Davenport's Population

Back to Additional Materials

Alan M. Strout, for the
Davenport Historical Society

Davenport's Population in the Early Years

One of the most dynamic growth periods in New York State History took place during the 30-40 years after 1790.  Population exploded, most of it in the upstate areas as the central and western parts of the New York were opened up for settlement after the close of the Revolutionary War (Taylor, 1995).  Between 1790 and 1820, New York’s total population increased by four times, from 340,000 to 1,373,000.  New York, from having been only the new nation’s fifth largest state, overtook Virginia as the most populous.

Along with rapid population growth and accompanying political pressures came continuing shifts and realignment in the state’s political boundaries and divisions.   Counties were divided and subdivided.  What eventually became Delaware County started out as parts of Albany and Ulster counties.  Later Tryon County was formed from part of Albany and subsequently renamed Montgomery.  When Delaware was created in 1797, it acquired pieces of Ulster and a part of Montgomery County that had later become a section of Otsego.  (“Munsell,” History of Delaware County, N.Y., 1797-1880.  1880, pp. 58-59.)

Within Delaware and other counties, townships were evolving and changing at a similar pace.  In 1778 Harpersfield, then in Montgomery County and later in Otsego County, extended all the way to and then down the Susquehanna River to the Pennsylvania line.  Kortright was formed from Harpersfield in 1793, still extending to the Susquehanna but bounded on the south by Franklin and after 1800 by the new town of Meredith.  It was not until 1817 that increasing population and political pressures led to the “erection” of Davenport from the western portion of Kortright and a southernmost section of Maryland adjoining the Charlotte (Johnson) patent.  At its formation, Davenport also extended to the Susquehanna and down that river to the town of Franklin, the northern section of which after 1822 was to become part of Otsego County.  (See below.)

Two problems arise when discussing Davenport’s population in the early years.  First, although people were living along the Charlotte River and Middle Brook both before and after the American Revolution, Davenport, as just noted, did not exist as an independent entity until 1817.  Thus the Federal census of 1820 was the first listing of Davenport’s inhabitants.  The future township’s population from 1790 (year of the first Federal census for the United States as a whole) through 1800, a period of likely explosive growth leading to the town’s official creation, can only be approximated.  A method for estimating the 1800 and 1810 populations will be proposed below.

The second problem is that Davenport’s boundaries themselves changed over time.  The first change occurred sometime between 1822 and perhaps late as 1836 or 1837.  In 1822, five years after Davenport had been created, a part of Franklin township in Delaware County became the new (and relatively short-lived) town of Huntsville in Otsego County.  Sometime thereafter the northwest corner of Davenport, formerly in the same Wallace Patent whose Franklin portion had been lost to Huntsville, also became (although this was not known locally at the time) a part of Otsego County and later, in turn, southside Oneonta.  The second loss of territory occurred in 1878 when a large piece of land lying along Houghtaling Hollow in the southwest corner of the town became part of the town of Meredith.

The land lost to Otsego County is of importance when analyzing population changes during Davenport’s formative years.  This is because the change involved a sizeable group of households that should be excluded from early population estimates and from the 1820 census figures if these totals are to be comparable with later numbers.  Also, the 1822-1837? boundary change has been omitted from recent accounts of territorial adjustments to the Town of Davenport (Davidson, 1976; Houck, 1995).  It not only seems to have been forgotten by today’s historians, but even in the 1820s and 1830s the boundary was a source of uncertainty and confusion.

The elderly Nicholas Sigsbee, an early Davenport inhabitant reminiscing in 1889, had this to say about the situation:

That territory across the [Susquehanna] river [from what became Oneonta in 1830] from the Jonathan Brewer farm to the mouth of the Charlotte was supposed to belong to Davenport and Delaware-co; but fifty odd years ago [that is, perhaps about 1836-7 or earlier] it was discovered that it belonged to the town of Oneonta and Otsego-co., and has since then been attached to Oneonta.  (N. Sigsbee, Oneonta Herald, September 12, 1889, page 3.)

