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 Davidson Bios


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The following are  write-ups, bios and obits about Davidson family members 

David Alexander Davidson - death notice

Albert Davidson

65th Anniversary - Jim and Kate Davidson

James Monroe Davidson - obit

Katherine Vadakin Davidson (Mrs. James Monroe Davidson) - obit

Ruth Margaret Davidson Kimes 1903-1983 - article & obit

Margaret Ruth Davidson Kimes - Biography pending

David A. Davidson 1846-1923

Date of death May 24, 1923. (spouse died 37 years earlier). 

He was ill two days and died at his son James' home.

He was born across the Kiski River from Vandergrift.

A Civil War veteran, he enlisted in Battery F, 5th PA Heavy Artillery. He re-enlisted and served three years after the war. He was sent to New Orleans then to Kansas to protect settlers against Indian uprisings. He was a member of the Eli Hemphill post of the GAR.

When he returned, he settled in Parnassus, but lived here (Tarentum) the past six years.

He was a mason and bricklayer.

From Deaths, 1923 in Community Library, Tarentum, PA

James Monroe Davidson 1874-1965

J. M. Davidson, 90, Dies;
Ran Harrisville Restaurant

James M. Davidson of Natrona Heights, former owner and operator of Davidson's Restaurant in Harrisville, died this morning in the John J. Kane Hospital, Allegheny County, four days before his 91st birthday.

Mr. Davidson had made his home with a daughter, Mrs. Thomas Kimes of Natrona Heights, for the past four years.

A retired employee of the Pennsylvania Railroad, he had operated the restaurant in Harrisville for 27 years until his second retirement.

Born February 16, 1874, in Westmoreland County, he was the son of David A. and Margaret Daugherty Davidson. He was a member of Grove City Lodge 603, F and AM, and New Castle Consistory.

He was married to Kate May Vadakin in 1896.

Surviving are his daughter, Mrs. Thomas (Ruth) Kimes of Natrona Heights; two grandchildren, three great-grandchildren, and a brother, A.B. Davidson of Tarentum.
DAVIDSON - Friends of James M. Davidson of Natrona Heights, formerly of Harrisville, who died Friday, February 12, 1965, will be received at the Harold C. Jamison Funeral Home Harrisville, Sunday afternoon and night. Funeral services will be held at 2pm Monday from the funeral home, with the Rev. A.B. Weisz of Grove City, officiating. Burial will be in Prairie Cemetery, Harrisville. Arrangements by Jamison.

Man Dies 4 Days Before 91st Birthday (article accompanying obit)

James M. Davidson, a native of the Allegheny Valley, died yesterday (Feb. 12, 1965) just four days before his 91st birthday.

Mr. Davidson, who made his home with his son-in-law and daughter, Mr. and Mrs.. Thomas Kimes, 1101 Woodland Place, Natrona Heights, for the past five years, passed away in John Kane Hospital, Pittsburgh, where he had been a patient for eight days.

He was born to David Alexander and Margaret Daugherty Davidson on February 16, 1874 in Parnassus.

A retired Pennsylvania Railroad Conemaugh Division freight conductor, he was also widely known as the owner-operator of Davidson's Restaurant, now popularly known as The Spot in Harrisville.

He was a member of Grove City F&AM and New Castle Consistory.

Surviving are his widow, Mrs. Katharine M. Davidson who will be 90 in March; a daughter Mrs. Thomas H. (Ruth) Kimes, Natrona Heights; a brother, A. B. Davidson, Tarentum; two grandchildren: Mrs. Ralph (Ruth) Keyes, Tarentum, and Mrs. Lawrence (Joan) Sefton, Dearborn, Michigan; and three great-grandchildren.

Friends will be received in a Harrisville funeral home tomorrow where a service will be conducted Monday at 2pm.

