Deacon William Davidson was born in Windham on October 15, 1761 to John Davidson and his wife, Sarah McNutt. John was a town selectman in 1760 and 1761. Following in his father's footsteps, William served as town selectman for several years: 1806, 1810, 1811, 1813, 1816, and 1817. He was also deacon in the church for several years up until 1826. He is noted as having been popular in town and as being, "pleasant and affable; kind and courteous in his bearing towards others". On December 14, 1790 he married Jane Barnet of Londonderry, who was born on June 24, 1765. The couple had eight children together between 1791 and 1808. The following is an account of some of William's general duties as town selectman in 1813. He recorded, and was paid for, each individual task.
On March 9, 1813 William was paid $1.00 for drawing up a town warrant with Lieutenant John Dinsmoor.
On March 23 William spent one day attending to town business at the house of Nancy Williams. In 1810 she received an innkeeper license from the town. The following expense for April 4th is for "taking the invoyces",
First, $1.00 for one day of regulating invoices. He was then paid $1.00 for five days for assessing taxes. He was again paid $1.00 for a day's worth of work, which consisted of "puting up the tax bills" and then returning to the town treasurer.
One of the more interesting duties of the selectman was "drawing up an account for the County poppers [paupers]. Following that there is another day of conducting town business at the home of Nancy Williams for which he was paid $1.00. Next is an expense of $0.50 "to get Capt McCleary Note Signed". Captain John McCleary served in the Revolutionary War and helped capture thirteen merchant ships as a privateersman. He marched to Saratoga against the army of General Burgoyne.
William Davidson then spent half a day getting the county papers sworn. As well as another duty related to the county papers. Both of which he was paid for $0.50; selectman seemed to have been payed about a $1.00 for work with few exceptions. Again, he later conducted more town business with Nancy Williams.
In late 1813 and early 1814 there is a change in William's duties and he is recorded as having billed the town for half a bushel of rye and half a bushel of corn.
Derek Saffie is an avid Windham historian who enjoys researching and sharing his collection with all those interested in the history of the New England town.