Captain James Davidson: Board Member 1880 – 1885

Captain Davidson was born in Kelso, Scotland 1834. In 1865 he immigrated to the United States and enlisted as a second lieutenant in the 19th Maine Infantry Volunteers. In 1867 he joined the regular army as a private rising to the rank of first sergeant, after passing exams he was appointed second lieutenant. In 1869 his unit was transferred to Texas and Davidson assumed the duty of military commissioner of Red River County, where he quickly made a name for himself. Soon after the Governor nominated Davidson adjutant general of Texas with the rank of colonel. His role put him in charge of the state police. He also headed the state militia and in 1871 and gained the rank of major general. In 1872 he unsuccessfully ran for state senator. Following a dispute over finances Davidson decided to leave the United States. During his time in service there he suffered a sabre wound which caused him pain in the following years. Davidson arrived in New Plymouth in the early 1870’s and in 1874 he married Jayne Ryan and the couple had six children. He became a prominent figure in New Plymouth, serving on the Harbour Board, the Hospital Board and was the third Mayor of New Plymouth, serving two terms. 

Davidson was the chairman of the Recreation Ground Board of Trustees during the five years on the Board. His most notable action during this time was his attempt to rename the Recreation Ground, Egmont Park. He officially renamed the park but had to retract the action because it was deemed unconstitutional.

Davidson suffered a lot with depression said to be caused by his sabre wound and in 1885 following a dispute with his employer, he went home and committed suicide. 

Until now the name of James Davidson has not been mentioned in any history of the Park and it is assumed that is because of his suicide.

He was also a Captain in the local militia and was involved in the arrest of Te Whiti at Parihaka.