By Don Krüger
The story of my Colonial American ancestors begins with Thomas Davenport who was born in 1615, probably in the county of Devon, England. Sometime in the later part of the 1630s he and his wife Mary arrived in Boston and settled in Dorchester as part of what is now referred to as “The Puritan Migration to New England (1620-1640).” These twenty years led in a migration that saw over 20,000 people, primarily in family units, leave England for a new life in New England.
The story of my post-Colonial American ancestors begins with John Davenport (1741 – abt. 1827) and his four eldest sons, Hezekiah, Thomas, John, and Humphrey. The exact path that they took through the years of the Revolutionary War is not very clear. They began as a family in the 1760s in Little Compton, RI. According to tax records from 1799-1803, and early U. S. census reports from 1790 – 1810, John Davenport, his wife, and four adult sons had removed to Pittstown, NY (near the Saratoga battlefields) after the Revolutionary War. John Davenport, Sr. and Ruth _____ ( abt. 1738 – 1830+) spent the last twenty-five years of their lives in Pittstown, NY.
Sometime in the 1810s, 1820s, and 1830s Hezekiah, John, Jr., and Humphrey Davenport removed with their families — including some grandchildren — to “Turkey Hill” near the hamlets of Varna and Etna in the Town of Dryden, NY. Thomas and his wife, Anna, came to Turkey Hill sometime in the 1830s. It appears that they had remained in Pittstown with his parents, John, Sr. and Ruth Davenport. The 1830 U. S. census for Pittstown, NY, showed a female over the age of 90 living in the Thomas Davenport household.
Alanson and John G. Davenport, two sons of Thomas and Anna Davenport, moved their young families from Pittstown to Dryden with their uncles, Hezekiah, John, Jr., and Humphrey Davenport in the 1820s. Hezekiah, Thomas, and John, Jr., hree of the four sons of John Davenport, Sr., were buried in Robertson Cemetery which is on land that borders some of the fields that the Davenports tended on Turkey Hill.
Most of the information that follows in regards to the lineage of my Colonial American ancestors was found in a Davenport genealogical abstract compiled by Bennett Davenport, M.D., of Boston, that appeared in Volume XXXIII of The New England Historical and Genealogical Register for the Year 1879, p. 25 and The Little Compton Families books. Online sources that offer further support include the Descendants of Thomas Davenport of Dorchester website, Ancestry.com and FindAGrave.com. Most of the information that follows in regards to the lineage of my post-Revolutionary War ancestors was found through online sources such as Ancestry.com, and FindAGrave.com. Many obituaries and society page newspaper items were found using the remarkable resource of FultonHistory.com — an online searchable storehouse of many upstate New York newspapers. One last online resource that concentrates on my ancestors who lived during the 1800s in and around the Southeast corner of the Town of Hector, NY is my The Cayutaville Quilt and Other Stories blog.
1. Thomas Davenport (1615 – 1685) — 9th great-grandfather
Thomas Davenport, of Dorchester, first appears on any of its records as a member of its church, Nov. 20, 1640; his wife Mary joining Mar. 8, 1644. She died Oct. 4, 1691. He was made freeman May 18, 1642, and constable 1670. He probably lived on the eastern slope of Mt. Bowdoin, near the corner of Bowdoin Street and Union Ave. He bought his house and lands of William Pigrom, Nov. 25, 1653, and of William Blake, Feb. 5, 1665. He made his will, Jul. 24, 1683, “being aged,” leaving the homestead to his youngest son John, after his widow’s death. He died Nov. 9, 1685. His inventory amounted to £332 16 8. His children were:
i. Sarah, born Dec. 28, 1643; married Samuel Jones; died at the birth of child Anna, Nov. 14, 1680.
ii. Thomas, baptized March 2, 1645. He was killed in Capt. Johnson’s company at the Narraganset Fort, Dec. 19, 1675.
iii. Mary, baptized Jan. 21, 1649, married Samuel Maxfield, son of Clement, and had John Aug, 13, 1671; Mary, 1673; Ebenezer, 1673; Mehitable, 1677; Sarah, 1680; and Samuel?, 1682.
iv. Charles, baptized Sep. 7, 1652.
v. Abigail, baptized Jul. 8, 1655.
vi. Mehitable, born Feb. 11, 1657; died Oct. I8, 1663.
vii. Jonathan Davenport, born on March 6, 1659.
viii. Ebenezer, born April 26, 1661.
ix. John, born Oct. 20, 1664.
