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ALEXANDKR-DAVIDSON REUNION, 
SWANNANOA, N. C. , AUGUST 26, 1911 




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F. A. Sondley, LL.D. , and 
Hon. Theo. F. Davidson 











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Alexander-Davidson 
^ Reunion 



SW'ANNANOA, N. C. 

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c/lUGUST 26, 1911 



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Addresses by F. A. SONDLEY, LL. D. 
and HON. THEO. F. DAVIDSON 



Digitized by the Internet Archive 

in 2011 with funding from 

LYRASIS members and Sloan Foundation 



http://www.archive.org/details/alexanderdavidsoOOsond 



North Carolina State; Librar/ 
Raleigh 



Alexander- Davidson 
Reunion 



SWANNANOA, N. C. 
August 26, 1911 







Addresses by 

F. A. Sondley, L L. D., and 
Hon. Theo. F. Davidson 



Alexander-Davidson Reunion 

August 26, 1911 



Arrangements are being perfected for a reunion 
of the Alexander and Davidson families at or near 
Swannanoa on August 26. 

James Alexander, better known as ^'Jimpsey" Al- 
exander, and Maj. William Davidson, the ancestors 
of these two families of which there are nearly a 
thousand living descendants scattered throughout 
the country, were of the famous Scotch-Irish people 
who settled the Piedmont section of North and South 
Carolina, and were especially prominent in the dis- 
cussions of the questions which led to the Revolution, 
in which they took a very active part. Immediately 
after the close of the Revolutionary War the two 
above named pioneers crossed the Blue Ridge moun- 
tains in company and purchased lands adjoining 
each other and settled on the Swannanoa river at 
the mouth of Bee Tree creek. 

These pioneers were closely related by family ties 
as well as political and religious associations and 
ideas. Their descendants have until the present day 
owned and occupied the lands which their fore- 
fathers acquired. During all this period their rela- 
tions have been close in every walk of life. 

The descendants of both of these families are now 
to be found throughout the United States, and many 
of them have borne honorable parts in the public 
event's of the country. 

It will be recalled that Maj. William Davidson, 
while in the state legislature in 1791, was active in 
the passage of the bill creating Buncombe county, 



and in the following year this county was organized 
at his house. 

It is desired by tTiose interested in the reunion to 
assemble as many of the descendants at or near the 
old homesteads as possible, and every person who is 
nearly or remotely related to or connected with 
either or both of these familise is cordially invited 
to attend and this publication will serve the purpose 
of extending that invitation to those who may be 
overlooked in any special invitations which may be 
issued. 

A "picnic" lunch will be provided and perhaps in- 
teresting papers will be read giving more of the his- 
tory of the families, but the occasion is mainly in- 
tended to give an opportunity to these two families 
to meet and make new acquaintances, renew old 
friendships and to take such measures as may be 
thought desirable for the purpose of making perma- 
nent the historical records and traditions of the two 
families. 

Members of the families residing in Buncombe 
county have effected an organization for the purpose 
of carrying out these purposes and the following 
committees have been appointed from whom further 
information may be had upon application : 

Committee on Invitations — F. A. Sondley, Theo- 
dore F. Davidson and James M. Ray, of Asheville. 

Committee on Arrangements — C. H. Alexander, 
S. W. Davidson, Sr., R. D. Alexander, James Burgin, 
Theodore C. Folsom, Henry Davidson, Jr., S. W. Da- 
vidson, Jr., all of Swannanoa, and W. D. Patton, of 
Black Mountain, and Herbert Millard, of Asheville. 

Committee on Entertainment — Mrs. Nancy For- 
tune, Mrs. Addie Alexander, Mrs. T. C. Folsom, Miss 
Minnie Davidson, Miss Lizzie Davidson, Miss Jessie 
Burgin, Miss Dale Alexander, Miss Edith Alexander, 

4 



Miss Josephine Watkins, all of Swannanoa; Mrs. W. 
B. Williamson, of Asheville, and Mrs. Lula Piatt, of 
Busbee. — Asheville Citizen, July 28, 1911. 



The first reunion of the Alexander and Davidson 
families was held on the Swannanoa river, near 
Swannanoa, Saturday, August 26th, 1911. 

The place and day were ideal. 

The ''clans" commenced assembling as early as 
half past nine o'clock. They came on foot, on horse- 
back, on mule back, in wagons, buggies, carriages, 
automobiles and by rail, and most of them had bun- 
dles, boxes, baskets and buggy and wagon loads of 
provisions, fruits and melons. If ever a table (two 
hundred feet in length) groaned under substantial 
luxuries that one did, and after satisfying the hunger 
of the hundreds and hundreds present, great quanti- 
ties were gathered up and carried away. 

The exercises commenced about half past eleven 
with that old familiar hymn, "All hail the power of 
Jesus' name," by the audience, led by the Rice-Bart- 
lett quartette, R. M. Rice, C. H. Bartlett, C. N. Wells 
and J. M. Clark. Col. J. M. Ray, of Asheville, a 
great-grandson of James Alexander, prefaced the 
formal opening by saying: 

''We esteem ourselves extremely fortunate in hav- 
ing with us today a Presbyterian clergyman who had 
the great good luck to secure for his wife Fannie Al- 
exander, a great grand-daughter of James Alexander. 
It is eminently fitting, we think, that the exercises of 
the occasion should be opened by a Presbyterian, for 
the Alexanders and the Davidsons of the early days 
were almost universally Presbyterians, in fact it is 
said that when Col. James Mitchell Alexander joined 
the Methodist church, the first departure possibly 
from the true faith as it was then considered, there 



was some commotion in the family. I shall therefore 
ask all to arise and be led in prayer by Rev. W. R. 
McCalla, of Charlotte, N. 0. 

The quartette next gave a song, "My Dear Old 
Home." 

F. A. Sondley, LL.D., of Asheville, a great-grand- 
son of James Alexander, one of the pioneers of the 
Alexanders settling in Buncombe county, was then 
introduced, and spoke for about an hour ; and though 
largely historical and statistical, his talk was so 
interwoven with story and incident that it com- 
manded the deepest attention, and made a profound 
impression upon his audience. The "Ode to the 
Swannanoa River'' (Nymph of Beauty), was a most 
fitting climax to his address and was especially fine. 



tlSdh iParolina State Libra 



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Alexander-Davidson Reunion 



SWANNANOA, N. C. 


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August 26, 1911. 










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ADDRESS 


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R A. SONDLEY, LL.D, 



On the 

Alexander and Davidson Families and 
Family History 



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Address of F. A. Sondley, L L. D. 



Relatives and Friends: — 

To praise the virtues of a meritorious ancestry is 
always a pleasant undertaking. It honors both sub- 
ject and eulogist. It brings the consciousness of a 
sacred duty honestly performed, without a reproach 
of egotism or a fear of injustice done to others. We 
have met to honor the memories of the Davidsons and 
Alexanders, not to depreciate the work of their com- 
panions and friends ; to commemorate the worthy ac- 
tions of our own ancestors, not to detract from the 
credit due to other people. 

It is not necessary here, however appropriate it 
might be, to enter upon a panegyric of the Alexanders 
and Davidsons, who, with their companions, formed, 
in this vicinity, more than a century and a quarter 
ago, the first permanent settlement of whites in 
North Carolina west of the Blue Ridge, and, a few 
years later, joined with other settlers in organizing 
the county of Buncombe. Their lives and labors, 
their strength and endurance, their triumphs and 
achievements are as well known to you as they are 
to me. They lie before you in their result's and speak 
for themselves. I prefer to talk of what may be less 
familiar to you, their origin and training, their prep- 
aration and purposes, their blood and antecedents. 

The name Alexander is of Grecian origin and 
means "Protector of Men." Probably no other name 
in so nearly the same form has ever been used by so 
many nations or spoken in so many languages. It 
had its origin in the remote ages of Greek fable and 
played a conspicuous part in the world's first poetry. 
In that early day, there stood near the shores of the 
Aegean Sea not far from the Hellespont the famous 
town of Troy, or Ilium, whose siege and destruction 



are the theme of Homer's greatest poem when he sang 
the wrath of Achilles. Its mighty rnler Priam 
reigned there, a king of men and a companion of the 
deities. To one of his numerous sons it was given to 
determine the superior claim to beauty among the 
three most powerful of the female gods and to re- 
ceive from Aphrodite, as a reward for his decision in 
her favor, the fairest woman of her time. The gift 
became the cause of his own death and of the de- 
struction of his country; but not until he had slain 
the Grecian bully Achilles. This was Alexander, bet- 
ter known, it may be, by his other appellation of 
Paris. The name became a favorite one among the 
Greeks and was bestowed upon him who proved to be 
the greatest military genius of all time, Alexander 
the Great. It has been borne by a Roman emperor, 
by eight Popes of the Catholic church, by kings of 
Scotland, kings of Epirus, kings of Macedonia, kings 
of Syria, kings of Aegypt, kings of the Jews, czars of 
Russia and princes of the smaller states of Europe. 
In Scotland the Earls of Ross, of Selkirk and of Stir- 
ling were Alexanders. In Ireland the Earls of Cale- 
don are Alexanders. There are Alexanders in 
France, Italy, Germany, Spain, Russia, Greece, Eng- 
land, Scotland, and Ireland. Probably no civilized 
people can be found among whom the name does not 
appear. It has been borne by soldiers, statesmen, 
lawyers, poets, theologians, diplomats, astronomers, 
writers, travellers, scholars, physicians, scientists, 
bishops and explorers. Its contraction Sandy has 
become the common name for a Scotchman as Pat is 
for an Irishman. 

