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The Cyclopedia of New Zealand [Taranaki, Hawke's Bay & Wellington Provincial Districts]

Ex-Mayors — Mr. James Davidson,


Mr. James Davidson, who for four years was Mayor of Hawera, was born in the year 1836 at Canonbie, a border parish of Dumfriesshire, Scotland. He is the eldest son of Mr. William Davidson, of Low Marsh House, and was educated at local schools. On his mother's side he traces his family back to the historic John Armstrong, who was murdered by James V. in 1530, and to whose memory, and that of his fellow-victims, a monument has been erected. Mr. Davidson came to New Zealand in 1865, and page 227 landed in Wellington by the ship “Mallard.” He settled at Turakina, where he was employed for six years at the store of Messrs Franklyn and Hirst. In 1871 he established himself in Hawera as a storekeeper, on his own account, and successfully carried on business until 1897, when he sold out, and retired on a well-earned competence, on which occasion several of his friends, in various ways, gave evidence of the good feeling and esteem in which he was generally held. Mr. John Duthie, M.H.R., presented him with a gold watch, with a neat engraving commemorative of a hand-in-hand friendship of thirty years; Mr. James Thain's gift was a fine double set of carvers, the Kaiapoi Clothing Company sent a beautiful rug, and many others similarly signalised their satisfactory trade relationships. Mr. Davidson was first chairman of the Town Board, the first meeting of which was held in December, 1875, and he resigned in January, 1879, when the borough was formed. In his last contest for the mayoralty Mr. Davidson lost by only twenty votes. He was a member of the Patea County Council, and a member of the Taranaki Charitable Aid Board for five years; for two years he was chairman of the committee of the Egmont Racing Club, of which he was a steward for a long time, and was chairman of the Hawera Trotting Club committee. He has been president of the Hawera branch of the Farmers' Union for several years, and is an active member of the Presbyterian church. For a number of years he was chairman of the Hawera Licensing Committee, and was a director of the Opera House Company. He has been president of the Caledonian Society, and was president of the Hawera Agricultural and Pastoral Association for the year 1896. Mr. Davidson has been a good colonist, and still takes an active interest in the welfare of his fellowmen. He is further referred to as a member of the Hawera County Council, and of the Patea Harbour Board.