2. Jonathan Davenport (1659 – 1729) — 8th great-grandfather
Jonathan Davenport was born in Dorchester, March 6, 1659 and died in Little Compton, R. I., Jan. 11, 1729. He was married in Dorchester, Dec. 1, 1680, to Hannah Manners or Warren, born 1660, died Jan. 14, 1729. His first child was born in Dorchester, the others in Little Compton, RI., to which place he removed. His house was but recently removed from off his homestead. His children were:
i. Thomas Davenport, born Dec. 10, 1681; married Catherine Woodworth and Mary Pitman.
ii. Jonathan, born Nov. 3, 1684; died Oct. 14, 1751 in Little Compton.
iii. Hannah, born Dec. 23, 1686; married June 13, 1710, Nathaniel House; had Nathaniel, 1712; Samuel, 1714; John, 1715; and Rebecca, 1717.
iv. Simon, born Dec. 27, 1688; died Dec. 9, 1763 at Little Compton.
v. Ebenezer, born Sep. 2, 1691; married Mary Pitman.
vi. John, born Jan. 12, 1694; married Elizabeth Taylor.
vii. Joseph, born March 25, 1696; married Elizabeth Wood.
viii. Benjamin, born Oct. 6, 1698; married Sarah Burr.
ix. Sarah, born Dec. 10, 1700.
3. Thomas Davenport (1681 – 1751) — 7th great-grandfather
Thomas Davenport was born in Dorchester, Dec.10, 1681, he died in Little Compton, Oct 14, 1751, where he had removed while yet a child. He was married in Little Compton, Jul. 20, 1704, to Catherine Woodworth, born 1673, in Scituate, Mass., died June 1, 1720, at Little Compton and was buried in Old Burying Ground; married second, July 22, 1737, Mary Pitman, in Newport. His children, all born in Little Compton, were:
i. Eliphalet born May 7, 1705; died Little Compton 1786, having married first, Hannah Phillips, born 1707, died Jan. 9, 1738; married second, Ann Devol, Mar. 3, 1740. Most of his Davenport descendants live in neighboring towns, as New Bedford, and in Savannah, GA.
ii. Mary, born Feb. 8, 1707.
iii. Ephraim, bornDec. 25, 1708; died Coventry, CT, about 1790; married Oct. 7, 1731, Mary Phillips, of Little Compton. Most of his Davenport descendants live in Massachusetts and New York.
iv. Deborah, b. Dec. 12, 1710.
v. Hannah, born Oct. 27, 1712.
vi. Oliver Davenport, born Feb. 5, 1713/14, died in Coventry, CT; married first April 9, 1741, Sarah Macomber, of Little Compton; married second, Mary Devol, also of Little Compton. Most of his Davenport descendants live in Vermont, New York state and the West.
vii. Gideon, born June 7, 1738; married Nov. 23, 1759 Phillis Gifford, of Dartmouth, MA. He died in Newport, RI, Sep. 6. 1810, and she Oct. 16, 1819. Most of his Davenport descendants lived there and in Pawtucket, RI.
viii. Susanna, born Jan. 24, 1740; died in Newport, RI.
4. Oliver Davenport (1713/14 – aft. 1763) — 6th great-grandfather
Oliver Davenport was born on Feb. 5, 1713/14 in Little Compton, Newport, RI and died in Coventry, CT. Oliver married Sarah Macomber of Little Compton on April 9, 1741. One Child from this marriage was:
John Davenport, born Nov. 21, 1741 in Little Compton, RI.
Oliver second married Mary Devol, also of Little Compton. Children from this marriage were:
ii. Freelove married Israel Bullock.
iii. Catherine, married Caleb Adams.
iv. Noah, born Aug. 11, 1758.
v. Oliver, born Sep. 1760, died Jun. 25, 1818 in Leyden, MA, at age 57, and was buried in the South Leyden Cemetery in Franklin County, MA.
vi. Benjamin, born 1763 in South Coventry, CT, died Jan. 20, 1832, at age 69, and was buried in Coventry, CT. Benjamin married Narcissa Strong in Somerset, NJ. Narcissa was born Nov. 29, 1771 in Coventry, Tolland, CT, and died Jul. 7, 1832 in Coventry, CT, at age 60, and was buried in Coventry, Tolland, CT. Narcissa Strong was a first cousin of Patriot martyr, Nathan Hale (1755-1776). Narcissa Strong’s brother, Joseph Strong (1770-1812) is one of the 3rd great-grandfathers of Princess Diana Frances Spencer (1961-1997).
