Sunday, November 10, 2013

Davenport Family Tavern & Inns

From research I have found my Davenport line had a common trend-owning taverns, inns, and other entrepreneurial enterprises. William owned the Wolfe, or Davenport's Inn in Newbury (later operated by his two sons Anthony and Moses) and step brother John Davenport two taverns in Portsmouth, NH --The Arks Inn and The Mason's Arms.

But, before them father James had a few taverns in Boston, MA. James Davenport owned the Globe Tavern, A Bunch of Grapes, and Kings Head Inn in Boston. At the Essex Institute, in Salem, is a portion of the sign which formerly hung at the " Bunch of Grapes," on State street, Boston, a famous coaching station in the days of the Boston and Providence stages. It is made of clay, moulded and baked, and is said to have been brought from England." He was not the only owner it changed hands before.

On the occasion of the victory of Stark, at Bennington, there was a grand celebration at the " Bunch of Grapes," in Boston. Early in the evening there began to arrive great numbers of the principal men in the town, as well as strangers, who happened to be "within the gates of the city" at this time. " In the street were two brass field-pieces, with a detachment of Colonel Craft's regiment." On the balcony of the town house all of the drummers and fifers in one of the regiments then in the town were posted. At a given signal the artillery commenced a salute of thirteen guns. After this the enthusiastic party assembled in the house, drank a series of toasts, following every one of which there was a salute of three guns and a shower of rockets. "About nine o'clock two barrels of grog were brought out into the street for the people that had collected there. It was all conducted with the greatest propriety, and by ten o'clock every man was at his home." Edward Field "The colonial tavern; a glimpse of New England town life in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries." From the  Boston Gazette December 24, 1754

From The Boston Evening Post February 3, 1755

He also owned the Ebenezer Hancock House which is now a law office- the story on how it was saved by the "wrecking ball" at Swartz Law

James Davenport had 22 children and 3 wives. He was the son of Ebenezer Davenport and Dorcas Andrews. James was born in Dorchester, March 1, 1693.  From the "History of the Military Company of the Massachusetts, Now Called the Ancient and Honorable Artillery Company of Massachusetts. 1637-1888, Volume 1" with works cited below: He married, (1) Sept. 30, 1715, Grace Tileston, of Dorchester. She died Oct. 24, 1721, aged twenty-seven years, and he married, (2) May 3, 1722, Sarah, born July 9, 1699, daughter of Josiah and Abigal Folger (sister of Benjamin Franklin). She died May 23, 1731, aged thirty-two years. He married, (3) Nov. 12, 1731, Mary Walker, of Portsmouth daughter of George Walker and Rebecca Addington Davenport. James was a constable of Boston in 1725, and May 25, 1735, gave ten pounds toward the erection of the new workhouse.

In 1722, Dec. 31, he and his father-in-law, Josiah Franklin, became sureties in the sum of one hundred pounds for Brie Blare, tailor, from Martha's Vineyard, who desired to settle in Boston. In 1748, Michael Lowell advertised that his place of business was "at the corner-shop leading to Mr. James Davenports [1727] hardtack bake-house, near the sign of the Cornfields." Not long after this, Mr. Davenport (1727) changed or enlarged his business, for he appears as an innholder.
On the corner of Fleet and Ship, now North, streets, Major Savage (1637) had a house and garden. He wharfed out in front in 1643. This house, or another house on the same spot, became King's Head Tavern. It was burned down in 1691, but rebuilt. The Memorial History of Boston, Vol. II, p. ix, says, "In 1754 Davenport [1727], who had kept the Globe Tavern, petitioned to keep the Bunch of Grapes, formerly known as Castle Tavern, near Scarlets Wharf." Mr. Drake says that James Davenport (1727) kept the King's Head Tavern in 1755, and his widow in 1758. He certainly kept a public-house in 1757, for we learn from the selectmen's minutes, under date of Dec. 5, 1757, that Robert Stone, innholder, upon whom five British soldiers had been "quartered and billeted," complained to the selectmen that he had more than his share; whereupon the selectmen "removed, from his house to James Davenports [1727] at North End," three men.

King's Head Tavern, North and Lewis (or Fleet) streets. Erected in 1691, This etching was drawn from an 1855 photograph. The King's Head continued a large and flourishing hostelry until the beginning of the Revolution, when it was converted into barracks for the marines, and then taken down for fuel. Joseph Austin bought the site, and established there his large bakery. James Davenport (1727) was appointed coroner for Suffolk County, Jan. 7, 174o-1, and was first sergeant of the Artillery Company in 1732.

Administration on his estate was granted June 13, 1759. Boston Records; Davenport Genealogy; New Eng. Hist. and Gen. Reg., 1879, pp. 25-34; Drake's Old Landmarks, p. 168; Porter's Rambles in Old Boston, p. 286.

William was his first son of James and Grace Tileston born Oct. 19, 1717 and settled in Newburyport. He married Sarah, daughter of Moses Gerrish and Mary Noyes of Newburyport. He operated the original Wolfe from his home.

From "History of Newburyport, Mass., 1764-1905" Currier, John J.

