Salem Pioneer Cemetery ~ Thomas Luther Davidson ~ part of the Marion County Pioneer Cemeteries of Oregon
Thomas Luther Davidson
BORN: 14 Nov 1833 DIED: 20 Jan 1920 BURIED: 22 Jan 1920
ETHNICITY:   OCCUPATION:  Carpenter, Farmer, Judge, Legislator
BIRTH PLACE:  Greene Co., Illinois
DEATH PLACE: Salem, Marion Co., Oregon
OSBH DC (Marion Co., 1920) #43 - T. L. Davidson - Male, widowed, b. 14 Nov. 1833 in Green Co., Illinois, d. 22 Jan 1920 in Salem, Oregon (Oregon State Hospital) at the age of 86 years, 2 months, 8 days, name of father James Davidson (b. Kentucky), name of mother Amelia (b. Kentucky), occupation farmer, interment IOOF 24 Jan 1920, undertaker W. T. Rigdon, informant, Oregon State Hospital records; Rigdon - funeral orderd by Thos. L. Davidson; Marriage - "Thomas L. Davidson & Mary S. Meslon, m 6 July 1869 at the M. E. Church in Salem, C. C. Stratton, M. G. Wit: Wm. Waldo & J. A. Melson #1158 pg 446"; 1870 Census - Mary S. Davidson, age 19, b. Missouri, is enumerated with her husband, T. L. Davidson, age 36, farmer, b. Illinois; BIOGRAPHICAL: "Hon. T. L. Davidson was born November 14, 1833, in Green county, Illinois, where his early boyhood was spent on his father's farm. His winters were spent in attending school until he was thirteen years of age, when, with his parents, he crossed the plains to Oregon in 1847. They reached the Willamette Valley and stopped at Salem in October of that year. Their journey was not as eventful as some, but tedious nevertheless. After coming to Oregon, Mr. Davidson entered Willamette Institute and received the best collegiate education available at that time. Mr. Davidson chose farming as his profession, settling on a fine piece of land a few miles from Salem, and in the years that followed he developed this claim into one of the best improved farms in the county. Mr. Davidson was a democrat as to politics. He received the nomination as state senator from that party. He held various official positions in connection with the state fair, helping in its organization, and was for many years a valuable member of the executive committee. He held the office of president of the Oregon Agricultural Society for many years. He served one term as Marion county judge. It may be said that in whatever capacity he was called upon to serve, he did this with much ability, fairness and endeavored to be just to all. He was a man with much natural ability and made the most of his opportunities. His strong, intelligent face always inspired confidence and Marion county was made richer for his having been an early pioneer. He was the son of James Davidson, who came to Oregon the same year, 1847, and settled near Salem, a few miles south. On July 6, 1869, Mr. Davidson was married to Miss M. S. Melson, a most estimable and beloved young woman, a fit helpmeet for such a sturdy pioneer. Mr. Davidson loved his home and took great enjoyment in the building of the beautiful home on its sightly location in the midst of a grove of fine oak trees, where it has stood for so many years and gives promise of many years service yet to come. Two sons blessed this union, Thomas Leon and Lester Melson. From: Steeves, Sarah, BOOK OF REMEMBRANCE OF MARION COUNTY, OREGON, PIONEERS 1840 - 1860, Portland, Oregon, The Berncliff Press, 1927, (Source: "Story of Oregon," by Julia Hawthorne, Published in Oregon Statesman, 1894.), pg 149 "JUDGE THOMAS LUTHER DAVIDSON, agriculturist and ex-Judge of Marion county, was born October 14, 1833, in Greene county, Illinois. His parents, James and Amelia (Ament) Davidson, who were both natives of Kentucky, where they were married, came to Oregon in 1847. Early in life James Davidson had learned the carpenters' and joiner's trade and for many years was thus engaged. During that time he was one of the most efficient interior finishers in his community. After a seven years' residence in Tennessee they removed to Illinois, where they lived a short time before going to Burlington, Iowa. Here he followed his trade and also purchased considerable property, which he sold for ten thousand dollars when he removed to Oregon, and which is now said to be worth about a hundred thousand dollars. The trip across the plains was fraught with the many dangers which all of the early pioneers experienced and, although their train consisted of thirteen yoke of oxen, they encountered many hardships. Upon their arrival in this state Mr. Davidson took up a donation land claim of six hundred and forty acres one-eighth of a mile from the present city limits of Salem. Judge Davidson is the owner of part of this property, being one of the two heirs to his father's estate. His sister Francis Louisa is deceased. Mr. Davidson invested heavily in real estate in Salem and in addition to following his trade and engaging to some