Copyright notice

This article is from the Dictionary of North Carolina Biography, 6 volumes, edited by William S. Powell. Copyright ©1979-1996 by the University of North Carolina Press. Used by permission of the publisher. For personal use and not for further distribution. Please submit permission requests for other use directly to the publisher.

Printer-friendly page

Davidson, William

12 Sept. 1778–16 Sept. 1857

See also: Rosedale.

A portrait of William Davidson. Image from the Internet Archive.William Davidson, congressman, was born in Charleston, S.C., but as a youth moved to Mecklenburg County, N.C., with his parents where they engaged in extensive farming. He represented Mecklenburg County in the state senate for five terms between 1813 and 1818, when he was elected as a Federalist to Congress to succeed a resigned member; he was reelected for a full term but defeated by a Democrat when he ran again. He served from 2 Dec. 1818 until 3 Mar. 1821. Returning home to Charlotte where he had moved in 1820, he served four more terms in the state senate between 1825 and 1830. While a member of the General Assembly in 1817, Davidson moved that Archibald Debow Murphey's Report on Education be published. The motion was approved, and the document proved to be very significant in making it possible for the state to establish a system of public schools.

Davidson's wife, Sarah, died in 1812, leaving four small children. He lived in Charlotte on the southwest corner of Trade and Tryon streets until the age of eighty when he was killed when thrown from his carriage by a runaway horse. He was survived by three children: William, who became a lawyer and served in the General Assembly; Harriet, who married Dr. D. T. Caldwell; and Sarah, who married a man named Blake. Davidson was buried in the Old Cemetery, Charlotte.


J. B. Alexander, The History of Mecklenburg County (1902).

Bio. Dir. Am. Cong. (1961).

Charlotte Western Democrat, 22 Sept. 1857.

John L. Cheney, Jr., ed., North Carolina Government, 1585–1974 (1975).

William H. Hoyt, ed., The Papers of Archibald D. Murphey, vol. 2 (1914).

Raleigh Register, 7 Aug. 1812.

Additional Resources:

"Davidson, William, (1778 - 1857)." Biographical Directory of the United States Congress. Washington, D.C.: The Congress. (accessed December 13, 2013).

William Davidson to Peter Ulrick, 1820. David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library. Duke University. (accessed December 13, 2013).

Caldwell and Davidson family papers. J. Murrey Atkins Library Special Collections, University of North Carolina at Charlotte. (accessed December 13, 2013).

Image Credits:

"William Davidson." Portrait. History of Mecklenburg County and the city of Charlotte : from 1740 to 1903. Charlotte, N.C. : Observer Print. House. 1903. (accessed December 13, 2013).

Origin - location: