Davis Davenport (c1650 – bef1735)

We know overt little about this man, as we have uncovered only three records that mention him.  This is due to the unfortunate destruction of nearly all of the colonial records of King and Queen County, as well as those of its successor King William County, where Davis Davenport lived and owned land.   All three records give his name as “Davis”, certainly a suggestion that there may be a Davis somewhere in the family tree.   (It is curious, though, that this name was not passed on to any succeeding generation.)

The first evidence of his existence is a survey made in 1696 for Major John Waller, laying off 969 acres on the Mattaponi River in Virginia’s Pamunkey Neck (then part of King & Queen County) which Waller had bought from Elias Downes. “Davenport’s plantation” was shown on the survey as bounding Waller’s purchase on the upriver side, and “below Davis Davenport’s landing on Mattaponi” was cited in the survey notes as the beginning point of the survey.1  Perhaps coincidently, the survey showed a William Davis as an adjoining landowner to Waller’s land opposite Davis Davenport.2

Although deed records are missing, it appears that Elias Downes had sold John Waller part of a patent of 18 December 1667 that Downes had acquired jointly with John Talbott.3  The patent does not mention Davis Davenport as an adjoining landowner, suggesting that Davenport acquired his parcel sometime after the 1667 patent was surveyed.   We can therefore make a reasonable, if not very useful, guess that Davis Davenport arrived in the Pamunkey Neck sometime in the thirty-year period between 1667 and 1696.

We next find mention of Davis Davenport, along with his son Martin, in the 1704 quit rent roll of King William County.  Davis Davenport was listed with 200 acres and Martin Davenport with 100 acres.

The last mention of him is in his son Martin’s will.   Martin Davenport’s will, dated 24 May 1735 and recorded 2 October 1735 in Hanover County, Virginia, devised to his own son William “20 acres of land in King William County, it being part of 100 acres left me by my father, Davis Deavenport.”4 His ancestry is unknown. There were several Davenports who are candidates, but the destruction of most early records of eastern Virginia make it unlikely we will ever identify them.

[See the HENDRICK pages for a more detailed description of Pamunkey Neck and its history.]

His wife is unknown. Of his children, only Martin is provable. Five others are suggested by their early proximity to his land in King William County, and by their relationships to one another.

  1. Martin Davenport (c1680? – 1735)   See separate page.
  2. Thomas Davenport (c1680s – 1775)  He was surely another son, having been closely associated with the children of Martin Davenport.   On 23 December 1714, Thomas “Devenport” was issued a patent for 311 acres on the north side of the Pamunkey River in St. John’s Parish, King William County.5 This tract was quite near Martin and Davis Davenport, and seems to have adjoined the later patent by Richard Davenport.  In 1740 he patented land on Little Guinea Creek in Goochland (later Cumberland) County and renewed it with additional land added in 1746.6  He remained in Cumberland County until his death, appearing in numerous records. His wife is thought to have been Grace Terry.   His will was dated 16 July 1773 and proved on 27 March 1775.7   It was subsequently superseded by a later will dated 29 September 1774.8  The children named in the wills were sons Thomas Davenport Jr., James Davenport, Henry Davenport, William Davenport, Stephen Davenport, and Julius Davenport.

    His son Stephen, who predeceased him, was the first husband of Molly Slaughter, who later married David Davenport. Three of Stephen’s children were named in the second will” William, Stephen, and Molly. Only one daughter was mentioned, Drusilla, the wife of Gideon Glenn.

  3. John Davenport A John Davenport “of King William County” he purchased 230 acres in Henrico County on 10 October 1736. He sold this land in 1740 and disappeared. There is some possibility that he went to North Carolina.
  4. Richard Davenport (c1704 – 1776) Richard Davenport remained in Pamunkey Neck, in King William County and later in Caroline County. Owing to the loss of King William records, there are no records of him there. In 1721 Spotsylvania County was formed from the extreme western part of King William and there we find record of him on 3 November 1726, when he failed to appear to prosecute his suit against Thomas Gambrill in Spotsylvania County court. In 1728 Caroline County was formed from the western part of what remained of King William, though the only surviving records of note are its court order books beginning in 1732. Richard Davenport was living in Caroline County at the time, for the first surviving order book notes his appointment to the grand jury on 14 November 1735.  The following year, he proved the will of Thomas Terry, his brother’s father-in-law. He would later be an appraiser of the estate of Thomas Terry Jr. in 1755. These and other references would seem to place his residence in southeastern Caroline County just west of the King William line.

    On 15 September 1752 Richard Davenport received a patent for 396 acres in southeastern Caroline County, quite near the King William line. The patent adjoined land he already owned, which appears to be a portion of a 1727 patent to Thomas Terry. He must have obtained this land before 1732, when Caroline County’s court records begin. (His father-in-law Richard Davis also had a patent adjoining the same Thomas Terry patent.) Richard Davenport appears in Caroline County court records (the only records which survive) continually from 1734 through his death. The final mention of him is a record of 12 September 1776 when David Davenport obtained letters of administration on his estate.

    His wife is mentioned in two records. On 10 October 1765 a deed by Richard Davenport and his wife Keziah to Duncan Graham was proved in court. The will of a longtime neighbor of the Davenports in King William and Caroline, Richard Davis, dated 11 June 1760 and probated in November 1760, bequeathed a slave named Lucy to his daughter Keziah Davenport. With the loss of Caroline records, his children can only be conjectured.

    Three Davenport males who were living in Caroline County while Richard Davenport was the last remaining second-generation Davenport in the area are presumed to be his sons: Richard Davenport, Absalom Davenport, and David Davenport.

  5. Elias Davenport (c1700? – c1765) He may have been another son of Davis Davenport. On 27 July 1733 an Elias Davenport witnessed (by his mark) a deed for land in Spotsylvania County located on the opposite bank of the North Anna and a few miles upstream of Martin Davenport’s patent in Hanover County. Both the buyer and seller were neighbors of Martin Davenport. There are no other Virginia records mentioning him, but an Elias Davenport appears more than twenty years later in Bertie County, North Carolina. Elias Davenport is on the 1757 Bertie tax list with two tithables, and again on the 1759 tax list. He had not appeared in the Bertie deed books prior to 1757, and (if the same person) must have just recently moved into the county. He is last in Bertie County in 1762. He had at least two sons, Dorrel and John, who seem to have been born in the early 1730s. Whether he is a son or grandson of Davis Davenport (or of some other Davenport entirely) is unknown.
  6. Ann Davenport (c1696 – 1782) married Thomas Graves and died in Spotsylvania County.
  1. Both the survey and notes are in the Waller Papers at the Library of Virginia.  The extract is courtesy of John Scott Davenport. []
  2. Perhaps the same William Davis, and his son John Davis, later owned land in Spotsylvania County in the same neighborhood as did John Waller, who moved there in 1722. []
  3. Virginia Patent Book 6, p97. []
  4. Hanover County Court Record Book 1733-35, pages 339-340. []
  5. Virginia Patent Book 10, p226. []
  6. See Patent Books 18 and 25. []
  7. Cumberland County Will Book 2, p173. []
  8. Cumberland County Will Book 2, p1194.  David Davenport witnessed the will. []