The Winterthur Library

 The Joseph Downs Collection of Manuscripts and Printed Ephemera





Creator:          Davenport family                                 

Title:               Papers

Dates:             1707-1869

Call No.:         Col. 294

Acc. No.:         61x85, 61x86

Quantity:        1 box

Location:        9 C 1






The decendents of Ebenezer Davenport (1661-1738) lived in and around Dorchester, Massachusetts, near Boston, for several generations.  The family trade was apparently weaving; however, several members of the family were shoemakers and one, James (1796-1852), was a rather well known cabinetmaker.


Ebenezer Davenport married three times; his first two wives died and his third wife, Patience, was disinherited because she absented herself from the family. Ebenezer had 8 children.  Among them was Ebenezer (1706-1785), who continued the weaving trade, and James (1693-1759), who was an inn keeper.  In turn, Ebenezer Jr. married Submit How[e] in 1759 and had ten children, including Ebenezer (1745-1819) and Isaac (1730-1799), who continued the weaving trade and married a woman named Rebecca.  James had 22 children, including John (1752-1842), Josiah (1727- ?), and James Jr. (1735-?).


At this point, genealogical resources end and the family history becomes unclear.  There is at least one other Isaac (1786-ca. 1818), who married Sarah and who is possibly the great-grandson of James.  There are at least two more James.  The father (1759-1824) was a shoemaker who married Esther and had ten children.  The son, James (1796-1852), was a cabinetmaker who married Abigail. He was possibly responsible for the style of sofa commonly known as the “Davenport.”  There is also a Josiah (d. ca. 1820), who was reportedly a yeoman and a husbandry man, and a Samuel (d. 1802), a shoemaker, both of whose relationships are unknown.





 This collection contains 83 documents of the Davenport family.  Papers relate to Ebenezer (1661-1738), Ebenezer (1706-1785), Ebenezer (1745-1819), James (1759-1824), James (1796-1852), Isaac (1786-ca. 1818), Patience, Josiah (d. ca. 1820), and Samuel (d. 1802). The majority of these papers are legal documents including land deeds, wills, transfers of power of attorney, execution of will statements, and inventories of estates. Other documents record settlement of finances, receipts for goods, indenture contracts, and invoices.  One item documents the family history of James (1759-1824) and Esther.





The papers are arranged first by person and then, for the most part, chronologically.  The people are arranged chronologically as well: Ebenezer I (1661-1758), his wife Patience, his son Ebenezer (1706-1785), Isaac (1730-1802), Samuel (d.1802), Josiah (, James (1759-1824), and James (1796-1832).  Folder 10 contains materials which relate to more than one member of the Davenport family or to their relatives.





Purchased from Paul Richards Autographs, Brookline, Mass.






            Davenport family.        



            Finance, Personal.

            Real property, Exchange of.

            Decedents' estates.


            Inheritance and succession.

            Inventories of decedents' estates.

            Mourning customs - Massachusetts - Dorchester.

            Clothing and dress.

            Trust indentures.

            Administration of estates.

            Legal instruments.

            Probate records.

            Decedents' family maintenance.


            Receipts (Acknowledgments).








Location: 9 C 1



Folder 1:  Ebenezer Davenport (1661-1738):   1707-1738 


68x86.1           Document dealing with the apprenticeship of John Wales, 1707.


68x86.3           Document outlining the land indenture contract of Ezakiah [Hezekiah] Morroh, 1715.


68x86.2           Document outlining the indenture contract of Humphrey Atherton and Ebenezer Davenport to Jacob Royal, 1715.


68x86.4           Order for James and Ebenezer Davenport to appear in Inferior Court to answer charges made by Simon Stoddard of Boston.  Dated August 1723.


68x86.5           Indenture contract between Moses Dubee and Ebenezer Davenport, 1727.


68x86.7           Contract signed by Ebenezer Davenport promising to pay debt of ten pounds owed to Robert Learl, November 1730.


68x86.6           Will of Ebenezer Davenport dated 1729.  He states that his wife, Patience, is to be “utterly excluded” because of her absence.  Leaves the bulk of his estate to his son James; names other children.


68x86.8           Document approving the will of Ebenezer Davenport, 1738.



Folder 2:  Patience Davenport: 1739


61x86.9           Legal document signed by Patience Davenport in which she gives up any further claim to the estate of Ebenezer Davenport after receiving fifteen pounds, 1739.



Folder 3:  Ebenezer Davenport, son (1706-1785):  1749-1787


61x86.21a        Agreement between Ebenezer Davenport and Isaac How, his father-in-law, 1749.