In 1411, Donald, Lord of the Isles, claimed the 
Earldom of Ross, but was opposed in this claim by 
the Scottish governor, the Duke of Albany. At the 
head of a large body of his fellow Highlanders, Don- 
ald marched down from the mountains into Aber- 

10 



deenshire and in the famous Battle of Harlaw de- 



feated the royal army of Scotland under the com- ^ 






mand of Alexander, Earl of Mar, son of Alexander 

of Badenoch and grandson of the Scottish King 

Robert II. He was forced to retreat, however, and q 

afterwards entered into a treaty with the king by ;^ 

which he relinquished his claim to that earldom. The ^ 

Battle of Harlaw was the death-struggle for suprem- W 

acy between Teuton and Celt. The Gael won the p^ 

fight, but its results inured to the Saxon. From this ^ 

Donald, Lord of the Isles, grandson of Robert II., and f-. 

son of his daughter Margaret Stuart, through his 

son and successor, Alaster or Alexander Macdonald |;« 

(son of Donald), the Scottish family of Alexanders 

claim descent ; thus tracing their lineage to the Bruce 

of Bannockburn. 

One of these, William Alexander, Earl of Stirling, 
who became an author at fourteen, whom James I. 
called "my philosophical poet," and to whom that 
king and his son Charles I. granted Nova Scotia, New 
Brunswick and the northern portion of the United 
States, was so eminent in literature that Addison, on 
reading his works, exclaimed : '^The beauties of our 
ancient English poets are too slightly passed over by 
modern writers, who, out of a peculiar singularity, 
had rather take pains to find fault than endeavor to 
excel." He was secretary of state for Scotland and 
joined with James I. in making a poetical translation 
of the Psalms. 

Another William Alexander called Earl of Stir- 
ling attained much distinction as a major general 
under George Washington in the War of the Revolu- 
tion, during which he conducted, with brilliancy, nu- 
merous important military undertakings and re- 
ceived the surrender of the Hessians at Trenton. He 
was one of the founders of Columbia College. 

The name Davidson means, of course, the son of 

11 






David. The celebrated Israelitish king is the first of 
that name of whom we have any knowledge. It was, 
like Alexander, a popular name in Scotland, and, 
like Alexander, was borne by more than one of the 
kings of that country. The Davidsons were a clan of 
the Highlanders, or, more accurately speaking, they 
were a branch of the Highland Clan Chattan, a 
tribal confederation. Tradition has not transmitted 
the earliest events in the history of Clan Davidson, 
and its origin is lost in the mists of antiquity. The 
termination "son" in the name indicates a descent 
from the Vikings, that wondrous race of naval heroes 
in the early Middle Ages, to whose unequaled enter- 
prise and superhuman courage is to be attributed 
more of the world's progress than to the achieve- 
ments of any other people. 

At an early day in Scottish history, these David- 
sons owned large possessions in Badenoch, where 
they resided in large numbers, and exercised great 
powder and influence. In the fourteenth century they 
became noted for the bloody and protracted feuds in 
which they engaged with such persistency and brav- 
ery that, before the royal power could quell the quar- 
rels, the Davidsons were nearly exterminated. The 
last event in the history of these tribal feuds brought 
them great fame in song and story, but soon ended 
their career as an independent clan. In 1386, some 
of the Camerons, then known as McEwens, occupied 
as tenants the lands in Lochaber which belonged to 
Macintosh, the captain of the Clan Chattan. These 
proved to be poor tenants, and their landlord was 
forced to collect his rents by carrying off their cattle. 
This they resented, and marched, with four hundred 
of their number, under the command of Charles Mac- 
gilony, into Badenoch to make reprisals. When Mac- 
intosh learned of this movement, he assembled his 
clansmen and friends, the Macphersons and David- 



sons, to repel the invasion. He was elected to the 
chief command. A dispute arose, however, between 
Gluny, the chieftain of the ancient Clan Chattan, 
called Macphersons, and Invernhavon, the head of the 
Davidsons, who were the oldest branch of that clan, 
as to which should command the right wing. Macin- 
tosh decided this dispute in favor of the chief of the 
Davidsons. On this the Macphersons refused to take 
part in the battle with the Camerons which immedi- 
ately ensued. The Macphersons greatly exceeded 
their allies in numbers, and the strength of the latter 
was reduced by this withdrawal so much that they 
were almost wholly destroyed by the superior num- 
bers of the Camerons, and Lachlan, of Invernahavon. 
chief of the Davidsons, was slain. At this stage, the 
Macphersons thought proper to take a part. Rushing 
with their fresh forces upon the depleted and ex- 
hausted Camerons, they won an easy victory, killed 
the Cameron leader and scattered or destroyed his 
forces. For a long time, the relations between these 
kinsmen, the Davidsons and the Macphersons, had 
been exceedingly unfriendly. This dispute intensi- 
fied the feeling of dislike which already existed. The 
quarrel did not end here. It grew in bitterness for 
ten years more, often breaking out in fatal encoun- 
ters. At last, the Scottish king, Robert III., inter- 
fered. He sent Dunbar, Earl of Moray, and Lindsay 
of Glenesk, afterwards Earl of Crawford, to attempt 
a reconciliation. The mission failed. Upon their 
suggestion, however, it was agreed that the contro- 
versy should be settled in 1396 by a judicial combat, 
held in a meadow called the North Inch of Perth, be- 
fore the king and queen and Scottish nobility and 
some distinguished foreigners, to be fought with 
broadswords, targets, bows and arrows, short knives 
and battle axes, between thirty Davidsons and thirty 
Macphersons. When the battle was about to begin, 

13 



one of the Macphersons ran away; and, as none of 
the Davidsons was willing to withdraw, an armorer 
and ruffian of Perth named Henry Wynd was substi- 
tuted for the missing Macpherson. The result of 
the fight was favorable to the Macphersons. All but 
one of the Davidsons was killed. He escaped unhurt. 
Nineteen of the Macphersons were killed and the re- 
maining ten of them badly wounded. The armorer of 
Perth escaped without wounds. The king had en- 
couraged this conflict, hoping, it seems, that the lead- 
ing men of both factions would participate in it and 
be slain and he would thus rid himself of dangerous 
subjects. In this he was disappointed, since the 
chiefs were not among the combatants. Sir Walter 
Scott has made use of this occurrence in his novel. 
The Fair Maid of Perth, without adhering to the 
facts with much fidelity. 

Sir Robert Davidson, Provost of Aberdeen, was a 
participant in the Battle of Harlaw against Donald, 
Lord of the Isles, and was among the slain in that 
fierce encounter. 

The name of Davidson is often met with in the his- 
tory of Scotland, as well as in that of her sister na- 
tion of England. William Davison was secretary 
of state of the English Queen Elizabeth, and served 
with distinguished efficiency, in her negotiations with 
the States of Holland. He married a relative of the 
famous Earl of Leicester and Lord Burleigh. To him 
Sir Philip Sidney often wrote as "your most loving 
cousin, Philip Sidney," addressing his letters "To 
my special good Friend and Cousin Mr. Davison" — 
a far greater honor than to be secretary of state to 
the queen. This was the father of Francis Davison, 
the author of the "Poetical Rhapsody," "the most val- 
uable and curious collection of its day." This Wil- 
liam Davison told Sir James Melville "that he was 
come of Scotsmen." 

14 



On August 6th, 1557, the Earl of Northumberland 
wrote that Richard Davyson, who was mortally 
wounded in a skirmish at Fenwick, was one of the 
"best borderers and guides" which the Scotch forces 
had. 

Lucretia and Margaret Davidson, the sister Amer- 
ican poets, rivalled in poetic power, as well as in pre- 
cociousness, the celebrated Thomas Chatterton, 

"the marvellous boy, 

The sleepless soul that perished in his pride." 

George Davidson was the greatest geodetic sur- 
veyor and observer whom the world has ever known. 

An insurrection in northern Ireland was laid hold 
of by James I. as a pretext for declaring the land of 
the Irish nobility in that part of the island forfeited 
to the crown. In 1613, he planted on these lands in 
Ulster colonies of Scotch and English settlers, in or- 
der that, by means of their presence and loyalty, he 
might watch and control the turbulent Irish. These 
colonies of Scotchmen contained many members of 
the families of Alexander and Davidson. When Wil- 
liam and Mary had come to the throne in 1688, the 
English parliament enacted rigid laws looking to the 
destruction of Irish manufacturers. One hundred 
thousand operators were driven out of Ulster by 
these laws. Three thousand, it is said, left that coun- 
ty annually and emigrated to America. Most of 
these people were of the Scotch settlers who had so 
gone to Ireland in the reign of James I. They were 
Presbyterians in religion almost to a man. Landing 
in Philadelphia in 1699, they soon formed settle- 
ments in Pennsylvania and northern Maryland. They 
were not contented, however, in their new home. 
Many of them started southward in search of more 
satisfactory places of residence. Crossing the Po- 
tomac, they passed into the Valley of Virginia, and 
settled in and around Winchester. Here their at- 

■ 15 J .^il 



tempts to cultivate the soil were thwarted by incur- 
sions of Shawnees and other Indian tribes from north 
of the Ohio river ; their time was consumed in repell- 
ing these attacks; their property was stolen or de- 
stroyed and their lives were in daily peril. Before 
long many of them tired of an existence which 
brought no protection from danger, no surcease of 
vigilance, no rest from toil, no pleasure for the pres- 
ent and no hope for the future. Again the tide of 
emigration started toward the south, and the emi- 
grants found new homes in Rowan and Mecklenburg 
counties of North Carolina and the neighboring parts 
of South Carolina. These people were peculiar in 
their habits and views and strongly impressed those 
peculiar habits and views upon all with whom they 
came in contact. Strict in the observance of relig- 
ious forms and conceptions, determined in opposi- 
tion to taxation and political oppression, fearless in 
the assertion of rights, they have won for themselves 
a place in American history distinctively their own. 
Many years ago, they acquired the name of Scotch- 
Irish. Wherever that name is encountered, there is 
found characteristic determination of purpose, free- 
dom of action, independence of thought, and disre- 
gard of difiSculty and danger unmistakable in char- 
acter, and unvaried in expression. 

