Born: February 2, 1780, Shenandoah County, Virginia.
Died: October 21, 1857, Rockingham County, Virginia.
Buried: Cross Keys Cemetery, Rockingham County, Virginia.
Davisson was a printer in Rockingham County, Virginia. He is best known for his Kentucky Harmony (Harrisonburg, Virginia: 1816), generally considered the first shape-note tune book in the southern United States.
Composer and publisher William B. Blake said it was
a book characteristic of that period, abounding in minor tunes.
Musicologist George Pullen Jackson said Davisson’s compilations were
pioneer repositories of a sort of song that the rural South really liked.
Perhaps his best-known tune is Idumea, a minor tune very popular in Southern shape note circles, and featured in the 2003 movie Cold Mountain.
Davisson’s other works include:
If you know where to get a good picture of Davisson (head-and-shoulders, at least 200×300 pixels), would you ?