Robert & Ann Davie

Robert Davie

Robert Davie was b: 07 Oct 1839 in Dalmuir, Dunbartonshire, Scotland to parents John and Agnes Davie and learnt to farm in his youth; He came to Port Chalmers in the troop ship "Peter Denny" in 1865 and spent a few months in the Taieri. In 1866 he went to Oamaru and spent 9 years  in contract cropping. In 1874 he came to the Timaru district and did some cropping on the Levels, In 1876 he bought 376 acres at Washdyke and called his farm "Dalmuir".  He mar: 28 Jan 1879 to Ann Drummond Hunter nee Cousin (b: 1843 in Dunfermline, Fifeshire, Scotland - her father: Peter Cousin; she d: 21 Aug 1902 in Timaru) d: 22 Nov 1927 in Timaru)

Timaru Herald,  30 Oct 1874; TIMARU AGRICULTURAL & PASTORAL ASSOCIATION'S SHOW. The circumstances under which the show held on Wednesday last, took place under the auspices of the Timaru Agricultural and Pastoral Association, were of such a favorable description, that it may justly be pronounced the most successful yet held here. Robert Davie competed

Timaru Herald,  5 Nov 1878: HORSES. In draught horses a certificate of merit will be awarded to the exhibitor gaining the highest number of points.

Timaru Herald, , 3 Nov 1881: HORSES.  - The Association offers a prize, value £10 10s, to tho exhibitor gaining the highest number of points in classes of draught horses, and a similar one in other horses.

Timaru Herald, 18 Mar 1893; FOB SALE BY TeNDER.  GRAND FARM NEAR MILFORD, TEMUKA. THE Undersigned are instructed by the Trustees of the late B. H. Rhodes. Esq to invite tenders for the purchase of part R.S 2743, containing 293 acres, more or less, at present in the ocoupation of Mr Robert Davie, whose tenancy expires on the 1st June next. The land is of excellent quality, grows heavy crops, and is also well adapted for Stock. Tenders are to be sent in not later than 4th April next. The highest or any tender will not necesssarily be accepted. For further particulars apply to MILES & CO., Id., Timaru.

Timaru Herald,  6 May 1893: Attention is drawn to an important sale of Clydesdale and trotting horses to be held at Temuka yards on Tuesday next, by the Canterbury Farmers Co operative Association, on account of that well known and successful breeder of Clydesdale and trotting horsey Mr Robert Davie,  Dalmuir Farm, Washdyke.