How was a change that could have occurred as early as1822 not discovered and officially recognized for perhaps fifteen years?  It was certainly not for lack of local interest.  Andrew Parish, various Brewers, and other neighbors along the old road from McDonald’s Bridge into what is now Davenport proper felt much closer to the new population center across the Susquehanna than they did to the several hamlets in Davenport.  In  1822, 1825, 1826, and 1831 they notified Davenport of their intention to petition the next state legislature to be included in Otsego County.  Meanwhile, property changed hands in this corner of “Davenport,” and deeds continued to be registered in Delaware rather that Otsego County.

The confusion probably began with the creation of the town of Huntsville by an act of April 2, 1822.  Huntsville, a predecessor of Otego and Oneonta in Otsego County, was formed of parts of Unadilla and Franklin in Delaware County.  That part of Franklin assigned to the new town of Huntsville lay “between the Wallace patent line and the Susquehanna River” along with several more parcels of land lying “south and adjoining said patent line.”  (Chapter 210 of NY laws of 1822.  See Davidson, 1976, for the full text.)  The trouble was that the Wallace patent not only extended along the southern shore of the Susquehanna to the eastern boundary of Franklin but beyond that boundary into the newly formed town of Davenport.  It is this easternmost parcel of the old Wallace patent whose fate was left unclear (that is, it was nowhere mentioned) in the Huntsville legislation. 

The intent, according to later clarifying legislation (if such exists; it has so far not been uncovered), may indeed have been to include the Davenport portion in the new town of Huntsville (or more likely in the adjoining town of Milford and the hamlet of Milfordville) and subsequently, after 1830, in Oneonta.  The 1822 language, however, made no mention of Davenport and said nothing about any such intent.  Certainly none of those living in the vicinity were aware for many years that they had been moved into Otsego County.

According to a newspaper column by Harvey Baker in the late 1800s, deeds of as late as 1835 “were recorded in Delaware County and dated and acknowledged in the town of Davenport, although in fact they had for over five years [13 years?] actually been in the town of Oneonta… Andrew Parish was for many years a justice of the peace in Delaware county, as was supposed, when in fact he resided in Oneonta.  A special act was passed by the legislature to correct and make legal all such transactions.”  (Scrapbook 1870-1895 of Anna Manning, pp. 171-172, Huntington Library, Oneonta.)

It is possible that the state legislature, aware of the local pressure for a transfer from Davenport to Oneonta, merely “clarified” the earlier Huntsville act to achieve this transfer retroactively.  No further record of this “special act” has been uncovered at the time of the writing of this paper, but the search continues.

Turning to the larger issue of Davenport’s likely population before the town actually began to exist in 1817, it is probable that most pre-Revolutionary War inhabitants left during New York’s border warfare.  Captain William Gray’s rough map of the Col. William Butler expedition of 1778 shows Joseph Barthlemew, John Parks, and Scrooses? (Servoss?) grist mill in the vicinity of what is now Butts Corners and Fergusonville.[1]  There were probably a few other early settlers, possibly of German Palatine origin from the Mohawk valley, living nearer to the Susquehanna River.  A number of Scottish immigrants had settled in Kortright, in part at least under the sponsorship of Sir William Johnson, and some of these certainly lived on Middle Brook in what became Davenport.  (Most of the latter chose the Loyalist side during the Revolution and eventually moved to Canada.)

Few settlers were found in the area of Davenport after the war.  H. Fletcher Davidson, former Delaware County Historian, sought to identify by present town location, all of those Delaware County inhabitants reported in the 1790 census.  Though most likely an understatement, Davidson assigned only three households containing 12 persons (the families of Jabez Green, Silvanus Green, and Jesse Wilcocks), to what is now the town of Davenport.  (Davidson, no date.)