5. John Davenport (1741 – 1827?) — 5th great-grandfather
John Davenport was born Nov. 21, 1741 in Little Compton, Newport, RI. He died between 1820 and 1830 in Pittstown, NY. John married Ruth _____ and children from this marriage were:
i. Sara, born May 12, 1765 in Little Compton, RI.
ii. Hezekiah, born Oct. 23, 1767 in Little Compton, RI, died Oct. 17, 1832 in Dryden, NY. and buried in Robertson Cemetery on Baker Hill Road.
iii. Thomas Davenport, born Feb. 3, 1769 in Little Compton, RI., died Sep. 10, 1847 in Dryden, NY, and buried in Robertson Cemetery on Baker Hill Road with his wife, Anna _____ (1777-Nov. 2, 1847).
iv. John, born May 7, 1770 in Little Compton, RI, died Aug. 24, 1847 in Dryden, NY. and buried in Robertson Cemetery on Baker Hill Road.
v. Humphrey, born Jan 17, 1773 in Little Compton, RI, died Mar. 26, 1859.
vi. Paul Dudley, born Sep. 19, 1774 in Little Compton, RI.
It is unclear what migration path John Davenport, Sr. and his sons took from Little Compton, RI, to Pittstown, NY, and on to Turkey Hill in Dryden, NY. John Davenport, Sr., who was born in 1741, was 35 years old at the time that the Revolutionary War began. His eldest son, Hezekiah, was born in 1767 which means he would have been only fourteen or fifteen years old in 1781 when the Revolution was winding down in New England and moving south to Yorktown.
John, Sr.’s father, Oliver Davenport (1713/14 – 1790), had removed from Little Compton to Coventry, CT and was raising a family with his second wife, Mary Devol of Little Compton, in the 1760s. It is possible that John, Sr. moved to Coventry with his father and step-mother. Benjamin Davenport, John, Sr.’s half-brother, was born in 1763 only four years before the birth of John’s own son, Hezekiah.
If John Davenport, Sr. did indeed move to Connecticut prior to the Revolutionary War, it is likely then that he would have served in one of the Connecticut Regiments. I have tracked a John Davenport who was a corporal under Captain Elisha Ely in Col. Return J. Meigs’ 6th Connecticut Regiment. He was injured in a battle at New Milford, CT in 1779.
Coincidently, another of my 5th great-grandfathers, Daniel Everts (1749-1833), was a corporal under Captain David Humphreys in Col. Return J. Meig’s 6th Connecticut Regiment. Daniel Everts settled in the Town of Hector, NY, in the years following the war and one of his fellow settlers from Salisbury, CT was Richard Ely, the brother of Captain Elisha Ely. In 1890, a little more than one hundred years following the Revolutionary War, Fred Seward Davenport, the 2nd great-grandson of John Davenport, Sr., and Clara Hurd Everts, the 1st great-granddaughter of Daniel Everts, would be married in Montour Falls, NY. Through his service in the 6th Connecticut, John Davenport, Sr. may have earned bounty land as payment for his time served. He may have sold or traded this bounty for land in Pittstown, NY.
Had John Davenport, Sr. remained in Rhode Island, it is possible that he became a member of the Rhode Island 1st or 2nd Regiment. The Rhode Island 1st was known as “The Black Regiment” because of a large representation of slaves who were permitted to enlist in the Continental Army in exchange for their freedom. The Rhode Island Regiments were combined into one regiment in 1781 when they were called to Yorktown. In 1783, the Rhode Island Regiment was disbanded at Saratoga, NY, about twenty miles from Pittstown, NY.
Whatever the path had been, page 7 of the 1801 tax records for Pittstown, NY lists John Davenport, Sr., John Davenport, Jr., Hezekiah Davenport, Thomas Davenport, and Humphrey Davenport. Their combined personal property for tax purposes was more than $2,700 or about $50,000 today. It is probable that their combined farmlands were worth considerably more.