Timaru Herald,  11 October 1900: VISIT TO A STUD FARM. (Contributed.) Having a few hours to spare thiss week, I visited Mr Robert Davie's farm at Washdyke for the purpose of looking at his horses, as he has long since been recognised as one of the largest and most successful breeders of draught stock in the district in fact he might truly be called the father of Clydesdale breeders in South Canterbury. On arrival at the homestead, I found him busily engaged in farming operations, but on stating the object of my visit he courteously consented to accompany me on a tour of inspection. Mr Davie's name has been familiar among breeders of Clydesdales for thirty years or more, he having devoted the greater part of the time he has been in the colony to the improvement of the draught horse. That he has well succeeded is amply borne out by results, and he now ranks as one of the foremost judges and breeders of Clydesdales m the colony. His success as a breeder can to a great extent be attributed to the wise selection he originally made in the class of mares he made in laying the foundation of a stud. Prominent among the mares was Bonny Maggie, whose name must forever be connected with Mr Davie's success. She was purchased by him as a two-year-old, which shoes at once that his ideas of what a brood mare should be, were correct. It was through her that his name as a breeder of draught stock was destined to become famous owing to the fine class of animals she left, and as a brood mare, she stood unrivalled in the district. So much are her descendants thought of and valued that very high prices can always be obtained for mares possessing any of this strain, and no inducement that could be offered would be made Mr Davie to part with that strain. He still possesses descendants in a direct line from his favourite mare. Mr Davie's name as a breeder and owner of first class stallions is also well known. About the first stallion ownod by him was Prince Imperial, well known to early settlers and highly appreciated for the good all round stock which he left. Next came a son of Bonny Maggie's, which unfortunately died at an early age. It was not until Bonny Maggie was mated with Young Vanquisher that Mr Davie could claim to be considered a breeder of note. The result of this mating was that good horse Time o' Day, who gained a name all over the colony for the high quality of stock which he left, and some breeders preferred this sire rather than Young Vanquisher, who was undoubtedly as fine a class of Clydesdale as was ever imported into New Zealand. Mr Davie after Time o' Day's successful career at the stud, sold him for 500 gns to Messrs Finlayson Bros., of Oamaru. Surprise, a full brother to Time o' Day, was sold in Victoria, and Luck's All, another good one from Mr Davie's farm, was also sold in Victoria. In turn Davie bred the Marquis of Salisbury, a grand son of Bonny Maggie's, by Lord Salisbury, and he was champion horse in his day in South Canterbusy. After a successful career at Mr Davie's farm he was sold at a very high figure to go to North Canterbury. A fine class of brood mare was also bred on the farm, and no expense is spared by Mr Davie in securing the services of sires most suitable for mating. He does not adopt the methods of a great number of modern breeders, who consider only the first cost. He believes in changing the blood as often of possible, and with this object in view the mares are annually sent to sires in different parts of the colony if he favonrs none that are available in his own district. This means considerable expense, railway charges are high (the Minister in making reductions lately would have assisted very materially towards horse breeding had he extended the concessions to apply to men in Mr Davie's position by allowing stud stock going a distance to travel at the same rates as horses attending race meetings) besides there is always a certain risk attached to sending mares and foals a distance from home. But although the initial cost is heavy in the end, Mr Davie finds it the most profitable. The prices he can command for his stock fully warrant ths outlay. The selection of sires for his mares is made after mature consideration of the merits of both. Popular clamour as to the qualities of any sire has no weight with him. It is his invariable rule to use his own judgment, which is the secret of his success as a breeder. This season Mr Davie has no stallion travelling in his name, as he had the misfortune to lose Muir Lad some months ago. At present Mr Davie's stallions consist of two three-year-olds and one two-year-old colt. The three at the time of my visit were running together in a paddock adjoining the house, and on approaching them it could be seen that the three-year-olds had been working. Mr Davie is somewhat disgusted at the small amount of encouragement offered by breeders for the services of good sire, and has decided to keep his horses at home and work them, and at the same time use them at the stud. The three-year-olds are by Clydebank, and on the 'dam's side trace back to Bonny Maggie. Both through being worked are not is anything like show condition, but they give one the impression that a few weeks spell would see a material and appreciative difference m their appearance. The tallest of the two is out of a British Lioa mare, and requires age before he will furnish and develop thoroughly. He has a grand set of legs, with plenty of weight of bone, hair nicely set on and will undoubtedly improve with age, a characteristic of Mr Davie's breed. A better strain it would be impossible to obtain, and it cannot be improved upon. The other three-year-old has been working constantly all through th« winter, and was not seen at his best. He is smaller in stature than his companion, but he shows quality  at every point. He is from a Time o' Day mare, and there is no reason why he should not prove a successful sire to breed from. It can however, with confidence, be said that the two-year-old is the pick of the bunch. He is by Reformer out of a British Lion mare, possesses great quality of bone, with hair nicely set on, very proportionately built, and is a big colt for his age. He will be shown at Timaru this month, and I predict, without some outsider comes in, that there is nothing in this district capable bf wresting the first prize from him. I would go further, and taking the local parade as a criterion, say that none of the aged horses could give him points. He is a splendid animal, and Mr Davie is very proud of him and justly so. He refused an enormous sum for him a month ago, and also for his half-brother, the three-year-old. If, then, pure breeding stands for anything, these colts inherit some of the purest and most successful