Kate Davis Salmon

Kate Davis Salmon

Daily Colonist June 9, 1892

Birth: January 29, 1862 in New York, New York

Death: September 28, 1926 in Victoria

Kate Davis was a musician, teacher, shopkeeper, housewife, mother and briefly a wife. Following her divorce she was often called by her maiden name.

Kate was the 6th of 9 children born in New York City to Esther Hart Davis (1832–1896) and Raphael David “Ralph” Davis (1832–1909). Ralph immigrated to New York from London with his parents when he was about nine. His father, David, became a successful merchant, first in furniture and then in glass and hardware. Ralph followed his father in the family business.

In March, 1852 Ralph married Esther Hart. According to the 1880 US census, the family resided in New York City. They would be in Victoria by the end of the 1880’s. On August 24, 1970, Kate’s daughter Victoria Josephine “Josie” Davis Lancaster made an application to the British Columbia Centennial ’71 Committee for a Pioneer Medallion. She hand wrote:
“My grandparents and mother came to Victoria in 1887. My grandmother’s brother came here in the 1850’s (John J. Hart) – (not the liberal MLA)”

Kate’s father, Ralph first appeared in the City Directories in 1890. He was listed as a clerk at The Indian Bazaar. That shop was owned by bachelor John J. Hart, one of the more respected curio dealers in Victoria.

Kate was an accomplished piano player. In December, 1898 Kate played the wedding march “with great taste” at the wedding of Nellie Phillips to Charles Le Lievre. Kate was also was dubbed “the popular organist of Temple Emanuel” by the press.

The question about including an organ as part of the services at the Temple Emanuel created a multi year controversy. In November 1885, a special meeting was held at the synagogue to discuss the idea of having a choir and/or musical accompaniment at services. Funds to purchase an organ had been raised by “several young ladies.” However, due to fierce disagreement the issue was dropped. The matter was raised again in 1887 when a request was made to have an organ for an upcoming wedding. Approval was granted and the congregation set up an organ acquisition fund. However, it wasn’t until May, 1891 that restaurateur H.E. Levy purchased a small portable parlor pump organ for $92 and sold it at cost to the congregation.

In March 1891 the Victoria Daily Colonist reported that a new literary and social club had been form. The founding Vice-President of Beaconsfield Club was Miss Kate Davis. Kate’s name appears on the 1896 membership list for the Hebrew Ladies Society. She frequently donated both to Jewish and secular causes.

The Victoria Daily Colonist reported on January 31, 1892 that a “great many” of Kate’s friends gathered at her home for a surprise musical birthday party.

Kate married Maurice Salmon (1853–1947) in a lavish wedding on June 8, 1892 thus marrying into the prominent Levy family. Restaurateur H.E. Levy’s mother was Esther Solomon Levy. Her brother, Joseph Solomon married Caroline Kesner Levy. Their children Henry Louis (H.L.), Maurice and Emanuel Joseph (E.J) moved to Victoria in the 1880’s and changed their last name to Salmon.

On April 22, 1893 Kate gave birth to her daughter Victoria Josephine “Josie” Salmon (1893–1981). Kate’s marriage was short lived. On August 6, 1897 the Victoria Daily Times reported that Mrs. Kate Salmon asserted ‘ill-treatment’ by her husband and was granted a divorce in Seattle. Following her divorce Kate is most often referred to as Mrs. Kate Davis. A July 2, 1914 passenger list recorded that Kate Davis, daughter Josephine Lancaster, son-in-law Adolph and grandson Ralph travelled from Liverpool to New York City.

Although Maurice is listed in the City Directories until 1902 and lived until 1947, Kate is often listed in the City Directories and on census forms as “widowed”. There is no indication that Maurice attended the September 17, 1911 wedding of their daughter Josie to Adolph Lancaster.

The City Directories indicated that Kate lived in her parent’s home until she married. She then moved in with her husband and his brothers. Following her divorce Kate moved back to her parents’ home at 168 Yates Street. By 1913 Kate had settled in the home of her daughter and son-in-law at 1144 Oscar Street.

Between 1890 and 1898 Kate’s father, Ralph, was listed as a clerk at The Indian Bazaar on Johnson Street run by his brother-in law John J. Hart. In 1898 Ralph is shown as working in a curio shop at 49 Government Street. The 1899 City Directory listed Kate as the proprietor of that shop. In 1900 both father and daughter were listed as working at a curio shop at 83 Johnson Street.

The 1902 City Directory listed Kate as a widow and music teacher at her residence at 166 Yates Street. On March 15, 1902, The Victoria Daily Times reported that the City Council met to adopt amendments to green-light road works, and for bridge and sewer projects. Mrs. Kate Davis attended to “direct attention to the disgraceful condition” of the road in front of her houses at 166 and 168 Yates Street.

In 1904-5 Kate was listed as having a second-hand goods shop and a piano teacher at 81 Johnson Street. By 1907 Kate was listed as operating a variety store at 623 Johnson Street with her father working as a clerk. The family residence was at 923 Johnson Street.

In 1908 future son-in-law Adolph Lancaster was listed as a lodger at Kate’s residence; 923 Johnson Street address. In 1913 Kate was listed as a housekeeper and living at 1144 Oscar Street with her daughter and son-in law with whom she often travelled.

Rev S. Goldston of Vancouver officiated at Kate’s funeral.
Her estate was valued at $10,314.

Gravesite Details: Row F – Plot 21

BORN JAN. 29. 1862
DIED SEPT. 28. 1926

Esther Hart Davis (1831–1896)
Raphael Davis (1832–1909)

David Davis 1852–1853
Susan Davis 1855–
Isaac Davis 1856–1857
Maurice “Moss” R. Davis 1858–1920
Raphael David Davis Jr. 1859–1935
Esther Davis 1864–1865
Rebecca Davis 1866–
Charles Davis 1870–1943

Maurice Salmon (divorced)

Victoria Josephine “Josie” Salmon Lancaster (1893-1981)

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