Davenport Cartoon Contest

2018 Toon Con

Once again, the Homer Davenport International Cartoon Contest returns to Silverton. After all, a festival that honors a famous Political Cartoonist seems almost naked without some kind of competition focused on that endeavor. To that end, the International Cartoon Contest has returned! As in past years, the competition is for “political” or “editorial” cartoons on any topic as long as they are not libelous, slanderous, racist, sexist or salacious.

As with any activity that as lasted over thirty years, adjustments are often required. In light of that fact, we have substantially increased the prize money award amounts. The new prizes will now be $750, $500, $300 and $200 respectively, with an entry fee of $25. We hope that this change will attract a wider range of entries, and more actively reflect similar international cartoon contests. And frankly, keep our modest competition relevant and competitive. We are especially interested it the work of new and emerging cartoonists including communities of color.

All cartoons will be judged in three categories: Artistic skill, clearly implied message, and the Cartoon’s over all appeal. All prizes will be determined by a blue ribbon panel of judges, with five non-cash “Peoples Choice” awards determined by popular vote, cast during the Festival. Winners will be announced Sunday afternoon at the festival, and announced online on the Web at the “Homer Page.” Entries will be prominently displayed in Silverton during the Homer Davenport Community Festival, (August 6 through 8, 2021). Deadline for submission is Friday, July 30, 2021.

Our 2021 Blue-Ribbon Panel of Judges:

Sen. Lew FrederickOregon State Senator Lew Frederick (D-Portland) first took office as an Oregon State Representative on October 30, 2009 during a swearing-in ceremony in the House Chambers of the Oregon Capitol Building. Professionally he is a Strategic Communications Consultant, focusing on Strategic Planning, Community Relations, Science/Technical issues and Media Crisis Communications. With an academic background in biology, theater, and political science, his professional life has included seventeen years as a television reporter at KGW-Channel 8 in Portland, thirteen years as the Director of Public Information for the Portland Public Schools, teacher, actor and ranch-hand.

Dr. David LewisDr. David Lewis, is an enrolled member of the Confederated Tribes of Grand Ronde, and descendant of the Santiam Kalapuya, Chinook, Molalla, Takelma, and Yoncalla Kalapuya peoples of western Oregon.  He is past manager of the Grand Ronde Cultural Resources Department, Chachalu Tribal Museum Curator, and Tribal Historian.  David has a PhD in Anthropology from the University of Oregon, and was Director of the Southwest Oregon Research Project.  David is a professional presenter on the ethnohistories of the tribes of western Oregon, and has published numerous articles about the Tribes of Oregon, many on his blog. David currently lives in Salem with wife Donna, and sons Saghaley and Inatye.

Rep. Rick LewisOregon State Representative Rick Lewis, (R-Silverton) was appointed to the Oregon House after the resignation of Vic Gilliam. Prior to joining the legislature, Lewis served as the Mayor and as the Chief of Police for Silverton. He is a life member of the Oregon Association Chiefs of Police and served as the organization’s President in 1991. In 2005, he took a six month leave of absence from the Silverton Police Department to teach the Executive Leadership Program for the Iraqi Police leadership during Operation Iraqi Freedom. Rick lives in Silverton with his wife of 39 years, Pat.

We look forward to their collective judgement! Rules, Official entry forms and more details can be found on the Web by Clicking Here:

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Homer’s Statue

Homer C. DavenportAfter Homer C. Davenport passed away in 1912, a group of his friends pursued the notion of honoring Oregon’s first media superstar with a suitable monument. A statue was proposed, possibly due to the fact that Davenport’s half-sister Adelaide was an up and coming sculptor herself. A proposal was put forth for an integrated statue and fountain, to be placed in downtown Silverton. Adda, as she was known completed a bust of her famous brother, and then contacted one of Homer’s artist friends, the noted sculptor S.J. Farnham. Farnham’s small “sketch” of the final design is shown here (right).

Sally James Farnham (1869-1943) is arguably best known today for her Simon Bolivar monument in New York’s Central Park. Yet she had a long career producing a wide-range of sculpture ranging from portraits, trophies, medals, plaques and various studio works. Special care has been taken in highlighting works not often associated with Farnham studio. Though “untrained” in her craft technically, she achieved the acclaim and notoriety that few “trained” artists ever achieve. – From the Sally James Farnham Website

Davenport met Farnham through their mutual friend Frederic Remington, and Homer’s later partner Zadah Reakirt. All four also shared a love of Arabian horses, and were frequent guests at Red Gables, the Davenport Farm in Morris Plains, N.J. Adda no doubt met Farnham there, and established a connection and friendship that remained for years.

