The Stamford Historical Society Presents
Portrait of a Family: Stamford through the Legacy of the Davenports
James Davenport 1758–1797
Third son of the Hon. Abraham Davenport, James was born in Stamford October 12, 1758. After graduating from Yale in 1779, he married Abigail Fitch, daughter of Dr. Perez Fitch on May 7, 1780. Theirs was a double wedding with brother John and wife Mary Welles, performed by the men’s father, Abraham.
James suffered from chronic rheumatism and other illnesses most of his life, yet he had a reputation for a pleasant disposition and, in his brief lifetime, served in both the Connecticut General Assembly and the United States Congress.
On May 30, 1777, while James was still at Yale, Governor Jonathan Trumbull and the Council of Safety appointed James as a Deputy Commissary-General for the Connecticut Continental Troops, an opportunity he declined. The following year he continued at Yale as a graduate student.
Once married, he settled in Stamford where he was elected in 1785 as a Representative in the Connecticut General Assembly. He served in this capacity until May of 1790 when he was promoted to the Board of Assistants, the Upper House, at age 32. He served in the Upper House until his death. He was named Judge of the Fairfield County Court in 1792. In 1796 he was elected a Congressional Representative. He returned from Philadelphia after Congress adjourned in July 1797, suffered a stroke and died on 3rd August.
James was survived by four daughters, one, Betsy Coggshall, by his first wife, Abigail Fitch and the other three, Abigail Fitch, Mary Ann and Frances Louise, by his second wife, Mehitable Coggshall whom he married after Abigail’s death on November 6, 1790. Abigail Fitch Davenport died in November 1782 at age 22 and is buried in the North Street Cemetery.
On display in the exhibit:
United States Continental Loan Office [Imlay] Certificate
Made out to John and James Davenport of Stamford, April 23, 1793.
In order to settle the public debt incurred during the American Revolution, the federal government issued these official documents under the direction of William Imlay, Commissioner. Acknowledged by the state as legal certificates of obligation they were later redeemed by Connecticut with United States bonds.
The Stamford Historical Society