It is time-consuming, but possible, to construct an estimate of the total 1810 population of the area that became Davenport.  For the 1800 total of Maryland and Kortright residents living in what became Davenport, the task is more formidable.  This is because of the large population turnover between 1800 and the time of Davenport’s first census (1820) and because that portion of Davenport formed from Maryland was a part of the very large township of Cherry Valley at the time of the 1800 census. 

For 1810 the situation is more amenable.  (For 1800, the estimates below have been based partly on extrapolation.)  Using the 1820 Davenport census in conjunction with the 1810 and 1820 censuses for Maryland and Kortright and the 1800 census for Kortright, one can identify many pre-1820 residents whose names later appeared in the 1820 census for the newly formed town of Davenport.  If no family head with a similar last name is found in the Maryland or Kortright census for 1820, there is a high probability that the household had become Davenport residents.

Another feature of early census taking can be used to aid the search.  The census-takers tended to list the households in the order in which they were visited, and that order was often synchronous with the households’ locations along the roads or pathways of the day.  Thus there is a fair chance that names listed in order were neighbors or at least near-neighbors in a particular locality.  Among an 1810 group or cluster of those Kortright and Maryland census names identified as having very likely become Davenport residents by 1820, there is a good chance that adjoining names also were located in what became Davenport.  This would be true even though the families may have moved elsewhere by 1820 and hence would not be included in the Davenport census for that year.  (H. Fletcher Davidson probably used this system for apportioning by area the households from the 1790 Federal census.)

The assumed probability in 1810 of a family having been a prospective Davenport resident would be reduced if at least the last name appeared in the 1820 census for Kortright or Maryland.  If the family was not located within one of the previously identified groups or clusters of potential Davenport residents, probabilities might be decreased further even when similar family names were found in the 1820 census for Davenport.

To give an example, in the 1810 Kortright census, several clusters of numbered household seem most likely to include future Davenport residents.  These were, based upon microfilm records compiled by the Delaware County Clerk’s office, numbers 87-131, 153-162, 203-222, 316-328, and 413-461.  In addition there were scattered other individual households not in clusters who are believed to have lived in what became Davenport.

Within each identified cluster it is generally assumed for the current approximation that eight or nine out of each twenty households had probably been located in Davenport even when their names did not appear in the 1820 Davenport census.  As mentioned, the turnover of population in these towns between two census years was high.  Names immediately adjoining each identified cluster were assigned a probability of .25 or .5 of having been in “Davenport.”  That is, it was assumed that there was only one chance in two or four that they in fact belonged with the presumptive Davenport cluster.  Low probabilities were also generally assigned to households which might have been Davenport area residents based upon census evidence but which were not found within one of the identified clusters. 

So that other researchers may form their own judgements on the names and assumed probabilities, a more detailed “Note on Estimating…” and a complete listing of all 1810 perspective “Davenport” residents from both Kortright and Maryland are attached as an annex to this paper.  Also shown in the annex are 1800 Kortright, but not Maryland, households likely to have lived on land that became Davenport.  (The final 1800 estimate of total Maryland residents in this category was extrapolated from the 1800-1810 growth of their Kortright neighbors.) 

The annex Note also includes a statement of the rules used to assign the various probabilities.  Note, however, that in some cases the judgement of Davenport Historian Emeritus Mary S. Briggs, based upon her extensive knowledge of early Davenport families and genealogies, influenced the final probabilities.  These cases are marked in the listing with an asterisk.

The procedure employed does not permit a “best guess” of all of the actual names of the individual households living in what became Davenport.  It instead provides a listing of possible residents, a subset of names with a very high likelihood, and a statistical best guess of the aggregate numbers of families and the numbers of individuals in the area of the future Davenport. 

