Historic Hood River
Pimp My Ride, 19th Century Style
This business ledger provided by an HHR reader offers a wonderful glimpse into the life of Charles Davidson, father of Horatio and Ella May Davidson. We’ve seen all of them many times in these pages, but this ledger goes back to the life “Charlie” led in Ohio before he moved to Hood River to join his son’s business.
Between 1870 and 1900 Charlie Davidson had a business painting and customizing vans, er, I mean buggies, wagons, and all manner of carriages. He would have been 30 when he started this business. From the pages of this ledger we can see him doing everything from painting the meat wagon for a local butcher to pin-striping and applying gold leaf to someones surrey. He also did some repairs or upgrades, like replacing springs and tires, but 90% of his work was painting (or varnishing) the wooden vehicles of the day.
This page also memorializes his business arrangement with Frank W. Cotton. It appears Charlie Davidson did work requested by Frank Cotton using his own tools, while Cotton provided the shop and materials. I suspect Cotton manufactured the buggies Charlie was painting, but that’s not clear from the ledger. Davidson kept 60% and Cotton got 40%.