 1792 carried the notice of his death and settlement of his estate. His eldest son, William, was appointed executor.

William2 Davidson was born on May 11, 1770 and married Sarah Anne DENNY (1771-1845) around 1789. William2 lived at the village of Portapique in Londonderry township where he died in 1862. A William Davidson appears on the 1792 poll tax lists for Londonderry and is assessed at less than one shilling.

William2 may have been the same William Davidson of Londonderry, Protestant, who recieved a 200 acre grant "between the North boundry of Londonderry and the settlements of Cumberland county" in 1820. In February 1819, he contributed 10 shillings to the improvment of the road between "Portapeake" and Westchester.

On April 10, 1822, William2 Davidson, Sr., of Londonderry "in consideration of parental love and affection", and the sum of five shillings, transferred [what appear to be] his entire land holdlings to his son, William3, "in order to enable him to make a comfortable and guaranteed livelihood". The total land was in excess of 180 acres; not even taking into account any improvements thereto.

William3, the second son of William2, was born on Oct 11, 1796 and married Hannah FULTON (1794 - Nov. 19, 1849) in the late 1820's and had eight children including his only son, James William4. He also contributed 10 shillings to the above-mentioned road petition.

The [Halifax] Acadian Recorder for February 2, 1839 reports that he died at Londenderry on January 22, leaving a widow and several children. He died intestate and matters were not finally settled until March 20, 1846.

James William4 was born in 1832 or 1833 and married Rebecca Ann O'BRIEN (1840-1883) at Noel, Hants County, on March 3, 1858. On the 1871 census, he listed his occupation as a farmer and ethnic origin as Irish. By the time of the 1881 census, he was a "farmer and fisherman" and still precieved himself has Irish. He was a Presbyterian. After his first wife's death, he married a Charlotte FULTON (b. 1841), a widow.

Part of the land William3 was "sold" by his father was in-turn passed on to James William4 in a deed registered in 1852 (the date of execution is not clear) for the sum of L200. The property included:

     One house lot in Portaupiaue village... bounded on the
     North by the Highway, on the West by land belonging to
     William Davidson, on the East by land owned by Robert 
     Hill and on the South by the Village Road, containing
     eight acres more or less. 

The property also included several lots of wood and marshland as well as a forty-five acre farm and the various improvements thereto.

The 1868-9 Provincial directory lists a James W. Davidson at Portapique (in the census district of Lower Londonderry). Interestingly, his occupation is shown as a miller! The succeeding Provincial directories from 1890 through 1902 show him as a farmer at Bass River so it appears he moved there at some point. He died in 1915, having outlived his son by five years.

Ironically, James William4's only dealings with the law came after he had died. On January 20, 1916, Hedley CREELMAN launced a suit in the Nova Scotia Supreme Court (Colchester County) against "the children and grandchildren of the said Dennis O'Brien and Rebecca Davidson". He was named therein as "James W. Davidson of Bass River".

James O'Brien5 was born on July 29, 1871, probably at Portaupique. At the time of the 1881 census, he was attending school. On November 22, 1898, he married Annabella "Belle" SHEA (b. August 1872) at Cambridge, Hants County. He lived at Riverside, Bible Hill and served as a brakeman for the Intercolonial Railway. He died on February 28, 1910 in the tragic accident at Folly Mountain when he was crushed under a derailed train. He is buried in the family lot at the Bass River cemetery.

The 1911 census lists "Anna G. Davidson" and her family in the census division of Salmon River, Colchester County. In the 1914-5 Nova Scotia Provincial Directory she is listed as "Mrs. J. O. Davidson, Widow", and is also named in the above-mentioned lawsuit as "Belle (or Bella) Davidson of Valley, Colchester County".

Sometime after 1916 (probably ca. 1920), Annabella married a Robert Gordon HINGLEY (1872-1946). Neither she nor Mr. HINGLEY are listed in the 1918 Truro/Colchester County directory. The family is enumerated in the 1921 census at Salmon River, Colchester County.

Allen Marble's 1966 book The History and Genealogy of the Hingley Family in Nova Scotia does not provide a date or place for their marriage. He notes that: "They lived at Kemptown for a short time, and later at Truro. They removed to Saint John, New Brunswick in 1922." Mr. Hingley's obituary similarly reports that he "had lived for a number of years at Kemptown, N.S. before coming to Saint John, where he has been a resident for the last 24 years".