The Davenport Statue campaign was launched in 1914, several years after Homer’s passing, and was gathering steam when World War I intervened. After the war, the momentum for the statue was lost, so that by the time the Twenties roared onto the scene, there were only sufficient funds to construct a robust marble marker instead of the originally proposed statue and fountain. This was done, and included an engraving of the cartoon Davenport drew after his father passed away in 1911.

Over the years, Davenport’s memory faded from view. But the idea of a statue keeps coming up. As new generations discover the life and times of Homer Davenport, maybe the time is once again ripe to float that notion! And now with the City of Silverton’s acquisition of the Eugene Field School site, maybe that time has come! A proposal will be made at the various community meetings planned around the new development. Stay tuned!

R.C. Harvey: A Nice Notice

Insider's History of CartooningEditor’s Note: The National Cartoonists Society (NCS) recently held their annual convention in Portland, Oregon just North of Silverton. The weekend long affair for the most part was private, with strict security measures designed to keep the over zealous fan base at bay. The one exception was an open Sunday morning “Signing Event” where the cartoonists and authors offered their autographed wares for sale. As fellow Silvertonian Bob Foster was autographing my copies of his Moose series, I noticed a gentleman peddling a book entitled Insider Histories of Cartooning at the same table. This got my attention.

Turned out another Bob! Specifically R.C. Harvey, noted cartoon historian and “girlie” cartoonist. I quickly pulled out the bucks and set Mr. Harvey to work autographing his book, when he asked me how to spell my name. In reply, I showed him a copy of Annotated Cartoons By Davenport, and pointed. He quickly handed me back my money and offered to trade! Best deal I’ve made in years. I went to his Website and signed up for his Rants & Raves monthly column on Cartoon happenings. In his recap of the NCS event, he wrote the following nice and book review! Reprinted with permission.

Cartoonists Land in Portlandia – The National Cartoonists Society’s Reubens Weekend

Excerpt: “…this year’s signing event will doubtless change all that. It was a remarkably successful event with lots of civilians thronging the room and buying books and sketches … But the big event for me was when a bearded Gus Frederick wandered by and was about to buy a book when I noticed he had a book about Homer Davenport under his arm. Davenport is one of the giants of editorial cartooning in the first decade of the 20th century, but virtually nothing has been written about him. Frederick’s book reprints a 1897 book of Davenport cartoons with annotations that explain their significances; I’ve reviewed the book at greater length down the Scroll. Seizing upon this find, I quickly traded Frederick a copy of my Insider Histories of Cartooning for a copy of his Davenport. And a good time was had by all…”


Book Reviews
R.C. Harvey – Critiques & Crotchets
The Annotated Cartoons By Homer C. Davenport
Researched and compiled by Gus Frederick
200 8×10.5-inch pages, b/w; 2013 Liberal University Press paperback, $20

DAVENPORT is one of the great names in American editorial cartooning, but almost nothing has been written about him—nothing, at least, approaching the scholarship that Frederick displays in this volume. Born in 1867, Davenport grew up drawing all the time near Silverton, Oregon, and eventually, after numerous false starts, he wound up cartooning in San Francisco for the Chronicle, until William Randolph Hearst finally hired Davenport for his Examiner by tripling his Chronicle salary.

Davenport was part of Hearst’s team that took over the New York Journal in 1895 and helped launch “yellow journalism” in competition with Pulitzer’s New York World. Davenport became famous during the presidential contest of 1896, depicting candidate William McKinley’s manager, wealthy industrialist Marcus Hanna, wearing “plutocratic plaid” with a tiny dollar sign in each square, accurately pinpointing the real issues and interests of the campaign. The cartoonist’s work was fierce enough on politicians that it inspired a failed anti-cartoon bill in the New York State Assembly. In 1904, one of his cartoons of Uncle Sam with his hand on the shoulder of Teddy Roosevelt is said by many to have enabled TR’s election. Davenport also bred American-born Arabian horses and wrote a book about it.

On April 13, 1912, Davenport was sent to illustrate the sinking of the Titanic. He contracted pneumonia waiting to interview the survivors and died on May 2.

Two volumes of his cartoons were published during his lifetime—Cartoons by Davenport in 1897 and The Dollar or the Man in 1900. He wrote an autobiography, focusing on his youth in beloved Silverton, The Country Boy (1910). The only biography I know of is Homer Davenport of Silverton: Life of a Great Cartoonist by Leland Huot and Alfred Powers (West Shore Press, 1973), which is a fairly relaxed and casual anecdotal account of his life, mostly chronological but not entirely. Almost half of its 400-plus pages are pictures—photos of Silverton and elsewhere and Davenport’s cartoons. The quality of reproduction is, however, poor. In Frederick’s book, the pictures are superbly reproduced, the finest lines meticulously captured.