According to 1820, 1830, and 1840 U. S. Census reports for Tompkins County, NY, all four Davenport brothers lived on Turkey Hill in Dryden, NY, but never did all four live there at the same time. John Davenport, Jr., is the only one whose name appears in the 1820 census. John, Jr., Hezekiah, and Humphrey, all appear in the 1830 census as do two of Thomas’s sons, John G. Davenport and Alanson Davenport my 3rd great-grandfather. John, Jr., and Thomas appear in the 1840 census reports as does his son, Alanson and his young family. John G. Davenport moved back to Pittstown after his first wife died, but his son, Warren Davenport (1823-1894) remained in Dryden.
6. Thomas Davenport (1769 – 1847) — 4th great-grandfather
Thomas Davenport was born in Little Compton, R.I. on February 3, 1769. After the Revolutionary War he moved with his father, John Davenport, and settled in Pittstown, NY. He and his wife, Anna ______ (1777 – Nov. 2, 1847) were married in Pittstown in Rensselaer County, NY. After the death of his mother in the 1830s, Thomas and Anna removed to Turkey Hill in Dryden, Tompkins County, NY. Thomas Davenport died on 10 Sep 1847, only two weeks after his brother, John Davenport, Jr. Thomas and Anna (who passed less than two months after Thomas) are both buried in Robertson Cemetery which is adjacent to the land that was tended by the Davenports for a good portion of the 19th century. Children of Thomas and Anna Davenport were:
i. Delia Davenport
ii. Ruth Davenport born Dec 15, 1795 in Pittstown, married Stephen Cushman, died June 4, 1878 in Pittstown, NY.
iii. Sarah Davenport born about 1796 in Pittstown.
iv. John G. Davenport born Sept. 13, 1797 in Pittstown, married first Esther Miller (1800-1836), married second Sylvana Thayer (1820-1897), died Dec. 27, 1874.
v. Alanson Davenport born about 1804 in Pittstown, NY, married Hannah Purdy (1805-1881) the daughter of Josiah Purdy and Sybiel M____ of Pittstown died between 1875 and 1880 on Turkey Hill in Dryden, NY.
7. Alanson “Lansing” Davenport (abt. 1804 – abt. 1877) — 3rd great-grandfather
Alanson Davenport born near the year 1804 in Pittstown, NY. He married Hannah Purdy (1805-1881) the daughter of Josiah Purdy and Sybiel M _____ of Pittstown. Alanson Davenport first appears in the records of the Town of Dryden in Tompkins County, NY, in the 1830 U. S. Census. The census page shows Alanson Davenport as the head of a household that consists of one white male and one white female 20-30 years old and a white male child who was not yet five years old. Alanson’s brother John G. Davenport is listed three lines above within a household that was made up of one white male and one white female 20-30 years old, three boys and one girl between the ages of six and ten, and one boy under five years old. The 1875 New York Census for Dryden shows Alanson and Hannah Davenport as a separate household living in the same house as his son Stephen and his family. Between the listings of the households of Alanson and Hannah Davenport’s sons, Stephen Davenport and Charles Davenport, the 1880 U. S. Census for Dryden shows widowed Hannah Davenport living in a household with her nephew, Warren Davenport and his wife Eliza. No burial site has been located for either Alanson or Hannah. Children of Alanson and Hannah Davenport were:
i. Daniel Davenport born 1827 possibly in Dryden, NY. The place of birth is being derived from the fact that Nelson Davenport, a son of John G. Davenport, is known to have been born in Dryden in 1827. It is likely that Daniel’s father, Alanson came to Dryden from Pittstown with his brother, John G. Davenport, possibly a year or so before 1827. Daniel married Jane Lupton and together they had two sons, Morris born 1851 and Frederich born 1855.
ii. Stephen A. Davenport born 1831 in Dryden, NY, married about 1863 Maria L. Sherwood daughter of Amaziah Sherwood and Lucy Ann (Beebe) Sherwood of Cayutaville, NY. He died in Dryden, 1895, and is buried next to his wife who died in 1925 in Willow Glen Cemetery in Dryden, NY.
iii. Charles W. Davenport born 1833 in Dryden, NY, married Celestia Sherwood the daughter of David B. and Betsey Sherwood of Turkey Hill in Dryden, NY. They had two sons, Steven Albert Davenport born 1856, married Mary Ellen Knapp; and Ervin Leroy Davenport born 1861.
