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Thaddeus Davids
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Birth: Nov. 16, 1810
Westchester County
New York, USA
Death: Jul. 22, 1894
New Rochelle
Westchester County
New York, USA

Thaddeus Davids founded "Thaddeus Davids Ink" which at one time was the largest ink factory in the world. He had homes in New Rochelle,NY and Virginia, also had a beautiful home where he spent his winters, in Green Cove Springs, Florida, where he was also the mayor for a period of time.


Thaddeus Davids died at his residence on Pelham Road on Tuesday. A period of six years of suffering and helplessness was closed and a wonderful career brought to an end.
The Davids family has been prominent in Westchester county. One of his ancestors "Farmer Bill" Davids, who entertained the captors of Major Andre the night before his capture.
His mother was a descendant of Thaddeus Sarles, who came with Kosciusko from Poland.
William Davids, father of Thaddeus, married Amy Sarles. Thaddeus was born in New Bedford, New York. When he was thirteen years of age, the old homestead was sold and the family went to New York City to live. Here he entered the employ of Raven, an Englishman, who was an ink manufacturer.
They lived in a cottage on the present site of Essex market. When Thaddeus was eighteen, his employer died, leaving the business to him.
Although he was a minor in years he was mature in mental qualities and in appearance. His minority compelled him to do business in his father's name and failing to receive pay for a government contract, he gave up business and went to sea. When he returned he entered the ink business again and prospered.
In 1836 he decided to buy a country place. He drove to New Rochelle with horse and wagon and negotiated for the Rogers place, a considerable tract of land on Pelham Road, and decided to buy it. But when he returned to the city he found that his partner had sold the business and ruined him. Instead of being wealthy he was $700 in debt.
He began again as a journeyman. In 1840 he entered business again for himself at 112 John Street.
In 1843 he bought the Crystal Lake property now owned by the John Stephenson estate. In the old mill which was situate there, he conducted the manufacture of sealing wax, wafers and ink. In 1847 he bought the Echo Avenue place which is now owned by Mr. Sutton. He built the docks now owned by the New Rochelle Coal & Lumber company and started his son in the coal business there.
He purchased Fox Island, since known as Davids Island. This he cultivated. At one time he had a herd of Jersey cattle on the island. In 1861 the government bought the island for a recruiting post and has since used it for that purpose.
He bought the Samuel Bowne property with others and cut it up into house lots. This property was bounded by Echo avenue, Main street, Cedar road, the rear of Church street lots. He was interested in the Chatsworth property at Larchmont. Until recently the railroad station there was known as "Chatsworth."
Few men have been more active in municipal affairs. For several years he was supervisor of the town. Dr. Albert Smith, first president of the board of education as an article written by Thomas Towndrow for this paper a few weeks ago showed so ably he was the means of making great improvements in the schools.
In 1883 he suffered financial reverses through no fault of his own and since then has been incapacitated for work by ill health. The firm was reorganized as a stock company and the great business he had built up was continued under the management of his son and junior partner, David F. Davids who is still in charge.
Mr. Davids spent his winters in Florida in an attempt to get relief from his enemy, gout. For the past six years he has been confined to his room, losing all control of his lower limbs. His mental faculties remained unimpaired to the last. His last words were significant after his life record is known. They were "Home, Sweet Home."
He was thrice married. His first wife, Jane M. Reynolds, bore him four sons, David F., Walter F., Edwin and George W. The latter is deceased.
His second wife. Mrs. Mary Heband, was the mother of seven children. John B., Essie, William L., Clinton B., Thaddeus, Louis J., and Robert.
Miss Amy Davids is the daughter of his third wife, Miss Kate Chase of Providence. All of the children, except Thaddeus and George W., are living.
Mr. Davids was a prominent Odd Fellow. He was instrumental in building the Off Fellows hall in New York.
The funeral was at his request extremely simple and unostentatious. Rev. D. F. Candey officiated. Interment at Beechwood.


One of New Rochelle's First Pioneer's Useful Life Ended


Having passed the three score and ten allotted to man and added fourteen years more to his life Mr. Thaddeus Davids, whose name is known the wide world over, peacefully breathed --------- his late residence on Pelham Road, Sunday last, after and illness of about three weeks, although he had been an invalid for several years past.

Mr. Davids was born in the town of Bedford, this county in the year 1810 and when quite young his parents removed to the Tenth Ward of New York City.

When old enough to seek a livelihood he went into the employ of David Felt, at stationer. Here he remained some time.

