By Ed Nicholson
This week the Ladysmith Royal Canadian Legion will hold a special Veteran’s Luncheon to recognize a local family whose members served valiantly in World War I. The family chosen to be recognized at both the Legion sponsored luncheon and at the 2017 Remembrance Day ceremony is the JOHN DAVIDSON FAMILY from the Diamond area.
The Ladysmith and District Historical Society is trying to locate living descendants of this family so that they may be invited to the luncheon to be held Saturday, October 14 at 1:00 PM in the upstairs room of the Ladysmith Legion. We are hoping that some of the Chronicle readers will remember this family and their living descendants.
John Davidson and his wife Francis (Syme) Davidson arrived in British Columbia in 1890 along with their three of their children: Agnes, William and Stewart. John had lived in Clackmannanshire in Scotland and worked as a coal miner. The family originally settled in Wellington where John became a Member of the Provincial Police for several years. He eventually returned to coal mining at Wellington, but when the coal seam petered out there, John moved the family to the Diamond Crossing near Ladysmith and he began work at the Extension Mine. Their home was located on the Island Highway.
John rose to the position off Fireboss with Canadian Collieries. His miner badge was #800 and he was joined in the mine by his sons James, William, Duncan and perhaps John. (There were three other Davidson families working for Canadian Collieries)
When World War I broke out, James had already joined the Militia and both he and his older brother John signed up with the Canadian Expeditionary Force to serve overseas. It is the story of these two brothers – one who was Killed In Action in France and the other who returned a decorated veteran officer – that will be told at the veteran luncheon and the Remembrance Day ceremony.
From research conducted at the Ladysmith Archives we know that John and Frances Davidson had eight children:
Agnes, who married Thomas McEwan and settled in Duncan.
Stewart – who remained a spinster and lived in the family home at Diamond.
William – died in the 1909 Extension Mine explosion at age 17.
John – who was killed in action at Hill 70 in France.
James – who became an officer and married Evelyn McNeish in 1921
Thomas – who worked as an engineer for the C.P.R and died at White Rock
Duncan who married Gwendolyn Grafton and resided in Ladysmith.
Hugh Alexander who dies at age 5 in Ladysmith
John Sr., his wife Francis, his daughter Stewart and sons William and Hugh are all buried in the Ladysmith cemetery.If you know of any living relatives descended from this family please contact Jean Seney at the Ladysmith Legion 250 245 2273 or Ed Nicholson at the Ladysmith Archives (250-245-0100).
Watch for more on the what the Ladysmith Archives has uncovered on the Davidson family in an upcoming edition of the Chronicle.
– Ed Nicholson is the president of the Ladysmith and District Historical Society.