Page 30 - Montana Freemason Feb 13
P. 30

Montana Freemason  February 2013                            Volume 86 Number 1

Absalem Johnston Davidson better known as                   assembly, because of severe rheumatism he was confined
      “A. J.” Davidson was                                  to bed for several weeks and was physically unable to
born in Franklin County,                                    perform his legislative duties, but each day for nineteen
Missouri, on August 13,                                     days he insisted on being carried by sretcher to
1843, the son of Samuel                                     cast his ballot. He was a member of the state capitol
M. and America A.                                           building site commission and the State Board of
(Billups) Davidson. At                                      World's Fair Managers. He was a founding member
the age of 20 he joined                                     of the Helena Cemetery Association and served on
the gold rush to Idaho,                                     the Helena Board of Trade. Davidson married Sallie
driving an ox team from                                     Davenport in 1874.
Missouri and arriving
in Alder Gulch during                                          In 1913, Brother A. J. Davidson joined a group
November 1863. He cut                                       led by Lewis Penwell and Cornelius B. Nolan (a
timber and mined until                                      former attorney general and a partner of U.S. Senator
1865 when he moved to Helena and worked for a miners'       Thomas Walsh) and purchased the Helena Independent
supply store. In 1876 he opened a wagon and saddlery        and incorporated the Independent Publishing Company. Its
business in Helena. In December 1888 he incorporated        principals included Edward Carson “E. C.” Day (a prominent
the business as A. J. Davidson and Company, with a          Helena attorney and Grand Master in 1897), and Massena
branch in Butte, managed by Napoleon B. Davidson, and       Bullard (an attorney).
minor branches in other towns. The business operated
first on Last Chance Gulch and later on National Avenue.      M.W. Brother A. J. Davidson died on a business
                                                            trip to Pocatello, Idaho, on
    He was also involved in the Empire Cattle Company,      October 24, 1909.
was a partner in Porter-Davidson, a Helena real estate
firm, and was vice president of the Merchants National
Bank. Brother Davidson was also the first president of the
Montana club.

Brother Davidson was a member of Helena Lodge
No. 3, Initiated on November 22, 1877, Passed
December 1, 1877 and Raised on December 7, 1877.
He served as Worshipful Master in 1880 and was
elected Grand Master in 1882. In 1890 he served as
Grand Commander of Knights Templar in Montana.
He was a 32nd Degree member of the Scottish Rite
and was a charter member of Algeria Shrine.

    In addition to his business interests, Davidson was     Memorial at Forestvale Cemetery
active in the Democratic Party, serving in the 1893
Legislature. In November of 1892 he was elected to
represent Lewis and Clark county in the Third legislative

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