At the age of fourteen he was employed as assistant to an old Englishman named Kidder, who at the time, about 1824, made writing ink in a small way in New York City. About a year afterward young Davids employer became ill, and having no relatives or near friends to care for him, was nursed by Davids, to whom he left the little property he possessed at his death, which occurred soon afterward. The youth had gained knowledge and experience enough to enable him to carry on the business, and in 1825 began it for himself. He was successful for a time, but being a minor was obliged to make purchases and contracts in his father's name. This resulted in his being unable to recover $3,000 paid by the United States Government for writing ink and sealing wax furnished by him. Disappointed and chagrined he gave up the business and went to sea, visiting the West Indies, South America, and the Northwest coast. While in Columbia, South America, he became acquainted with some of the merchants of that country, receiving from them promises of order when he should venture again into business. These promises were afterward made good, and were the beginning of the large trade the present house has with the West Indies and Central America.

An incident is related from a reliable source in this connection which clearly shows how honest Mr. Davids was in all his transactions.

It appears that during the last year he furnished wax for the Government, an individual known as a go between intimated to Mr. Davids that he added an extra price to the agreed price, and suggested that this extra figure be paid to him (the go between). Mr. Davids was too honorable a man to enter into such a swindling arrangement, of which fact the officials were soon made aware, and from that time Mr. Davids never sought for a renewal of the contract to furnish the Government officials with the articles which he had been accustomed to furnish them with.

Thaddeus Davids first ink works were in William street, near where the Brooklyn Bridge crosses it. He was not suited with his location, his store being too far from the business Centre of the city, which was further down town. He moved to John street, between Cliff and Pearl streets and in 1853 to No. 56 Cliff Street. In 1856 he moved to the present quarters, where a double six-story and basement building is devoted exclusively to the business. He married when about eighteen years old, Jane M. Reynolds, of North Castle, After her death he married in 1847 and again in 1861. There were children by all three marriages. His last wife survives him.

Altogether he was the father of twelve children, ten of whom are living and there are now twenty grandchildren and seven great-grand children.

Mr. Davids came to this town in the year 1836 and purchased a small piece of property on Cedar Road within a stones throw of where he died. He then began to increase his ownership of property here and soon held a vast amount of it and at once identified himself with every public measure that he conceived was beneficial to the public interests.

In 1856 he was elected to the office of Supervisor of this town and was re-elected in 1857, 58, 59, and 64. He was also elected Justice of the Peace in 1863, 64, 65 and 66 and for twenty years held the honored office of Treasurer of the public schools of the town, for which position he received a handsome testimonial from the Board of Education for his valued services. This testimonial is now hanging in the room lately occupied by him at his late residence. He was the Trustee of the New Rochelle Savings Bank, was Village Trustees in the years 1858, 59, and 75, and President in 1859 and 1864.

A few years after his residence here he erected a factory on the property owned by him, now owned by Mrs. George W. Sutton on Echo Avenue. And here for some years he manufactured ink, sealing wax and wafers.

The place was under the supervision of Mr. William Hubsell. This existed for some few years, when it was destroyed by fire. Then the work of manufacturing seals and wafters was taken in charge by the deceased father of the editor of the PIONEER, who up to the time of his death in 1860, carried on that line of business at her property on Franklyn avenue. At Mr. Sweet's death, the business was assumed by his eldest son Joseph, who has conducted from that period up the the present day, although in the last few years the business has decreased considerably owing to the sharp competition. When the New Rochell factory was destroyed by fire Mr. Davids gave his entire attention to his New York department and soon had a most prosperous business.

In the year 1870 Mr. Davids supervised the planning and building of the present Town Hall and also contributed largely to its erection in many ways, but would not think of accepting one penny for his labors.

To Mr. Davids is largely due the credit for our present perfection and efficiency, which the public schools in our town today enjoy. Through his indefatigable zeal and perseverance can be attributed the great success of our educational facilities. While associated with it for over twenty years he labored most zealously for the welfare of them and when on his retirement from office he was presented by the Board of Education with a beautiful engrossed testimonial.

When Mr. Davids lived in his handsome residence near the water he named the street which led to it Echo avenue on account of the fine echo of any sound made at this particular point. A few years later he purchased the island in New Rochelle harbor, which he named Davids Island. When the war of the Rebellion broke out he aided largely the Union cause, and with the aid of a few sent to the front Company I, of this place. During the war the United States Government wanted an Eastern station for a hospital, and Mr. Davids cheerfully gave them at a nominal sum the island off this harbor which bears his name and which he had contemplated the erection of an county seat to equal that of the then Austrian Consul, Hugo Futsch, just opposite, and which is now Glen Island. Davids Island is now a recruiting station.

In 1853, when there was a decided opposition on the part of the old settlers, to all suggested improvements to the roads, water supply, drainage, etc. on account of anticipated increase in taxes, Mr. Davids and a few of his intimate friends who advocated improvements of the Village, became convinced that the only way in which they could be undertaken, would be by getting the place incorporated as a village, which was finally carried in 1857 by a majority of two votes.

