Memorable Manitobans: Watson Pogue Davidson (1871-1954)
Dairyman, land agent.
Born at South Point, Ohio on 19 February 1871, he moved to St. Paul, Minnesota by 1898 where he was a successful businessman and land developer. In 1909, he bought 70,000 acres of mainly marshland in southeastern Manitoba south of Marchand. Unlike many land developers, he did not subdivide and sell unproductive, wet farmland to unsuspecting settlers from abroad. He sold “package farms” which included 160, 320 or 640 acres, a barn with a silo, house, 10 dairy cows, and a team of horses with a wagon. He sent out advertisements and pamphlets to Europe and beyond, and attracted 70 families to homestead on his land. In 1920, Davidson built six 230-foot dairy barns where workers milked more than 1,000 Holsteins and introduced milking machines and the electric power to run them. He established The Manitoba Dairy Farms Limited where farmers could take their milk and obtain feed for their cattle. Before he died at St. Paul on 27 January 1954, he donated land to the Manitoba government, which in 1961 established the first wildlife management area in the province, named the Watson P. Davidson Wildlife Management Area.
“W. P. Davidson dies in St. Paul,” Carillon News, 5 February 1954, page 1.
Manitoba Dairy Farms Limited Collection, Archives of Manitoba.
The Dream: W. P. Davidson and the Davidson Era by Cynthia J. Faryon, La Broquerie: The Prairie Gold Publishing Company, 2008.
This page was prepared by Gordon Goldsborough.
Page revised: 23 June 2017
Back to top of page