Katherine May Vadakin 1875-1965

Harrison woman dies at age 90

Mrs. Katherine H. Davidson, 90, of 1101 Woodland Place, Natrona Heights, died at 8:45 p.m. yesterday (Sunday, May 21, 1965) in Allegheny Hospital, Natrona Heights, from infirmities of age.

She was born in Columbus, Ohio, March 26, 1875, to Mr. and Mrs. Ira Vadakan.

Her husband, James Davidson, preceded her in death February 12, 1965.

They had lived in Natrona Heights for the past five years. Prior to that they had lived in Harrisville for 22 years where she and her husband owned and operated Davidson's Restaurant in Harrisville for 27 years.

She is survived by a daughter, Mrs. Thomas (Ruth) Kimes, with whom she made her home; one sister, Mrs. Anna Braden, Columbus, Ohio; one brother, Frank, Camden, NJ; two grandchildren and three great-grandchildren.
Friends will be received this evening at Harold C. Jamison Funeral Home in Harrisville. Services will be held tomorrow afternoon at 2 with the Rev. A.B.Weisz officiating. Burial will be in Prairie Cemetery in Harrisville.

Heights Couple Marks 65 Years of Marriage
text of newspaper article printed in honor of their 65th anniversary:
from The Valley Daily News, Saturday, September 16, 1961

Mr. and Mrs. James Davidson will be entertaining this afternoon - and a grand occasion it will be!

The couple will be celebrating their 65th wedding anniversary and have planned an open house to welcome their family, friends and neighbors from 2 to 4.

Scene of the festivities will be the home of their only child, Mrs. Thomas (Ruth) Kimes, 1101 Woodland Place, Natrona Heights, with whom the Davidsons reside.

In the receiving line with the honored guests and their son-in-law and daughter will be their two children, Mrs. Ralph (Ruth) Keys of Tarentum and Mrs. Lawrence (Joan) Sefton of Springdale, and their great-grandchildren, James, 15, and Deborah, 13, Keys, and Curt Sefton, 9.

Their 65 years together have been exciting and colorful ones for the goldenweds who met in Mrs. Davidson's home town of Columbus, Ohio, when Mr. Davidson was stationed there in the Army.

They became acquainted while attending services in St. Paul Lutheran Church in Columbus, the same church in which they were married on September 16 ,1896. Mrs. Davidson is the former Katharine Vadican, daughter of the late Mr. and Mrs. Ira Vadican. Her husband is the son of the late Mr. and Mrs. David Davidson, who resided in the Puckety Creek area of New Kensington.

After their marriage, Pvt. and Mrs. Davidson set up housekeeping in Columbus, where they remained until he was discharged a couple of years later.

Mr. Davidson then brought his new wife back home with him to New Kensington, where they settled in parnassus. He then began a series of diversified occupations, ranging fro mproprietor of his own print and bicycle shops, street car conductor and conductor with the Pennsylvania Railroad.

During these years, the Davidsons lived in several homes throughout the Valley until Mr. Davidson retired from the railroad and moved his family to Harrisville, where he purchased a roadside barbecue restaurant.

After about 30 years in his own business, he retired again, (this time for good! ) and remained in Harrisville until he and his wife came to make their home with their daughter a little more than a year ago.

Today, after 65 years together, both Mr. and Mrs. Davidson are in good health.

At 86, Mrs. Davidson still makes all her own dresses and does all her daughter's mending. She's at her happiest when she's busy at a whirring sewing machine, or perhaps setting the table, washing dises, or bustling about the house with numerous other chores.

Mrs. Davidson was once a professional seamstress and dressmaker. Before her marriage, she learned hand tailored shirtmaking in Columbus to add to her skills.

Her husband, a spry 87, is a "great walker". His daily tours of the neighborhood have resulted in a great many friendships.

The couple also enjoy helping to care for their daughter's three cats -- "Orphan Annie," an alley cat that was abandoned, sick and undernourished at the Kimes home and nursed back to health by the family; snow white "Casper" (named for the "friendly ghost") and ag rey Persian, "Kingfish."