8. Stephen A. Davenport (1831 – 1895) — 2nd great-grandfather
Stephen A. Davenport was born in Dryden, NY in 1831. Around the year 1855 when Stephen was 24 or 25 years old, he sold his land holdings on Turkey Hill in Dryden to his cousin, Anthony Davenport of Pittstown, NY. Anthony removed to Dryden and lived near his brother, Warren Davenport, and his cousins, Daniel Davenport and Charles W. Davenport, and his uncle and aunt, Alanson and Hannah Davenport. Stephen Davenport moved to Cayutaville near Mecklenburg in Hector, NY. There he became a carpenter and found work building and repairing carriages and wagons. In 1863 he married Maria L. Sherwood the daughter of Amaziah Church Sherwood (1815-1860) and Lucy Ann (Beebe) Sherwood of Cayutaville, NY. They moved back to the Davenport farms in Dryden, NY where they raised their offspring:
i. Claud Davenport b. 1864 in Dryden, NY. He married Eva VanTine of Dryden, NY in 1883 and they had one daughter, Myrtle S. Davenport born in 1903.
ii. Elmer Davenport was born April 1865 and is listed with the Stephen and Maria Davenport household in the 1865 New York State Census. He died at a very young age and is not listed in any other census.
iii. Fred Seward Davenport was born on May 1, 1866 in Dryden, NY. In 1890 he married Clara Hurd Everts the daughter of Aranthus Watkins Everts (1828-1904) and Harriet M. Everts (1833-1902) of Montour Falls, NY who were 1st cousins 1x removed. Children of Fred and Clara Davenport were Clyde Burton Davenport b. 1891, Seward Aranthus Davenport b. 1893, Francis Davenport b. 1902, d. 1902 in California, and Harriet L. Davenport b. 1907, m. Worth Johnson.
iv. John M. Davenport b. 1868 in Dryden, NY, m. Myra A. Corwin. Their children were Charles S. b. 1895, Ruth M. b. 1899, Fred E. b. 1903, and James J. b. 1909.
v. Edna Mae Davenport (1874-1936) was born in Dryden, NY. In 1895 she married John E. Edsall and they settled in the Village of Freeville, NY. In 1898 Edna (Davenport) Edsall gave birth to twins, Bertrice and Beatrice. Bertrice married Hugo Christian Rabinowitz from Hawaii. It is likely that Clyde Burton Davenport boarded with his Aunt Edna in 1910 when the Lehigh Valley Railroad promoted him to the position of night telegraph operator in the train station at Freeville.
vi. Aubrey R. Davenport (1876-1945) was born in Dryden, NY, and married Millie A. Pierson. They had one daughter, Mabel, who was born in 1903.
vii. Lucy Ann Davenport (1879-1964) was born in Dryden and named for her grandmother, Lucy Ann (Beebe) Sherwood Culver (1822-1901). In 1901 she married George N. Hart (1867-1949) in the hamlet of Etna which is in the town of Dryden near the foot of Turkey Hill. They lived in Cuyler, NY in Cortland County and had a daughter, Belle Hart, who was born in 1907. George Hart was employed by the Lehigh Valley Railroad. Over the years there were many items printed in the Cuyler News indicating that the Clyde and Hazel Davenport family paid many visits to Aunt Lucy Hart in Cuyler.
9. Fred Seward Davenport (1866 – 1933) — 1st great-grandfather
Fred Seward Davenport was born on Turkey Hill in Dryden, NY. May 1, 1866 — about a year after the end of the Civil War and about a year before the purchase of Alaska. As I understand family lore, he was given the name Seward because their were beliefs that we were somehow related to William Henry Seward, former governor of New York and Secretary of State under Presidents Lincoln and Johnson. The only connection to the Seward surname that I can find is Loranna (Seward) Culver (1778-1858), the wife of Asa Culver and mother of Charles Culver of Cayutaville. Charles Culver was the second husband of my 3rd great-grandmother, Lucy Ann (Beebe) Sherwood Culver. The 1870 U. S. Census for Dryden listed a five year old Seward Davenport living in the Stephen and Maria Davenport household. This is the only time in a census report where Seward was used as his first name.
