The New Kent/Hanover Davenports

The New Kent/Hanover Davenports

Download A Chronology of the New Kent/Hanover Davenports

 From the Introduction to the Monograph:

This monograph concerns a Davenport family whose beginnings in Virginia originated in the York River Basin in Southside New Kent County.  This Davenport family was “discovered” when its descendants—all believing in a Colonial Virginia heritage—began to be tested as part of the Davenport Surname DNA Project.

New Kent County was created out of York County in 1654 and consisted of two separate parts.  Southside New Kent was that part lying on the south bank of the Pamunkey River from its headwaters on the Blue Ridge to below the confluence of the Pamunkey and the Mattaponi Rivers which formed the York, itself an arm of Chesapeake Bay.  Northside New Kent was on the north bank of the Mattaponi River from Gloucester County on the southeast to the Mattaponi headwaters in the foothills of the Blue Ridge. Lying between Southside and Northside was Pamunkey Neck, that long finger of land ninety or so miles in length, with an average width of nine miles.  In the 1640s, Pamunkey Neck had been set aside as an Indian Reservation.  When New Kent was erected, the Neck belonged to the Pamunkey and Chickahominy tribes.

While there has been substantial record loss relative to Northside New Kent, King & Queen, King William, and Caroline counties, all jurisdictions of the north side of the Pamunkey River, a records shell nevertheless remains and enables limited genealogical research.  However, there are virtually no records remaining prior to 1865 in the base counties of Southside New Kent: namely New Kent and Hanover, erected out of Upper New Kent in 1720. This means that a county record vacuum in both New Kent and Hanover exists from earliest Virginia to 1865, a period of almost two-and-a-half centuries.

That record vaccum is where we begin. Two volumes of Hanover records prior t0 1800 remain and we were able to make pertinent extractions from those volumes to begin the discussion. Several key points guide our review and identification of New Kent/Hanover Davenports:

First, we hypothesize that the New Kent/Hanover Davenport family was first located within the jurisdiction of New Kent County (1656 forward), for we find no trace of them elsewhere. Then, as their settlement continued to press northwestward (we do what we can with Hanover County after 1720), the New Kent/Hanovers followed the recognizable historical Virginia settlement pattern, moving from Upper Hanover (Louisa County) to the Blue Ridge and Albemarle County by the 1750s.  Extant public records began at the Hanover/Louisa Line, exactly where we found the first documentable member of the New Kent/Hanover Davenports, namely Richard Davenport of County Line & Albemarle.  Facts succeed hypothesis thereafter.

Second, because Colonial and pre-1865 records of New Kent and Hanover counties were  destroyed in court house fires, we were forced to speculate as to Colonial Virginia beginnings of this new Davenport family from meager land and tax records maintained by Williamsburg (before 1780) and Richmond (after 1780) and from the clues offered us by DNA analysis and the records of family participants in the Davenport Surname DNA Project  The public records themselves  provide only bare bones mentions of members of this family, and offer little or no continuity.

Third, we follow Richard Davenport of County Line & Albemarle to name and define this new Davenport family. His records begin in 1743, when he was in his late-20s-to-early-30s. Richard’s fifty-year ownership of land straddling the Hanover/Louisa boundary and his thirty-five years’ settlement in Southern Albemarle County on the eastern slope of the Blue Ridge provide us with the elements for crafting a unique designation for him. The “Hanover” portion of the New Kent/Hanover Davenport label denotes where the Family began to emerge from its burned records disability—thanks both  to Richard’s land cutting across  that County Line and the fact that he held on to his land for fifty years.

The “New Kent” portion of the family label comes from a belief that the American beginnings of the Family occurred in New Kent. We speculate that the Family actually had its Virginia beginning with a Richard Davenport, whose 50-acre headright was among 14 such used to pay for a 1677 Patent for 700 acres in Upper Southside New Kent County, subsequently (1720) in lower Hanover County. Further, we speculate that this first Richard, a headright from England, was followed by a West Davenport, possibly a son, who appeared on the King’s Quit Rent List of 1704 for New Kent County, charged with 125 acres.

Of Richard the Headright, West the Land Owner, and Joseph the Customer, we have expended our knowledge solely by their identification. But we are not quite finished with them. When we combine Richard of County Line & Albemarle with Richard the Headright, West the Land Owner, and Joseph the Customer, the New Kent/Hanover family begins to emerge.

Names of interest to Davenport researchers:

RICHARD DAVENPORT (b. @ 1709-1714, New Kent County; m. (1) ? c.1736 Carolina County?; m. [2]? m. [3] ELIZABETH BENGE HAMNER, [daughter of THOMAS BENGE, b. c.1710 Va., and MARTHA MARTIN, b. c. 1718, Va., widow ROBERT HAMNER] c. 1752, Albemarle County; d. 1792, Albemarle County, Virginia.

CROTIA DAVENPORT [b.  c1727, Hanover County, m.  Charles Kennedy, c1747, Hanover County; died c1812, Louisa County.]

JOSEPH DAVENPORT (b. c. 1717? King William County; m. ?; d. c.1739-1740, Venezuala or Caribbean). Natural Child:

DAVENPORT KENNEDY (b. c1736, Caroline or Hanover County; m. [1] ?; [2] Mary —, c.1780, Hanover County?; d. 1782, Louisa County).

Some descendants of interest:

CHARLES LEWIS DAVENPORT (b. @ 1805, Virginia, Albemarle or Amherst County [?] m. MARY ANN HARRIS 1829, Sumer County, TN, d. before 1850, Sumner County, TN)

JOHN FORBES DAVENPORT (b. @ 1825, Alabama 9?), d. 9Jul1864, killed in action at Dinwiddie, near Petersburg Virginia. )

WILLIAM D. DAVENPORT  (b. @ 1805, Virginia, Albemarle or Amherst County [?] m. LUCINDA DRAPER Caldwell County, KY 1831, d. between 1859 and 1860, Johnson County, Missouri.)