The 2010 U.S. Census recorded 12,475 black Americans with Davenport as their last name. That represented 22% of the total of 55,895 entries.
This article tracks their numbers in the census since the Civil War. We also look at historic African American people named Davenport.
We end with a review of early records of black military service in the United States.
After The Civil War
The 1870 census was the first survey after the Civil War and the Emancipation Proclamation. In 1850 and 1860, only free African Americans were recorded in the census. The many enslaved were omitted.
From 1870 onward, all black Americans were included.
1,329 people named Davenport were recorded in the 1870 census as black and 233 as mixed.
There was a total of 9,655 people with the name.
Davenport In The 1900 And 1940 Census
The mixed category was dropped from the census in 1900, so we just need to look at the black numbers this time.
The 1900 census recorded 2,871 people with the last name Davenport as black within a total of 16,502 that year.
By the way, the mixed category returned in the 1910 and 1920 censuses. It was dropped again in 1930, but replaced with extra categories for colored and non-white in a way that seems confusing now.
This changed again in 1940 and we can simply focus on one black category.
The 1940 census recorded 5,116 people named Davenport as black within a total of 30,319.
Historic Black Figures With The Davenport Surname
Here are some notable African Americans in history with Davenport as their last name.
- Born: 1919
- From: Newberry, South Carolina
- Died: 2017
As a child, Horace Davenport moved with his family from South Carolina to Norristown County in Pennsylvania in the great migration of African Americans from the South to the North.
He won a football scholarship to attend Johnson Smith University in Charlottte.
After serving in the Army in WW2, he studied economics at the University of Pennsylvania and then graduated with a law degree in 1950. He specialized in insurance and property law.
Davenport was the first black judge with the Common Pleas Court in Montgomery County when he was appointed in 1975. He was renowned at steering opposing parties toward settlements.
- Born: 1941
- From: Athens, Georgia
- Died: 2020
After Chester Davenport graduated from Morehouse College in 1963, he attended the School of Law at the University of Georgia. He was the first African-American student, and graduated in the top 5% of the class.
He joined the Department of Justice as a tax attorney and was appointed by Jimmy Carter as an assistant secretary at the Department of Transportation. Davenport also established a law practice and a private equity firm.
He kept strong links with the Georgia law school. The college chapter of the Black Law Students Association renamed themselves in his honor.
Davenport In Black Military Records
Military records are a rich resource of information for family history research. Here are examples of the Davenport surname from different military services:
- Buffalo soldiers
- Black civil war sailors
- Tuskegee airmen
Five regiments for black soldiers were formed during the Civil War. They were known as the Buffalo Soldiers.
Their records are part of the national archive of military monthly returns. The information includes the year and place of birth, where they enlisted, their occupation, and their height.
One of the earliest military entries for Davenport was in January 1873. Thomas C. Davenport was a 2nd Lieutenant in the U.S. Ninth Cavalry. He was stationed in January 1873 at Fort McKavett, Texas, and Washington D.C..
Another entry was in June 1914. Gus Davenport was a Private in the U.S. Tenth Cavalry.
You have to create an account on either website, but you do not need to pay for the Buffalo Soldiers archive.
Black Civil War Sailors
The National Parks Service has a free archive of African American sailors during the Civil War.
The information includes their age, height, rank, occupation, and where and when they enlisted. It also includes every ship that they served on.
You can search the database on the National Parks website.
One of the earliest entries for Davenport was for Adam Davenport from . He enlisted in August 1863 at Memphis when he was aged 30.
The record shows that Adam was assigned on to the ship Red Rover.
His naval rank was 1st Class Boy.
“1st Class Boy” was a rank generally given to seamen in training, who performed various manual tasks and duties aboard a ship under supervision. This could prepare them for promotion to the rank of ordinary seaman.
The Tuskegee Airmen were military personnel who served at the Tuskegee Army Airfield or related programs.
Nearly one thousand black pilots graduated from the Tuskegee Institute. They flew single-engine fighter planes or twin-engine bombers. 352 fought in combat.
Harry Davenport graduated from the Tuskegee Institute in May 1944. He qualified as a fighter pilot. Harry was from Beaumont, Texas.