Robert HINGLEY first appears in the Saint John city directory in 1924/5 where he was living in the middle flat at 22 Charles Street and working at Pacific Dairies. Annabella died at the Saint John General Hospital on October 14, 1943 "after a brief illness", and was subsequently interred at Kemptown, Colchester County on October 16. Immediately prior to her death, she had been residing at 265 Union Street.

Finally, Morris Fulton6 ("Bill") was born January 6, 1907 in Truro, Nova Scotia. He is first listed in the Saint John, New Brunswick directory in 1926/7 where he resided with his Step-Father and family at 223 Prince Edward Street, and worked as an egg candler for N.B. Poultry. He does not appear in the directory again until 1935 when he is living at 32 Kennedy Street and working as an egg grader for H. G. Harrison.

Family tradition records that he spent the intervening years in Vancouver, but he is not listed in the British Columbia provincial directory for any year between 1927 and 1933. Morris Fulton6 was married in Saint John on April 6, 1935, to Edith Lillian WELSH (1915-2011). He died on September 7, 1978 at Halifax, and is buried in Fernhill Cemetery in Saint John, New Brunswick. Requiescant in Pace.

The Last Will and Testament of William1 Davidson

In the Name of God. Amen. Be it known to all Men that I William Davidson yeoman and proprietor in Londonderry Inhabitant in the Village of Portapique in the District of Colchester Province of Nova Scotia North America. Being weakly and sickly of Body but sound of Judgement and of perfect Memory being fully persuaded of the Certainty of my Death though uncertain as to the Time, after reccomending my Soul to God and Committing my Body to the Dust in the Hope of a glorious Resurrection, For preventing all differences and Disputes after my Decease - Do Hereby appoint and Order my Temporal affaris as follows VIZ:

1st To Susannah my Spouse That she have Twenty Bushels of Wheat off the farm every year with fifty Bushels of Potatoes. The Third of the Household furniture to be her own property and at her own disposal. The third part of the Stock on the farm when it shall come to be divided as afforementioned my Wife to have the privilege of dwelling in the House while she remains inmarried.

2d To William my eldest Son. That Right or Share of Land which I purchased from William Matheson.

3d To Thomas my Second Son. That Right I purchased of Robert Spencer.

4th To Samuel my Third Son. That Right or Share which originally belonged to John Wilkes.

5 To David and Robert my two youngest Sons. The Right or Share I now live on will all the Buildings and Improvements thereon.

6 To my two daughters Agnes and Jean. That they have Twenty pounds to each of them to Come of their Brothers share when it shall be divided and that they live with their Brothers and be maintained in food and Clothing besides what is left to them as their portion. That my Daughter Isabel when she comes of Age have Twenty pounds besides her being supported by the farm during her minority.

7 I appoint That my Sons make no division or Seperation of the farm or stock until such times as all Debts due at my decease be fully paid off and the whole of the Marsh be [?] Dyked nor that they be obliged to pay any of their sisters portions until all debts be cleared.

8 That if my Wife Susannah survive me. That during her widowhood she have the Thrid of the profits of the Stock on the farm and the privilege of one third of the House to live in and be furnished with firewood. And if she shall marry what [?] the removes that she shall have two Milk Cows one pair of two-year-old steers [?] and one Horse or Mare and the Twenty Bushels of Wheat formerly apportioned her be continued to her during the space of Twenty years if she lives that long.

9 That the farming utinsils continue the Common property of my family while they live together and as soon as all Debts are cleared and my Sons betake themselves to their Respective shares That the farming utinsels be divided among them at the Judgement of neutral persons.

10 I hereby appoint and Constitute my oldest Son William my principal Executor of my above Will and Testament and the James Fulton, Esq and the Reverend David Smith as advisors with and [?] to them in fulfilling thereof in all its different articles.

Further I appoint That my two youngest sond David and Robert be supported and maintained by the farm during their minority under the care and Inspection of their Brother William and his [?] and that when they come of age The farm House and Barn left them be divided between them at the Judgement of man as nearly equal as possible.

I appoint further That when all Debts and funeral charges are paid off That my wife's share of the stock is set apart [from] the rest be equally divided among my sons.

I appoint further That if any of my Sons should die That his portion be equally divided between the surviving Brothers.

The above written on this and the preceeding page I hereby appoint to be my latter Will and Testament Reserving still power to my self to add and change as I please.

In Testmony thereof I have here unto set set my hand and seal this Eleventh day of July the thriteith and first year of his Majesty's Reign in the year of Our Lord one Thousand Seven Hundred and Ninety one years.

William Davidson

Last Modified: December 24, 2016