But these people were not allowed long to enjoy 
their new home in peace. Soon the officers of the 
crown came to dominate and tax. The unbending 
spirit of a people who, in search of freedom, had 
abandoned their homes in Scotland to seek new ones 
in Ireland and when oppression came had deserted 
those for others in Pennsylvania and Maryland and 
then had left these, when their hopes were disappoint- 
ed, for other homes in Virginia, and then, in turn, 
discarded these when expectations were not met, did 
not bow under this new imposition. A mere handful, 

16 



North Carolina State Library 
Raleigh 



a. 
they solemnly convened and deliberately set at defi- *^ 

ance the whole British nation, when, in 1775, they ^ 

proclaimed in Mecklenburg county the first Declara- ^ 

tion of Independence ever made on the American con- jr; 

tinent. Then followed the War of the Revolution. ^ 



In that war they bore their part most manfully, un- 



W 
til, by their undaunted exertions at King's Mountain, |^ 

they raised a sinking cause and turned defeat to vie- H 

tory. A revival of American courage began. Then 

the British general was driven to the coast and to g, 

surrender at Yorktown, and independence followed. 

Among these Scotch-Irish who had joined in the 
emigration from Scotland to the north of Ireland and 
then to Pennsylvania and thence to the Valley of the 
Shenandoah and still on to the upper regions of the 
Carolinas, were Davidsons and Alexanders. No 
names occur so often in the Mecklenburg Declaration 
of Independence as theirs, no men performed their 
part more faithfully and courageously in the war 
that ensued. And when that war was over, none 
were more ready to take their lives and fortunes in 
their hands and advance to the frontier where diffi- 
culties were thickest and dangers most abounded. 

When the British arms had put down opposition 
in South Carolina and the hope of the American 
cause had faded into desperation and General Earl 
Cornwallis was marching into North Carolina to 
complete there and in Virginia the final triumph of 
the conquerors, his passage of the Catawba at Cow- 
an's Ford, on February 1st, 1781, was met and 
sternly resisted by a small force of North Carolina's 
militiamen under their commander General William 
Davidson. The attempt at resistance was desperate. 
General Davidson fell pierced by a bullet from the 
rifle of a Tory. Through a special appropriation 
made by Congress, a monument to his memory has 
been erected on the battle ground of Guilford court 

17 



house, and North Carolina and Tennessee have each 
honored his fame with the name of a county, and, in 
commemoration of him, an institution of learning 
near the scene of his death bears the name of David- 
son College. 

For many years a fierce struggle had been waged 
between England and France for the possession of 
Canada and the valley of the Mississippi. The French 
had enlisted on their side the numerous and daring 
Shawnees and other Indian tribes living north of the 
Ohio river. In order to meet these, the English ear- 
nestly sought alliances with the Cherokees and that 
small but warlike tribe, the Catawbas. For the pur- 
pose of affecting these objects, Captain Hugh Wad- 
dell, a Scotch-Irishman, on the part of North Caro- 
lina, and Peyton Randolph and William Bird, on the 
part of Virginia, were appointed to treat with the 
aborigines. In 1756, Captain Waddell negotiated 
such a treaty with the Catawbas, who requested 
therein that North Carolina build a fort on their 
lands to which, when they were absent on the war- 
path, their women and children might resort for 
safety against roving bands of predatory Shawnees 
who were frequently appearing, with hostile purpose, 
in their vicinity when it seemed safe to do so. Gov- 
ernor Dobbs determined to build this fort and com- 
missioned Captain Waddell to supervise the work. 
In 1757, the Catawba chiefs selected the place and 
the construction of the fort commenced. After it 
had progressed for some while, the Catawbas became 
dissatisfied and sent to Governor Lyttleton of South 
Carolina, a request that the work by the North Caro- 
linians might stop and a fort might be erected for 
them by South Carolina. Under the advice of the 
North Carolina Assembly, Governor Dobbs caused 
the work to cease on August 11th, 1757. Soon there- 
after the diflSculty was adjusted and the fort com- 

18 



pleted. It was a stockaded fort; but, as the white 
settlements would probably reach that place before 
a great while, no large expenditure was incurred in 
its construction. It is not perfectly certain exactly 
where on the Catawba this fort stood ; but all the evi- 
dence as to its location points strongly to the modern 
Old Fort. Certain it is that in 1760 a fort existed 
at that place. In that year that scourge of the In- 
dians, the small-pox, broke out among the unfortun- 
ate Catawbas, and many of the stricken gathered 
around this fort where they perished in great num- 
bers. In 1776 Old Fort had become the centre of a 
white settlement. At about this time, it was owned 
by one of the Davidsons and known as Davidson's 
Fort. For many years it formed the extreme frontier 
of the whites on the Catawba, and, as settlements 
were formed beyond the mountains, the settlers re- 
sorted to it in emergencies for supplies and protec- 
tion. Here Davidson's Mill did the grinding for the 
people within a radius of twenty miles or more. 

Colonel William Tryon, who theretofore had suc- 
ceeded Governor Dobbs in the royal governorship of 
North Carolina, took up the important matter of the 
boundary line between the white settlers and the 
Cherokee Indians. These Indians claimed and occu- 
pied that part of North Carolina which lies west of 
the Blue Ridge Mountains, as well as parts of north- 
ern South Carolina, northern Georgia and eastern 
Tennessee. Repeated troubles had grown up with 
them because of trespasses committed and settle- 
ments made by the whites upon the lands which they 
regarded as their own. In order to conciliate these 
Cherokees and prevent encroachments on their terri- 
tory. Governor Tryon, acting under royal direction, 
undertook in 1767 to run and mark the dividing line 
between the white settlers and the Cherokee country. 
With a numerous retinue of white troops and several 

19 



representatives of the Cherokees, he ran and marked 
the line from the point to which that line had already 
been marked at Keedy River, a branch of the Savan- 
nah in northern South Carolina, up to the top of a 
peak of the White Oak Mountains which was then 
named, in his honor, Tryon Mountain, and is the 
peak near the town of Tryon in North Carolina which 
yet bears that name. Here it became evident that to 
continue the running of this line to its intended term- 
ination in Virginia, would be exceedingly expensive 
and laborious. Consequently, the survey was not 
continued; but it was agreed that a straight line 
from Tryon Mountain to Colonel Chiswell's (lead) 
mines situate in Virginia on New River about twelve 
miles southeast from the present town of Wytheville, 
should constitute the remainder of this dividing line. 
It would thus run about midway between Asheville 
and Rutherfordton and between Marion and Morgan- 
ton. Owing to the imperfect knowledge of the geog- 
raphy of the country which was then possessed. Gov- 
ernor Tryon and all others concerned supposed that 
this line would run along the top of the Blue Ridge. 
This ridge was, therefore, treated as the Cherokee 
boundary beyond which white settlements must not 
go. It continued to be recognized as such until, after 
the termination of the Revolutionary War, a treaty 
was made on November 28th, 1785, at Hopewell on 
the Keowee River, in the northern part of South 
Carolina, the residence of General Andrew Pickens, 
between the United States and the Cherokees. By 
this treaty, known as the Treaty of Hopewell, the 
Cherokee boundary was to extend from a place near 
the site of what is now Greenville, in the state of 
Tennessee, in a southwestern direction about along 
the eastern corporate limits of the present city of 
Asheville. This left what is now Asheville and Hen- 
dersonville and the towns further west within the 

20 



Cherokee territory and accounts for the fact that the 
first grant for Asheville land did not issue until it 
was made to John Burton on July 7th, 1794. An- 
other treaty, called the Treaty of Holston, was con- 
cluded on July 2nd, 1791, by the United States, act- 
ing through Governor William Blount of Tennessee, 
with the Gherokees at White's Fort, now Knoxville, 
Tennessee, by which the Gherokee boundary line was 
pushed back to the Big Pigeon Biver. Still later an- 
other treaty, known as the Treaty of Tellico, was 
made, on October 2, 1798, between the United States 
and the Gherokees at Tellico in southeastern Tennes- 
see, the boundary fixed by which was afterwards run 
and marked by Gommissioner K. J. Meigs and his 
surveyor Freeman, ever afterwards known as the 
Meigs and Freeman line, which ran to the west of the 
sites of Hendersonville and Waynesville. 

Some while before the War of the Bevolution 
closed, the Scotch-Irish settlements had extended up 
the Gatawba to the mountains. John Davidson and 
his young wife Nancy Brevard with their infant child 
were living then at Old Fort. The Gherokees found 
them there and butchered them just above the loca- 
tion of the town of Old Fort. 