extent in agricultural pursuits was also very active in the political circles of the community. He was elected to the state legislature, of which body he was a prominent member for one term. His death occurred in 1871 [Note: this is incorrect, actually 1876], when he was eighty-five years of age, and his wife passed away two years later, at the age of eighty years. Of their nine children only two survive. Thomas Luther Davidson received his early education in Iowa and after his removal to Oregon with his parents again entered school. At the same time he gave much of his time and attention to assisting his father on the home farm and from the experience then gained subsequently became a capable agriculturist. At the time of his father's death he inherited three hundred and twenty acres of land and upon this property he has since made his home, although he has disposed of all but seventy acres. His entire life has been devoted to agricultural pursuits except during his one term of judgeship when it was necessary for him to divide his energies between the farm and the courtroom. Because of his intuitive sense of justice he ably discharged his duties as judge and during his term of office he did much to establish he integrity of the record of the court. In 1868 Judge Davidson was married to Miss Mary Susan Melson, a daughter of S.D. and Julia (Jones) Melson. To Judge and Mrs. Davidson three children have been born. Julia Loretta, the eldest, died at the age of five years. Thomas L., whose birth occurred on the 14th of July, 1882, is married and has two children. He is residing on the home place and is active in its cultivation. Lester Melson, the youngest, passed away at the age of eleven years. In politics Judge Davidson is a democrat, his political allegiance being accorded that party because after an intelligent study of the platforms of the various political parties of the country he decided that the policies set forth by the democracy prove most efficient in promoting those measures which tend to establish good government. He has been prominent in the activities of his party and has frequently been elected to office. For five years he was a member of the school board and has been elected to the office of road supervisor. He has attained high rank in Masonry, being identified with the Mystic Shrine. He belongs to the Benevolent Protective Order of Elks and the State Grange. He holds membership in the Methodist church, in whose circles Mrs. Davidson was very active until her death, which occurred on the 30th of July, 1902, when she was fifty-one years of age. Judge Davidson's active and honorable life may well serve as an example to the younger generation, who find in him the salient characteristics necessary for success - integrity, industry, energy and fidelity." Gaston, Joseph; THE CENTENNIAL HISTORY OF OREGON, 1811-1912, Chicago: S.J.Clarke Publishing Company, 1912, Volume III, pp 966-969
T. L. DAVIDSON PASSES AWAY. Pioneer Who Lived for 73 Years in Same House Succumbs to Illness. Hon. T. L. Davidson, well known pioneer of the city, died at the home of his son, T. L. Davidson Jr., in Morningside at 8 o'clock last night. He had lived for the past 73 years in the same house. He was born in Green county, Illinois, in 1834 and crossed the plains to Oregon in 1847, settling in Salem, where he had since lived. During his long residence here he had been interested in all forward and civic movements of the city and county. He was a former school director and he was keenly interested in politics. He was a member of the Methodist church, Mason, and an Elk. His wife died in this city about 20 years ago. He is survived by one son, T. L. Davidson, Jr., and by two grandchildren, Lester and Leone. Judge Davidson, by which title he was familiarly known by old timers in Salem, had not been active for a number of years. He had been an invalid for a long time. The funeral announcements will be made later. Oregon Statesman 23 Jan 1920. Davidson Funeral Today. The funeral of the late T. L. Davidson, who died at his home Thursday evening will be held this afternoon at 2 o'clock from the Rigdon chapel. Rev. T. S. Anderson of the First Presbyterian church and the Elks will be in charge of the services. Burial will be in the Odd Fellows cemetery. Oregon Statesman 24 Jan 1920 6:5.
Unmarked grave (He did, however, erect a monument for his wife, Mary Susan Davidson, who died in 1902)
OSBH DC (Marion Co., 1920) #43 
Rigdon Vol 8 #45 
Marion Co. Oregon Marriage Records 1849-71, Vol I, pg 76
1870 Oregon Census (Marion Co., South Salem Pct., FA #772) 
Steeves, BOOK OF REMEMBRANCE, pg 148 
OS 23 Jan 1920 OS 24 Jan 1920 6:5 
Gaston, Joseph; THE CENTENNIAL HISTORY OF OREGON, 1811-1912, Chicago: S. J. Clarke Publishing Company, 1912, Volume III, pp 966-969