Taken as an excerpt from a letter compiled by Robert Kenneth Davidson in 1933.
FIRST GENERATION OF DAVIDSONs John Davidson is the first ancestor whose name we know. He lived in County Down, Ireland, was married twice, and died when his youngest son was five years old. This would be about 1787. The first John Davidson was survived by his second wife, Mary Dunlap Davidson, and at least nine children. There were three sons by the first wife (we donít know her name): William, George, and Thomas. Thomas was the only one of the first wifeís children to come to America, and on one side of our family we are descended from him. By the second wife, Mary Dunlop, there were six children, Robert, John, Charles, James, Elizabeth, and Andrew, the youngest, born in 1782. On the other side of our family we are descended from Andrew. The family tradition is that this first John Davidson was a landowner in Ireland, but we do not know whether he was rich or poor, whether his reputed land holdings were large or small, a farmer of some size or only a few poor acres. He was not rich. His third son, Thomas, left home early and became a linenweaver in Belfast. in some way Mary Dunlap Davidson, his widow, and her six children found the means to pay their passage to America. As a guess, she may have sold her dower interest in her husbandís estate to the oldest son, who would naturally want to own his land free of the interest which the law gave his stepmother. These are the only hints we have as to the financial and social condition of our first known ancestor, John Davidson.