John Davenport (clergyman)

Enlarge picture
Contemporary portrait of John Davenport


John Davenport (April 9, 1597May 30, 1670) was a puritan clergyman and co-founder of the American colony of New Haven.

Born in Coventry, Warwickshire, England to a wealthy family, Davenport was educated at Oxford University. His father was Henry Davenport (d. May 29, 1627), draper, alderman, and Mayor of Coventry, son of Edward Davenport, Mayor of Coventry (1551), and Margery Harford. His mother, Winifred Barnaby (1569 - April 12, 1597), is most probably a descendant of William I of Scotland and of Henry I of England and a direct descendant of an illegitimate son of Henry II and Rosamond de Clifford.[1] After serving as the chaplain of Hilton Castle he became the minister of St. Stephen Coleman Street in London. In 1625 he returned to Oxford for further studies.

Following a disagreement over the inclusion of the destitute in church congregations, in 1633 he resigned from the established church and moved to Holland. In 1637 he acquired the patent for a colony in Massachusetts and sailed with much of his congregation for Boston. In March of 1638 he co-founded the Colony of New Haven along with his classmate, Theophilus Eaton, a wealthy merchant from London who became the colony's first governor. He was a large proponent of education in his colony and is often credited with the co-founding of Hopkins School.[2]

As a burgess, he was an important figure in the colony up until his departure to Boston in 1669. He died in Boston of apoplexy in 1670 and was buried in the same tomb as John Cotton. Yale University's Davenport College is named in his honor.

It is a possibility that many of the so-called "self portraits" that Rembrandt did of himself, were in fact portraits of Davenport since Rembrandt was sometimes known to associate with those who ministered to the destitute, and known pictures of John Davenport bear a striking resemblance to Rembrandt Harmenszoon van Rijn. The portrait that accompanies this article purports to have been done during Davenport's lifetime, although it is dated to 1670 when he died.

Recently, DNA evidence has proven that his grandfather, Edward Davenport of Coventry, was descended from the Davenports of Henbury. In addition, the DNA evidence has established his descent from Ormus de Davenport, of Cheshire, and also his relationship to the present day Lord Bromley Davenport.

See also

References

1. ^ Gary Boyd Roberts. The Royal Descents of 600 Immigrants to the American Colonies or the United States, 1st edition. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 2004, pp. 422-3, 479-80; and Frederick Lews Weis, et al. Ancestral Roots of Certain American Colonists Who Came to America before 1700, 8th edition. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 2004, line 230A, p. 205. See Roberts, pp. 422-3, for discussion of Barnaby's ancestry.
2. ^ Chronicles of Hopkins Grammar School: 1660-1935. Thomas B Davis. Quinnipiack Press, New Haven, CT. 1938

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A Puritan minister named John Davenport led his flock from exile in the Netherlands back to England and finally to America in the spring of 1637.
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