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Historical Materials: People

Historical Materials  »  People  »  Davidson, Mrs. Herman Elvas

People

Davidson, Mrs. Herman Elvas

View related Fitz Henry Lane catalog entries (5) »

Mrs. H. E. Davidson was a close friend of Lane's and the wife of his personal physician in Gloucester. Lane made several paintings from drawings for her, including the famous Dream Painting, 1862 (inv. 74).

Mrs. H. E. Davidson was Sarah M. (Bowker) Chamberlain (1827–80), and the wife of Dr. Herman E. Davidson (1815–90).  She was born as Sally Morse Bowker, daughter of James and Izanna Bowker in Hopkinton, MA, April 29, 1827. (1)  She married John Henry Chamberlain, merchant, in 1847 when she was twenty and he was thirty. (2)  He died the following year in the Fiji Islands.  She and Dr. Herman E. Davidson were married in Boston in 1859 by Mary Mellen’s brother-in-law and Gloucester’s Universalist minister, Rev. W. R. G. Mellen. Herman was forty-four and she was thirty-two. (3)

Mrs. Davidson joined her husband in his Gloucester home, the old Sanders house, now the Sawyer Free Library, and had two daughters, Alice Bowker Davidson, born in 1860 and Edith Bowker Davidson, born in 1862. The Davidsons were relatively wealthy, owning shares of gas, steamboat, and railroad companies, a horse, a chaise, a large house with barn, an acre of land, and two-to-three thousand dollars in "cash assets.”(4)

Fitz H. Lane gave Mrs. Davidson the sketch of his Dream Painting that he made during his sojourn at the Davidson’s after his altercation with his brother-in-law, and she and her husband were left equal portions of Lane’s five-hundred-dollar legacy in his will.  

Mrs. Davidson was ill for several years before her death, during which time she and her husband traveled in Europe and around America seeking a more congenial climate for her. She died of consumption in Washington, D.C. on May 16, 1880, and was buried in Oak Grove Cemetery in Gloucester, Massachusetts. (5)

– Stephanie Buck

(1) Massachusetts Vital Records, Births, Hopkinton. US Vital Records.org

(2) Massachusetts Vital Records, Marriages, Hopkinton, Vol. 31, 27.

(3) Massachusetts Vital Records, Marriages, Boston, Vol. 128, 77.

(4) Assessor’s Valuations, Harbor Parish East Ward, 1862-64. Gloucester Archives, CC223.

(5) Gloucester Deaths, Bk. 10, 80.

Related tables: Davidson, Dr. Herman Elvas »

Citation: "People." Fitz Henry Lane Online. Cape Ann Museum. http://fitzhenrylaneonline.org/historical_material/index.php?type=People§ion=Davidson%2C+Mrs.+Herman+Elvas (accessed December 16, 2017).
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