CAPT. NATHANIEL DAVENPORT was born in Salem, Mass., and was the son of Richard Davenport and his wife Elizabeth Hathorn. Richard came to Salem with Endicott in 1628, from Weymouth in Dorsetshire, was admitted freeman September 3, 1634, was ensign in the local militia same year, and in 1637 served as lieutenant in the Pequod expedition, where he was wounded. He was representative in 1637, and joined the Artillery Company in 1639. Removed to Boston in 1642 and was appointed captain of the Castle, which post he filled for many years, and was there killed by lightning on July 15, 1665. His children were Nathaniel; Truecross, born 1634-5; Experience, baptized August 27, 1637; John, baptized September 19, 1641, at Salem; and at Boston he had Samuel, baptized June 28, 1656; Sarah, September 30, 1649; Elizabeth, September 13, 1652; William, born May 11, 1656. The widow died June 28, 1678.
Nathaniel spent his boyhood and youth at Salem and at the Castle. He was evidently a man of enterprise and ability, and for some time was concerned with several Boston men in an extensive business between Boston and New York. He married Elizabeth Thacher, daughter of Thomas.
From his early surroundings at the Castle he naturally acquired experience of military matters, and his business pursuits gave him wide acquaintance with the affairs of the colonies in their commercial relations. In the difficulties with the Dutch at New York he was evidently a trusted agent of Massachusetts, his residence for some time in New York giving him great advantage. In volume II. "New York Colonial History" are found letters passing between Edward Rawson, Secretary of Massachusetts, and N. Bayard, Secretary of "New Netherlands," showing that in 1673 Mr. Nathaniel Davenport and Mr. Arthur Mason were sent by the Massachusetts Colony to demand the restoration of some vessels which had been seized by the N. N. government, and they threatened reprisal, etc., if the vessels were not given up. In a later letter of Bayard to Rawson inregard to this demand, he refers to Mr. Davenport as a "spy." His experience and prominence would thus seem to mark him as a leader in the war, but it is evident that his residence abroad had precluded his holding military office in the colony, where the choice was made by the people of each town, and was made a matter of confirmation by the Court.
Capt. Davenport had returned to Boston in 1673, and at the time of the fitting out of the Narraganset Expedition in December, 1675, was serving on the jury at the Court of Assistants, whence he was summoned to take command of the 5th Company in the Massachusetts Regiment. This company was made up chiefly of men from Cambridge and Watertown, to most of whom Captain Davenport was a stranger; but it is said that he, on the occasion of "taking possession of his company, made a very civil speech to them, and also gave them free Liberty to choose their own Serjeants themselves, which pleased them very well, and accordingly did so."
The company joined the rest of the forces at Dedham plain, and marched to Narraganset with the army. In "Oliver's Narrative," one item concerning Capt. Davenport appears, mentioned with characteristic brevity. "Dec. 17th That Day we sold Capt. Davenport forty-seven Indians young and old, for Eighty Pounds in money." I have found nothing to solve the doubt as to whether it was the enterprise of the merchant or the humanity of the man that prompted the purchase. I find no mention of such sale on the treasurer's books. On December 19th, at the great Fort fight, Mr. Hubbard relates that "Capt. Mosely and Capt. Davenport led the van."
The death of Capt. Davenport is thus related in the "Old Indian Chronicle" above mentioned, p. 181:
Before our men came up to take possession of the Fort, the Indians had shot three Bullets through Capt. Davenport, whereupon he bled extreamly, and immediately called for his Lieutenant, Mr. Edward Ting, and committed the charge of the Company to him, and desired him to take care of his Gun, and deliver it according to Order and immediately died in his Place. . . . And it is very probable the Indians might think Capt Davenport was the General because he had a very good Buff Suit on at that Time and therefore might shoot at him. Capt. Davenport left no children, and his nephew, Addington Davenport, inherited his Narraganset claim.
Lieutenant Edward Ting (or Tyng) commanded the company during the rest of this campaign, and many of the credits are given under him as Captain. He was the son of Capt. Edward Tyng of Boston, and was born March 26th, 1649. He removed to Falmouth in 1680, and soon after married Elizabeth, daughter of Thaddeus Clark and great-granddaughter of George Cleeves. He was in command of Fort Loyal 1680 and 1681; was a counsellor and magistrate for Maine under President Danforth, and in 1686 was appointed by the King one of the council of his brother-in-law Joseph Dudley, and afterward under Andros, who made him lieutenant-colonel and placed him in command in the province of Sagadahoc in 1688 and 1689, and after the reduction of Nova Scotia was appointed governor of Annapolis, but on his way to that place his vessel was captured by the French, and he was taken to France, where he died. He was a man of great energy and ability, and was a large land-owner in Maine; but as he favored and served the Andros party, became very unpopular with the people.
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