The results suggest an 1810 “Davenport” population of about 171 families containing 1005 persons.  Of these, about 17 households and 94 persons would have come from the town of Maryland while the far larger number, about 910 persons in 154 households, would have been found in the 1810 Kortright census.  In 1800, the future town of Davenport’s population might have been, at about 531 and 81 households, a little over half the 1810 totals.  These 1800 estimates are less certain since they involve the assumption that the Maryland section grew between 1800 and 1810 at the same rate as the Kortright section.

Note, too, that the 1800 and 1810 numbers just described include those families in the area of what sometime between 1822 and 1837? would become Otsego County and Oneonta.  Both the official 1820 and 1830 Davenport censuses, as discussed above, included these families since the transfer from Davenport to Huntsville-Millfordville-Oneonta was not known by the local residents, officials and census takers until at least the mid 1830s. 

In a similar “expected value” (in the statistical sense) manner it would seem fairly straightforward to estimate Davenport’s population lying in that section transferred to Oneonta.  Several authors in later years listed the “early” Oneonta residents living south of the Susquehanna along the road to Davenport.  The trouble is that these lists, constructed from memory 60-70 years after the fact, are fragmentary, not fully consistent with one another, and include some nearby residents from today’s Davenport.  The listings certainly exclude many other households whose stay was too short or otherwise unnoteworthy to be remembered many years later.

Another source of early names is the F.W. Beers Map of Oneonta, Otsego Co., N.Y., 1868 (Huntington Library).  This shows the names of those whose 1868 homes lay in the Wallace Patent lots number 1-12  These lots made up the portion of the patent transferred earlier from Davenport to Oneonta.  In a number of cases it has been possible to trace ownership back in time to give an indication of the former Davenport families in this tract of land as of, at least, the 1840s.

Additionally, one could examine the 1820 Davenport census lists for the names mentioned by later historians.  Again making use of the tendency for the census taker to list in order the adjoining families found along a road, one could argue that clusters of census names included not only the known “Oneonta” residents but perhaps others not remembered by these later reporters.  The difficulty, of course, is that the 1820 and 1830 census takers, along with those for 1810, may have gone home for lunch, resuming their count afterwards or the next day at a quite different location.

Even with diligent search and matching, therefore, uncertainties remain.  The principal sources used in identifying families transferred to Oneonta, in addition to the 1820 and 1830 censuses, have been Harvey Baker’s 1892 newspaper column, “Oneonta in Early Times,” chapters 24-26; Nicholas Sigsbee’s 1889 “Early Recollections…” (both cited above); and  “Oneonta in 1811” from Hurd (1878, p.224).  Full references to these work are found later.  In 1820, Davenport households numbered in the census returns 1 through 36 seemed to lie, with frequent question marks, in the transferred section of Davenport.  In 1830, the corresponding cluster was numbered 200 through 236.  The equivalent census blocks for 1810, from the Kortright census for that year since Davenport had not yet been erected, were approximately numbers 111-132 and 413-426.  For Kortright in 1800, Davenport-associated cluster seems to have been numbers 1-18.  In each case but 1830 there may have also been a few outliers, presumably interviewed later, found among the other listings

Within each cluster, judgement calls were made on the validity of each name.  A number of the more certain candidates were assigned a 100% probability (1.0) of having lived in the area lost to Oneonta.  The others were regarded as questionable and assigned a probability of 0.5.  That is, for this latter group there appeared to be only a 50% chance that the family lived in the area in question.  (More below.)  The names and probabilities for all four years are shown in the Table 1 of the annex Note.

One further step was taken in the case of 1800 and 1810.  For these years, before Davenport was formed, we have assigned two probabilities.  The first, just described, is the likelihood of whether or not a family lived in the Wallace Patent section of the 1817 Davenport, the area transferred later to Otsego County.  The probabilities in this case were either 1.0 or 0.5.  The second likelihood was whether a particular household lived in that part of Kortright township that in 1817 became part of the new Davenport.