Clydesdale strains in the colony. Their services or sires, therefore, should be invaluable, and it is to be hoped that Mr Davie can see his way to keep them in the district. On leaving the colts we journeyed to the extreme end of Mr Davie's farm, passing on the way a team of good active sorts of farm horses driven by one of Mr Davie's sons. Further on in another paddock could be seen mares nearing the foaling and looking very fresh, considering that they had been constantly at work throughout ths year. Two of the mares are really good stamps of Clydesdalex, and brood mares all over, one being by Time o' Day, the other by Young Banker, and both in foal by Reformer. Another brood mare in an adjoining paddock is undoubtedly one of the best we have in the district for breeding, and is also the dam of the two and the tallest of the three-year-old colts mentioned. Her sire was the imported British Lion and dam Netty by Young Banker Owing to an accident some time ago this mare is kept solely for the stud. The grand quality of bone and hair she possesses, the evenness, great strength and substance, stamp her at once as being a mare of a superior type and one which it would be hard to match certainly not as a brood mare. These mares. it mny be noted, were all bred by MrDavie himself, which should be a sufficient guarantee of the purity of the strain. Two year-old fillies and colts could be seen also in this paddock. The yearlings, mostly got by Muir Lad and Reformer, all showed the same high standard of quality and soundness so apparent m the mares. If there is one trait more than another in the stock bred by Mr Davie which calls for special mention it is the perfect temper of all his horses, vice being unknown. He does all his own breaking in, and never experiences the slightest difficulty, his stock taking kindly to their work as if to the custom born, and as a consequence they become good and staunch workers. MrDavie has always been a constant exhibitor at the Timaru show, and the number of prize tickets which adorn the walls of his stables is convincing proof of the superiority of the horses bred by him. One thing Mr Davie  insists upon in sires is size and weight, which he will have if it is to be obtained, and it is a cardinal rule of his to always breed from some if not all his mares every year, independent of the marketable value of horseflesh. Taking the class of draught stock as a whole seen at Mr Davie's, they worthily represent the prestige gained by their ancestors, and more than uphold the reputation of Mr Davie as a breeder. Very little has been known of him as a breeder outside of Clydesdales till lately, and this article would not be complete without some reference to his connection with the breeding of trotting horses and with trotting horses as with Clydesdales, he owes his success to the sterling qualities of one mare bred by himself Fanny Allen by Bill Allen (imp.), the latter the property of the late Mr Kerr, of Nelson. Fanny Allen's dam was a very fast trotter, owned and driven for many years by Mr Davie's. At fours years old Fanny Allen was mated with Berlin. Previous to this she was driven by Mr Davie, who broke her in. From the time she was foaled till now she has never been known to break a trot. Her tremendous stride, great strength and propelling power stamp her as a trotter of the first water, and therefore able to produce trotters. If Mr Davie had been a sporting man no doubt she might-have been given an opportunity oi appearing on the trotting track. Unfortunately for himself he is not, and one of the best and most fashionably bred mares ever produced in the colony has until her old age, practically remained unknown. Had the mare beforoeshe went to the stud been allowed to race and won a race or two it would have enhanced the value of her progeny almost tenfold, and in this respect Mr Davie has scarcely done himself justice. He can, however, claim that as regards judgment, in breeding this class of horse he can learn nothing from those who profess to be experts, and if he has lost by not racing the mare he has assuredly made amends by the quantity and quality of stock he has bred from her. Fanny Allen's record is really unique. Being now 17 years of age, she produced her first foal at five years old, and is now carrying her thirteenth foal, and looks fresh and fit enough to produce for her owner thirteen more. She is as clean in the legs and as sound os the day she was foaled, not a eijn of blemish of any description. Th» splendid class of grand flat hard bone she possesses makes one wonder how she inherited it. Truly it must be chiefly from the dam's side, who possessed a very large strain of blood. Mr Dayie spares no expense in mating his favourite mare with the best trotting sire he can obtain. For several years he used Berlin with satisfactory results, the. union producing, such well-known trotting sires as Brazil and Honduras (who is now located in Nelson). It was left to Lexington, who came next, to make fame for his dam and also his breeder. Emerson, Texas, General Tracey, have each got representatives. Mr Davie sold two colts by Fanny Allen in Christcburch, one sired by Berlin, the other by Texas. Since then the Berlin colt, who is therefore a full brother to Lexington, has changed hands for 100 guineas. A four year-old filly is still at Mr Davie's farm, by General Tracey.and despite numerous tempting offers he has refused, to sell her, his intention being to keep her for stud purposes. In the paddock running with the mare is to be seen a powerful two-year-old colt by Emerson, also a yearling by the same sire. She was mated this year with Emerson, as it will be seen that Mr Davie has used to variety of trotting sires with success. Owing to the favourable impression created by the running of Lexington on the trotting tract, overtures have been made to Mr Davie to sell this mare, but to no purpose. He has decided not to part with her. Several other useful sorts of all classes which are essential to the working of a farm such as Mr Davie's were to be seen in different paddocks, but as the time at my disposal would not permit of any further examination, I was reluctantly compelled to draw to a close a visit of a most interesting nature, satisfied that as long as we have men of Mr Davie's stamp to rely upon for a supply of horseflesh, those interested  may rest assured that no effort or expense will be spared in an endeavour to maintain a high standard of excellence/ All that would be needed then to ensure a continuance would be prices for their stock commensurate with the cost entailed. After accepting the hospitality of Mr Davie and thanking him for showing me round his horses, I reluctantly took my departure from the farm

