Stuart Davison (relationship chart) won't admit it, but he re-arranged his sailing vacation to meet us and show us the locations of the old E. D. Davison & Sons lumber mills, and the old family homes in and around Bridgewater. Stuart was a great guide, and it was nice to finally meet him in person as we have been corresponding since June 2004 via email.
Another item of interest from Stuart's files is an orginal copy of the form letter sent by E. D. Davison & Son's to their customers dated June 23, 1903 that announces the sale of the company to J. M. Hastings. (click here to see original). The letter begins:
"Dear Sirs:- Ever since the death of our senior member, Mr. E. D. Davison, which followed the loss of our former partners and made such a blank in our management, we find it impossible to conduct the business on the same scale as we have been doing the last 10 years. The undertaking of introducing new men was a larger task than the remaining partners feel like attempting, and we were rather prepared to entertain several offers made us for the purchase of the property. We therefore opened negotiations with Mr. J.M. Hastings, of Pittsburgh, whose very high character in lumbering and financial circles of the United States encouraged us to think he would conduct business of the firm in much the same style of honorable dealings which it has always been the policy of our seniors to maintain."
But one of the nicest things in Stuart's collection of family stuff was the compendium of family stories that that his sister Catherine gave to him for his 50th. One hundred stories - two for each year! We read several of the stories aloud to each other...
In one of the stories Catherine recalls an outing in uncle Ned Davison's (1899 - 1959) convertible when the they were kids. Somehow, Stuart and Catherine managed to grab Ned's hat off his head - (he always wore one apparently), but then the hat accidentally blew away! Ned's reaction was a brief flush of anger - promptly followed by much laughter - contagious to all.
When Dad and the rest of the Howell's who knew him, speak of Ned they always remember his great personality and generosity - just as Catherine and Stuart do - interesting that even today Ned helps us find common ground with long lost sides of the family.
I really can't think of a better gift than this.