In estimating numbers of households and persons lost to Otsego County, the two likelihoods were multiplied, forming what is called a “joint probability.”  Thus as shown in the first line of the table following, the Uriah Adams family of Kortright was estimated with a somewhat arbitrary ninety-percent “certainty” as having lived in what became Davenport.  Judging by the households listed in the 1810 census listings (No. 122 in the cluster of 111-132), there was a good chance of the family having resided in the Wallace Patent.  Because we have no other information on this last score, the Adams household received a Wallace Patent probability of only 0.5.  The joint probability of living both in the future Davenport and in the Wallace Patent is therefor 0.9 x 0.5, or 0.45. 

Table 1 also shows the effects of these probability estimates on the contribution of each household to the final total household and population estimates.  The contribution to the “probable persons” total can be seen in columns (M)-(P) of the table; that for “probable households,” in columns (Q)-(Y).

This list of possible Davenport inhabitants who later became a part of Oneonta can only provide a first approximation to the numbers and names involved.  Many of the family names, as noted, do occur in the various accounts of early “Oneonta” settlers.  But other names, generally assigned a probability of 0.5, are found only within the identified census clusters.   And some uncertainty accompanies even those families specifically mentioned by later historians.  David Houghtaling, a Mickle, and Samuel Whitmarsh were all listed as early Oneonta residents in the Hurd account, for example.  Other evidence suggests that at least several Houghtaling families were located at some distance from the area in question, and that the Mickles and Whitmarshes were found further down the road to Davenport.   The Beers map of 1868 shows a “Houghtailing” household in Wallace Patent lot 3 (almost certainly at one time belonging to Peter Houghtaling), but mentions no names that have been traced back to Mickle or Whitmarsh.

On the other hand, although some more recent Swart families would seem to have lived in areas remaining in Davenport (the upper “Swart Hollow” road still lies in Davenport), Harvey Baker specifically places the George and William Swart farms in the “tier of lots [which were] formerly in Delaware County.”  Similarly, a number of Emmons families are known to have lived in or near what was once southern Maryland, but Nicholas Sigsbee, son of one of Davenport’s pre-1817 settlers, places the Solomon, Asa and Carleton Emmons farms east of that of Hontice H. Couse and before the Timothy Murphy farm.  The latter was in all likelihood adjoining the current (post-1830) border between Davenport and Oneonta.

Further work is needed to trace over time the ownership of the several farms involved and thus to make further use of other clues, usually the names of later residents, provided by the Beers map and by early authors.  The list and probabilities shown are far from definitive or perhaps even complete.  They do, however, suggest orders-of-magnitude for the numbers of families and persons included in the 1820 and 1830 Davenport censuses who lived in what subsequently became Oneonta.

The summary at the bottom of Table 1 gives the following estimates:

1800 1810 1820 1830
Number of households 13-19 28-39  28-38 28-35
Number of persons 72-107 163-241 174-232  180-229

The larger number in each range assumes that all households or persons in all households listed in the above table in fact lived in the area transferred to Oneonta.  The smaller number incorporates the two

TABLE 1

HOUSEHOLDS IN DAVENPORT, 1800-1830, WHO WERE POSSIBLY LIVING IN THE  WALLACE PATENT AND WHO HENCE BECAME RESIDENTS OF OSTEGO COUNTY SOMETIME BETWEEN 1822 AND PERHAPS AS LATE AS1837
 

Row
No
.

Revised January 2004 to better reflect 1800-1810-1820-1830 linkages and possible clusters of IDs; also the "Davenport or Kortright?" probabilities (Col B) used for the 1800 and 1810 estimates of total Davenport population

Probability of location in Census ID Nos.


