Cumberland Falls by: James E. Lawson

Green B Davenport
Submitted by: Mary Lou Hudson
The following was taken from Kansas and Kansas,
 Vol IV, by Connelley, Pub. 1919, pages 1921, 1930. 
Green B. Davenport has been a resident of Rush
 County since 1885.In the passing years he has
 encountered a great many adversities of hardships.
 He learned much from experience and has profited
 both by his own failures and by the failures of
 his neighbors. It requires courage to turn
 misfortune into good fortune, and Mr. Davenport
 has been possessed of a plentiful share of
 courage and persistence.
 He came to Kansas from Whitley County, Kentucky.
 He was born within twelve miles of the county seat
 of that county, Williamsburg, on January 24, 1858,
 and spent his early life on a Kentucky farm. 
 William Davenport, if not a native of Kentucky,
 was a pioneer settler there, was a farmer and 
 brought up a large family.Among his children were
 Sampson, Ned Lewis, Zach, Ireson, Rebecca, who 
 married Peter Sumner, and Betsy, who married
 Needham Lovitt.
 Sampson Davenport, the father of Green B., was 
 also born in Whitley County, Kentucky, spent his 
 life as a farmer, was an active member of the
 Baptist Church, and gave his allegiance to the
 democratic party. As a business man he was above 
 the average of his community in success and 
 enterprise.  He conducted a large farm, raised
 grain and potatoes, and also considerable stock.
 He lived a long and useful life, and at his death 
 on January 20, 1916, was ninety years of age.  He
 married Sarah Bowman, who died in 1883. Her parents
 were Billy and Jennie (Carroll) Bowman. The 
 children of Sampson Davenport and wife were:
 William, a resident of Whitley County, Kentucky;
 Permilia, wife of Jack Rountree, of Ottawa, Kansas;
 Cumi, wife of Milt Moses;
 Emma, wife of William Lovitt and a resident of
 Lott, Kentucky; 
 Green B.; 
 Susie, wife of Crit Moses, of Rush County, Kansas;
 and Milton of Whitley County, Kentucky.
 As a boy on the farm Green B. Davenport had the 
 advantages of the country schools. He also attended
 high school for a time at Williamsburg and later
 at Boston, Kentucky. He has had some experience as
 an educator himself, having taught a couple of
 terms in a county district in Whitley County. He
 left the school room to become a farmer, and in
 farming he has found his most congenial and
 profitable vocation. His parents' home was his 
 home until he reached his majority and married,
 and he continued to live in Kentucky for five or
 six years, until he determined that his outlook for
 the future would be better in Western Kansas.
 In 1885 Mr. Davenport came out to Kansas by
 railroad, leaving the train at Hays City. He
 freighted his goods overland to Eldon Valley, 
 which was then a small post office, and in which
 community relatives of his wife had preceded him.
 His first settlement was a piece of school land
 in section 36, township 16, range 21. It had been
 appraised at $3.00 an acre, but Mr.Davenport 
 failed to bid that much and subsequently forced 
 to buy it from the county treasurer at an advance
 of .50 an acre.
 On arriving in this locality he and his wife and
 two little sons were set down on the prairie, in 
 what seemed a wide and lonely waste, surrounded
 only by a trunk and a few household goods. The 
 first shelter was a dugout in the bank built by Mr.
 Davenport. He also dug a well and found plenty of
 water at the shallow depth of eight feet. His
 dugout was a single room, three sides being formed
 by the bank in which it was built, while the front
 end was sodded up and contained two windows. He
 plastered the room with native magnesia plaster.
 The only floor was the native dirt, and there was
 a very limited supply of household goods to fill 
 the room. Later Mr. Davenport built a sod house of
 only one room, and in that he and his family lived
 until 1892, when he erected his present substantial
 country residence.
 When he arrived he had nothing except his bare 
 hands to work with, and he borrowed money with 
 which to buy a yoke of oxen. Mr. Davenport states
 that he paid 24 per cent interest on this money he
 thus borrowed, and that is a striking illustration
 of some of the heavy burdens borne by the early
 pioneers. Not only was the soil and climate 
 adverse to their efforts, but those who had money
 to lend exacted the full pound of flesh for its
 usury.  However, Mr. Davenport made good use of
 these oxen.  He broke land for himself and other
 settlers, and used his own labor and that of the
 oxen wherever possible to earn a day's wages.  On
 some low ground he planted potatoes and garden 
 truck. McCracken was then building up, and he
 found a ready market for his garden produce, and
 that contributed many a dollar to the support of
 the family. He usually raised some field crops,
 either wheat, corn or feed stuff, and began
 gathering a nucleus of livestock to feed it.  Six
 months after arriving he bought his first cow,
 and from that time made constant efforts to get
 into the stock business. His cows proved a very 
 important resource in the early days, and he also
 bought and traded calves, and finally drifted into
 a considerable business as a buyer and shipper. 
 He also engaged in hog raising, and has shipped 
 hogs and cattle by the carload out of McCracken.
 Such were some of the conditions of his early 
 beginning in Rush County.  Times have been hard
 and times have been good, and out of the aggregate
 of his efforts and experiences he has accumulated
 and now owns, together with his sons, three
 quarter-sections of land and also an eighty. 
 Three hundred and forty acres are under
 cultivation, and in certain good seasons he has
 raised as much as thirty-seven bushels of wheat 
 per acre, though one year his wheat crop was a 
 total failure. He has also done his share of work
 in the upbuilding of the community. He helped
 build the first schoolhouse in district No. 45. 
 It was a sod house, and the school was supported 
 by subscriptions, the first teacher being Miss
 Taylor. Mr. Davenport has served a number of years
 on the school board. Beyond that he has never
 participated in public life or in practical
 politics, and has merely given his vote regularly
 to the democratic candidates.  On February 2,1870,
 a few weeks after his twenty-first birthday, Mr.
 Davenport married Miss Julia Ryan. She was born 
 July 25, 1859, a daughter of Joseph and Elizabeth
 (Stephens) Ryan. Elizabeth Stevens was a daughter
 of Solomon Stevens. Joseph Ryan was born in 
 Whitley county, Kentucky was a farmer there and a
 hotel man at Pine Knot, Kentucky, and 1886 on 
 coming to Kansas, bought land in the same section
 where Mr. Davenport settled. After remaining five
 years he sold out and went back east to Jennings
 County, Indiana, and died at Butlerville. Joseph 
 Ryan and wife had the following children:
 Jane, who married Lyman Temple and lives in 
 Mountain View, Missouri; Harvey, who died in
 Jennings County, Indiana; Mrs. Davenport; Henry, 
 whose last known place of residence was at Joplin,
 Missouri; Lucretia, who died unmarried; Sallie, 
 who married Charles Hole, of Jennings County,
 Indiana; Andrew Johnson of Tacoma, Washington;
 Lewis, of Elkhart, Indiana; Rachel, wife of Bert
 Huff, of Indiana; Moses, of North Vernon, Indiana;
 Eben of Indianapolis; VanBuren, of Saguache, 
 Colorado; Malinda, who married Joseph Hunt, of 
 Oakley, Indiana; and Elbert, of North Vernon,
 Indiana.
 Mr. and Mrs. Davenport have two sons, Orlando
 and Herbert. Herbert is actively associated with
 his father in farming and lives at home. Orlando
 is farming for himself in the same community. He
 married Fannie Lovitt, and their children are 
 Leon, Lyle, Robert and Albert, Twins, and Basil.

 

 

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