In reprinting the 1897 volume of cartoons with extensive annotation, Frederick has performed a monumental service for all students of editorial cartooning in America. The original book printed only cartoons with no explanation. Herein, each cartoon, all from 1895-1898, gets a full page, and facing it is a page of text, explaining who the victims of Davenport’s pen are and what their significance is at the time. Frederick told me he is at work annotating the 1900 [The Dollar or the Man] collection.

Only a few of the cartoons consist of metaphorical messages in the modern manner; most are caricatures that exaggerate and distort their victim’s features, making them all seem highly questionable persons. I’m posting only a few hereabouts, including Davenport’s 1896 portrait of his boss, W.R. [Hearst] himself—a friendly, even complimentary, picture that may well be the most familiar of Davenport’s works: it shows up often in histories of journalism.

(Click Thumbnail for More Detail—Close the Window to Return)
R.C. Davenport Illustrations Panel 1 R.C. Davenport Illustrations Panel 1 R.C. Davenport Illustrations Panel 1 R.C. Davenport Illustrations Panel 1

—Review by R.C. Harvey in Rants & Raves, his monthly online magazine of comics news and reviews, cartooning history and lore, at RCHarvey.com

The City’s Cartoons

Mary Delle & Alice Davenport

In the early 1960s, Homer Davenport’s sisters, Alice Davenport Bernard and Mary Delle Davenport Havens (right), gifted to the citizens of Silverton a number of original political cartoons, photographs and other artifacts from their famous brother. The cartoons have been on display in City Hall for decades, since they were donated to the Silverton Library, then part of the City of Silverton.

Main Street Coffee and Bistro in partnership with the City of Silverton will host a special exhibition of these eight original Davenport cartoons. The cartoons, dating from 1894 through 1904, will be displayed the upstairs gallery in the newly remodeled Wolf Building, located at 201 East Main Street, in Silverton Historic downtown core. All of the City Cartoons along with annotated descriptions will allow visitors to examine up close and personal, the artwork of Oregon’s First Media Super Star. The eight cartoons set to be displayed cover a period of time from 1894 through 1908.

The oldest piece, is a portrait of Davenport’s father, Timothy, (left). It includes the note, “Portrait of My Father, October 6, 1894.” At this period of time, Davenport was firmly established with Hearst’s San Francisco Examiner, and was no doubt home visiting.

The next earliest, is an image of lame-duck president Grover Cleveland, sitting secure at work, with a Tammany Tiger-skin rug under his chair, being confronted by an old begger. A partial penciled-in title starts “To Busy…” Owing to Homer’s notoriously bad spelling, it most likely meant “TOO busy…” Probably done in late 1895 or early 1896.

Another Tammany-tied cartoon from around 1896 features Tammany Hall Boss Richard Croker, with his bags packed and ready to head off to his Irish estate, while stuffing the Tammany Tiger up his sleeve…

“Now for Prosperity” features House Speaker Thomas Reed (R-ME) and Congressman Nelson Dingly (R-ME) “shake down” Uncle Sam for the benefit of the corporate trusts. This cartoon was included in Davenport 1897 collection “Cartoons by Davenport.”

“God’s in it. We’re in it. There’s money in it.” Here we see Dollar Mark Hanna and the Trust Brute mugging a Cuban. From Davenport’s second published collection, “The Dollar or the Man?” published in 1899.

Wolf Building Display

The final two cartoons date from around 1904, during Davenport’s post-Hearst period. Both feature person hand-written notes dated August 30, 1908. These he apparently gifted to Dr. Charles H. Brewer, an Oregon doctor and his wife Nettie Mae Brewer, during a visit with Homer, most likely in New Jersey. Mrs Brewer, (formerly Nettie Mae Munkers) was a school mate of Homer’s (albeit in an earlier grade level).

One features a ghostly Lincoln with his hand on old man’s shoulder, holding a newspaper reading “Parker’s Letter – I Will Revoke.” This is in reference to 1904 Democratic Presidential candidate Judge Parker, who vowed to revoke a pension extension passed as an executive order by President Roosevelt for Civil War veterans. The hand-written inscription says: “To Mrs. Dr. Brewer, who as a girl was my school mate. Me at one end of the classroom, and she at the other. (Those that know me will know which end I was). It’s with the greatest happiness that I give her this cartoon which bears a likeness of my father, he of whom all Silvertonians—yea Oregonians loved. [signed] HCD. Aug 30, 1908” Homer often used people he knew as models.

President Roosevelt on a stage with audience, handing his Message to Congress, over to House Speaker Joseph Gurney Cannon (R-IL). The hand-written inscription says: “To my dear friends Dr. and Mrs. Brewer who have made me so happy with just a visit, but after all, what is greater than a visit between old friends? Yours with Love, [signed] HCD. Aug 30, 1908”

The final image is a self-portrait of the artist, possibly done during the 1905 Lewis and Clark Exposition, owing to the appearance.