Federal Census Name
for 1800-1830 ID No.
Census Household,
Number of Persons
Probable Persons
(Estimate*)
Probable Households
(Estimate*)
Wallace Future 1800 1810 1820 1830



 

Patent

Davenport

ID # ID # ID# ID # First Name

Last Name

1800

1810

1820

1830

1800

1810

1820

1830

1800

1810

1820

1830

 
 

(A)

(B)

(C) (D) (E) (F) (G)

(H)

(I)

(J)

(K)

(L)

(M)

(N)

(O)

(P)

(Q)

(R)

(S)

(T)

 

14

0.5

0.9

 

122

   

Uriah

Adams

6

10

   

2.7

4.5

0

0

0.45

0.45

0

0

 

15

0.5

       

210

Francis H.?

Arnold

     

4

0

0

0

2

0

0

0

0.5

 

16

0.5

     

14

 

Eliphalet

Austin

   

3

 

0

0

1.5

0

0

0

0.5

0

 

17

0.5

     

15

 

Eliphalet

Austin (Dupl.)

   

3

 

0

0

1.5

0

0

0

0.5

0

 

18

0.5

       

231

Erastas

Blanchard

     

4

0

0

0

4

0

0

0

1

 

19

0.5

     

34

 

Michael

Blinn

   

11

 

0

0

5.5

0

0

0

0.5

0

 

20

1

1

 

416

18

208

Aaron

Brewer

 

2

5

8

0

2

5

8

0

1

1

1

 

21

1

0.95

 

417

   

David

Brewer

 

8

   

0

7.6

0

0

0

0.95

0

0

 

22

1

1

 

101

33

 

David

Brewer

4

5

7

 

4

5

7

0

1

1

1

0

 

23

1

1

12

415

11

219

Elias

Brewer

4

5

3

7

4

5

3

7

1

1

1

1

 

24

1

       

220

Elias F.

Brewer

     

6

0

0

0

6

0

0

0

1

 

25

1

       

207

Emeline?

Brewer

     

4

0

0

0

4

0

0

0

1

 

26

1

0.95

3

121

1

 

Francis

Brewer

8

12

6

 

7.6

11.4

6

0

0.95

0.95

1

0

 

27

1

     

10

 

Peter

Brewer

   

7

 

0

0

7

0

0

0

1

0

 

28

1

       

223

Jonathan

Brewer

     

7

0

0

0

3.5

0

0

0

0.5

 

29

0.5

1

 

124

   

Conrad

Burget

 

5

   

0

2.5

0

0

0

0.5

0

0

 

30

0.5

     

158

 

Huldah

Burget

   

8

 

0

0

4

0

0

0

0.5

0

 

31

0.5

       

234

Henry

Case

     

6

0

0

0

3

0

0

0

0.5

 

32

0.5

       

203

Abraham

Chrispell

     

5

0

0

0

2.5

0

0

0

0.5

 

33

0.5

1

27

117

7

 

Anthony

Chrispell

6

10

5

 

3

5

2.5

0

0.5

0.5

0.5

0

 

34

0.5

     

6

 

Christian

Chrispell

   

3

 

0

0

1.5

0

0

0

0.5

0

 

35

0.5

       

226

Peter??

Chrispell

     

5

0

0

0

2.5

0

0

0

0.5

 

36

0.5

0.5

 

132

   

Enoch

Codger

 

9

   

0

2.25

0

0

0

0.25

0

0

 

37

0.5

0.95

 

126

   

Caly

Couse

 

8

   

0

3.8

0

0

0

0.48

0

0

 

38

1

1

 

123

46

218

Christian

Couse

 

2

 

9

0

2

0

9

0

1

0

1

 

39

1

1

14

113

60

 

Henry

Couse

10

7

   

10

7

0

0

1

1

0

0

 

40

1

     

9

205

Hontice

Couse

   

5

13

0

0

5

13

0

0

1

1

 

41

1

1

 

114

16

 

Hontice J.?

Couse

 

2

9

 

0

2

9

0

0

1

1

0

 

42

0.5

1

 

115

151

 

John

Couse

 

5

4

 

0

2.5

2

0

0

0.5

0.5

0

 

43

0.5

0.9

 

125

   

Thoril

Dennio(ng?)

