Martin Davenport (c1670 – 1735)

Both Martin Davenport and his father Davis Davenport appear in the 1704 Quit Rent roll of King William County, Davis with 200 acres and Martin with 100 acres.  Owing to the nearly total destruction of King William County records, it is unknown how Martin Davenport acquired this land.  However, it was apparently located several miles up the Mattaponi River on the opposite side of Pamunkey Neck from Davis Davenport’s land.   A 1703 patent in the area  refers to “the path from Yarbrough’s Ferry to Davenport’s.”1   A 1705 patent to Samuel Williams and William Lea mentions “Davenport’s Path” in the same area.2  Both appear to refer to the land of Martin Davenport rather than that of his father.

The destruction of early King William County records in an 1885 courthouse fire leaves us with little information on Martin’s early life.  However, a partially preserved deed dated 8/9 November 1721 shows Martin Davenport of St. Margaret’s Parish and King William County, selling 50 acres which was part of a larger patent of 1705 to Samuel Williams and William Lea.3   Martin Davenport proved the deed himself in court on 18 January 1722.  Whether this was part of the same land he was taxed on in 1704 isn’t clear.

The move to Hanover County

About this same time he moved about 40 miles northwest into Hanover County.   Hanover County’s early records are also nearly all lost, but we know he occupied land there by 1725.  A patent by Capt. Thomas Carr dated 24 March 1725/6 for land on the south side of the North Anna River in Hanover ran “to Martin Davenport’s corner hickory and white oak, thence along his line...”4   Martin Davenport had clearly claimed a tract of land in Hanover, although his patent for this parcel was not issued until 7 February 1727/8, when it was described as 400 acres on the south bank of the North Anna River.5   This patent can be located quite precisely, as it was subsequently mentioned as adjoining patents by Richard Phillips and Francis Strother.6   The tract ran more than a mile and a half along the south bank of the North Anna River, and when Louisa County was later carved out of Hanover, the county line ran through the western portion of the tract.  (On a modern map it is in the area where Spotsylvania, Caroline, Hanover, and Louisa nearly meet.)

Martin Davenport appears once in the records of Spotsylvania County (a corner of which was located directly across the North Anna river from his patent) witnessing a deed on 28 July 1731 for the sale of land held in trust for Ann Arnold, the wife of his son William Davenport.7  He signed with his mark.

Unfortunately, nearly all the early records of Hanover County were destroyed.  The only remaining records are two of its six vestry books and a single book of records for the years 1734-1735.   Records of St. Martin’s Parish, where Martin Davenport’s land lay, did not survive.  But by sheer good luck, we find Martin Davenport mentioned in the surviving county record book twice, one of these being his will.

He is mentioned first on 7 June 1734 when Richard Phillips, who had patented 400 acres in 1732 adjoining Martin Davenport, sold his patent  to John Searcy.8   William Davenport, son of Martin Davenport, was a witness to the deed.

His will was fortuitously preserved

The second and final mention of Martin Davenport in surviving Hanover County records is his will.  It was dated 24 May 1735 and recorded 2 October 1735, naming his wife Dorothy and five sons named William, David, James, Martin Jr., and John.9  The will divides his 150-acre home place equally between David and James: “to David, I give the plantation whereon I now live and seventy-five acres adjoining, and the remaining part to my son James Davenport.”  If David died without issue, his portion would revert to Martin Davenport Jr.  If James died without issue, his portion reverted to John Davenport.  His son William Davenport was given  “…20 acres of land in King William County, it being part of 100 acres left me by my father, Davis Deavenport.”  Dorothy and William Davenport were named executors, and Martin again signed with his mark.

Dorothy Davenport, the widow, filed an administrator’s bond on 2 October 1735, signing with her mark.10   She continued to live on the home place for at least the next thirty-two years.  She was still alive in 1767 when David Davenport mortgaged the 150 acres “whereon Dorothy Davenport, mother of sd. David Davenport resides, being the same tract of land which Martin Davenport deceased, father of sd. David Davenport by his last will and testament devised to sd. Dorothy for life and then to sd. David Davenport.11   (Note that David Davenport was claiming to own the entire tract, though the will left him only half of it.)

Note also that Martin Davenport had patented 400 acres in Hanover County in 1727, but devised only 150 acres of it in his will seven years later.  (Both David and James Davenport were taxed years later on 75 acres each.)   Whatever sales there may have been were destroyed with the rest of the Hanover records.  However, it appears that the portion of the missing 225 acres, some of which lay in what became Louisa County, was later partly owned by Richard Davenport, surely another son, and partly owned by Charles Kennedy, apparently a son-in-law.

Two wives?

The maiden name of Martin Davenport’s wife, Dorothy, is uncertain.  She may have been a Glover, since that name occurs both among Martin’s sons and in the children of his younger sons.   The fact that the widow Dorothy outlived Martin Davenport by more than three decades forces us to consider the possibility that she was a second wife, perhaps the mother of only the last few children.   If there was an earlier wife, some descendants think she may have been named “Crotia”, thus explaining the daughter of that name.  (The elder daughters Mary, Crotia, and Dorothy all had daughters named Crotia.)  It is equally possible, however, that Crotia was the name of his mother, the wife of Davis Davenport.

