Guide to the Collection

Collection Summary


This collection consists of the papers of the Davenport family of Milton, Mass., primarily Isaac Davenport. Included are estate papers, financial papers, correspondence, maps, and deeds.

Biographical Sketches

The Davenport family lived on the Wakefield Estate in Milton, Mass. from the early 1700s to the 1860s. John Davenport (1664-1725) is believed to have been the first owner of the Milton property. He was born in Dorchester, Mass. on 20 Oct. 1664. His name first appears on the Milton tax list in 1707. John married Naomi Foster of Dorchester, and they had seven children, including Samuel Davenport (1697-1773), who is believed to have been the next owner of the Milton property. Samuel married Rebecca Holbrook, and they had a son, also named Samuel (1720-1793). This Samuel married twice, first to Rebecca "Sarah" Whiting and then to Sarah Tucker. He was a silversmith and served on the jury that tried Captain Preston for the Boston Massacre. He probably inherited the property in the 1740s. When he died, he bequeathed the estate to his son Isaac (1753-1828). Isaac first appears on Milton's tax list in 1800.

Isaac Davenport married Mary May (1769-1853), daughter of Samuel May of Boston, in 1787. Isaac was a merchant in the city of Boston and owned store No. 8, and possibly No. 9, on Long Wharf in Boston. Isaac was John McLean's business partner. McLean, who is well known for making a fortune importing molasses, also kept a house in Milton. Isaac was also a business partner of Richard Dalton Tucker for some time, conducting business out of stores No. 23 and 24 on Long Wharf.

Isaac and Mary had two daughters: Mary May Davenport (1795-1843), who married Joseph Henshaw Hayward, and Louisa Goddard Davenport (1808-1859), who married Samuel Wigglesworth. Mary and Joseph Hayward had six children, including Louisa, Josephine (who married Henry P. Binney), and Isaac Davenport Hayward.

The Davenport family is related to both William Dawes, who served in the Revolutionary War and married Samuel May's daughter Mehitable, and the Alcott family (Samuel May's granddaughter, Abigail, married Amos Bronson Alcott).


Graham, Shelby, Annie Rotner, and Claire Dempsey. "Biographies of Wakefield Property Owners." Mary M .B. Wakefield Charitable Trust: History and Background, June 2007. October 2006.

Collection Description

This collection contains correspondence, deeds, wills, inventories, plans of land, accounts, receipts, and other papers of the Davenport family of Milton, Mass. Among the family correspondents are Isaac Davenport; his wife Mary (May) Davenport; their son-in-law Joseph H. Hayward; their niece Louisa G. (Archbald) Frothingham; and members of the May, Davenport, and related families.

The bulk of the collection consists of papers related to the estate of merchant Isaac Davenport (1753-1828). Also included is a receipt book of Davenport and his business partner Richard D. Tucker; an account book of Milton farmer Samuel Davenport; deeds for land belonging to Samuel Davenport and Samuel Davenport, Jr.; and correspondence and financial papers of Mary (May) Davenport.

Acquisition Information

On deposit from the Mary M. B. Wakefield Charitable Trust, September 2011.

Custodial History

The Henry P. Binney family papers, Cunningham family papers, Davenport family papers, Joseph H. Hayward family papers, and Mary M. B. Wakefield papers originally formed one large collection at the Wakefield Estate in Milton, Mass. Before the papers were deposited at the MHS, they were separated into these five separate but closely related collections.

Detailed Description of the Collection

I. Family correspondence, 1786-1861

This series contains correspondence of Mary (May) Davenport, Louisa G. (Archbald) Frothingham, Isaac Davenport, Joseph H. Hayward, Mary (Davenport) Hayward, and other members of the related May, Davenport, Goddard, Frothingham, and Wigglesworth families. Letters relate primarily to family matters.

Box 1Folder 1-4

II. Isaac Davenport estate and financial papers, 1707-1865

This series contains deeds, indentures, estate inventories, copies of Davenport's will, receipts, accounts, agreements, insurance policies, memoranda, correspondence, and other papers related to the dispersal of his estate. Also included are negatives and photostats of oversize maps and deeds for land owned by Isaac Davenport, 1707-1865, and a receipt book of Davenport and his business partner Richard D. Tucker, 1793-1859.

Box 1Folder 5-24
Estate papers, 1783-1848
Box 2Folder 1-6
Estate papers, 1849-1862
Box OSFolder 1-8
Oversize estate papers, 1801-1859

These papers consist primarily of oversize account statements, but also include some deeds and agreements.

Box OSFolder 9
"Negatives for Milton book, 1963," 1707-1865

Included are negatives and photostats of oversize maps and deeds of Isaac Davenport dated 1707-1865.

Vol. 1
Davenport & Tucker receipt book, 1793-1859

III. Miscellaneous family papers, 1724-1855

This series contains the papers of Isaac Davenport's grandfather Samuel Davenport (1697-1773), his father Samuel Davenport (1720-1793), his wife Mary (May) Davenport, his son-in-law Joseph H. Hayward, and other family members.

Vol. 2
Samuel Davenport account book, 1724-1783

This accounts in this volume are probably those of Samuel Davenport, Sr. (1697-1773), a farmer in Milton, Mass.

Box 2Folder 7-8
Samuel Davenport deeds, 1743-1806

Included are deeds of Samuel Davenport, Sr. (1697-1773) and Samuel Davenport, Jr. (1720-1793).

Box 2Folder 9
Mary (May) Davenport papers, 1832-1854

Included are letters, receipts, accounts, and estate inventories.

Box 2Folder 10
Financial and legal papers, 1827-1855

Included are accounts and receipts of Joseph H. Hayward and Davenport family members.

Box 2Folder 12
Poems and recipes, etc., undated and 1841

Preferred Citation

Davenport family papers, on deposit from the Mary M. B. Wakefield Charitable Trust, Massachusetts Historical Society.

Access Terms

This collection is indexed under the following headings in ABIGAIL, the online catalog of the Massachusetts Historical Society. Researchers desiring materials about related persons, organizations, or subjects should search the catalog using these headings.


Davenport family.
Davenport, Isaac, 1753-1828.
Davenport, Mary May, 1769-1853.
Davenport, Samuel, 1697-1773.
Davenport, Samuel, 1720-1793.
Frothingham, Louisa Goddard Archbald, 1794-1843.
Hayward, Joseph Henshaw, 1789-1853.
May family.
Tucker, Richard Dalton, 1771-1842.


Account books--1724-1783.
Family history--1750-1799.
Family history--1800-1849.
Family history--1850-1899.
Real property--Massachusetts--Milton.

Materials Removed from the Collection

A carte-de-visite photograph of Samuel Norton Wigglesworth (1845-1861), the son of Samuel and Louisa Goddard (Davenport) Wigglesworth, ca. 1861, has been removed to Portraits small (Photo. #9.32).