61x86.21b       Agreement between Ebenezer Davenport and Joseph How, 1749.


61x86.20         Deed for property bought by Ebenezer Davenport from John Wiswall, 1750.


61x86.19         Ebenezer Davenport bond to Joseph How, 1750.


61x86.18         Ebenezer Davenport bond to Joseph How, 1751.


61x86.16         Ebenezer Davenport and Timothy Wales (a cordwainer) bond to Rev. Jonathan Boman, 1766.


61x86.17         Samuel Topliss [or Topliff] counter bond to Ebenezer Davenport, 1754.


61x86.15         List of work or items due Ebenezer Davenport, 1770-1775.


61x86.14         Record of sale of land by Ebenezer Davenport to Josiah Davenport, 1778.


61x86.13         Inventory of the estate of Ebenezer Davenport, 1785.


61x86.11         List of debts paid by Isaac Davenport due from the estate of his father, 1785-1786.


61x86.12         Inventory of real estate owned by Ebenezer Davenport, 1787.


68x86.10a        List of accounts for the estate of Ebenezer Davenport.  Dated 1787.


68x86.10b       List of items charged or received from Ebenezer Davenport or his estate; the items on the list are dated 1751-1785



Folder 4:  Isaac Davenport (1730-1799):  1791-1802


61x86.44         Deed for Property sold to James Davenport by Isaac Davenport, 1791.


61x86.24         Related to real estate owned by Isaac Davenport and left to his widow, Rebecca.  Document is from Judge of Probate, 1800.


61x86.25         Documents related to real estate of Isaac Davenport, 1800.


61x86.22a        The accounting of the estate of Isaac Davenport by the administrators of the estate, Rebecca and Samuel Davenport.


61x86.22b       List of bills paid by the estate of Isaac Davenport, 1799-1800; includes expenses of funeral and cost of mourning clothes for the widow.


61x86.23         Items sold to settle the estate of Isaac Davenport, includes name of item, buyer, and price.


61x86.26a        Document signed by heirs of Isaac Davenport acknowledging their share of his estate.  Paid by Samuel Davenport, administrator.


61x86.26b       Document signed by heirs of Isaac Davenport stating they are satisfied by the conduct of the administrators of the estate, 1800.


61x86.27         Document signed by James Davenport on behalf of Isaac and Josiah Davenport, heirs to the estate of Isaac Davenport, 1800.


61x86.28         Paper signed by heirs to the estate of Isaac Davenport stating what they had received from Josiah Davenport as payment for real estate which had formerly been given to this widow as her dower, 1802.



Folder 5:  Samuel Davenport (d. 1802):  1798-1804


61x86.29         Account of the personal estate of Samuel Davenport; administrators of the estate were Josiah and James Davenport, n.d.


61x86.30         Account of the personal estate of Samuel Davenport, 1804.


61x86.31         Account of the personal estate of Samuel Davenport, 1804.


61x86.32         Bill from Dr. Phinehas Holden to Samuel Davenport’s estate, for his visits 1798-1802, bill submitted in 1804


61x86.33         Paper signed by the heirs of Samuel Davenport stating they are satisfied with the accounts of Josiah and James Davenport, administrators of the will, n.d,



Folder 6:  Josiah Davenport ( 1796-1821


61x86.39         Legal document naming Josiah Davenport as guardian with authority over Joshua Leaver [or Seaver], a minor, 1796.


61x86.40         Legal document from the Probate Judge of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts acknowledging the presentation of Josiah Davenport’s will.  James Davenport was named as executor of the will, 1820.


61x68.41         Legal document naming James Davenport as executor of the will of Josiah Davenport.  Document is addressed to Samuel Glover, Isaac Withington and James Blackman, dated April, 1821.


61x86.42a        Book of expenses to settle estate of Josiah Davenport, 1821.


61x86.42b       Receipt for coffin for Josiah Davenport ($5.00), 1821.



Folder 7: James Davenport (1759-1824):    1780-1817


61x68.43         Signed pledge made to James Davenport for wages paid over seven months in 1780.  Appears to be signed Peter Walker.


61x86.45         Legal document dated April, 1796.  Deals with Warrant of Survey.


61x86.46         Document dealing with the sale of property in Massachusetts to James Davenport.                     Seller was Thomas Moseley of Dorchester. 1798


61x86.47         Legal document dated August, 1806.  Sale of property to James Davenport from the estate of Samuel Mellish.