Dorothy may have been the daughter of William and Mary Glover, giving us an explanation for the prevalence of the name “Glover” among his descendants.   I note that all known Davenports named Glover are descendants of Martin Davenport’s younger children, which suggests that Dorothy was a second wife and mother of those children.   Research among the few extant records remaining of King William County identify a William Glover as a freeholder located reasonably near Martin Davenport’s land listed for Quit Rents in 1704.

If Dorothy was indeed the mother of the last few children, it’s uncertain whether William or Glover was her eldest son.  I lean toward Glover being the eldest because all the children of the second wife were named in Martin Davenports will except Glover.  That suggests he had already settled with the children of his first wife and Glover.

Children, perhaps by two wives:

My research is very incomplete on some of the children, with the result that their entries below are unusually brief.

  1. Mary Davenport (c1706 – 1775)  The wife of Henry Gambill, she may have been another daughter.  They married sometime in the late 1720s.
  2. Crotia Davenport  (c1710? – aft1789)  The wife of Charles Kennedy is though to have been an elder daughter since they named a son, born about 1735, Davenport Kennedy.  A purchase of land by Kennedy adjoining the Martin Davenport plantation in 1751 was witnessed by David, William, and John Davenport.12   Another son, Patrick Kennedy, was arrested for attempting to murder Thomas Graves, probably either his uncle or cousin, and Martin Davenport Jr. stood his bond in Spotsylvania County.   A daughter was named “Crosha” (Crotia?).  Charles Kennedy owned land in Hanover, Louisa, and Spotsylvania counties.  At the time of his death in 1784 he and his probable brother-in-law Richard Davenport owned all of the land from Martin Davenport Sr.’s 1727 patent that was not devised in his will.  Crotia was still alive as late as 1789, when her daughter Crotia was married in Louisa County.13 
  3. Thomas Davenport (c1711 – 10 November1809)  He was probably another son.  He moved to Burke County, North Carolina in the 1770s at about the same time Mary Gambill moved to the same area.
  4. Richard Davenport (c1713 – 1792)  Although not named in the will, he was clearly a son of Martin Davenport.  Owing to the loss of Hanover records, he does not appear in any record until Louisa County was formed in 1742, after which he almost immediately begins to appear in Louisa’s records.  A suit by Joseph Venable against Richard Davenport for trespass, assault and battery in Louisa County was dismissed on 13 February 1743/4.14   Two months later, on 9 April 1744, a suit by Daniel McClaron against Richard Davenport for “trashing McClaron’s house” was continued, then resolved in Davenport’s favor on 9 July.15  That he was subject to the jurisdiction of the Louisa court means he was living in the new county.  In the second case, he called William Davenport (his brother), Charles Kennedy (his brother-in-law), and Richard Blalock as his witnesses, while McClaron called Joseph and Catherine Venable.16   In March 1747/8 he was called as a witness in Spotsylvania County against Thomas Graves (his aunt’s husband), the record making it clear that he lived in Louisa.17

    Most importantly, on 20 November 1749 the heirs of Thomas Carr sold part of the 1726 patent which adjoined Martin Davenport’s patent on the Louisa County side.18    Carr’s patent had run along Martin Davenport’s line to “Martin Davenport’s beech at the mouth of Little Rocky Creek” but the 1749 deed describes that land as belonging to Richard Davenport.  Martin Davenport had either deeded the western portion of his patent to Richard Davenport, or Richard had inherited it as the eldest son. (Martin Davenport’s will disposed of only 150 acres of his 400-acre patent.  The remainder, assuming he still owned it, would descend to the eldest son.)   Subsequent sales of the Carr patent and other adjoining parcels continued to describe a border with Richard Davenport through 10 June 1791.19

    Subsequent to his death, Richard’s heirs confirmed a sale of the land to Tarleton Brown Luck.He married Elizabeth, the widow of Robert Hamner, and died in Albemarle County.  His will, dated 17 August 1792 and proved in February 1793, names his wife Elizabeth, sons Joseph Davenport, Charles Davenport, Richard Davenport, John Davenport, Martin Davenport, William Davenport, and daughter Sarah Taylor.20    His stepson Nicholas Hamner and Samuel Dyer were named executors.Charles and John Davenport were living in Abbeville District, South Carolina on 10 May 1793 when they gave their power of attorney to the executors to sell the Louisa land.21   On 13 July 1796 the executed a quitclaim deed to the heirs of Tarleton Brown Luck, describing the land as 128 acres according to a “new survey” which described it as partly in Louisa and partly in Hanover.22 