After that war had ended, Samuel Davidson 
came, with his young wife and child and a negro 
woman slave, from the Gatawba through the Swan- 
nanoa Gap and built his cabin on Ghristian Greek 
where the line of the Southern Railway now runs in 
front of the home of Mr. William Gudger. This 
seems to have been a short time before the Treaty of 
Hopewell made in 1785, and his settlement was prob- 
ably an encroachment upon the Indian lands. The 
Gherokees were alert. Their great trail from the 
towns on the Tennessee and the Tuckaseigee crossed 
the French Broad River at the mouth of the Swan- 
nanoa and passed through the Swannanoa Gap to the 

* 21 



headwaters of the Catawba and the Yadkin. It ran 
along the crest of the ridge between Christian Creek 
and the Swannanoa within half a mile of Davidson's 
cabin upon which it looked down into the valley. 
He had lived here but a short time, when one morn- 
ing he went out unarmed to seek his horse. Soon his 
wife heard the report of a rifle on the mountain 
above. Too well she knew what that meant. Taking 
her infant with her she and the servant fled, by dif- 
ferent ways, along the mountains, until they found 
safety at Old Fort, sixteen miles away. At once an 
expedition set out from this latter place to avenge 
the death of their relative and friend. They found 
his body by the side of the trail on the mountain 
where he had fallen, and buried him upon the spot. 
And on the mountain just over there lies the body of 
the founder of Western North Carolina and Bun- 
combe's earliest citizen ; and there, for more than one 
hundred and twenty-five years, the winter winds have 
whistled and the summer suns have shined over his 
solitary grave in the forest. His avengers pursued 
the murderous Cherokees who had slain him until, 
some miles beyond, they found them and drove them, 
with slaughter, into the mountains. 

Thus when Earl Cornwallis, flushed with victory 
from subduing South Carolina, extended his con- 
quests into North Carolina, it was a Davidson who 
met his army at Cowan's Ford of the Catawba and 
gave his life to repel the foreign foe; when the settle- 
ments reached up this same Catawba to the moun- 
tains, it was a Davidson who led the van and per- 
ished in the cause of progress and civilization; and 
when the gate of the mountain valleys beyond was 
opened, it was a Davidson who first passed its 
threshold and died for his enterprise and daring. 

But there were kindred spirits left behind. With- 
in a few months, a company of these from the Old 

22 



Fort and its neighborhood followed in his steps 
Entering the valley through the Swannanoa Gap, 
they passed down to the mouth of Bee Tree, and 
there formed the first permanent white settlement 
west of the Blue Ridge in North Carolina. Leaders 
among these were James Alexander and William Da- 
vidson, descendants of the men who had gone from 
Scotland to Ireland and from Ireland to Pennsyl- 
vania and from Pennsylvania to the valley of Vir- 
ginia and from the valley of Virginia to the counties 
of Rowan and Mecklenburg in quest of freedom. 

Is it strange that men who claimed the blood of 
Bruce and whose ancestors had trod the Highland 
heaths, should fling off the trammels of a social thral- 
dom, and seek the mountains for a habitation? De- 
votion to learning is a feature of Scottish character. 
In the year 563, St. Columba, of royal Scotch descent, 
founded on the little island of lona that famed mon- 
astery which was the beacon light of learning and 
literature of northern Europe throughout the Dark 
Ages that followed. Doctor Samuel Johnson hated 
the Scotch with a hatred that has become proverbial. 
Yet even he made a pilgrimage to that island in 1773 ; 
and his recorded impressions of that visit are the 
most eloquent passage in his writings. Said he : "We 
were now treading that illustrious land, which was 
once the luminary of the Caledonian regions, whence 
savage clans and roving barbarians derived the ben- 
efits of knowledge and the blessings of religion. To 
abstract the mind from all local emotion would be 
impossible, if it were endeavoured, and would be fool- 
ish if it were possible. Whatever withdraws us from 
the power of our senses, whatever makes the past, the 
distant, or the future predominate over the present, 
advances us in the dignity of thinking beings. Far 
from me, and from my friends, be such frigid philos- 
ophy as may conduct us indifferent and unmoved 

23 



Vi? 



over any ground which has been dignified by wisdom, 
bravery, or virtue. That man is little to be envied 
whose patriotism would not gain force upon the plain 
of Marathon, or whose piety would not grow warmer 
among the ruins of lona !'' 

Is it strange that men whose progenitors for more 
than eleven hundred years, had dwelt around lona 
and felt its influence and memories should, in their 
new homes in the mountain wilds, among their earli- 
est cares, look to the establishment of an institution 
of mental training? Here, in this primeval settle- 
ment on the Swannanoa, young Robert Henry taught 
the first school in North Carolina west of the Blue 
Ridge. 

John Davidson was born in Pennsylvania, and, 
with George Davidson, his brother, removed to North 
Carolina in 1750. He settled in that part of Rowan 
county which is now Iredell, near Centre Church. 
George Davidson was the father of General William 
Davidson, who was killed at Cowan's Ford. This 
John Davidson had five sons, William and Samuel 
(twins), John, George and Thomas, and three daugh- 
ters, Rachel, Margaret and Elizabeth. The son John 
Davidson was the victim of the Indians at Old Fort, 
and the son Samuel Davidson, was he who lost his 
life at the hands of the Cherokees on Christian Creek. 

John Alexander was born in that part of Rowan 
county which is near Cabarrus. He married Rachel 
Davidson, John Davidson's oldest daughter. Their 
son James Alexander, was born on Buffalo Creek in 
Rowan, near Cabarrus county, on December 23, 1756. 
John Alexander later removed with his family, in- 
cluding his son James, to Crowder's Creek in that 
part of Lincoln county which is now Gaston. Then 
came the War of the Revolution; and young James 
Alexander enlisted five times on the American side, 
serving in each case until his term of enlistment ex- 

Z4: 



pired and his company was disbanded. As such sol- 
dier, he was repeatedly called into service for months 
at a time under Generals Rutherford and Davidson, 
making more than one campaign into various parts 
of North Carolina and into the northern portion of 
South Carolina where he participated in several en- 
gagements, among them a severe skirmish on the 
Enoree between the Americans and Tarleton's Le- 
gion commanded by the redoubtable Colonel Banistre 
Tarleton in person. Finally came the famous battle 
of King's Mountain which turned the fortunes of war 
in favor of the Americans and led ultimately to the 
independence of the colonies. That battle was fought 
on October 7, 1780, and changed the aspect of the 
war. Throughout its progress James Alexander was 
all the while in the thick of the fight ; but he escaped 
unharmed, capturing, among the booty, at its close, 
a walnut camp-chest which was said to have belonged 
to Lord Cornwallis and which is still owned by some 
of the descendants of the captor. 

In consideration of his Revolutionary services, 
James Alexander received in the later years of his 
life a pension from the government of the United 
States. After the war was begun, he married, on 
March 19, 1782, on Allison Creek in York District, 
South Carolina, Rhoda Cunningham, born in Penn- 
sylvania, on October 15, 1763, the daughter of 
Humphrey Cunningham, who had removed to Mary- 
land before his final settlement in South Carolina. 
The ceremony was performed by a Mr. Watson at the 
home of that gentleman. After a short residence in 
Lincoln county, James Alexander settled in York 
District, South Carolina, in 1783 ; but he had resided 
there only two years when he removed to Bee Tree 
Creek of the Swannanoa River, then in Burke county, 
now in Buncombe, in 1785. 

William Davidson had served the American cause 

25 



throughout the Revolutionary War. Shortly after 
the death of his brother Samuel Davidson, he re- 
moved, in 1785, in company with his brother-in-law, 
John Alexander, his sister Rachel Alexander and his 
nephews, James Alexander and Thomas Alexander, 
their sons, and others, to the Swannanoa River, and 
settled on the banks of that stream at the mouth of 
Bee Tree Creek on land adjoining that of his relatives 
the Alexanders. Here on this creek these men cut 
down the forests, cleared the land and built their 
cabins. In the next year, 1786, another company of 
Scotch-Irish settlers, consisting of William Forster, 
his family and his two sons, Thomas and William, 
came to the Swannanoa and took up their abode 
about three-fourths of a mile above its mouth. Wil- 
liam Davidson soon removed to a place just across 
the Swannanoa from William Forster and built his 
residence on the south bank of that stream at what 
was known for nearly a century afterwards as the 
Gum Spring. There he was living at tl^e time the 
county of Buncombe was created and organized. At 
that time, it was understood that the Swannanoa was 
the dividing line between the counties of Burke and 
Rutherford, the lands on the north being in Burke 
county and those on the south in Rutherford county. 
In the General Assembly of 1791 William Davidson 
was a member of the House of Commons from Ruth- 
erford and David Vance, who lived on Reems Creek, 
a member of the House from Burke. At that session 
a bill was passed creating, from the counties of 
Burke and Rutherford, the county of Buncombe to 
embrace all that part of North Carolina which lies 
west of the Blue Ridge and south a line through the 
county of Yancey. This territory now comprises the 
eleven counties of Buncombe, Henderson, Transyl- 
vania, Madison, Haywood, Jackson, Macon, Swain, 
Clay, Cherokee and Graham and part of Yancey. On 

26 



April IG, 1792, at Colonel William Davidson^s resi- 
dence at the Gum Spring on the south bank of the 
Swannanoa, the county of Buncombe was organized 
by the justices of the peace, commissioners appointed 
for that purpose by the legislature. On this commis- 
sion were James Alexander and William Davidson. 
The residence not affording sufficient room for the 
assembled crowd, it adjourned to Colonel Davidson's 
barn on the premises upon the side of the hill to the 
south about two hundred yards away; and in this 
barn was completed the organization of that county 
whose extensive territory procured for it the nick- 
name of the "State of Buncombe." Here the county 
court met for a year and transacted the business of 
the new county. At the time of the organization of 
that court both William Davidson and James Alex- 
ander were members of it and sat as such members. 
Thus these men not only participated in making the 
first settlement in Western North Carolina, but they 
also aided in the organization of its first governn;ent 
and in the conduct of its first public business. 

Later on, William Davidson was elected Bun- 
combe's first member of the State Senate. After- 
wards he returned to his old home at the mouth of 
Bee Tree, and there he died and is buried. 