Dr. Henry Coit Perkins, son of Thomas and Elizabeth (Storey) Perkins, was born in the Wolfe tavern on State street, Newburyport, November 13, 1804. He graduated at Harvard in 1824, and receiv'ed the degree of M. D. in August, 1827. On the third day of September following" he began the practice of medicine in Newburyport, and married, October 30, 1828, Harriet, daughter of John Davenport.

The Union Fire Society was organized February 28, 1783. Benjamin Frothingham, Edward Toppan, William Cross, Daniel Balch, jr., Abraham Jackson, Daniel Cofifin, Richard Pike and other well-known citizens of Newburyport were members of this association. Meetings were held usually at Wolfe Tavern.

The first meeting of the stockholders of the company was held at the house of Mr. Moses Davenport, " Wolfe Tavern," on the seventeenth day of July for the election of officers.
The taverns and inns of the were the original business Exchanges; they combined the Counting House, the Exchange-office, the Reading-room, and the Bank : each represented a locality according to Alice Morse Earle in 'Stage-coach and Tavern Days' the aristocratic eastern towns, Newburyport and Portsmouth, were represented by ship owners and ship builders, merchants of the first class."

John Davenport was born Aug. 4, 1752 and is son of James and his third wife Mary walker. He moved to Portsmouth, NH when he was very young. He lived there until his death March 28, 1842. He married first, Elizabeth Hull, of Portsmouth; m. second, widow Elizabeth Welch Pendexter, June 21, 1780; m. third, Sally Bradley, of Haverhill, MA. The intermarriages in the family here

                             /THOMAS DAVENPORT b: ABT 1640
                     /EBENEZER DAVENPORT b: 1661 d: 1738
             /JAMES DAVENPORT b: 01 MAR 1693 d: BEF 02 NOV 1758
             |       \DORCAS ANDREWS b: ABT 1660
     /JOHN DAVENPORT b: 04 AUG 1752 d: 20 MAR 1842
     |       |       /GEORGE WALKER b: ABT 1670
     |       \MARY WALKER b: BET 1707 AND 1715 d: BET 18 JAN 1759 AND 04 AUG 1762
     |               |               /RICHARD DAVENPORT b: ABT 1620
     |               |       /ELEAZER DAVENPORT b: ABT 1640 d: 1678
     |               |       |       \REBECCA ADDINGTON b: 1649
     |               \REBECCA DAVENPORT b: 1676 d: 1718

C S Brewesters "Rambles About Portsmouth"
On the opposite side of Ark Lane, on the corner of State street, stood the Ark Tavern, kept by John Davenport. It was originally a two-story single house, fronting on State street. Mr. Davenport was a silver smith and buckle maker, and had removed to Portsmouth from Boston, where he was born. He had occupied the building on the corner of Fleet and Congress streets, now owned by the Mechanic Association, and had served the town as constable several years. He made several additions to the house in State street, one of which, one-story high, covered a small gore of land on the eastern end, about eight feet in width at the widest end, in which he himself worked at his trade. A connection of Mr. Davenport's wife, (Mr. Welch,) having at Lynn acquired a knowledge of the ladies' cloth slipper manufacture, he with him commenced the making of them in copartnership; at the same time continuing the buckle making business, which soon afterwards became unprofitable by the introduction of shoe strings. Mr. Davenport then opened his premises as a public house, with the sign of Noah's Ark, and denominated his house the "Ark Tavern,"

exhibiting in front a fanciful sign of the picture of the Ark. Mr. Davenport's wife died in this house while the Superior Court was sitting in Portsmouth, in the month of February, and as his house was crowded with boarders, which made her burial very inconvenient, she was kept until the court closed its business about three weeks after. The artist who painted Mr. Davenport's sign, went by the name of James Still. His proper name was James Ford. Under his real name he had been guiltyof an offence which cost him a part of his ears. Although he dropped the Ford he did the long hair over his ears, yet as his baptismal name was not changed it remained, he said, James Still. Thus in the exercise of his good talent as a delimeator and painter he continued till the time of his death under the name of James Still.

Wife of John Davenport 
 "LADY DAVENPORT" (circa 1800) As affable lady with ready smile is seen at three-quarters length, standing beside a vase of tulips, for one of which she reaches; she clasps the stem lightly, her right forearm being extended across her body to attain the flower. Figure slightly to right, she faces front, before a conventional background of gray, brown and olive notes. She has florid cheeks and dark brown hair, and wears a low-cut gown of gray-brown satin, generously adorned with silver fringe and with frills and flounces; flowing sleeves with lace, and lace-edged corsage.

Additional Family Info: Sophia Franklin Davenport , daughter of John and Elizabeth Pendexter, married John W Abbot on July 13 1828 in Portsmouth NH. Abbot was a silversmith below is a receipt.

                                                   Receipt, 1833 Winterthur Library


  1. And where do we think Nathaniel Hawthorne got all his best stories!
    Judy Granger

  2. This is so interesting, thanks for guiding us to it! There are so many other stories that are equally as interesting in the anceSTORY archives! Lots of history, thanks.
    C Follansbee