Eventually all of these pieces need to be re-framed in an archival manner to ensure their preservation for
the decades to come. Here is your chance to help the Homer Festival at the same time as helping to preserve history. By donating to the Davenport Cartoon Re-framing Fund, you will get the same tax-deduction as well as the knowledge that you have personally helped keep Davenport’s art safe and secure for future generations to enjoy. Plus you will be the first in line to view these restored pieces, when they are eventually displayed to the public.

Ask your Homer Day Contact about the Cartoon Re-framing Fund!

The Brooklyn Citizen: 1896

Arthur E. Jameson

Arthur E. Jameson

On Sunday, October 25, 1896, just a bit over a week before Election day, The Brooklyn Citizen, one of many daily newspapers in New York City, ran a short biographic sketch on Political cartoonist Homer Davenport. This piece ran just one year after Davenport arrived in the Big Apple after his boss William Randolph Hearst’s acquired the New York Journal.

This also appears to be the earliest biographical piece about Davenport to be published. There were many more over the next decade. It was written by Arthur E. Jameson (1872-1957), a fellow Hearst comic artist. At the time of the article, he had himself embarked in what would be a long career with Hearst and Company, eventually specializing in what would be now termed graphic novels. His work in fact predates a style that would become popular by later artist’s like Hal Foster and his Prince Valiant strip.

Why he would write a piece in a non-Hearst paper, seems like a contradiction, but no doubt was part of Hearst’s well-known approach to self-promotion. The inclusion of an image of John M. Palmer the “Gold Democratic Candidate” for President was interesting as well, since Hearst openly supported William Jennings Bryan, the Democratic candidate, who espoused a “bimetal” approach using both gold and silver as an economic base.

The page from which this article was reproduced, had these Davenport caricatures sprinkled throughout the page, even though the article on Davenport was only a dozen or so column inches on the upper left corner of the page. The paper was donated to the Silverton Country Historical Society by the Digerness family, whose ancestors include another talented Silverton cartoonist, the late Knute Digerness.

Work of a Cartoonist
Influence of the Pencil in Line with the Pen
The Varied Career of One
By Arthur E. Jameson

Dollar Mark Hanna and McKinleyPublic interest has been so universally centered in the political outlook, and in the principals who are to engage in the coming battle, that the men who are really to shape their destiny have been overlooked. The writers and artists representing some of the largest newspapers in the country form no small part of the large army of men which is to comprise the opposing forces. Among them are men who have achieved reputation and fame in their respective capacities, and are the chosen ones of their profession. They are as prominent in the newspaper field as are the political figureheads to the laity, and what they will accomplish during the campaign will be watched as carefully by the interested public as by the politicians themselves.

One of the men who will do much to shape and disfigure the hopes of the political aspirants is Homer C. Davenport, of the New York Journal. Since the time of Nast there is no man who has jumped so suddenly into prominence in the field of caricature. Within four years he has acquired a reputation which extends from the Atlantic to the Pacific, and his original drawings adorn the sanctums of most of the prominent politicians in the country. They watch his work as closely as Tweed and Blaine did that of Nast.

Of all the checkered careers to which a man can fall heir, his is the most versatile. He is probably one of the quaintest and most original characters to be found in the profession. His academy has been the practical school of observation, and there has been nothing for him to acquire but facility; the last was a natural inheritance.

It is hard to realize that a man who can now make political monarchs bend in fear and submission, has been a jockey, a waiter, an engine wiper, a clown, a fireman, and a steamboat stoker. But such is Mr. Davenport’s repertoire of accomplishments. They were not forced upon him through necessity, of course, for his father has always been in a position to help him. They were merely the result and deserts of his boyish waywardness and recklessness. He was always a source of constant worry and annoyance to his parents. When he ran away with a circus during harvest time his father’s hair, he says, first began to turn gray and Has been turning ever since until about five years ago. Then it began to return to its original color. It was the arrival of this circus which cut short his career at school, but his knowledge was afterwards acquired in the manner most self-made men boast of. He cares more for game roosters and bull pups than he does for books, and though he may not be able to quote Shakespeare or Byron, he can sign his name to as large a check as most learned pedagogues.

It is always interesting to know what event marks the inception of a successful career, and it seems odd that in Mr. Davenport’s case his first effort should have been at the expense of his long-suffering father. His younger sisters, possessing the same humorous instincts had plaited the fore-locks of their paternal ancestor’s hair while he was taking a nap, and had tied a red ribbon on it so that it resembled the topknot of a pickaninny. When he removed his hat later in the evening to introduce Governor Pennoyer to a large audience the red ribbon jumped out and stood straight up, to the intense amusement of the audience and the consternation of the principals. It was Homer’s first motif and the result was conspicuous for a day on the post office bulletin board.

