Col. William H. Davison
Col. William H. Davison, Antrim Township, Franklin County, Pennsylvania was born November 2, 1836 and died September 8, 1875. Davison was in charge of collecting volunteers from Antrim Township, which along with the volunteers from Fulton County, comprised Co. B, 126th Pennsylvania Volunteers. Co. B was under the command of James C. Austin, Antrim Township. Davison was commissioned Captain on August 20, 1862 by Governor Andrew Curtin, when the company mustered in at Harrisburg. In February 1863 Davison was appointed the Assistant Inspector General of the Brigade on the Staff of General E. B. Tyler, at which time he detached until the muster out of the regiment. Davison fought at the battles of Fredericksburg and Chancellorsville.
He was highly spoken of by his commanding officer, Gen. E. B. Tyler who was quoted as saying in his report about the participation of his brigade in the battle of Chancellorsville, “The officers of my Staff, Captains H. C. Ranney and William H. Davison, Lieutenants Deihl and Tyler, rendered me every assistance in their power under an incessant fire.”
In 1860, William H. Davison, Gen. David Detrich, and the Rev. Dr. Edwin Emerson began a steam-powered saw mill and sash, door, and blind factory on the south side of Greencastle. One year later in 1861, James C. Austin bought out the business interests of Detrich and Emerson. Davison and Austin continued the mill and sash factory until the following year when in 1862, J. B. Crowell bought out Austin. At that time Crowell added his grain drill and hay rake business to the mill and sash company. For eight more years Crowell and Davison continued the partnership until it was dissolved in 1870. Jacob Deardorff and Crowell bought out Davison’s interest at that time. After the dissolution of the partnership with Crowell, Davison started another business in the Town Hall building on the southwest corner of Washington and Baltimore Streets. The Town Hall building burned to the ground on January 26, 2006, and the property remains void.
Davison was in ill health at the end of the Civil War and died in 1875 at the age of 39. He was married twice. Davison’s first wife was Sarah Patton and they had one child, Edward E. With his second wife, Florence Rowe, he had five children – Elizabeth, Jane Robinson, Watson Rowe, Sarah Agnes, and Nellie. Watson Rowe Davison was an attorney and became a Franklin County judge. He built the house at 501 East Baltimore Street, Greencastle, which is now known as White Hall.
The Davison collection is part of Allison-Antrim Museum’s Civil War collection, which is on exhibit in the north bay of the barn. The Davison Collection includes: his dress coat, sash, saber, canteen, and signed enlistment oath. In the glass case, to the far left, is the certificate for his commission to colonel of the National Guard of Pennsylvania, which was signed by Governor John W. Geary in 1870. This archival document joins 49 other primary documents which comprise the Dr. Thomas Brumbaugh PA Governors’ Signature Collection. The Davison Collection is a gift from William Davison Elden, Waynesboro, great-grandson of William H. Davison.
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