 

2

   

0

0.9

0

0

0

0.45

0

0

 

44

1

0.95

 

422

   

Asa

Emmons

 

9

   

0

8.55

0

0

0

0.95

0

0

 

45

1

       

200

Carlton

Emmons

     

10

0

0

0

10

0

0

0

1

 

46

1

0.95

 

420

36

 

Eunice

Emmons

 

5

7

 

0

4.75

7

0

0

0.95

1

0

 

47

0.5

       

233

William

Fritz

     

13

0

0

0

6.5

0

0

0

0.5

 

48

0.5

     

2

 

Heman

Hawkins

   

4

 

0

0

2

0

0

0

0.5

0

 

49

0.5

       

227

Sarah

Hawkins

     

7

0

0

0

3.5

0

0

0

0.5

 

50

0.5

0.95

 

421

23

 

Peter A.

Hoghtaling

 

6

11

 

0

2.85

5.5

0

0

0.48

0.5

0

 

51

0.5

0.9

5

     

James

Hubbart

4

     

1.8

0

0

0

0.45

0

0

0

 

52

0.5

0.9

1

     

Isaac

Lathrop

8

     

3.6

0

0

0

0.45

0

0

0

 

53

0.5

0.9

 

425

   

Lenard

Linn

 

4

   

0

1.8

0

0

0

0.45

0

0

 

54

0.5

       

225

Bartholomew

McQuire

     

6

0

0

0

3

0

0

0

0.5

 

55

0.5

0.9

 

424

 

229

Richard W.

Miller

 

5

 

10

0

2.25

0

5

0

0.45

0

0.5

 

56

0.5

0.8

 

111

   

William

Mitchell

 

5

   

0

2

0

0

0

0.4

0

0

 

57

1

0.95

9

     

George

Morenus

6

     

5.7

0

0

0

0.95

0

0

0

 

58

1

0.1

10

     

Jeremiah

Morenus

3

     

0.3

0

0

0

0.1

0

0

0

 

59

1

     

28

 

Jeremiah L.?

Morenus

   

3

 

0

0

3

0

0

0

1

 

 

 

 

TABLE 1, continued

Row
No
.
Probability of location in Census ID Nos.


Federal Census Name
for 1800-1830 ID No.
Census Household,
Number of Persons
Probable Persons
(Estimate*)
Probable Households
(Estimate*)
Wallace Future 1800 1810 1820 1830



Patent Davenport ID # ID# ID # ID # First Name Last Name 1800 1810 1820 1830 1800 1810 1820 1830 1800 1810 1820 1830

60

1

       

224

Martha?

Morenus

     

4

0

0

0

4

0

0

0

1

61

1

     

4

 

Martin

Morenus

   

2

 

0

0

2

0

0

0

1

0

62

1

1

2

 

3

 

Thomas

Morenus          (Mannas)

4

6

5

 

4

6

5

0

1

1

1

0

63

0.5

     

12

 

Jonathan

Morrell?

   

5

 

0

0

2.5

0

0

0

0.5

0

64

0.5

0.5

 

315

13

 

Cornelius (Cranall)

Mosier(Mosher)

9

5

 

0

2.25

2.5

0

0

0.25

0.5

0

65

0.5

0.9

15

382

   

John

Myers(Miers)

6

10

   

2.7

4.5

0

0

0.45

0.45

0

0

66

0.5

0.9

253

     

Abner

Newman

12

     

5.4

0

0

0

0.45

0

0

0

67

1

       

217

Augustus

Northway

     

5

0

0

0

5

0

0

0

1

68

1

1

 

127

27

216

Gaius

Northway

 

12

10

9

0

12

10

9

0

1

1

1

69

0.5

0.9

16

     

Charles

Owens

6

     

2.7

0

0

0

0.45

0

0

0

70

1

1

 