Through a friend of his Mr. Davenport later got an offer from the Portland Oregonian to make advertising cuts. The first drawing was a stove, but the legs had such wiggle and the door such a mark that the advertiser refused to run his “ad” if the cut had to go with it. He was compelled to seek “green fields and pastures new” after this failure, and finally wound up in. San Francisco. An admiring friend introduced him to the art manager of the Examiner as “the greatest artist in the country.” The faces of those around him fell away into a peaceful smirk at this announcement and Homer thrust his precious samples through the linen of his coat. He was willing at that moment to go back to ploughing without complaint. But they gave him a trial at $10 per week with instructions not to be too original. When he eventually grew tired of copying A. B. Frost and drawing bridges and buildings it was the signal for his dismissal.

After a short stay on the Chronicle he went to Chicago, where he did some serious comic stuff for the Herald during the World’s Fair. Mr. Hearst of the Examiner returned from Europe about this time end noticing Davenport’s work, sent for him, He was given free scope at once, and his successful career dates from that period—-two and one-half years ago. When his fine page cartoon of Sam Rainey, the Tom Platt of the Pacific Coast, appeared, it set everybody wild. It was as big a hit to the West as was Gilmans’ celebrated drawing of Blaine, the tattooed man, and it was the political death of the great “boss.”

When Mr. Hearst bought the “Morning Journal he brought Mr. Davenport with him. The people realized his genius at once, and he soon created a stir in national politics. His “Eeny Meeny Miny Mo” cartoon was copied from the Atlantic to the Pacific, and when his drawing of Reed punching the bag, the famous Republican leader wrote and asked him for the original. His success was instantaneous.

Dollar Mark HannaBut since that time he has devoted most of his energies and wit and genius to the much-abused Mark Hanna. Indeed, Mr. Davenport has been as merciless in his attacks upon the stage manager and press agent of the Republican candidate that overtures have been made to have the cartoons stopped. The check suit with the dollar marks has wrought great havoc with “Mark” and has caused him many sleepless nights. But they still continue appear, and when the campaign is this check suit will pass into history and continue to haunt Mr. Hanna, as did the famous money bag face of old “Boss” Tweed.

It is scarcely credible to believe that this young genius had never earned a dollar from his pen five years ago. Although he is the same unassuming fellow who entered the Examiner office with his high-water pants and a seedy overcoat to cover up the patches, he is, of course, more metropolitan. But he possesses none of the vices which usually accrue from success. He never touches liquor or tobacco and has only hobby, as was said before, is keeping game chickens and bull pups. There is no more entertaining or original talker. His conversation is like his drawings—full of humor and lasting impressions. Everything he does is tinged with humor; he cannot it. If his drawings were only funny, Davenport could scarcely be less great; but they are full of serious thought and need no letter press to tell the story. No cartoonist can excel him in drawing, and when he introduces animals into his work he is superior to all. Before the national campaign is over he will have shattered many political aspirations beyond hope. Though he has already achieved much, he is only at the inception of his career.

How little the farmers thought when they used to laugh until their sides ached at his early sketches at Silverton, Oregon, that with as much ease he could make the whole world laugh or frown.

Arthur E. Jameson

The Sage of Silverton

TWD_bookThe Davenport Project is pleased to announce the release of Timothy Woodbridge Davenport: The Collected Works, from Liberal University Press. Compiled mainly from papers written for the then-new Quarterly of the Oregon Historical Society, this new collection offers a unique and forgotten aspect of the Oregon Country, through the writings of this forgotten Oregon Statesman and Pioneer Philosopher.

Timothy Woodbridge Davenport (1827-1911) is known today as the father of W.R. Hearst political cartoonist Homer Davenport (1867-1912). “T.W.” was born on July 30, 1826, in Columbia, New York. His family moved frequently until settling for over a decade near the town of Woodstock in central Ohio, where his father Benjamin had a medical practice. In the spring of 1851, the Davenport family emigrated to Oregon, arriving that autumn in the Waldo Hills several miles south of present-day Silverton.

Over the next half century, Davenport was personally involved in the new state of Oregon politically, serving in numerous capacities, including Special Indian Agent, County Surveyor, State Representative and Senator as well as being appointed Oregon’s first State Land Agent.

The last decade of his life saw a flurry of written essays, covering a wide range of topics; both observations and personal recollections. Most of these were printed in the new Quarterly of the Oregon Historical Society. Now for the first time, they are presented in a single volume, allowing researchers, history buffs and others a unique view of late 19th century Oregon, through the progressive pen of one of this State’s leading pioneer intellects.

The book will be available online for $25, as well as locally through the Silverton Country Historical Society.

