As mentioned in Hendricks County Circuit Court Civil Order Book Volume 99 (March 1950 - April 1951), the death of Robert Franklin Davidson on March 11, 1951 led the Hendricks County Bar to issue this memorial about him in the circuit court minutes of March 14, 1951:
"Robert Franklin Davidson, the only child of John William and Mary Davidson, was born at Ladoga, Indiana, December 22, 1872. Of Scotch ancestery [sic], his childhood days were greatly influenced by a rather rigid discipline, religion, education and labor. His father, being a storekeeper, as such calling was denominated in early times, found ample opportunity to fulfill the labor training requirements of the boy. His mother was fully capable of ministering to the early religious training of her son, which she did successfully, instilling in him a deep sense of moral integrity which served him well in the profession of his choosing. It was left largely to the boy himself, nevertheless, to pursue such educational opportunities as he could discover.
The scholastic experiences, grammar school, high school and college were not strikingly different from those of other youth of his era. It should be noted that his sense of balance inculcated during his boyhood training bore him well in his early professional training. Enter Butler University at an early age, he was not content with routine book learning. His industry and desire for a fuller life soon brought to him a deep interest in the finer arts, music, painting and literature. The vigor of his youth also brought to him the satisfaction of the participation in all college athletics, wherein he soon became proficient. This interest in athletic participation remained with him for the rest of his days. Continuously following his graduation from Butler University he financially aided countless numbers of young men, by gifts and loans to support themselves while participating in college sports.
Receiving his degree of Master of Arts from Butler University in 1894 marks one of the important milestones in a long and highly satisfactory professional career. His intellectual integrity dictated he should not consider the profession of law without some special education which he felt could not be obtained by entering a law office and reading law under the tutelage of an established attorney. He thereupon entered Indiana Law School, where he received his degree a short time later.
With this educational background, he felt himself capable of entering upon the active practice of law. He early realized that to expose himself to the opportunities of the business of law he must place himself in the channels of industry, commerce or finance where the chances of becoming "more exposed", so to speak, were more numerous. Accordingly, and with more decorum and a strong heart, he threw his lot in the path of such intellectual giants of the profession as Samuel Owen Pickens, Charles W. Moores, Smiley N. Chambers, Sr. and many others. With such courage, fortitude and ability, he soon became a partner in the then well established law firm of Chambers, Pickens and Moores. This happy and fruitful association lasted for many years.
His intellectual integrity, his legal ability and his tremendous driving power never failed him. New and greater avenues continuously opened before him. His counsel, sagacity and decorum fitted him smoothly in the office of general counsel of many large enterprises. Perhaps his pet, if it may be said that such an energetic individual has pets, was perhaps his position of General Counsel for the Indiana Bell Telephone Company, a position which he finally yielded due to advancing years, in 1942.
Throughout his active career, he found time to serve his alma mater in the capacity of University Trustee for many years. He maintained affiliation with the American Bar, Indiana State, Indianapolis and Hendricks County Bar Associations. Early in life he became affiliated with the Masonic Lodge of Indiana. He served as Master of Irvington Lodge and became a member of the Scottish Rite and Shrine. He maintained membership in the Downey Avenue Christian Church of Irvington. While not abandoning his old interests, faithful friends and associates of approximately fifty years duration, he ultimately removed to Hendricks County, where as he so often remarked - "to step out of the scene as quietly and unnoticed as possible."
Much more should be said of this interesting character. In this brief Memorium [sic] the intellectual integrity of this character, the enduring influence he has had upon this Bar, the sincerity of purpose for which he applied himself in his profession will long be remembered by those who had the good fortune to know him.
Our Beloved Brother and Friend received his Final Summons to appear before the Bar of Eternal Justice March 11, 1951. He asks and he needs no counsel. He appears pro-se, ably and gives a final accounting.
It is the result of this Memorial Committee that this Memorial be spread upon the official record of proceedings in this Court as a permanent beacon to those who follow, and to mark an illustrious career nobly done.
Frank R. Rayan
J. Gordon Gibbs
Claud D. Raber