Albert B. Davidson 1884-1968

Biography from History of Pittsburgh and Environs
by Special Contributors and Members of the Editorial Staff
The American Historical Society, Inc.
New York and Chicago, 1922

One of the prominent men of Tarentum, PA., who takes a progressive part in the affairs of the community as well as in his own individual success, is Albert B. Davidson, feed and builders' supplies merchant, president of the Borough Council, and during the World War, chief of the farm bureau.

Mr. Davidson is a son of David A. Davidson, who was born near Vandergrift, Westmoreland County, Pa, January 2, 1846, and for many years was a resident of Parnassus, Pa., where he followed his trade of stone mason and brick layer. About five years ago, he became a resident of Tarentum, where he still resides. He is a veteran of the Civil War, having served with the Fifth Pennsylvania Heavy Artillery. He married, in July, 1873, Margaret Daugherty, who was born in Westmoreland County, PA in 1851, and died in 1886. They were the parents of four sons; the mother is now buried in the Lutheran church cemetery in Parnassus.

Albert B. Davidson was born near Parnassus, February 17, 1884; his first school attendance was in Lower Burrell township, after which he attended the schools of Parnassus, spending one year in the high school of that town. At about fourteen years of age he began working in the tin plate mill at New Kensington, continuing there until 1908 when he came to Tarentum. Here he was first employed in the sheet mill of the West Penn Steel company for a number of years. On account of broken health he was obliged to give up this kind of work, so in 1915 he purchased a flour and feed business theretofore conducted by Mr. Girt. He has since built up the business very materially, and now has one of the leading commercial interests in this field in the Allegheny Valley.

Since his residence in Tarentum, Mr. Davidson has won a high place in the popular esteem, and entered with progressive energy into the promotion of the public welfare. For eight years he has served as a member of the borough council, for six years of that time being president of the body. By political faith he is an independent Republican. He was one of the foremost workers in support of the American Expeditionary Forces during the World War, in both Liberty Loan activity and the work of the Farmers' Bureau, of which he was chief. His duty in the latter capacity was the securing of farm help in this district, enabling the farmers to handle and harvest their crops. he was instrumental in supplying more than two hundred men for this work -- no small task in that crucial period when all conditions were adverse to the farmer and so much depended on him.

Mr. Davidson is a member of the Allegheny Valley Chamber of commerce, and of the Pennsylvania State Association of Boroughs, and serves as financial secretary of the latter organization. Fraternally, he holds membership with Pollock Lodge, No. 502, Free and Accepted Masons, of Tarentum, and is a member of the Central Presbyterian Church of this borough.

On November 29, 1905, Mr. Davidson married Rose Baxter, born in Monongahela City, July 29, 1883, a daughter of Cyrus K. Baxter, who was born in Monongahela city in 1841, and died in Tarentum in 1920. During the Civil War, Mr. Baxter was a member of Ringgold Battalion of Washington County, and was in a number of active engagements, also was with Gen. Philip Sheridan in his drive through the Shenandoah Valley. He married Josephine Wyeth, who was born in Monongahela City in 1843, and died in Tarentum in September, 1913. 

Mr. and Mrs. Davidson have three children: Jean, born June 1, 1907; Wayne, born Jan. 22, 1910; and Grace, born Oct 6, 1913; all now attending the schools of Tarentum.

Saturday, June 4,1966 
The Valley Daily News

Dad, 83, still toils for borough
Visit by son in Australia brings Davidsons together

A.B. (Bert) Davidson, veteran Tarentum Borough official and employee with 52-1/2 years municipal service, was a happy man the past few days.

The gratifying occasion was a reunion of his family, the first since the death of their wife and mother 11 years ago.