John Alexander and his son Thomas who married 
Colonel William Davidson's daughter Elizabeth, soon 
removed to Tennessee and settled in Williamson 
county, where they died. 

James Alexander continued, from the time when 
he first crossed the mountains, to live on the farm on 
Bee Tree where he had settled. His first cabin was 
built near the line between his place and that of his 
uncle William Davidson, but when, later on, dangers 
from the Cherokees were less imminent, he built an- 
other about one-fourth of a mile further up the creek 
and later still, he erected the house which is now the 

2t 



residence of Mr. W. R. Alexander, his grandson, sit- 
uate about one hundred yards westward of the place 
of his second habitation. Here he died on June 28th, 
1844, and his widow, Rhoda Alexander, died on Jan- 
uary 29th, 1848. He was buried at the old Robert 
Patton burying ground; but, when his widow died, 
his body was removed to Piney Grove and placed in 
the same grave with his wife — together in life, to- 
gether in fortune and misfortune, in joy and sorrow, 
in labor and achievement, and together in the grave 

Their children were: 

John C, born March 22, 1783, and married to 
Jane Patton on December 31, 1808; 

Rhoda, born November, 1785, and married to Wil- 
liam McDaniel ; 

William Davidson, born January 28, 1788, and 
died in youth; 

George C, born September 10, 1790, and married 
to Elizabeth Foster June 23, 1818; 

James M., born May 22, 1793, and married to 
Nancy Foster September 8, 1814 ; 

Robert S., born September 2, 1795, and married 
to Jane Wilson May 25, 1820 ; 

Rachel, born December 30, 1797, and married to 
Moses White December 2, 1824; 

William Davidson (the second child so named), 
born December 10, 1800, and married to Leah Bur- 
gin April 21, 1825; 

Humphrey Newton, born June 11, 1803, and mar- 
ried to Mary Foster December 26, 1826; and 

Elizabeth, born April 10, 1806, and married to 
Joseph A. McEntire January 19, 1832. 

Many were the vicissitudes of this early life on the 
Swannanoa. The Cherokees had sided with the Brit- 
ish in the Revolutionary War and were loath to ob- 
serve the peace which was declared at its close. Old 
Mrs. Rlioda Alexander often told w^ith tears to her 

28 



grandchildren fhe dangers and annoyances of that ^ 

early life ; how, when the men of the family were ab- ^ 

sent, Indians would come and frighten the women ~ 

and children, take their provisions, open their feather > 

beds and empty the contents over the house, and col- o 



,:p-: 



lect their household furniture in the yard and burn 

it. Finally endurance could stand no more. As 

James Alexander returned one day along the path * oi 

which led to his home, he perceived a fire in front of ;>' 

his house. From this he knew that Indians were l:;? 

there engaged in mischief. As he advanced he pres- ■^■■ 

ently heard three of them coming along the path k 

from his house. He stepped behind some bushes. Cl 

They came on, shouting and dancing. His rifle 

cracked, and the Indians disappeared. "Grandfather, 

did you kill him?" inquired the child to whom he was 

telling the story. The old man knew whether his aim 

was true or not. His only answer was, "I did not 

look back to see, my little girl." 

But those days have long since gone by. The ' 
Swannanoa was named no doubt for the Shawano, or 
Shawnee, Indians, who probably had, at one time, a 
settlement near its mouth. Upon their name it sheds 
a brighter lustre than the ravages which they 
wrought or the wars which they waged. It is the 
same river as of yore and still flows on in pristine 
beauty; but the scenes are changed. It too had its 
early fame. Along its borders Rutherford marched 
his army in 1776 for the subjugation of the hostile 
Oherokees. Then nature reigned upon its banks in 
primal loveliness. It was sung in the poems of the 
famous Gilmore Simms and the lamented Will Mar- 
tin, and in that poem of the gifted Jacques whose 
melody mingles in memory with the murmurs of its 
waters. 

"Swannanoa, nymph of beauty, 
I would woo thee in my rhyme, 

29 



'd 



Wildest, brightest, loveliest river 
Of our southern sunny clime ! 

Swannanoa, well they named thee 
In the mellow Indian tongue, 

Beautiful thou art most truly 
And right worthy to be sung. 

"I have stood by many a river 

Known to story and to song — 
Ashley, Hudson, Susquehanna, 

Fame to which may well belong; 
I have camped by the Ohio, 

Trod Scioto's fertile banks. 
Followed far the Juniata 

In the wildest of her pranks ; 

"But thou reignest queen forever, 

Child of Appalachian hills, 
Winning tribute as thou flowest, 

From a thousand mountain rills. 
Thine is beauty, strength-begotten 

'Mid the cloud-begirded peaks 
Where the patriarch of mountains 

Heavenward far thy waters seeks. 

"Through the laurels and the beeches, 

Bright fhy silvery current shines, 
Sleeping now in granite basins, 

Overhung by trailing vines, 
And anon careering onward 

In the maddest frolic mood. 
Waking, with its sea-like voices, 

Fairy echoes in the wood. 

"Peaceful sleep thy narrow valleys 

In the shadow of the hills. 
And thy flower-enamelled border 

30 



All the air with fragrance fills. 
Wild luxuriance, generous tillage, 

Here alternate meet the view. 
Every turn through all thy windings 

Still revealing something new. 

"Where, O graceful Swannanoa, 

Are the warriors, who of old 
Sought thee at thy mountain sources 

Where thy springs are icy cold? — 
Where the dark-browed Indian maidens 

Who their limbs were wont to lave — 
Worthy bath for fairer beauty — 

In thy cool and limpid wave? 

"Gone forever from thy borders. 

But immortal in thy name 
Are the red men of the forest ; 

Be thou keeper of their fame. 
Paler races dwell beside thee, 

Celt and Saxon till thy lands, 
Wedding use unto thy beauty. 

Linking over thee their hands.'' 

Here in the valley of the Swannanoa, lived, re- 
joiced, triumphed, toiled, struggled, and suffered 
James Alexander and William Davidson and the 
wives who shared their fortunes. Here their work 
was done, well done. But the years rolled away and 
their work was finished, their joys were numbered, 
their triumphs completed, their toils ended, their 
struggles ceased, and their sufferings were over ; and 
death, who comes to all, brought rest. In the Valley 
of the Swannanoa they sleep, in peace, the sleep of 
the centuries. Glorious old men and women ! gone 
forever but not forgotten ! 



31 



Again there was a song by the quartette, "Beau- 
tiful River." 

Hon. Theo. F. Davidson, of Asheville, was then 
introduced as sustaining the same relationship to 
William Davidson, Sr. (the pioneer of the David- 
sons locating in Buncombe), as Dr. Sondley to the 
Alexanders — a great grandson. 

While Dr. Sondley had left nothing unsaid about 
the Alexanders and the Davidsons that could be said, 
a less ready man than Mr. Davidson would have been 
somewhat at sea as it were, but he was fully equal 
to the occasion and made an interesting speech, re- 
plete in anecdote and story, and left his hearers in a 
most happy state of mind. 



32 



Alexander-Davidson Reunion 

SWANNANOA, N. C. 
August 26, 1911. 




ADDRESS 

of ' 

HON. THEO. F. DAVIDSON 



On the 



Davidson Family History. 






V) 



Address of Hon. Theo. F. Davidson ^ 

w 

Hi 

I am, borrowing the favorite phrase of a late, but ^ 

happily not lamented. President of the United States, jr< 

^^dee-lighted!'' 3 

^^This is the way I long have sought . ^ 

And mourned because I found it not." ^ 

At last here we are, on the banks of the beautiful 
Swannanoa, in ^'The Land of the Sky," on the soil 
won by the courage and sagacity of our forefathers, 
in sight of spots they selected for their frontier 
homes, and the places, when, after lives well spent, 
they sleep until the Resurrection Morn. From city 
and town, farm and factory, from over the Ridge and 
beyond the Alleghanies and the Mississippi the des- 
cendants of those hardy and worthy pioneers, have 
come to pay tribute to their memory, to renew old 
friendships, to form new acquaintances; to cement 
the ties of family and kindred, and to provide for the 
preservation of names and events of which we are, 
and of right, may be proud. 

Here are gathered the representatives of five gen- 
erations of the two families whose reunion we cele- 
brate, and I think I may safely say that nowhere on 
this continent is it possible to assemble an equal 
number of people of purer blood, of more worthy an- 
cestry, or higher type of those sturdy civic virtues 
which laid broad and deep the foundation of the Re- 
public, and upon which it must rely for its continu- 
ance. 

Five generations of these families have lived side 
by side, in the closest intimacy, not only with each 
other, but with their cherished neighbors — the Pat- 
tons, Whitsons, Fosters, Vances, Weavers, Westalls, 
Reeds, and many others whose names will readily oc- 

35 



cur to you, in this beautiful valley, encircled by these 
magnificent mountains. 

I look out on this valley and see neat villages, fer- 
tile farms, the landscape dotted with school houses 
and churches, and fhe comfortable homes of a thrifty, 
intelligent, law-abiding and God-fearing people. 

, I should like to present this scene to those senti- 
mental and rather silly people, who for a decade or 
so, have been harrowing their souls, harrassing sens- 
ible people, and flooding the spectacular periodicals 
with their hysterical notions of the wretched and 
heathenish condition of the "Mountain Whites" of 
the Southern Appalachians ! . 

