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.

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