    On 14 November 1799, Martin Davenport of Albemarle County and William Davenport of Kentucky sold their two-fifths interest in Richard Davenport’s Albemarle land where the widow Elizabeth was living.23   On 31 July 1822 Charles Davenport, son of John Davenport deceased, of Abbeville District, South Carolina sold his father’s one-fifth interest.24 

  5. William Davenport (c1713 – 1798)  He first appears as a witness in Hanover County to the sale of land adjoining Martin Davenport on 6 June 1734.  (He did not have to be 21 to be a witness, but it is likely he was.)  He married Anne Arnold, lived in Spotsylvania County, and died in 1798.  His will names children Augustine Davenport, David Davenport, William Davenport, John Davenport, James Davenport, Delphy (Kennedy), Nancy, and Sarah (Edds or Eads) .  His children Martin Davenport and Mary (Arnold) were not mentined in the will.)
  6. Dorothy Davenport (2 November 1716 – 1790)  She seems likely to have been another daughter.  If so, her name suggests the possibility that she was a daughter of the second wife.  She married Thomas Baker and moved to Orange County, and later to Wilkes County, North Carolina.  She died in Burke County, North Carolina.  A family Bible gives her birth date as above.
  7. John Davenport (c1717 – c1773)  He married Mary Smith and had children William Davenport, Martin Davenport, Jack Smith Davenport, John Davenport, and Richard Davenport.  He died in Spotsylvania County.
  8. Glover Davenport (c1719 – c1785)  Married Ann ____.  Children:  Matthew Davenport, James Davenport, Joseph Davenport, Joel Davenport, Moses Davenport, William Davenport, and John Davenport.
  9. James Davenport (c1719 – 1803) He married Frances Jouett, daughter of Mathew Jouett and Susannah (Price?) about 1750 and they apparently lived on his father’s land until moving to Albemarle County, then to Georgia in the 1790s.  Son Jouett Davenport died, apparently without heirs.  James died in Oglethorpe County, leaving a will dated 25 December 1803 and proved on 3 February 1804, naming his wife Frances, sons John Davenport, James Davenport, William Davenport, and Jesse Davenport, and daughters Susannah Hewell, Frances Hewell, and Henrietta Johnson.   His wife and four sons were named executors.
  10. Martin Davenport (c1720 – c1800?)  He appears to have died a bachelor.  He was still living on his brother David’s land – his father’s plantation in Hanover – as of 1778, when he gave a deposition in the Davis Davenport-John Wilkinson suit.    He was apparently a childless bachelor recluse in his last days who lived in a decrepit homestead of two acres on the Spotsylvania side of Davenport’s Ford, and died sometime in the first decade of the 1800s.  He owned no land, and lived off the charity of his brother William, then his nephew James, son of William.
  11. David Davenport (c1720 – 1802)  See separate page.
  12. Lucy Davenport (c1725 – bef1772)  She may have been another daughter.  She married Joseph Venable about 1745 and died in Spotsylvania County.
  1. Virginia Patent Book 9, p559.  A patent to Harry Beverley of 23 October 1703. []
  2. Virginia Patent Book 9, p649.  A patent to Samuel Williams and William Lea of 2 May 1705 []
  3. King William County Abstracts 1705-1721, Ruth & Sam Sparacio (The Antient Press), p24.  This is a lease and release form of transfer, with the release more fully preserved. []
  4. Virginia Patent Book 13, p2. []
  5. Virginia Patent Book 13, p190. []
  6. Virginia Patent Book 14, p418 and Book 16, p56. []
  7. Spotsylvania County Deed Book B, p214. []
  8. Hanover County Court Record Book 1733-35, p74. []
  9. Hanover County Court Record Book 1733-35, pp339-340. []
  10. Ibid, p340. []
  11. Cumberland County Deed Book 4, pp210. []
  12. Louisa County Deed Book A, pp445. []
  13. The daughter was apparently a spinster, explaining the late date.  Both mother and daughter appear in this record as “Crosha”. []
  14. Louisa County Court Orders 1, p96. []
  15. Louisa County Court Orders 1, p104, p113. []
  16. Louisa County Court Orders 1, p114. []
  17. Spotsylvania County Orders 4, p493.  Richard Davenport was paid for traveling 33 miles, about the distance from Martin Davenport’s patent to the Spotsylvania courthouse. []
  18. Louisa County Deed Book A, p364. A resale of the property a week later is on p365. []
  19. Louisa County Deed Book A, p417 is a sale of the same land in 1751.  Book A, p474 is a 1754 sale and Book B, p219 and p221 are 1757 sales of three parts of Carr’s patent which both bordered the southwestern part of Martin Davenport’s patent.  Deed Book H, p57 is a sale of adjoining land by James Dilliard on 20 July 1779.   Deed Book G, p85 is a sale by Thomas and Sarah Eads on 10 June 1791. []
  20. Albemarle County Will Book 3, p177. []
  21. Louisa County Deed Book I, p60. []
  22. Louisa County Deed Book I, p239. []
  23. Albemarle County Deed Book  13, p300. []
  24. Albemarle County Deed Book  23, p201. []