 Otago Witness ,  27 Aug 1902 DAVIE.— On the 21st August, at Rockystee, Caversham, Ann Drumniond, beloved wife of Robert Davie, Dalmuir Farm, Washdyke, near Timuru aged 59 years. Deeply re-gretted.

Timaru Herald,  23 Aug 1904The Canterbury Farmers' Co-operative Association report selling one of Mr Robert Davie's stud Clydesdales. the three-year-old co!t Kilmarnock, sire Reformer, dam Nettie. Mr A. W. Anderson, of Southland, is the purchaser. Mr Anderson has made an inspection of most of the studs in the colony, and as his main object was to secure a good horse irrespective of price, he at once selected the colt he has now purchased. There is no doubt that Southland breeders will have the opportunity of getting the services of a colt possessing the finest strains of the Clydesdale in the colony.

1905 On management committee of the Agricultural and Pastural Show

Press, 30 July 1906 Mr W. Taylor, Green Hill, Te Awamutu, Auckland, has purchased tho Clydesdale stallion "Glenturit," rising four years, from Mr Robert Davie, Washdyke, at a high figure. Mr Taylor has been fortunate in securing one of the best stallions in the South Island.

Timaru Herald,  4 November 1907 At Tattersall's Land Salerooms on Saturday afternoon there was a large attendance to auction. Mr Robert Davie's farm of 367 acres at Washdyke. The farm is sub divided into 10 paddocks: 110 acres in oats. 30 acres preparing for turnips: balance in English grass. The improvements consist of 7 roomed dwelling house. washhouse, dairy. 15 stalled stable, bails for 8 cows, loosebox. buggy house, pigstyes, sheep yards. etc. Bidding started at £18 per acre and at £2l the property was passed in to tbe bid of Mr. G. Sullivan of Ealing. It, is expected that the farm will be sold during the coming week.

Timaru Herald, 22 February 1908CLEARING SALE. The Canterbury Farmers' Coop:- Association report holding a clearing sale of live-stock and farm implements. on account of Mr Robert Davie, of Dalmuir Farm, Washdyke. on Thursday. There was a large attendance of buyers present. The farm being sold, all lots coming under the hamrner were sold without reserve,

Timaru Herald, 11 May 1908; The National Mortgage and Agency Company offered for sale Mr W. Hay's farm of 201 acres, situated in Page's Valley, within four miles of Timaru. The property was passed at £22 10. per acre, but was subsequently sold to Mr Robert Davie at a satisfactory price.

Timaru Herald, 7 March 1910; ACCIDENTS.  TRAP ACCIDENT. Mr Robert Davie, of Washdyke, met a trap accident when driving in to Timaru to church yesterday morning. He had a friend in the trap with him, and when halfway down the hill overlooking Caroline Bay, horse started to kick, and continueduntil it threw itsclf over. Both occupants fell out, but were seriously hurt. The horse in falling sustained a big wound on the rump which will necessitate several stitches.