A chance visit by David B. Davidson, youngest of the children, en route to his home in Brisbane, Australia, after a globe girdling tour for the oil corporation by which he is employed, brought about the gathering of the Davidson clan in the family home, 536 E. 10th Ave., Tarentum.

Dave Davidson, an executive in the Brisbane office of Arco, Lt., a subsidiary of Atlantic Richfield Co., an American corporation.

Davidson went on company business to its French operations headquarters in Pau in Southern France and to other outposts of the company in the Orient.

Returning via London to Australia, he stopped off to see his father Wednesday.

This brought together the whole Davidson family: a sister Mrs. Jean Wellinger of Arlington, VA, also arriving Wednesday, and Mrs. Robert (Grace) Esler of St. Louis, yesterday. The fourth of the Davidson children, A. Wayne, and his family live at 1604 2nd Street, Natrona Heights.

Dave, who made the world business trip alone, and his sisters Jean and Grace all came by air.

David, and his wife, a former Kansas girl, have four children: sons Kim, 17; Terry, 15, and Linc, 3, and a daughter, Tracey Ann, 9.

Their boys are typically rugged chips off the old block. Their dad says, "They are fooling around with this game, rugby, which doesn't grab me like our American football. And in Australia, everybody's interested in cricket, too."

Dave and his family have been in Australia for 18 months. Before that, he was based with Atlantic Richland in Denver, Colo.

The family reunion, first since Mrs. Davidson died in 1955, was a particular lift for Bert Davidson, who served 28 years as a Tarentum Borough councilman. When he served, councilmen received no compensation. 

Then he worked for 24-1/2 years, part-time, in the borough water plant.

He is hopefully awaiting an evaluation of his borough services to qualify for pension for his quarter of a century at the water plant. But so far, borough officials have told him his chances for retirement are slim because he was a part time worker.

Davidson is recalled by veteran newsmen, who covered Tarentum Borough council meetings when he served as the best council chairman in borough history.

He introduced council committee meetings in which all committees developed and explained needs of their department before bringing them to the floor for efficient and speedy action in regular meetings which sometimes took as little as 16 minutes time.

With him presiding, council achieved records of passing on three readings ordinances in less than a minute.

Meanwhile, as borough officials are trying to find a way to qualify him for retirement under the pension plan, Bert Davidson, at 83, continues working in the municipal water plant.

caption for picture that appeared with article above:

A chance visit by the youngest of the children has brought together the family of A.B. (Bert) Davidson, for 52 years a Tarentum borough councilman and municipal water plant employee, for the first time in 11 years. The youngest, David, front right, stopped in Tarentum to visit his father, front left, en route back home after a globe circling business trip for an American oil company of which he is an executive in Brisbane. In rear are, left, the elder son, Wayne, of Natrona Heights, and his sister, daughter Mrs. Jean Wellinger of Arlington, Virginia. A second daughter, Mrs. Robert (Grace) Esler of St. Louis, who arrived yesterday, to complete the reunion, is not in the picture.

Ruth Margaret Davidson Kimes 1903-1983

July 1957 article in the Valley News

Good things are said to come in small packages. If this be true, the Woman's Club of Allegheny Valley can expect a productive year of activity under its newly elected president....Mrs. Thomas Kimes, an attractive, perky brunette who stands 4'11" in her stocking feet and tips the scales at a scant 103 pounds. These statistics defy the eye, however, since her slim figure and assured manner give her the appearance of greater height. "She's the type you like to work for," is the way one member describes her quiet, gracious manner. "Her eyes smile when she talks to you."

Mrs. Kimes has been a member of the Woman's Club for the past 15 years. She says she's anticipating "great joy in doing for others" in her coming term of office. Doing for others is not new to this diminutive bundle of energy who worked for nine years in the Tarentum offices of the State health Department. She came to know and sympathize with that unfortunate segment of our community which is afflicted with disease and other hardship. "I saw a changeover from the old style "basket charity" to a new anonymous approach to helping these people," she said. "The new trend is so much better, because it saves the receivers from feelings of gratitude and, in some cases, humiliation."

