Sunday, March 10, 2013

The Davenports of Rowan and Randolph Counties, North Carolina and the State of Indiana

The Davenports of Rowan and Randolph Counties, North Carolina and the State of Indiana

In September, 1799, Augustin Davenport, of Rowan County, North Carolina, but holding land that abutted the Randolph Cunty line, made his will. In it, he names his wife, Mary; children, Sarah, Delphy, Augustin (Austin), James, David, Anna, Joel, Jesse, Mary, Elizabeth, Susanna, and Jane, in that order, which is not the order of their birth. Augustin was soon dead, for his will was filed for Probate in the Rowan County Court of Special Pleas and Quarter Sessions at the November Term, 1799. Of the five sons, Jesse or Joel, (or possibly both, for there are many instances of twins in the Davenport Family) was the oldest. Augustin divided his 200 acres, lying between Lick Creek, flowing into the Yadkin River, and Jackson Creek, flowing into the Uwharrie River, between his three youngest sons, Augustin (who thereafter used the name "Austin"), James, and David.

Joel Davenport, sometime in the early 1790's, had married Sarah Boyd, daughter of William Boyd, who had bought land from Joel's uncle, John Davenport, on Jackson Creek in Randolph County. Joel had two sons, Jesse and Austin, Jr., and a third on its way when his father died.  Before he died, prior to February, 1807 if the Census of 1810 is correct, he had six sons in all. Before the turn of the century (1800), Martin Davenport, presumably a son of John Davenport, of Randolph County, and David Hoover had gone north to scout out new land in the Miami Purchase of John Cleves Symmes in Ohio.  David Hoover had returned,  but Martin died on the return trip, leaving two sons, Martin and Noah, as well as his widow, Molly.

Whether Joel Davenport died in Randolph Coutny, or, like his cousin, Martin, on a scouting trip to the Ohio-Indiana pioneered into Indiana: Jesse, with his younger brother, William, alon, into Jackson County, in a party with his in-laws, the Fentrisses, in 1817, Austin Jr. into the unorganized territory which later became Boone County in 1823. In 1825, William, having married in Indiana, joined his in-laws, the Hensleys, in pioneering Johnson County.

Martin Davenport, son of Martin who died in scouting new lands, along with brother, Noah, his mother, Molly, had gone into Ohio in 1801 with the Masts, Molly's family.  In 1825, Martin had a family of his own and pioneered into Marion County, Indiana.  His brother, Noah, and famly left Ohio (Miama county) in 1836 and pioneered far to the north in Elkhart County, Indiana.

But it was Jesse Davenport, son of Augustine, who was the leading pioneer of the family, for he had the Miami Purchase of Ohio in 1801. From then until Tecumseh was killed in 1813, it was a rugged frontier life with constant danger from the Indians. In 1806, Jesse, with his in-laws, the Foutzes, moved into Indiana, taking up land on Elkhorn Creek, a branch of the Whitewater River. Down that river, 25 miles, was the principal village of Tecumseh, near what is now Brookville, Indiana.

Jesse's sister, Sarah, had married William Foutz shortly before Jesse married Rebecca Foutz, and brothers and sisters, led by William and Rebecca's father, Jacob Foutz, pioneered together in the territory of Indiana, 11 years before it became a state.

Back in North Carolina, Jesse's sister, Mary, was married to Thomas Jackson, who had entered land on Jackson Creek in both Rowan and Randolph Counties. Thomas Jackson died in 1825. From the number of Jacksons in the early records of both Wayne and Union Counties, Indiana, it is probable that many of Thomas' and Mary's descendants found their ways into the Northwest.

Jesse's sister, Delphia, who perhaps remained a maiden lady overlong, for she was old enough to witness a deed in 1808, was in Indiana shortly after the War of 1812-15. As a Justice of the Peace of the Indiana Territory, Jesse married her to Jesse Draper on September 5, 1816.

Of the other four sisters, daughters of Augustin and Mary Davenport or an earlier wife, no record has yet been found.  The ages of the females in the household of Austin Davenport, son of Augustin, which was also the household of his mother, for he was yet unmarried, indicate, Elizabeth, Susanna and Jane were less than 16 when their father died in 1799.  Anna, because of her place in the array in the Will of her father, after the slaves and the land had been divided, and because her father's mother was probably named Anna, was likely the oldest child, but that is pure speculation.

