Success of Lumber King grew with Bridgewater
Throughout the town's history, certain events and people have stood out and can be regarded as essential to the development of the town. Edward Doran Davison, founder of the Davison lumber business, can easily be included to this list of important people.
E.D. Davison was regarded as a prominent businessman, a caring philanthropist, an interesting person to meet, devoted family man and avid politician.
Judge DesBrisay in his book, The History of the County of Lunenburg, described Mr. Davison as, "a fine-looking man, and even in his later years there seemed to be no lessening of his abundant energy. He was fond of outdoor life, and always superintended the management of his mills, having a thorough knowledge of, and great liking for machinery. He has in the past 25 years given more than any other 20 men in the county towards the erection of churches. We have learned from outside sources of his charitable excursions, spending two or three days at a time, visiting needy families of former friends, employees and old family retainers, cheering them with his hearty laugh, and hope-inspiring presence, and leaving them such substantial assistance as would fully meet their necessities."
E.D. Davison was the son of Samuel and Eleanor Davison. Eleanor, before her marriage, was left with her mother's endowment, the family farming and fishing business, upon the death of her parents. After her marriage, Samuel managed the family business. E.D. Davison was born in Mill Village, Queens County on June 10, 1819.
After the death of his parents, while he was just a small child, E.D. Davison was left in the care of his mother's sister, Catherine Doran, a maiden lady known for her rare tact and energy. Catherine carried on the family business and looked after the large property interests, until Mr. Davison himself took full charge at the early age of eighteen.
Mr. Davison was twice married. He married his first wife, Desiah Mack, when he was 20 and had 10 children by her. After Desiah's death, he married Martha, the daughter of the Hon. John Campbell of Liverpool.
Mr. Davison was elected by the Liberals to the Provincial Parliament as a member of Queens County in 1854. He was present in the house during the prominent days of Johnstone, Howe and Young. Though he was defeated for re-election by Sir Charles Tupper, Mr. Davison did not relinquish his involvement in politics. He continued, until his death, to be a strong supporter and influential Liberal in both Lunenburg and Queens counties.
For 28 years, Mr. Davison remained in Mill Village, managing his flourishing lumber, fishing and farming industry. In 1865, Mr. Davison moved to Bridgewater after destructive forest fires ravaged most of Queens County.
He first bought out the Glenwood mill property, then principally owned by Captain Whyman. This became the beginning of an empire known as E. D. Davison and Sons.
In 1868, Mr. Davison built his second mill, located on the LaHave River about one quarter mile below his first mill. After his second mill he continued to purchase property and old mill sites. Over the years he acquired, the Sumerside (Dayspring) property, the mills at Alpena, Cook's mills and Silver's Falls, widening his business into Mill Village and Port Medway.
Throughout the social circles of Lunenburg and Queens counties, Mr. Davison was well-liked and respected. Many remember him as always having anecdotes concerning old times and the men who helped him build his company.
The death of Mr. Davison in his Bridgewater residence shocked the community and the counties of Lunenburg and Queens. Although he had been sick for a few days with pneumonia, it was expected that he would easily recover. An hour before his death he stood straight up from bed as if to reassert his strength and energy. It was believed that this is what caused his heart to fail.
At the time of his death Mr. Davison had earned the proud distinction of having the largest lumber business in the province and one of the largest in Canada. He was thought of in life and in death as the "Lumber King" and his contribution to the growth of Bridgewater never forgotten.