Who the Heck was Homer?

sfpl01On August 3, 2019 during Silverton’s annual Homer Davenport Community Festival, The Davenport Project heads over to the Silver Falls Public Library for our next free presentation, staring at 1:30 (and repeating at 3:00), sponsored by the Silver Falls Public Library. On tap will be a lively and visually entertaining presentation, on the life and times of political cartoonist Homer C. Davenport, late of Silverton.

Homer C. Davenport

In the decade of the 1890s, just before the dawn of a new century, American society was going through a transition; from horses and trains to automobiles and airplanes. Change was everywhere. Through it all, Oregon-born cartoonist Homer Davenport was there, wielding his pen to spray a steady stream of caustic caricatures onto the notables and notorious of the global political scene.

Homer Davenport (1867-1912) was Oregon’s first media super-star. Born in Silverton, Oregon, into the pioneer Davenport and Geer families, he became a world traveler and developed a second career of breeding Arabian horses. His life is a story of fame, political influence, family connections, artistic creativity, and discovery. Yet, few outside his hometown are even aware of the impact this self-described “country boy” had on society.

His unique rural Oregon upbringing, along with a supportive and nurturing home life, equipped Davenport with the intellectual tools and the artistic skills needed to hit the ground running, in spite ofsome would say because ofa lack of formal training. He arrived on the scene during a perfect storm of technology and public sentiment. One New York State Senator even sponsored a bill to outlaw political cartoons, because of the influence of Davenport’s work.

For this presentation, Davenport historian and Oregon Cartoon Institute fellow Gus Frederick will present a visual overview of Davenport’s art, life and times. With emphasis on the enabling reprographics technology of the era, as well as a snap-shot of Davenport’s contemporaries, Frederick will show graphically how the turn of the Twentieth Century was the golden age of the cartoonist and graphic illustrator. And how a small-town Oregonian occupied a major role. Also included will be an update on the eight recently acquired original Davenport cartoons, an exhibit featuring the City of Silverton’s collection of cartoons, and of course Silverton’s annual Homage to its favorite son, the Homer Davenport Community Festival.

Frederick is the creator of The Annotated Cartoons by Davenport, an annotated edition of Davenport’s 1898 collection of cartoons, as well as Silverton from Arcadia Publishing’s Images of America series. He also compiled the extensive social commentary of The Collected Works of T.W. Davenport, comprising Homer’s Oregon pioneer politician father’s writings from the Oregon Historical Quarterly. Additionally, he is continuing work on a video documentary of Davenport’s life and times.

The Silver Falls Public Library is located at 410 South Water Street, in Silverton. Doors open at 1:00 p.m. with the presentation starting at 1:30 p.m. and repeating at 3:00 p.m. Free and all ages are welcome!


T.W. Davenport; Indian Agent

twd_mug01On January 28, 2014, The Davenport Project heads over the Cascades again to present a talk entitled “T.W. Davenport: Experiences of a NE Oregon Indian Agent” at the History Pub. The free presentation will be held in the Father Luke’s Room at the McMenamin’s St. Francis School in Bend. It focuses on Silverton pioneer Dr. Timothy Woodbridge Davenport (right), father of the famous political cartoonist and his experiences serving as a temporary Indian Agent at the Umatilla Agency during the Civil War, as well as other encounters with Native Americans he had over the years. Taken from his own extensive four-part series first published in the Oregon Historical Quarterly in 1907, Dr. Davenport’s recollections are an incredible glimpse into an often unknown era.

An abolitionist and charter member of the Oregon Republican party, Dr. Davenport, was a very remarkable person. He was a medical doctor, pioneer farmer, surveyor, Indian agent, store owner, state legislator and state land agent. He was born on July 30, 1826, in Columbia, New York. The Davenport family left New York and settled in Ohio for several years. In 1851, the family headed out to Oregon Territory by wagon train. They arrived in the Silverton Country, in the fall of 1851, and established a donation land claim in the Waldo Hills South of Silverton.

Dr. Davenport gave up his medical practice to concentrated on surveying, a skill much in demand in the pioneer Willamette Valley. In his later years, he took to writing. He was a distinguished member of Silverton’s community leaders, earning the nickname, “The Sage of Silverton” for his incredible intellect and humanity. Over a period of several years in the early part of the 20th Century, he contributed over a half dozen papers to the then-new Oregon Historical Society.

“Recollections of an Indian Agent” of which this talk is based, as well as the two-part “Slavery Question in Oregon” are long-lost gems of historical perspective from Civil War era-Oregon, eloquently written by someone who was there. And Dr. Davenport  found time to raise a family, that just happened to include William Randolph Hearst’s leading political cartoonist, Homer Davenport. A collection of Dr. Davenport’s writings converted to Adobe Acrobat files are available from “The Homer Page.” As you will soon discover, the Davenport family story is both wide and deep.