61x86.50         Receipt dated 1808 for the making of ten barrels of cider by Ebenezer Wales.


61x86.48         Document detailing sale of property owned by James Davenport to Benjamin Stone.  1809


61x86.49         Ledger sheet dated March, 1810.  Items listed include shoes, boots, coffee, etc.  Signed Oliver and James Glover.


61x86.34         Order of Distribution of the estate of Sarah Mellish.  James Davenport was named as administrator.  Dated June, 1817


61x86.35         Letter of Administration.  Concerned James Davenport’s duties as administrator of a will.  February, 1817


61x86.36         The account of James Davenport’s payments related to settling the estate of Sarah Mellish.  List of expenses of burial, etc.  June, 1817


61x86.37         Inventory of the estate of Sarah Mellish, March 1817


61x86.51         Deed for land sold to James Davenport by Lewis Leach.  September 1817



Folder 8:  James Davenport (1796-1852):   1818-1833:


no acc. no.       Document outlining the transfer of pew number 21 (or 71) in the Meeting-House of First Parish in Dorchester to James Davenport and Isaac Withington, 1818


61x86.53         Power of attorney dated September, 1818, giving James Davenport authority to examine what may have been due Isaac Davenport, deceased.


61x86.54         Letter from War Department Pension Office informing James Davenport that he was not entitled to a pension.  Sept. 1820


61x86.56         Order appointing James Davenport to serve as a Corporal of a Company of Infantry under the command of Capt. Eaton in the First Regiment of the Militia of Massachusetts. May, 1820


61x86.57         Order appointing James Davenport a Sergeant of Infantry commanded by Capt. Blackman.  Dated May 1823.  Other orders on back of document are dated Sept. 1825.


61x86.58         Document concerning sale of property to James Davenport by Isaac and Sarah Davenport.  Sept. 1825


61x85.2           Document signed by Hardin Branch transferring to James Davenport the exclusive right to use his invention, an improved method of making beds.  June 1827


61x85.1           Document outlining agreement between the brothers and sisters of James Davenport with him concerning land, etc., 1826


61x85.3           Legal document concerning sale of property belonging to Edmund Baker to James Davenport.  June 1830


61x85.4           Norfolk Mutual Fire Insurance Company policy sold to James Davenport for insuring buildings and household furniture against fire.  1833


61x86.59         Letter from Esther Davenport, widow of James Davenport, requesting a pension from the Massachusetts legislature due to Davenport’s service in the Revolution.  States he served in 1776 and was discharged in 1783.  Letter is witnessed by James Davenport and Mary Ann Davenport, and dated 1833.



Folder 9:  James Davenport (1796-1852): 1839-1869:


61x86.55a        Inventory of household items, dated Sept. 1834


61x86.55b       Inventory of the estate of James Davenport.


61x86.55c        Second inventory of the estate of James Davenport of Dorchester.


61x86.62         Document from the Judge of Probate to Abigail Davenport naming her as executor of will of James Davenport, cabinetmaker, November 1852.


61x86.61         Personal letter addressed to “Dear Sister” from a brother, Thos. N. Larel(?).  Letter is in response to her husband’s death.  November 1852


61x86.60a        Letter to Mrs. James Davenport dated December 1852, from William Withington, Secretary of the Union Lodge.  He sent her a copy of resolution adopted at lodge meeting.


61x86.60b       Copy of Resolution of the Union Lodge expressing their sorrow at the death of James Davenport.


61x85.5           Inventory of the estate of James Davenport filed with the Judge of Probate.  1853.


61x85.63         Bill addressed to the estate of James Davenport for town, country, and state taxes n Dorchester for 1869.



Folder 10:    Miscellaneous


61x86.38         Inventory of women’s clothing from the estate of S. Millish and her daughter.  n.d.


61x86              Scrap of paper with names of the children of James and Esther Davenport and their dates of birth (10 children) on one side.  The other side of this paper lists names and dates of deaths and cause (smallpox, cancer, and one member slain by British troops).


61x86.65         Appears to be a record of land given to various people, mentions Ebenezer and Thomas Davenport.  Earliest date is 1692.


61x86.66         Paper listing distribution of land; note on back says “possibly the estate of Samuel Davenport.”


61x86.68         Script for funeral, outlining responses, etc.


61x86.64         Deed for property sold by Theophiles Curtiss to Robert Howard, Massachusetts Bay, New England, 1745.


61x86.67         Inventory of the estate of John Williams of Dorchester, MA.


61x86.69         Account of farm produce sold to Ephraim Davenport, 1817.