Born in Ipswich, Massachusetts, Giddings studied surveying and civil engineering. In 1835, he went to Green Bay, Michigan Territory where he surveyed roads and townships. In 1837, he settled in Sheboygan County, Wisconsin Territory, and operated sawmills and a lumber business in Sheboygan Falls, Wisconsin. Giddings served in the Wisconsin Territorial Legislature from 1840 to 1842 as a Whig. Giddings served as probate judge and then served in the first Wisconsin Constitutional Convention of 1846. In 1874, he moved to Empire, Wisconsin. Giddings ran for the United States House of Representatives in 1878 on the Greenback Party ticket and lost. He was a candidate for lieutenant governor on the Greenback ticket in 1881. Giddings died in Sheboygan Falls at his family's house in 1900.
- "Personal: David R. Giddings". Oshkosh Daily Northwestern. August 4, 1881. p. 4. Retrieved January 6, 2017 – via Newspapers.com. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
- The Convention of 1846, Milo Milton Qualife, Wisconsin Historical Society: 1919, Biographical Sketch of David Giddings, pp. 771–772.