LUKE BABE DAVISON. The late Luke Babe Davison, for many years one of the, most prominent and influential citizens
of Wilkinsburg, was born October 29, 1819, in the old McMullen homestead, in Wilkins township, son of Thomas Davison,
who was a native of the north of Ireland and of Scotch Irish descent.
Thomas Davison received an excellent education in the old country, and in 1819 emigrated to the United States,
landing in Philadelphia, whence he proceeded to Pittsburg [sic]. He engaged in teaching, also conducting a small
general store, and became a highly respected citizen. He invested his money intelligently and soon found himself
the possessor of what was at that time esteemed a considerable fortune in land and personal property. For twenty
five years he filled the office of justice of the peace. In politics he was a Whig, and later became an ardent
supporter of the Republican party. He was an elder in the old Beulah church and an intimate friend and co worker
of its pastor, the Reverend James Graham.
Thomas Davison was twice married, his first wife being Mary Babe, who was, like himself, a native of the north
of Ireland, and the descendant of Scotch Irish ancestors. They were married before coming to this country, and
became the parents of five children, the only one who reached maturity being Luke Babe, of whom later. After the
death of his wife Mr. Davison married Rebecca Turner, who bore him the folldwing children: Mary A., died in infancy;
Rebecca J., wife of Robert Reed, of Newcastle; Mary; Margaret R., wife of John Cochran; John S., married Elizabeth
Torrance; Matilda C.; Catharine T., and Thomas K., married Alice Clark. Thomas Davison, the father of the family,
died in 1874.
Luke Babe Davison, son of Thomas and Mary (Babe) Davison, was brought up in Wilkins township and at East Liberty,
obtaining his education in the local schools and at the Western University of Pennsylvania. On completing his studies
he engaged in mercantile business in Pittsburg [sic], in partnership with his father, and when the latter retired
carried on the business by himself until 1858. In that year he moved to Wilkinsburg and there opened a general
During President Lincoln's first administration he was appointed postmaster and filled that office until 1862,
when he was elected justice of the peace, being re-elected in 1867 and 1872. In 1888, owing to impaired health,
he retired from all active labor. In politics he was a strong Republican and an active worker for the interests
of that party. While residing in East Liberty he was a member of the Presbyterian church, and on moving to Wilkinsburg
joined the old Beulah church, later becoming a charter member of the First Presbyterian church of Wilkinsburg,
of which he was always a liberal supporter and in which for many years he served as trustee.
Mr. Davison married, in 1850, Nancy J., daughter of Samuel and Elizabeth (Allison) McCosh, and the following children
were born to them: Thomas, deceased; John Milton, (married, first, Caroline A. Myler, second, Emma B. Young, by
first marriage, one daughter, Kathryn Myler); Elizabeth M.; Clara Cary, and Samuel McCosh, deceasecL
Mr. Davison died May 19, 1893, at his home in Wilkinsburg. It might truly be said of him that his conduct was always
marked by perfect uprightness in all the relations of life and that his character was one of unblemished integrity.
In all matters concerning the welfare of the community he was a prime and energetic mover. For instance, in the
spring of 1874 when Wilkinsburg was voted out of the city, Mr. Davison, in order to keep the school open until
the end of June, himself paid the whole teaching force. While a business man he influenced largely and beneficially,
by his discernment and enterprise, the commercial interests of the places in which he resided. Upon many occasions
he manifested a praiseworthy willingness to assist by friendly counsel and pecuniary aid those less fortunate than
himself. As a public officer he was without reproach, seeking only the public good, regardless of profit or popularity.
The loss of such a man to his family, his friends and the community at large, it is impossible to estimate, but
his memory is an inspiration to those who come after him.
A Century and a half of
Pittsburg and her people.
By: John Newton Boucher
The Lewis Publishing Company
Allegheny County Pennsylvania Biographies
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