Not long since I met in Boston a most charming 
and excellent woman, one of the cream of the highly 
cultivated and thoroughly good circles which have 
given that city its preeminence for culture — who ex- 
pressed the greatest interest in these poor "Mountain 
Whites" and a desire to visit them in their mountain 
fastnesses. I said to her: "Madame, I can assure 
you that whenever you come, and whatever your mo- 
tive, you will have a hearty welcome, but if your only 
purpose Is to see the Mountain White, you need not 
stir; behold me! I am a Mountain ^^^lite ^of the 
straightest sect,' and so were my forbears for more 
than a hundred years. I and my people glory in the 
fact, and we hope to live and die as did our fathers 
and mothers, brave, independent and upright Moun- 
tain Whites." Her polite astonishment was quite 
amusing. 

Permit me, here to express what I am sure is the 
universal and profound feeling of gratitude of the 
representatives of these two families — indeed, I am 
confident the feeling is not confined to them, but ex- 
tends to all who are interested in the history and lit- 
erature of Western North Carolina — to our kinsman. 
Doctor Sondley, for his address which we have just 

36 



heard. It bears the stamp of most careful and con- 
scientious preparation, and I happen to know that it 
represents years of patient and intelligent research 
of every available reliable source of information. I 
know of none who could have done the work so well. 
We must see that it is put in permanent form and pre- 
served not only for our own pleasure, but for the gen^ 
erations that are to come after us. And I especially 
desire it to be distinctly understood, now and hereaf- 
ter, that whatever I may say today upon any topic 
or phase of our family history which has been pre- 
sented by Doctor Sondley, his version should be pre- 
ferred. His faculty for research, his power of dis- 
crimination and lucid arrangement, give the results 
of his investigations the highest historical value. I 
think you all know me well enough to believe that, in 
saying this, I am not using words of idle flattery, but 
in soberness and truth, to place before our kindred 
the best sources of information. 

Do not be alarmed at this formidable bundle of 
papers I hold in my hands. I do not propose to read 
them, but may refer to a few. They are letters, deeds, 
wills, and miscellaneous documents, relating to our 
family and the early history of Western North Caro- 
lina, which I have been collecting for many years; 
and at one time I contemplated preparing a history 
of those times, but the time for me to do the work 
has passed, and I can only continue the work of col- 
lection and preservation for the future family his- 
torian. My limited opportunities have confined my 
inquiries to our branch of the family, directly des- 
cended from that John Davidson, of Kowan, to whom 
I shall refer later, and what information I may have 
been able to gather of the collateral branches is frag- 
mentary and not always reliable. 

Our kinsman, Hugh Davidson, Esq., of Shelby- 
ville, whom we are gratified to have with us today, 

37 



has recently prepared and published a history of 
those branches of the family who emigrated from 
Buncombe and settled in the Duck River section of 
Tennessee early in the nineteenth century ; and in the 
genealogy of the distinguished Tillman family of Ten- 
nessee, prepared by George Newton Tillman, Esq., 
and published in 1905, there is much interesting mat- 
ter relating to our family — the author's mother being 
Martha Catherine Davidson, a daughter of James 
Davidson (grandson of our John Davidson), and who 
was born in Buncombe county, September 12th, 1796. 

I am glad to hear that our kinsmen in Mecklen- 
burg, Rowan and Iredell counties, of this State, and 
known as the "Mecklenburg Davidsons," will soon 
publish a history of that branch, which is fitly repre- 
sented here today by our honored guest, Baxter Da- 
vidson, Esq. 

These facts admonish us to be up and doing our 
part in the preservation of the history of our branch. 
The material is abundant, and I feel confident the 
love and devotion of some one — perhaps some of my 
hearers — will soon put it in enduring form. 

Let us not leave this day without arranging for 
a permanent family historical organization, which 
shall be empowered to collect and preserve all proper 
material relating to the history and traditions of 
these two families. Much interesting and valuable 
material has been collected — much more is scattered 
among the private papers of individuals and families, 
which is in danger of destruction in the vicissitudes 
and changes of life. Much is in the form of tradition 
which will soon fade from memory. 

We can show our appreciation of the virtues and 
•sacrifices of ancestors by collecting and preserving 
these evidences of their lives, and the events in which 
they took honorable part, more appropriately and ef- 
fectively than by simply meeting in reunions. And 

38 



?>» 



k 

ift? 

(P 
I Venture to say, a truthful chronicle of these two ta 

families will constitute a no small part of the history b/ 

of Western North Carolina. In every period of that ^t 

history, in peace and war, in all the phases and walks g 

of life, our kindred have had not unworthy share. ^^ 

Let us record it, and, yea, let us make it known to all ^' 

the regions round about, and send it on to those who q 

come after us, with the charge to keep the record pure ^ 

and true, O 

And you will, I know, indulge me in suggesting to *^ 

you that the spirit which produces occasions of this 
kind, has far greater significance for the thoughtful ^^ 
and patriotic citizen of free and republican govern- 
ment than many people think. Their influence is 
much wider than at first sight appears. The found- 
ers of this nation were earnest, brave, sincere men 
and women — plain and temperate in their lives, de- 
cided and loyal in their political and religious opin- 
ions — having clear conceptions of civic duties. Upon 
these traits were laid the foundation of the Republic 
— upon them it must forever rest, and I can conceive 
of no better means by which this can be done than 
by frequent assemblies of this kind where these noble 
qualities can be kept alive, and the fires of patriotism 
kept burning on the altars of our country. 

So, while we today, and I hope on many days to 
come, are thinking of our forefathers, and enjoying 
the social blessings that are ours, let us not forget 
that we too have duties to the state and nation which 
those forefathers gave us. And thus we may best re- 
pay them. 

The precise relation to each other of all the Da- 
vidsons who came in the great emigration from Penn- 
sylvania and Maryland from 1748 to 1752 and settled 
in North Carolina, is difficult now to fix; that they 
were related is, I think, without doubt. The fact that 
they came South, from the same section and about 

39 



the same time; that it was a common habit with 
Scotch-Irish to emigrate in groups of families and 
relatives ; that they made their homes in the new set- 
tlements near each other; that they held the same 
religious and political beliefs and opinions ; the prev- 
alence of family names for successive generations, 
for example, William, George, Hugh, Benjamin, 
Joseph, Rachel, Ruth, Mary, etc. ; the recurrence even 
to this day of marked physical and mental resem- 
blances among their descendants, and the traditions 
of the members of the various families and of the 
people who knew them, seem to make this conclusion 
safely reliable. 

There are two branches of the Davidsons yet in 
Scotland, of the '^gentry" — and of apparently some 
consequence, as they are noticed in ''Burke" and each 
has its coat of arms — very like in general design. So 
it seems we have always been "some punkins." 

The tradition is, and it is pretty well established, 
that in the emigration of the Scotch to north of Ire- 
land in the reign of James I. of England, were sev- 
eral Davidsons, some of whom were active in the af 
fairs of the stormy years following. They were 
Whigs and Presbyterians. From these came our an- 
cestors. Some time in the first half of the 18th cen- 
tury they came to America and located in York, Lan- 
caster and Northampton counties in Pennsylvania — 
the greater portion of them, perhaps, at, or near 
Chestnut Level in Lancaster county. It may be one, 
or more, settled in Western Maryland and Northern 
Virginia. I have, however, not been able to secure 
any reliable information of this fact. From Pennsyl- 
vania they came with the great Scotch-Irish "emigra- 
tion" to North Carolina, as I have said — settling in 
Anson and Rowan counties, from which Mecklenburg 
and Iredell counties were soon afterwards formed. 
The records in the office of the Secretary of State of 

40 



North Carolina, show that grants for lands issued, 
from the years 1743 to 1780, to George Davidson, 
Thomas Davidson, John Davidson, Joseph Davidson, 
Robert Davidson, James Davidson and William Da- 
vidson — the name being invariably spelled in these 
records down to about the year 1768, Davison — the 
second "d" being omitted; and by the way, in the 
printed copy of the note from General Wm. Da- 
vidson to General Green, announcing the result of the 
Battle of King's Mountain, General Davidson omit- 
ted the second ^^d," yet in his will, the original of 
which is now on file in the office of the Clerk of the 
Superior Court of Rowan county, he used the second 
^^d," and in all other documents I have seen, and in 
all records, public and private, which I have exam- 
ined, the spelling is with the second "d," since the 
end of the eighteenth century. 

The grant to Joseph Davidson was for land in 
Craven county, North Carolina. I have not the dates, 
but my memorandum says it is recorded in Book 5, 
page 67, Secretary of State's office, North Carolina. 
About the same time are grants to John Davidson for 
land in Tyrell and Bertie — adjoining Craven. I am 
at a loss to account for this, as those three counties 
are in the extreme eastern part of North Carolina 
and had been settled many years, principally by Eng- 
lish from the Colony of Virginia and from the Old 
Country, and there are, so far as my information 
goes, no records or family traditions that any ^'Davi- 
sons," or Davidsons ever settled or resided in that 
part of the State. I apprehend that, in contempla- 
tion of the emigration to the South, these lands were 
acquired, but afterwards when the movement was de- 
termined, the "Piedmont" section of the State was se- 
lected; at any rate from 1743 down to 1780, grants 
issued to George, Thomas, John, Robert, James, Ben- 
jamin and William Davidson, for land in what is 

41 






now Anson, Rowan, Mecklenburg and Burke coun- 
ties — and one to Robert Davidson in Cumberland 
county — adjoining Anson. 

There were evidently two George Davidsons of the 
original emigrants — one in Anson and the other in 
Rowan. Not only were grants issued to George Da- 
vidson in Anson, but at the Provincial Congress 
which met at Halifax on April 4, 1776, in the military 
organization of the State, or Province, George David- 
son, of Anson, was appointed major, and was one of 
the delegates sent by Anson county to the convention 
which assembled at Halifax on the 12th of Novem- 
ber following to frame a constitution. He also rep- 
resented Anson county in the General Assembly in 
1777-1778 (Wheeler's History of N. C, Vol. 1, 81-85; 
Vol. 2, 25). Of this George Davidson I have no fur- 
ther knowledge, except a tradition that, soon after 
the Revolution he emigrated to Tennessee and settled 
near Nashville. It is probable the records, public and 
private, of Anson county, may furnish some informa- 
tion of his family. 