Many of the old settlers contended that the streets and sidewalks had always been good for their father and their grandfathers before them and were therefore good enough for the, and years elapsed before the opponents experienced a change of heart and conformed to the idea that improvements might be a good thing after all, and although Mr. Davids lived to know and realize the fact that his suggestions had been successfully carried out, he was deprived by long continued sickness from taking and active part of even witnessing the progress of the work and increased prosperity of the village.

Mr. Davids was a very prominent Odd Fellow. In fact he at one time held the office of Grand Treasurer of the New York District and was much interested in the advancement of the Order, even up to within a few weeks of his death. About twenty-five years ago he was a charter member of the National Lodge of New York and did considerable to give that lodge prominence in the annals of the order.

He was also one of the builders of the Odd Fellows Hall, at Grand and Center streets, New York and on his removal to this town, started a lodge here which continued for many years until death removed most all of its members.

Mr. Davids amassed a fortune through ink, and his place on Echo Avenue was one of the attractive spots on the Sound. In 1883 reverses came to him through mistaken confidence, and the business which he had fostered went into the hand of a receiver to satisfy creditors. He gave up all property and had but his reputation left. The blow was crushing and shortly after he was taken with a stroke of paralysis, rendering him helpless.

Mr. Davids was in every sense the father of improvements in New Rochelle. No one resident has even done so much as he has for its welfare. He it was who built the first public dock we ever had, to him is due the credit of having placed the first load of blue stone on the streets of our village, while in numerous other ways he did much for the town he resided in.

In politics he was a staunch Democrat and in all his political life was found to be an honest and conscientious official. His word was always as good as his bond and to take advantage of any one was a thought that never entered his head. To those of our older residents who were personally acquainted with him and who survive him today will he ever be held in loving remembrances.

His funeral took place on Tuesday afternoon, Rev. Charles F. Canedy, Rector of Trinity Church, officiated. Mrs. Edwin Harmer rendered the musical portion of the services. Although his widow desired a quiet and unostentatious funeral there was a large attendance.

The remains were encased in a handsome casket, surrounded by and abundance of floral emblems.

The interment was made in the family plot in Beechwood Cemetery.

To the widow and relatives of the deceased is extended the sympathy of a sorrowing community.
New York Times - July 24, 1894
Thaddeus Davids
Thaddeus Davids died at his residence, the old Underhill homestead, on Pelham Road, New Rochelle, early Sunday morning. He had been a prominent man in West Chester County since the second quarter of the century and until comparatively recent years he was an active figure in commercial life in this city. The Thaddeus Davids ink is a familiar and staple article of commerce, but eleven years ago the manufacture and his control of this, and all business connected with it, finally passed out of his hands.

He was born Nov. 16, 1810, in the town of Bedford, West Chester County,N.Y. He was employed in the ink and stationary trade as early as 1824 and accumulated a large fortune early in life. He was once the owner of Davids Island, comprising eighty acres of woodland and tillable ground, lying in Long Island Sound off New Rochelle. This he leased to the United State Government, which then had a military station on Hart's Island near by, (now owned by New York City) during the civil war. The Government building a massive mortar battery there. Mr. Davids, after leaving the island established his home on Echo Bay, New Rochelle Harbor. Since 1885, he has had no business interests, and for six years he had been confined by physical disabilities to one room. But his brain was active as every and he retained his mental faculties to the end. His last illness was brief.

Mr. Davids had been thrice married, the last time, thirty-two years ago, to Miss Chase of Providence, R. I. who survives him. He had twelve children, of whom eight sons and two daughters survive.
Family links: 
  Jane Maria Reynolds Davids (1812 - 1843)*
  Mary Jane Daniels Davids (1821 - 1859)*
  Kate Chase Davids (1829 - 1896)*
  David Franklin Davids (1832 - 1905)*
  George W. Davids (1834 - 1883)*
  Walter F. Davids (1836 - 1906)*
  Edwin W. Davids (1842 - 1907)*
  Esther Davids Platt (1848 - 1931)*
  Thaddeus Davids (1851 - 1892)*
  William Lionel Davids (1853 - 1943)*
  Robert De la Montagne Davids (1858 - 1941)*
  Amy Searles Davids Law (1862 - 1898)*
*Calculated relationship
Note: s/w Kate Chase Davids
Beechwoods Cemetery
New Rochelle
Westchester County
New York, USA
Maintained by: Theresa
Originally Created by: Rich H.
Record added: May 01, 2004
Find A Grave Memorial# 8710069
Thaddeus Davids
Added by: Michael Cavanaugh
Thaddeus Davids
Added by: Theresa
Thaddeus Davids
Added by: Rich H.
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