Presented by The Davenport Project’s Gus Frederick, this highly visual presentation will take you back to the Oregon of the Civil War era. Doors open around 6:00 with the talk starting at 7:00. The Old St. Francis School is located at 700 N.W. Bond Street in downtown Bend, Oregon, and is sponsored by the Des Chutes Historical Museum, Oregon Historical Society, and the Oregon Encyclopedia.

In Sack-Cloth & Ashes


When he moved to San Francisco in 1892, Homer Davenport worked first—after a brief stint at the Mark Hopkins Art School—for Hearst’s Examiner. He was let go, apparently due to his “lack of artistic skill.” He then found work, at a higher salary, on Michael de Young’s San Francisco Chronicle, before eventually being re-hired by the Examiner, (at Hearst’s personal request) for an even higher salary in 1894.

This period has been lacking, not only in content, but in relevant facts relating to this period, which included a brief stint in Chicago drawing horses for the Herald during the 1893 World’s Fair, before returning to the Bay Area and de Young’s Chronicle.

I discovered “Fold3,” an outstanding online historical archive, that had relatively high resolution scans of each and every page of that San Francisco publication. I discovered a number of examples of Davenport’s work, hereto unseen for over a century. Many include dramatic outdoor scenes of horses and hunting.

One series stood out, and represents some of his earliest published work. It contains five illustrations by Davenport that were published in the February 19, 1893 edition. A seasonal column, it was titled “In Sack-cloth and Ashes,” and featured a tongue-in-cheek overview of how various noted citizens observed (or not) the Christian fast of Lent.

These pieces employed a “silhouette” technique. He also used this effect in the only surviving comic strip he didfeaturing himself as the foil, with pigeons in Venice’s St. Marks Square. The quality of course is what would be expected from online reproductions by way of archival microfilm, but still shows the gist of his illustrated jests. With one exception, his Chronicle work was signed with his initials, “H.D.” like some of his previous work on the Portland Oregonian. It could be assumed that newspaper artists had to earn the right to even have their initials included, so there may well be more images he drew that remained un-signed. Most of the “cuts” are anonymous, and were similar in form and function to our current concept of “clip-art.”

The author of the column is unknown, perhaps by design, as the tone and tenor of the article could conceivably be interpreted as border-line blasphemous by some. This would not have deterred Davenport however, having been raised by “intellectual infidels” in Silverton, Oregon. Below are the original captions, with relevant passages from the original column.

lent_hdA: Louis Lissak runs to eating because it disagrees with him. “That’s just it; I am careful of my stomach for ten months and a half during the year, and when Lent comes I let loose and eat everything my depraved and gluttonous appetite calls for. I get sick then. That is my penance.”

B: Bob Grayson makes penance by eating a tough steak. “Bob Woodward is a better man than I at almost any stage of life,” he acknowledged in his own modest way, “and he quit the table right after the fish was eaten. But I think I did more penance than he will in the balance of this season by trying to chew through the steak they served me. The weight of that leather boot top, with a fine French sauce, I swallowed is resting now with a deadly weight right under my chamois chest protector.”

C: Eddie Dunn comes 3000 miles from New York to eat rubber doughnuts. Dunn has been a little wild in his day, and decided he would leave the tempting haunts of New York, travel 3000 miles and repent during lent by feeding upon one of the lunch counters of a first-class saloon in this city. The tank was more than he could stand when he discovered that the cold pig’s feet and brown rounded doughnuts were some of the most perfect products of the rubber company.

D: Johnny Byrnes ends his mortification in wine. “I refrain from intoxicants the whole year round,” he says, “because they do not agree with me. When I cover myself with sackcloth and ashes I start in the day before and drink beer, topping it off at night with wine, and the next morning I feel that I am buried in the debris.”

E: J. B. Casserly neither borrows nor lends during lent. “I am mortifying my friends,” he said, “more than I mortify myself. During the penitential season I neither borrow nor lend—especially the latter.”

Cleveland’s Concert

J.C. Smith, L.C. Russell, Irwin Geer, Charles Ramsby, Ralph Geer, Tom Riches, Harvey Allen (Leader), Homer Davenport, R.D. Allen, Henry Clymer, Jasper "Jap" Skaife, Tim Allen, George Mack. Johnnie Porter. Taken at 151 First Street, Portland, Oregon, Aug., 1884 (Photo courtesy Silverton Country Historical Society)

151 First Street, Portland, Oregon, ca. 1884 – Courtesy Silverton Country Historical Society

In 1884, Presidential Candidate Grover Cleveland apparently visited Portland, Oregon during his campaign to become the first Democrat elected since since before the Civil War. As part of the celebration, the Silverton Trombone Band was invited to participate, and this event was documented by Homer Davenport, the band’s snare drummer, in his 1910 autobiography, “The Country Boy.” This would be Davenport’s first brush with national politics. Fielding “Uncle Jake” McClaine was the other half of the Coolidge-McClaine bank, and other various business and civic endeavors, including community benefactors—they gave Silverton its City Park. Davenport’s mention of the “barytone” refers to the instrument known as a “baritone horn” similar to a euphonium, and commonly known in brass band parlance, simply as a “baritone.”