James and David, along with Austin, divided their father's 200 acres into three 66+ acre parcels, with Austin getting that third which abutted the Randolph County line.  By 1810, James and David had both sold their inheritances and gone elsewhere.  In 1811, Austin mortgaged his and lost it in 1815.  After 1815 Austin apparently moved to Randolph County and lived on land owned and his father-in-law, Jordan Bass.

Present evidence indicates that James and David went to the Newberry area of South Carolina, for there were Davenports in the Census of 1859 of Indiana which had been born in South Carolina.

In the Census of 1820, both James and David were in Wayne County, Indiana; James living near Jesse, David at a distance.  In the Census of 1839, Jesse was dead and Rebecca was heading his household.  David had moved just across the county and state line into Preeble County, Ohio.  James had either died or moved on.  It is unlikely that the James Davenport in Jefferson County in 1839 was the same man.

After 1830, those in North Caroline who had not moved to Indiana apparently stayed put.  Austin Davenport died May 6, 1847, and was buried in the cemetery of Sandy Creek Baptist Church north and a little east of Ramseur, N.C.  Jesse was killed in a barn raising in Wayne County, Indiana, in 1826, after having served a number of years as an Associate Judge of Wayne County.  Joel was dead in 1807.  David died sometime before 1840 in Preble County Ohio.  Of James, no hint has been found to date.

In 1850, along Eagle Creek which rises in Boone and Hamilton Counties, Indiana, and flows generally south into the White River below Indianapolis, Indiana, there were descendants of David living in Pike Twp., Marion County, and Davenports, descendants of Martin, living in Wayne Twp., Marion.  To the far north, Davenports, descendants of Martin, were populating Elkhart County.  To the south, Davenports, descendants of Joel, populated Johnson County. To the East, descendants of Jesse, and possible James, were populating Wayne County, and looking westward.  By 1860, they were already into Illinois and beyond.

in 1852, going overland in the party of Jacob Jones, Jesse Davenport, son of Jesse, son of Joel, arrived at the shores of the Pacific in Oregon.  His sister, Elizabeth, married to a Jones, was in the same party.  Jesse, of Oregon, never married, but he was pensioned in 1895 by Special Act of Congress for his service in the Oregon Indian Wars of 1854-55.

This particular Davenport family is enigmatic in several ways.  Evidence exists that both Augustin and John Davenport, of Rowan-Randolph counties, N.C., were the sons of William Davenport, of Spotsylvania County, Virginia, who was a large slaveholder.  Neither John nor Augustin had slaves, although both were left a slave each in their Father's will, filed 1798.  Augustin's slave was sold by his wife and son Austin. John sold out in Randolph County in 1798. Where he and his descendants went is a matter of speculation, but a good guess at the moment, is Casey County, Kentucky, and then on to Sangamon County, Illinois.

Some members of the North Carolina families went into South Carolina and remained there, for they were preceded by relatives from Spotsylvanis County, Virginia.  From the Newberry area of South Carolina they went West into Georgia and Alabama.  During the Civil War, most of the Davenports serving in Indiana Regiments were from the family; most of the Davenports serving in South Carolina Regiments had the same North Carolina-Virginia roots.

In North Carolina, this family lived among the Quakers, and inter-married. There are at least three instances where a Quaker was disowned for marrying one of these Davenports. What the Davenports were in religious conviction is difficult to determine.  Prior to the Revolutionary War, in Spotsylvania County, Virginia, they appear to have been establishment Episcopalians. Yet Augustin and his brother, John appear to have had an entirely different set of values than their rich father. The only inkling of their difference comes from four separate instances: Austin, in North Carolina, is buried in the graveyard of the Mother Church of the Regular (Separate) Baptist Church; William, son of Joel, was one of the founders of the Primitive Baptist Church in Johnson County, Indiana; Noah, son of Martin, was a pillar iin the German Baptist Church in Elkhart County, Indiana; and William Davenport, in Union County, Indiana, was married by a German Baptist preacher. William is most possibly son of David.

There are three instances, North Carolina, and Indiana, where members of this family became Quaker, or, in modern parlance, joined the Friends Church. Until the last two generations, the family had been essentially an agricultural one, although there have been both professional men and preachers. There have been some very poor businessmen and some very good ones.  Some heavy drinkers and total, militant abstainers. The record of debt in the family goes back before 1850 and continues to this day.

A Sketch Prepared by:
Dr. John Scott Davenport
1100 Central Trust Tower
Cincinanati, Ohio 45202
(Descendant of Joel Davenport)

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