Perhaps it was a wrong conclusion, but I have always assumed that if you looked far enough back, you would find common ancestors for the old Annapolis Valley surnames that are slightly different in spelling – Newcomb/Newcombe, Forsyth/Forsythe, Colwell/Coldwell, Davison/Davidson, for example.

The Wolfville historical writer, James Doyle Davison, confirms my conclusion about Davison/Davidson. In a recent letter he discussed the Davison/Davidson surname, indicating that the former was the original spelling. This is an interesting letter and I believe history buffs will find it informative. Mr. Davison wrote as follows:

“Though the five Davison families arrived here in 1760 as Davisons, one man of the Long Island (North Grand Pre) branch began about 1850 to spell his name Davidson. Now our area ‘phone book lists more Davidsons than Davisons. About 1850 the DeWolf family became the DeWolfes.

“Let’s go back to historical records. Arthur Henry Davison, of Iowa, began in the 1880s to compile the Davison story, which was a major source of my genealogy of the five men who came from Connecticut as “Planters” in 1760. He was convinced that his family line, from the Scottish lowlands, the Border Country, had no connection with the Davidson highland clan. He differed strongly with the many Americans who changed their Davison name to Davidson and Davisson.

“Our early records give the Davison spelling. The index of Horton Township Records, 1761-1895, lists 19 families of Davisons, no Davidsons. Douglas E. Eagles, History of Horton Township, shows a 1770 list of property owners, including two Davisons, no Davidsons. The Horton Deeds and Grants of May 29, 1761, shows only Andrew Davison.

“A 1780 index has only one Davison, no Davidson. The late John V. Duncanson’s Falmouth – A New England Township of Nova Scotia, 1965, lists 54 Davisons, no Davidsons in the index. In his Genealogical History of Long Island …. Douglas E. Eagles listed 89 Davisons, not one Davidson. Wolfville’s history, Mud Creek, refers to a 1770 Horton census that includes Andrew Davison in a household of eight, and Cyprian Davison with a family of four.

“Dr. Ronald S. Longley’s history, Acadia University, 1838-1938, tells of the construction of the first college, with Edmund and Lewis Davison, of Greenwich, planning and building the structure with four Ionic pillars. They and others of the family are buried in the Old Burying Grounds in Wolfville. The index of What Mean These Stones? which relates the story of those buried there, lists 30 Davisons, no Davidsons.

“It is of interest to note that Arthur W. H. Eaton’s History of Kings County uses the Davidson spelling. He has Harold Sidney Davidson a son of Arthur Stanley Davidson, who was the Davison brother who first began the Acadian, the paper published by the ‘Davison Brothers.’

“The writer of this bit of history, a descendant of one of the five families that first came to Falmouth, remains by the original Davison spelling.”

James Doyle Davison is the author of numerous historical books and church histories. Among his books are Alice of Grand Pre, Eliza of Pleasant Valley, What Mean These Stones? and Handley Chipman, Kings County Planter. Mr. Davison was editor of the Wolfville history, Mud Creek.

One thought on “HISTORY OF THE DAVISON SURNAME (December 24/99)

  1. Another Falmouth Davison was my 4th great grandmother Grace, daughter of John Davison and Elizabeth Babcock. That family were among the Planters from Connecticut who settled Falmouth. Grace married Louis Payzant, brother of Rev John Payzant.


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