There was another George Davidson, of Rowan 
county. He and his brother John (the last named 
being our great great grandfather), came to North 
Carolina with the "Emigration" and settled at or 
near Center Church, then Rowan, now Iredell 
county. This George was the father of General Wil- 
liam Davidson. His will is recorded and the original 
is in the office of the Superior Court of Rowan 
county. It is dated May 19, 1758. In it he speaks of 
three sons, George, William and Samuel. It is said 
George died while a young man and I presume before 
marriage; of his son Samuel, I never heard any- 
thing. General William Davidson married a Miss 
Mary Brevard, sister of Dr. Ephraim Brevard, au- 
thor of the Mecklenburg Declaration of Independ- 
ence. There were five or six children of this mar- 

42 



riage, who went West with their mother about the be- 
ginning of last century and their descendants are 
scattered throughout Tennessee, Kentucky, Missouri 
and the Southwestern States. In ''Hunter's Sketches 
of Western North Carolina," there is, I think, a full 
statement of the names of these children and the 
places to which they removed, etc. This George was 
a captain in military organization of the State and 
also a member of the ''Committee of Safety" for 
Rowan county. (Wheeler's History, Vol. 2, page 
368). Of his descendants I know but little; many 
of them reside in Iredell and Mecklenburg counties 
— chiefly in the vicinity of Davidson College. 

John Davidson, our great-great-grandfather, the 
brother of the last named George, was also promi- , 
nent and active in the Revolutionary struggle — being J,. 
an officer in the military organization of N. C, and a 
member of the Committee of Safety and Correspond- 
ence of Rowan county (Wheeler's History, 1, 81; 3, 
368). It has been claimed by some that he was one 
of the "signers" of the "Mecklenburg Declaration," 
but I am rather inclined to the opinion that John was 
a son of Robert Davidson. The tradition — the truth 
of which I think is reasonably well established — is 
that George, of Rowan, John and Robert were broth- 
ers ; that Robert died in Pennsylvania, shortly before 
the "Emigration," and that his surviving brothers 
brought his widow and children with them ; and from 
that stock came most of the Charlotte Davidsons — 
and as I have said, the John of that family was, prob- 
ably the "signer" of the Mecklenburg Declaration. 
There was a John Davidson also in the engagement at 
Cowan's Ford, where General Davidson fell, and in 
General Greene's retreat before Cornwallis, after 
Cowpens; I am inclined to the opinion he was the 
son of our great-grandfather William, and was 
"John Davidson (the third)" mentioned by Hugh 

43 



Davidson in ^The Davidson Family of the Duck 
River Valley," hereinbefore referred to. It is stated 
in Wheeler's History, 3, 239, that Nancy Brevard 
married John Davidson and both were killed by In- 
dians near the head of the Catawba. I have often 
heard of this event; it occurred near the present 
town of Old Fort, and the stream upon which the 
town is situated and in which I have been told the 
bodies of the victims were found, was for a long 
time known as '^Davidson's Mill Creek," now simply 
"Mill Creek." This tragedy must have occurred be- 
fore, or early in the Revolution ; that John was prob- 
ably a young man — about the same age of General 
Davidson. I do not know where to place him, unless 
as a son of our great-grandfather John or of Rowan 
George. It may be some of the Davidsons or Bre- 
vards, in Mecklenburg, can give more information on 
this subject. 

John Davidson's wife was a widow, a Mrs. Mor- 
rison, of whose ancestry I know nothing — and the 
children of this marriage were: William, our great- 
grandfather, and his twin brother Samuel, George, 
Thomas, John ("One-eyed"), Rachel, Betty and 
Peggy ; Rachel married John Alexander ; Betty mar- 
ried Ephraim McLean, and settled on the Cumber- 
land River near Nashville, Tenn., the locality still 
being known as "McLean's Bend." Their loyal grand- 
son, W. W. McLean, Esq., of Fosterville, Tenn., has 
made a long journey to be with us today. We warm- 
ly welcome him to the home of our fathers. Peggy 
married James Smith ; they emigrated to Middle Ten- 
nessee soon after the close of the Revolution and left, 
as I am told, descendants. George Davidson, son of 
John, also emigrated early in life to Tennessee, set- 
tled in the neighborhood of Shelbyville, and left des- 
cendants. Thomas settled in South Carolina; many 
of his descendants yet reside in that State, and many 

U 



others in Florida, Alabama, Texas and other South- 
western States. There is some confusion with re- 
spect to John. It has been said he was the John 
Davidson who was killed by the Indians, on Mill 
Creek, near Old Fort; and again, that he emigrated 
to Tennessee and settled near Columbia. There is 
evidence to support both statements. 

Samuel was killed by Indians, as stated to you to- 
day by Doctor Sondley. His infant daughter, and 
so far as my information goes, his only child — and 
who escaped from the Indians and was carried by her 
mother to Old Fort, was named Ruth. She married 
James Wilson ; they emigrated about the close of the 
eighteenth century to Tennessee and settled in what 
is now Obion County. They left numerous descend- 
ants, among them being some of the wealthiest and 
most highly respected of that country. Three of 
Ruth's daughters married respectively, Joseph, 
Charles and Samuel P. Carson, sons of Col. John 
Carson, of then Burke, now McDowell County. This 
Samuel P. Carson represented for many years this 
Congressional District in the Congress of the United 
States, and was the first Secretary of State for the 
Republic of Texas. 

It was in a duel with him that Dr. Robert B. 
Vance, who preceded him as Representative in Con- 
gress, fell, in 1827. 

William Davidson, son of John (of Rowan), our 
great-grandfather, married Margaret McConnell, and 
of that marriage there were the following children : 
John, Hugh, George, William Mitchell, Samuel ; 
Mary, married Daniel Smith (2d), Betty married 
Thomas Alexander ; Sallie, married Joshua Williams 
and Ruth married General Samuel Williams ; of 
these Rachel, William Mitchell and Samuel remained 
in North Carolina ; the others in early life removed 
to and settled in Tennessee, in the vicinity of Nash- 

45 



ville, Shelbyville and Columbia, where many of their 
descendants yet reside. This William Davidson, 
known in later life as Maj. Davidson, was 
active and prominent in the Kevolutionary War, 
and subsequently. He was a captain in the military 
organization of Iredell county, and a member of its 
"Committee of Safety and Independence;" was lieu- 
tenant in Capt. Houston's company — mounted — 
which participated in the battles of Ramseur's Mill, 
Enoree, and in the military campaigns in N. C. 
1780-1781, when Cornwallis invaded the State. It is 
probable he was in the battle of King's Mountain. 
Soon after the close of the war he removed from 
"The Glades," his home on the Catawba, not far 
from the present village of Old Fort, McDowell 
county, to the Swannanoa River, where he resided un- 
til his death, with the exception of two or three 
years, when his residence was at the south side of 
the Swannanoa, at the place long known as the 
"Gum Spring," a short distance west of the present 
village of Biltmore. There, at his house, the County 
of Buncombe was organized, April 16, 1792, near 
Asheville — supposed then to be in Rutherford coun- 
ty, which county he represented in the General As- 
sembly of 1790-1791, and was active in securing the 
passage of the Act creating the County of Buncombe, 
and that county was organized at his house on the 
16th of April, 1792. He died at his home on Swan- 
nanoa on the 16th day of May, 1814, in 78th year 
of his age; his wife died November 13, 1806, in her 
58th year. In July, 1902, the Daughters of the Revo- 
lution erected a monument at his grave in commem- 
oration of his life and services. By mistake the date 
of his death upon the monument is stated as 1810. 
The error should be corrected. These, in substance, 
are the facts I have been able to collect with respect 

46 



to the early history of our branch of the North Caro- 
lina Davidsons. 

The Ben Davidson mentioned in the grant was 
doubtless the same Ben who came across the moun- 
tains shortly after the close of the Revolution, and 
settled in the French Broad Valley on one of its 
tributaries, which to this day is known as David- 
son's River. I am inclined to think he was a des- 
cendant of George (of Anson), or of Robert. 

The people of North Carolina have not been un- 
mindful of the Davidson name; there is Davidson 
county, Davidson River, Davidson College, the town 
or village of Davidson, Davidson street in Asheville, 
and I think one in Charlotte — and a monument to 
General Davidson on the Guilford battleground, near 
Greensboro — and the State of Tennessee, North Car- 
olina's political daughter, named, in honor of our 
kinsman. General William Davidson, who fell at 
Cowan's Ford, the county, in which is their capital 
city, Davidson. "The past at least is secure." 

Let me suggest that each of us give some atten- 
tion to the collection and preservation of souvenirs 
and mementoes of the early times. In many fami- 
lies there are ancient deeds, letters, diaries, pictures, 
pieces of furniture, articles of clothing, etc., full of 
interest as illustrating the habits and customs of our 
ancestors — many of them having peculiar personal 
association. 