Grover Cleveland (1837–1908)

Grover Cleveland (1837–1908)

There was but one Democrat in Silverton, and he was one in every sense of the word. He hadn’t said much for years—just paid his bets regularly every four years without much back talk—but that fall when Grover Cleveland was elected for the first time, Jake McClaine’s voice lasted about half an hour. Then he wrote what he wanted to tell you on a slate. He wrote to the leader that he wanted to defray all of the expenses of the entire band to Portland the next Saturday night, where they were going to give Cleveland a big Democratic rally, and have electric lights. Of course, we accepted, as Jake McClaine had paid more toward the new instruments and uniforms than any other man in town.

We had to leave Silverton at three o’clock Saturday morning, and go in a “dead-ax” wagon twelve miles to Gervais, so as to catch the morning train on the main line of the Southern Pacific. I rode directly over the hind axle and lost the only gold filling I ever had up to that time. We got there at daylight and had breakfast that had been specially prepared for us, for which Uncle Jake paid.


“Uncle Jake” McClaine

He wasn’t an uncle, but like “Aunty” McMillan, was fat, so everybody called him in Silverton, “Uncle Jake.” We took the Albany local, and by eight o’clock were in Portland, forty-seven miles from Silverton. It was the first time I was ever there without some one holding me by the wrist, and it seemed great. The uniforms kind of made us brave, and Uncle Jake marched ahead and we played as we marched up the main street, which was First Street. On the bass drum was printed in red letters, “Silverton Trombone Band,” and people would yell “Hurrah for Silverton!” while Uncle Jake would answer them by yelling “Hurrah for Cleveland!” Uncle Jake frequently sold cattle to the butchers there, so before we knew it we had stopped in front of a butcher shop, and were playing while he was in the back end of the shop selling cattle. From one butcher shop to another we went, playing all the time, and many of us marching in new shoes on the first cobblestones we had ever seen.

Finally in the afternoon we bought a box of apples for lunch. The day was dark and cloudy. In front of one shop Uncle Jake brought a butcher, who he said had bought more cattle than any of the rest, and he wanted us to play for this man, number eighteen in the new book.

Eighteen in the new book was the one piece of classical music which we bought when we got the uniforms. The only difference that it bore to the other quicksteps was that it didn’t go quite so fast, and about the middle of the piece it had sixteen bars rest for everybody but the barytone player, and from long and careful training we had reached a stage where we could play up to within a few feet of this sixteen bars’ rest and almost all of us stop simultaneously, at which point the barytone player would run a little scale that was called a cadenza, and we would all watch the leader’s head and when he nodded we would join in and finish out the piece. It was a pretty thing, and we told Uncle Jake we were holding it for the reviewing stand, where we wanted Cleveland to hear it; so he said all right, he would have the butcher there to hear it also.

tcb_bandAfter marching all afternoon and having our photos taken, the big parade started at eight o’clock. After marching in the parade until nearly midnight it came our turn to stop and play before the reviewing stand. Most of us were so sleepy we could hardly keep our eyes open, and the horn blowers were a sorry lot. Between their new shoes and their lips, they were about done up. Their upper lips hung out far and were purple. They looked like they had all got into a bee’s nest and had been stung on the lips. The leader cautioned each member that the supreme moment of our lives was upon us; that all the other bands were present, and that he thought Cleveland himself was.

He said, “Whatever you do, don’t play when you get the sixteen bars of rest; and you, there, with the snare drum, don’t roll out into that open space as you have always done before.” It was an awful moment. Uncle Jake was still to be heard bragging to everybody what a piece it was.

Finally, with the greatest difficulty, the piece was started. I thought I had a pioneer idea that they didn’t need me, and for fear of being accused of breaking down the piece in case they made a fizzle of it, I would quit as soon as we got started—and did. I just made motions without hitting the drum; but it wasn’t a new thought, as nearly every other member had done the same thing, so when we approached the sixteen bars’ rest the only one player was the leader himself, and he had the tremolo stop out. He stopped just as a large skyrocket went up. We hadn’t been used to fireworks—that is, big ones—and the only barytone solo anybody heard was the barytone player yelling to the man next to him, “Look quick, Tom, at that skyrocket!”

Uncle Jake directed the butchers he had brought down to hear number eighteen, to the fireworks, and we never resumed the piece, and never saw each other until we met the next day on the train bound for home. Aside from that one piece the trip was a great musical triumph, and Uncle Jake was the hero.