Fred met his wife, Clara Hurd Everts of Montour Falls, during a visit to his grandmother’s home in Cayutaville. Except for a couple of years in the early 1900s Fred and Clara spent most of their adult lives working fruit farms on Lake Seneca a few miles north of Watkins Glen in the town of Hector near the villages of Burdette and Hector. This is an area that Clara’s 1st great-grandfather Daniel Everts (1749-1833) had settled in 1792.
The last morning of Fred Davenport’s existence seems to have defined his life. Just after breakfast on Labor Day, Monday, September 4, 1933, Fred, Clara, and a boarder, John Shenrock, became embroiled in a domestic dispute concerning money for clothes for Fred and Clara’s ten year old grandson. A few months later John Shenrock was acquitted of manslaughter charges in the stabbing death of Fred Seward Davenport. Children of Fred and Clara Davenport were:
i. Clyde Burton Davenport (1891-1976), born in Watkins, NY, married Hazel Louise Hanshaw the daughter of Perry and Louise (Hill) Hanshaw of Freeville, NY in 1912. Their children were: Francis Russell b. 1912; Clara Louise b. 1914; Eleanor Jane b. 1917; Margaret Elizabeth b. 1923; Nancy Ann, b. 1928; and Aunt Dotty. Clyde Davenport died in Palm Beach County, FL, in 1976. Hazel Davenport passed in Elmsford, NY on August 8, 1985 — five days before her 91st birthday.
ii. Seward Aranthus Davenport (1893-1970), born in Watkins married Mary Pearl Collins of Elmira in 1915. As a young man Seward lived in Montours Falls and worked as an electrician for the Shepard Crane & Hoist Company. In 1940 he owned a Bowling Alley near his home in Roseville, MI. He died in Lupton, MI in 1970. Mary Pearl Davenport died in Lupton in 1972. The children of Seward and Pearl Davenport were: Martha L. b. 1915, and Fredrick Laster Davenport b. 1917
iii. Francis Davenport (1902-1902). Family lore tells of a child born to Fred and Clara Davenport in California who only lived for a few days or was possibly a still-birth.
iv. Harriet L. Davenport (1907-1928). Harriet died when she was twenty-one years old leaving her husband, Worth Jennings Johnson (1900-1982) and three young sons; 5 year old Seward Worth Johnson, 4 year old Clyde Johnson, and 2 year old Clarence Johnson.
10. Clyde Burton Davenport (1891 – 1976) — grandfather
Clyde Burton Davenport was born in Watkins Glen in 1891. He graduated from Watkins Glen High School in 1909 and seemed to get a job with the Lehigh Valley Railroad almost at the same time. Within a few years the Railroad had moved him from Watkins to Ithaca to Freeville, NY. In January, 1912 he married Hazel Louise Hanshaw, the daughter of Perry and Louise (Hill) Hanshaw of Freeville. The newlywed Davenports moved almost immediately to Albany, and Clyde Davenport’s 40 plus year career with the New York Central Railroad began. The Davenport family moved several times with stays in Albany, Chatham, Castleton, The Bronx, Brewster, Tarrytown and Croton. Clyde and Hazel Davenport retired to Sackets Harbor, NY. Eventually they acquired a small cottage with frontage on Lake Ontario directly across Sackets Harbor from Horse Island. They also set up winter quarters in a trailer park in Briney Breezes, Florida. They raised six children in all:
i. David Russell Davenport (1912-1996) married Edna Coleman (1914-2006). They had 3 boys and 1 girl, my cousins.
ii. Clara Louise Davenport (1914-1999) married Sammy Siegel of Binghamton. They had 3 boys and 1 girl, my cousins.
iii. Eleanor Jane Davenport (1918-2008)
iv. Margaret Elizabeth Davenport (1923-2001) married Herbert Otto Kruger of Jackson Heights. They had 2 boys and I am one of them.
v. Nancy Ann Davenport (1928-1984) married Thomas Hansen of Tarrytown. They had 1 boy and 1 girl, my cousins.
vi. Aunt Dotty.