Harley Davidson

Hidden away in the sleepy hamlet of Netherton of Melgund, in the Angus parish of Aberlemno, lies Netherton Cottage. Surrounded by green fields, pearched on a small hill with a view across to the Angus Glens, this cottage played a very important part in the story of one half of one of the world's greatest motorcycle companies.

In the mid-nineteenth century, this cottage was home to a large and lively family - the Davidsons. The father of the family, Alexander Sandy Davidson, was a wright, and spent his days working in the now-demolished smithy next door to the cottage, making wheels for the neighbouring farms.

In those days, Angus was very much an agricultural area and there was no shortage of work for a man as skilled as Sandy Davidson, who, according to the Census of 1851 had to employ two labourers to cope with demand, but in that year, Sandy and his wife, Margaret, packed their bags and, with their six surviving children, sailed to a new life in America, leaving their cottage in the Angus countryside behind forever.

The family settled in Milwaukee. The children grew up and, one by one married and left home. The second youngest son, William C Davidson, and his wife, who was also called Margaret, had six children - two daughters and four sons.

Their youngest son, Arthur, was born thirty years after his grandparents left Scotland and he appears to have inherited his grandfather's engineering skills. Throughout his childhood, one of Arthur's best friends was William S Harley and, when the boys were 21, William designed an engine that could be used in a bicycle frame. Arthur offered to help build the frame and, as work progressed, the two friends enlisted the help of another friend, Henry, who had a shed in his back yard, and Arthur's big brother, Walter. Within a couple of years, the very first Harley Davidson motorbike made its appearance on the streets of Milwaulkee - and the rest is history.

Today, over 100 years since Harley Davidson was simply a name scratched on the door of a garden shed, Willie G Davidson, Arthur's great-nephew and Sandy Davidson's great, great grandson, is the Senior Vice Chair of Harley Davidson. The legacy of an Angus craftsman lives on in a name renowned all over the world for skill, craftsmanship and speed - qualities Sandy Davidson's wheels were no doubt just as famed for.