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The Stamford Historical Society Presents

Portrait of a Family: Stamford through the Legacy of the Davenports

John Davenport
John Davenport
John Davenport
Abraham Davenport
John Davenport
Theodore Davenport
Helen Davenport
married Samuel Fessenden

Samuel Fessenden, circa 1892

Samuel Fessenden 1847–1908

Samuel Fessenden came to be perhaps the most widely known Davenport in-law throughout the State of Connecticut. Born in Maine, in April 1847, he was the son of Reverend Samuel C. and Abigail Fessenden. He attended the Lewiston Falls Academy in Auburn, Maine. At the onset of the Civil War, Samuel wished to join his fellow youths to fight. His parents initially refused to let him go, but two years later conceded and Samuel enlisted as a private in the Seventh Maine Volunteer Battery at the age of sixteen. Soon he found himself participating in some of the fiercest conflicts: the battles of the Wilderness, Cold Harbor, Petersburg and Spotsylvania. His record was brilliant, repeatedly displaying valor during the heat of battle. In December 1864 he received recommendation for promotion and was appointed a first lieutenant of the Second United States Infantry. He was offered the rank of captain but upon receiving a commission as second lieutenant of the First Maine Volunteer Battery, chose to join those from his native state. His conduct earned him great respect from both the enlisted men and his fellow officers.

After the war he returned to his studies, deciding upon the law as a profession. He chose Harvard Law School and graduated with the degree of Bachelor of Laws. In 1867 his parents moved to Stamford, and two years later he joined them. He was admitted to the Bar of Fairfield County in 1869, and soon became very popular within the ranks of the Republican Party.

He married Helen M. Davenport, daughter of Theodore and Harriet Chesebrough Davenport, in June 1873.

Samuel was elected as a State Representative in 1874, 1878 and 1894. He also served as State Senator in 1905 and 1907. In 1880, he became State’s Attorney for Fairfield County, a position he held until his death. In 1877 he formed a partnership with Galen A. Carter, Jr. to start the firm of Fessenden & Carter, which rapidly developed into an extensive practice.

On the national political scene he represented the State of Connecticut at the Republican National Convention in Cincinnati in 1876, proudly casting his ballot for James G. Blaine of Maine. In 1880, he once again was chosen to represent Connecticut, this time at the Republication National Convention in Chicago. Four years later he was elected as secretary of the Republican National Committee, a position which he held for many years until declining health forced his resignation.

He belonged to the Fairfield County Bar Association and was a director of the Stamford National Bank and the Stamford Trust Company. There were also memberships in several fraternal organizations, but the one that gave him the greatest satisfaction was the G. A. R. [Grand Army of the Republic]. As the years passed by and the ranks of his comrades in arms began to diminish, he devoted time to addressing their needs—which they acknowledged with gratitude. He died at his home in Stamford on January 7, 1908.  

Obituary sketch, Memorials of Connecticut Judges and Attorneys.

On display in the exhibit:

Political campaign material
Man of the Hour : Hon. Samuel Fessenden
For U. S. Senator, Hon Samuel Fessenden
Extracts from Connecticut newspapers giving opinions of this candidate during the senatorial campaign of 1874.  

The Stamford Historical Society

Samuel Fessenden, circa 1892 Samuel Fessenden, undated photo Samuel Fessenden, undated photo
circa 1892 undated undated

Stamford’s Colonial Period 1641-1783
The Later 18th Century and Stamford’s American Revolution
The Coming of the Railroad, Immigrants and Industrialization

John Davenport: The American Career of an International Puritan
(Francis J. Bremer)

Davenports gather to launch exhibit at Historical Society

Elizabeth Davenport Spence 1907-1998
(The Benefactress)

John Davenport 1597-1669/70
(The Founder)
John Davenport 1669-1730/31
Abraham Davenport 1715-1789
James Davenport 1716-1755
John Davenport 1752-1830
James Davenport 1758-1797
Theodore Davenport 1792-1884
Theodore Davenport Jr. 1834-1913
John Davenport 1840-1910
Abraham Davenport 1767-1837
Amzi Benedict Davenport 1817-1894
Benjamin Butler Davenport 1871-1958
Noah Welles 1718-1776
Galen Carter 1832-1893
Samuel Fessenden 1847-1908
Charles Henry Crandall 1858-1923
Charles Davenport Lockwood 1877-1949

Davenport Coat of Arms
Davenport Homestead

The Dark Day