I have here (exhibiting it) a stone that has rather 
a romantic history. For a while it was thought to 
be a whetstone, but a more careful examination 
shows it to be a "pelter," an instrument quite com- 
mon among hunters, who used it on their hunting 
expeditions, to enable them to separate the skins 
from the flesh of their game without injuring the 
skins, peltries being in those times a most important 
source of revenue. Some twenty-five or thirty 

47 • 



years ago, Mack Gudger was plowing in his field near 
the spot where stood the cabin of our great uncle, 
Samuel Davidson, and where he was killed by In- 
dians as described by Doctor Sondley, and found this 
stone. You will observe that on one side is carved 
in rude letters and figures, "D. S. 1775," and on 
the other side the letters ''S. D." These are the in- 
itials of Daniel Smith and Samuel Davidson. Smith 
married Mary Davidson, a niece of Samuel, and he 
and Samuel were warm friends and constant com- 
panions in their frontier life. I have no doubt this 
stone was their common property; that the carving 
of letters and figures now on it was made by one of 
them, and that it was in Samuel's house at the time 
of the tragedy which ended his life. It was given 
by Mack Gudger to our cousin, Robert B. Davidson, 
Esq., of Shelbyville, Tenn., who was greatly inter- 
ested in family history, and upon his death went into 
the possession of his son, Hugh, who gave it to me 
when on a visit to him last summer, saying that he 
thought it should be in the keeping of some of the 
Buncombe Davidsons. 

Daniel Smith was a doughty frontiersman, reso- 
lute and brave. He was renowned for his skill as 
hunter, explorer and Indian fighter. He was the an- 
cestor of the Smiths, McDowells, Spears, Shufords 
and Ripleys, who have maintained honorable and 
useful prominence in the settlement and development 
of the French Broad Valley. It is a great pleasure 
to see so many of his descendants here today. I am 
told some of the family, in Asheville, have Daniel's 
celebrated gun, which was used by him during the 
Revolution and to the time of his death. I hope 
necessary precautions will be taken for the preser- 
vation of this interesting relic. 

I have here also the plaid, or "Tartan" of the 
"Clan Davidson,' which was brought to me several 

. 48 



years ago from Scotland. You will know that among 
other great virtues of our Scottish ancestors was the 
one that they never wore breeches. They covered their 
feet — when not barefoot, as was usually the case — 
with rough buskins or sandals, somewhat after the 
style of the Indian moccasin, made from the hides of 
deer and cattle, and wrapped the upper body in stout 
woolen plaids, or tartans woven by the women from 
the fleece of their own sheep, and doubtless often 
from the sheep of their "lowland'' neighbors, whose 
flocks and pastures, I am inclined to think, our fore- 
fathers were rather given to raiding between suns. 
However, as in those days there was almost constant 
state of war between the "highlanders" and "low- 
landers," those little excursions and reprisals must 
not be considered too critically. Observe the wonder: 
ful fineness of texture, the beautiful blending of col- 
ors and softness and flexibility of the entire work. 
Each clan — and there were many — had its own tar- 
tan, having distinct colors and arrangement of 
colors; and besides being an article of dress, it was 
the emblem and distinguishing mark of the clan in 
peace and war, as national flags now represent dif- 
ferent people and governments. 

I hold in my hand a book of extraordinary inter- 
est, not only to we Alexanders and Davidsons, but to 
all who are interested in the history of Buncombe 
county, and especially to those who are descended 
from the men who settled, organized and developed 
the county. It is the original record of the County 
Court of Buncombe, and contains the proceedings of 
the organization of the county. Permit me to read 
one or two paragraphs from this ancient record, 
which allude to our families, and are pertinent to 
this occasion: 

"North Carolina — Buncombe County. 
"April 16, 1792. 

49 



i-l 



^'Agreeably to a Commission to us directed. The- 
County Court of said County was begun, opened and 
held at the house of Col. William Davidson, Esq. 

^Tresent: James Davidson, David Vance, Wil- 
liam Whitson, William Davidson, James Alexander, 
James Brittain, Phillip Hoodenpile." 

"Silence being commanded and proclamation be- oi:; 
ing made, the Court was opened in due and solemn ^J 
form of law by John Patton, specially appointed for 59 
that purpose.'' "^ 

The Court then proceeded to eletcion of officers h 
and the drawing of jurors, and among the names of 2 
officers chosen and jurors drawn you will recognize -^ 
many names now borne by their descendants who yet ^ 
dwell in the lands "their fathers gave unto them." 3 

It is interesting to note in the subsequent pro- .^ 
ceedings of this court the rapid growth in the popu- '^ 
lation and development of the country, and the temp- 
tation to make further extracts is very great, but the 
purpose of this occasion being only to direct the at- 
tention of my kinsmen to facts connected with the *- 
lives of their forefathers, I shall leave its later his- 
tory to more competent hands. Let me, however, 
give two further quaint extracts which may illustrate 
the simple and grave manners of the men and women 
of those times : 

"Minutes of July Court, 1792. 

"A bill of divorce from Ruth Edwards to her hus- 
band John Edwards was proved in open Court by 
Philip Hoodenpile, Esq., a subscribing witness there- 
fore ordered to be registered." 

While this homely method of untying the incon- 
venient matrimonial knot does not begin to compare 
with the modern solemn performances to accomplish 
the same end, it has the merit of being far more hon- 
est and direct — and doubtless was as effectual. Per- 
haps the parties, in the absence of any other known 

50 



provisions of law or precedents, recalled the old 
Mosaic statute, that when a man desires to get rid 
of an undesirable wife, "let him write her a bill of 
divorcement, and give it in her hand and send her 
out of his house." 

"Minutes of October Court, 1793. Ordered by the 
Court that Thomas Hopper upon his own motiouy 
have a certificate from the clerk, certifying that his 
right ear was bit off by Philip Williams in a fight 
between said Hopper and Williams. Certificate is- 
sued." 

When we recall that in those days and for many 
years afterwards the punishment for certain crimes 
— perjury, forgery and perhaps some others — was by 
cutting off a portion of the ear of the offender, com- 
monly called "cropping," we can well understand 
why the "said Hopper" was so anxious that the truth 
of his misfortune should be preserved in some au- 
thentic way. Evidently the court being plain, sensible 
and just men, saw nothing unreasonable in the mat- 
ter and gave a place on their records for the fact. 

I have looked in vain through these records for 
evidence of any criminal prosecution of the "said 
Hopper and Williams" for this fight, but as good old 
fashioned fighting, without rocks, knives, pistols or 
"brass-knucks" was one of the most common and 
popular amusements of those days, and there seems 
to have been no more serious injury than the loss of 
an ear, and doubtless the fight being a fair one, the 
conservators of law and order did not feel called 
upon to take official notice of it. Nowadays such an 
occurrence would furnish us with a sensational two- 
days' trial, and fees galore! 

Dr. Sondley's address and my contribution today 
bring the history and genealogy of the Buncombe Al- 
exanders and Davidsons down to the period of the 
settlement and organization of society in that county 

61 



— about the beginning of the nineteenth century. 
The continuance of the work must be committed to 
other hands. You have among you a number of per- 
sons who are abundantly capable of this worthy un- 
dertaking. It is not difficult. Let each branch of 
the Alexander and Davidson families now in West- 
ern North Carolina, descendants of the John Alex- 
ander and John Davidson to whom we have referred, 
and who may be accepted as the founders of those 
.families, respectively, in Buncombe and adjoining 
territory, compile genealogical and chronological 
records of births, marriages, deaths, removals and 
other matters of family interest, and report them, 
from time to time, to future reunions of the two 
families, such as we have today, or to reunions of 
separate branches, as the convenience of the circum- 
stances may dictate ; and then you will be able to col- 
lect and perpetuate the family names. We owe this 
much to our ancestors and to our common country. 
And now, in conclusion, I want to express my 
thanks and feelings of admiration to our Swannanoa 
kinsmen for their hospitable and gracious entertain- 
ment arranged for us today; and I make a sugges- 
tion, which I am sure will meet with the unanimous^ 
and enthusiastic approval of this meeting: Let us 
adjourn to the groaning tables I see under those 
noble trees, and assail with family pride and appetite 
those "heaps of good things" which the kind hearts 
and fair hands of our kinswomen have prepared for 
us. The Alexanders and Davidsons have ever been 
renowned as good feeders. Dugald Dalgetty should 
be our patron saint. 



52 
Carolina State Library 

Raleigh 



The quartette then gave, "Blest be the Tie That 
Binds.'' 

After the benediction by Rev. Clarence Reynolds, 
of Oakland Heights Presbyterian church, an adjourn- 
ment was taken for dinner and the opportunity was 
presented to those who desired to visit the old home- 
steads and cemeteries. 

Just prior to adjournment, Mr. Pless, of Marion, 
N. C, suggested the importance of taking some steps 
to perpetuate the objects of the reunion, and moved 
the appointment of a committee to devise plans and 
arrange for further meetings, etc., etc. Dr. F. A. 
Sondley, Hon. Theo. F. Davidson and Mr. Charles H. 
Alexander were appointed on that committee. 

Following the ajournment a registration of those 
members and representatives of the two families was 
made and a grouping of the connection as a whole 
and the arranging into smaller numbers and individ- 
uals, for photographing, C. F. Ray, of Asheville, be- 
ing on the grounds with cameras, large and small, 
suitable for such work. The registration showed be- 
tween four and five hundred members of the two 
families actually present. Singularly enough, every 
one taking an active part in the program, with two 
exceptions — Rev. Clarence Reynolds and one of the 
quartette — ^were connected with one or the other fam- 
ilies in some way. 

There were representatives of six generations in 
attendance and four generations upon the grounds. 

To the excellence and good taste exhibited in the 
arrangements which contributed so greatly to the en- 
joyment of a most delightful occasion, the large meet- 
ing was indebted to the hospitality and forethought 
of the Swannanoa Alexanders and Davidsons. 



63 



GR 929.2 A374S2 



Sondley, F. A. (Foster Alexander), 1857- 
Alexander-Davidson reunion, Swannanoa, N 



3 3091 00322 4375 




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