Description: Badly damaged sale plan for "Auction sale of land in subdivision Glenfruin Stud Farm close to Timaru : property of Mr Robert Davie, who has instructed us to sell by public auction, on the grounds, on Thursday, 9th May, 1912, at 2.30 p.m. [by] National Mortgage & Agency Co. of N.Z. Ltd [and] [Cant]erbury Fa... (Src: South Canterbury Museum)

After having been farming in the Washdyke district for the past 46 years, Mr Robert Davie, the well-known breeder of Clydesdale horses (for which he has a Dominion reputation), has just retired, and is now living in Timaru. Though well advanced in years, Mr Davie drove his own team throughout the war period, by reason of the necessity which existed for growing wheat, and up to two years ago he followed a six-horse team. One of Mr Davie's son is a Presbyterian minister at Palmerston South, and another is a doctor. The latter served with the Forces during the war, and is now on his way to New Zealand. Mr Davie is a man who has made many staunch friends, especially among the farming community, and when he sold out to live retired in Timaru, his more intimate acquaintances, felt that they could not allow him to depart letting him know that looked upon him as one who was worthy of being honoured. Accordingly on Wednesday night they paid him a suprise visit in strong force, and asked his acceptance of a parting gift. Mr McCoy, of Rosewiil, acted as chairman, and after explaining the object of their visit called on Mr E. Cartwright of Levels, to make presentation to Mr Davie, and upon Miss O'Keefe to similarly honour Miss Davie. In complying with the request Mr Cartwright referred to the very sterling qualities of Mr Davie, whom he referred to as the veteran farmer of the district, a good agriculturalist, a noted breeder of draught stock and sheep, a splendid neighbour, upright in all his dealings, and one with whom it was a pleasure and an honour to be associated. In his departure from the district his neighbours felt that they had lost a friend whose like they would not readily see again; at the same time they recognised that he was going to a well-earned rest, and while they wished him long life and happiness in his retirement, they could assure him in the hope that it would be some satisfaction to him to know it, that his example of hard work and straight dealing would never be forgotten by them. Mr Cartwright then asked Mr Davie's acceptance of a rich and very comfortable travelling rung. Miss O'Keefe then, in a very neat speech, referred to the splendid part which Miss Davie had played in helping her father, on the farm, and to all those fine womanly qualities whichshe had displayed in a manner which had endeared her to everyone in the district. Miss O'Keefe then handed to Miss Davie a very choice toilet set, from the ladies of the district, and expressed their sincere hope that her days would be many, and her cup of happiness always full. Mr Davie, who was much affected, said that no words of his could adequately express his feelings that night. He valued their present, but it was as nothing in his estimation compared with the knowledge that he had gained their good opinion. He was a plain man, but had always endeavoured to do his duty, and it was a source of great satisfaction to him to be told by his friends that he had gained their esteem. He had spent many happy years at Washdyke, and if he made as good friends in Timaru as he had made at Washdyke, he would be quite satisfied. In conclusion Mr Davie thanked- his old friends heartily, for all their kindness to him. Mr Davie jnr. made a responsible response on behalf of Miss Davie. 

Press 18 May 1926: Presbyterian School Room. Yesterday afternoon the foundation stone of the new primary school and Bible class buildings at Chalmers Church was laid. The ceremony was performed by Messrs Robert H. Bowie and Robert Davie, two of the oldest deacons of tho Church, before a large gathering of parishioners and their friends. The new buildings provide for a primary class room for sixty children four Bible class-rooms to accommodate 25 pupils each, and a kitchen and other conveniences.

Robert died 22 Nov 1927 at Timaru aged 88Y and was bur: Timaru Cemetery, Sect; General; Row 8; Plot 457.

Their children:

John Davie (b: 20 Dec 1879; d: 1947 Havelock Nth) mar: Frances Alice Brown (d: 1939 )

ii Peter Cousin Davie b: 06 Jul 1881; d: 03 Dec 1949 in New Plymouth mar: 1925 to Janet Hogg Morrison (b: 1899; d: 23 Aug 1971 in New Plymouth)

iii Agnes Paton Davie (b: 28 Jul 1882; d: 23 May 1939 aged 56Y) mar: 1913 Andrew James Hedley (b: 12 Oct 1884; d: 15 Sep 1947 aged 62Y)

iv Robert Davie (b: 21 Aug 1883; d: 16 Jul 1970 86Y) mar: 1931 Eva Alice Smith b: 1886c; d: 28 May 1965 Timaru aged 69Y)

v Ann Maxwell Cousin Davie (b: 20 Jan 1885; (she did not marry) d: 28 Dec 1974 in Timaru aged 88Y)

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