Mrs. Kimes ended her work with the health department, just a year and a half ago, shortly before leaving Tarentum to move to her new modern ranch home at 1101 Woodland Place, Natrona Heights. The Kimes lived all their married life in Tarentum , after exchanging vows in August, 1922, just two months after Mrs. Kimes' graduation from Tarentum High School. At last month's 35th reunion of her class, she was recognized as the first member of the class to be married. The couple has two children - Mrs. Ralph (Ruth) Keys, Tarentum, and Mrs. Lawrence (Joan) Sefton of Natrona Heights. The Keyes family includes James, 10, and Debby, 8, and the Seftons, Curt, 5.

A number of accomplishments testify to Mrs. Kimes' energetic approach to civic life. She was on Tarentum School Board for 12 years; Allegheny Valley Social Service Bureau 7 years; and Tarentum Library Board 12 years. She helped to organize the community council and served as secretary of the library steering committee. All this, and Mrs. Kimes finds time for hobbies. She likes to work with her hands, finding creative outlet in textile and oil painting and water colors. The latter is her favorite medium and landscaping her favorite subject. "I'm more a craftsman than an artist," she modestly states, but this point is debatable.

No procrastinator, Mrs. Kimes has already begun to silk-screen her Christmas cards for December, 1957. She has half of them finished, perhaps in anticipation of a bustling club year that will leave little time for such personal pleasures as creating one's own greeting cards. Such is the heritage of the woman singled out by her club sisters to lead the valley's largest women's organization to further goals.


December, 1965 newspaper article on her love of crafting

"The pleasure of giving your ideas to others is the joy of making things"

..........As she sat explaining her tree, Mrs. Kimes' philosophized that she enjoyed creating art objects from inexpensive items easily obtained by anyone. "This probably goes back to my childhood," she says. "Because I was an only child and had to be inventive to amuse myself, I acquired the habit. We moved around a lot, at least 24 times before I was in the fifth grade and finally settled in Tarentum. I would make little paper dolls or draw pictures for the other children to gain admittance to the group, and I think it's good to have to fight in this way for things. I'm not complaining one bit about all that moving. It was a wonderful experience. We always went to the nearest church, when we moved, regardless of the denomination, and I felt enriched by the experience." .................Now a great grandmother in her 60's, she finds she is busier than ever....two grown daughters, three grandchildren, and a new little great-granddaughter, baby of grandson number one (Jimmy Keys and his daughter Shelley)..."I wonder if I'll ever have that extra time I used to plan for in my 40's. I know one thing, I'll always find time to do creative things," she concludes.

obituary from Valley News Dispatch, Thursday February 10, 1983

Ruth Kimes, Natrona Heights

Ruth M. Kimes, 79, of 1101 Woodland Drive, Natrona Heights, died yesterday (Feb. 9, 1983) at 12:07 p.m. in her home after a lingering illness.

Born May 21, 1903, in New Kensington, she was a daughter of James and Katherine Davidson.

She had been a lifelong resident of the area.

Mrs. Kimes was a 1922 graduate of Tarentum High School and was very active in community affairs. She was president for 12 years of Tarentum School Board, Allegheny Valley Artists Association, Womens Club, Service Bureau, and Community Library Board, and past secretary of the Pennsylvania State Health Clinic for seven years. 

Survivors include her husband of 62 years, Henry Thomas Kimes; two daughters, Mrs. Ruth Keys of Tarentum, and Mrs. Joan Sefton of Lower Burrell; three grandchildren and nine great-grandchildren.

There will be no public viewing and the funeral service and burial will be private. The family suggests memorial contributions may be made to the Community Library of Allegheny Valley, 315 E. Sixth Avenue, Tarentum, 15084. Arrangements by the Guy L. Walters Funeral Home, Tarentum.

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