Ithamar Davison, Hendricks Township.
Ithamar Davison, the present active and efficient
member of the Board of Commissioners of Shelby Co., is among the old settlers of this county, and claims a birthright
in Addison Township, where he was born on the 25th of November, 1826. His parents, James and Martha (Libby)
Davison, settled in the county in 1821, and experienced the hardships of an early settler's life. The
subject of this sketch remained at home till the year 1850, working on the farm, except a short time in 1847, when
he enlisted as a volunteer in the Mexican war, but soon afterward met with an accident that required him to remain
at home. In the spring of 1850, he started for California by the overland route, the company he went with
being fitted out at Ottumwa, Iowa. Four months and twenty days were consumed in making the journey, the party
remaining in Salt Lake some ten days receiving every kindness at the hands of Brigham Young and other while
there. They arrived at Placerville on the 20th of August, in a good, healthy condition. Mr. Davison immediately
went into the mines, with a Mr. Marshall, but, after about a month, the snow began to fall, which drove
them in the valley. Their mines did not pan out well. He remained in and about El Dorado Co. until
1856, some of the time running a hotel. In the month of May of that year, he left by steamer for New York,
via Panama, arriving home about the 20th of June, in time for the Cincinnati Democratic Convention. He soon after
went to Iowa, remaining until spring, and then left again for California, going by water. After reaching
there, he went into the mines fifteen miles east of Sacramento, on the American River, and remained three months,
when he received an appointment as Superintendent of Farming on the Klamath Indian Reservation, where he remained
till 1859. He then took a voyage to South America, returning, however, to the Reservation after a short absence
of a few months. That winter there was a big flood, which washed the lands so badly as to cause a changed
of Reservation to Smith River Valley, forty miles away. Here Mr. Davison went and remained until 1866, when
he returned home. In 1864, while in California, he was commissioned as Major of the State Militia; he spent
most of 1866 and 1867 in Washington City, attending to official business. He was present at the New York Democratic
Convention of 1868, which nominated Seymour. During the winter of 1868, he took a trip to Havana, Cuba, for his
health, returning on the same boat, his health much improved. He went home in April, 1868, and spent that
summer with his father in Brandywine Township.
On the 30th of December, 1869, Mr. Davison was married
to Mrs. Cecilia Peutzer, daughter of John M. and Hannah Dodds, and moved on the farm where he now
resides. He has since been identified with the interests of Shelby Co. In 1874, he was elected County Commissioner;
was re-elected in 1876; and still holds the position, which he has filled to the complete satisfaction of the whole
county. Mr. Davison's mother died in 1854; his father in 1877; they were both members of the Protestant Methodist
Church; he was a native of Tennessee, she of Virginia. Mrs. Davison is a lady well qualified to fulfill the
duties of a wife; her father, John M. Dodds, was a native of Pennsylvania, and her mother of Virginia.
Mr. and Mrs. Davison are at present living on a fine farm of over 300 acres, lying about five miles from Shelbyville,
and on the Shelbyville & Marietta Turnpike. It is especially adapted to grain and stock raising.
Mr. Davison may well look back over his eventful life,
now in the autumn of his years, and think with pleasure of all he has passed through, and that now he can settled
down to a well-deserved rest, surrounded by all the comforts of civilized life, and having the popularity which
is due him for his able performance of whatever duties the office which he has so well filled may have imposed
Atlas of Shelby Co., Indiana, Chicago: J.H. Beers & Co, 1880, pg 56.
Contributed by Phyllis Miller Fleming