116

5

221

Andrew

Parish

 

3

8

8

0

3

8

8

0

1

1

1

71

1

1

 

116

   

Angus

Parish

       

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

72

1

0.9

 

375

19

 

Asa

Parish

 

1

7

 

0

0.9

7

0

0

0.9

1

0

73

1

0.5

 

376

   

Crune

Parish

 

10

   

0

2.5

0

0

0

0.25

0

0

74

1

       

206

Huntington

Parish

     

2

0

0

0

2

0

0

0

1

75

0.5

0.9

 

119

   

Jacob

Price

 

10

   

0

4.5

0

0

0

0.45

0

0

76

0.5

0.8

 

38

8

 

Tunis

Reed

 

4

6

 

0

1.6

3

0

0

0.4

0.5

0

77

0.5

     

25

 

Abraham

Shaw

   

3

 

0

0

1.5

0

0

0

0.5

0

78

0.5

     

20

 

Justus

Sillaman

   

6

 

0

0

3

0

0

0

0.5

0

79

0.5

     

21

 

Elijah

Smith

   

11

 

0

0

5.5

0

0

0

0.5

0

80

0.5

       

204

Samuel

Smith

     

7

0

0

0

3.5

0

0

0

0.5

81

1

       

214

Bennent?

Swart

     

4

0

0

0

4

0

0

0

1

82

1

       

209

Flemas?

Swart

     

5

0

0

0

5

0

0

0

1

83

1

1

 

128

29

215

George

Swart

 

6

7

8

0

6

7

8

0

1

1

1

84

1

       

222

Lawrence?

Swart

     

2

0

0

0

2

0

0

0

1

85

1

0.95

 

130

   

Paulus

Swart

 

5

   

0

4.75

0

0

0

0.95

0

0

86

1

0.95

6

418

   

Peter

Swart

3

2

   

2.85

1.9

0

0

0.95

0.95

0

0

87

1

1

7

414

32

211

Sabastian

Swart

4

10

11

8

4

10

11

8

1

1

1

1

88

1

       

232

Simon

Swart

     

9

0

0

0

9

0

0

0

1

89

1

1

 

413

31

 

Thomas

Swart

 

4

5

 

0

4

5

0

0

1

1

0

90

1

1

8

129

30

212

William

Swart

4

6

9

5

4

6

9

5

1

1

1

1

91

0.5

0.9

 

120

   

George

Syple

 

7

   

0

3.15

0

0

0

0.45

0

0

92

0.5

0.9

11

419

   

John

Syple

6

6

   

2.7

2.7

0

0

0.45

0.45

0

0

93

0.5

0.9

17

     

Peter

Syple

3

     

1.35

0

0

0

0.45

0

0

0

94

0.5

     

26

 

James

VanValkenburg

   

2

 

0

0

1

0

0

0

0.5

0

95

0.5

       

213

Aaron?

Ward

     

4

0

0

0

2

0

0

0

0.5

96

0.5

       

230

John

White?

     

7

0

0

0

3.5

0

0

0

0.5

97

0.5

     

22

 

David

Whitmarsh

   

2

 

0

0

1

0

0

0

0.5

0

98

0.5

       

235

James

Whitmarsh

     

6

0

0

0

3

0

0

0

0.5

99

0.5

1

 

426

17

 

Lambert

Whitmarsh

 

4

9

 

0

2

4.5

0

0

0.5

0.5

0

100

0.5

     

24

236

Samuel

Whitmarsh

   

9

9

0

0

4.5

4.5

0

0

0.5

0.5

101

0.5

       

228

Uriah

Whitmarsh

     

3

0

0

0

1.5

0

0

0

0.5

102

0.5

     

35

 

Hallone(n?)

Winne

   

6

 

0

0

3

0

0

0

0.5

0

Column Sums:

107

241 232

229

72.4 163 174 180 13.1 27.7 28 27.5

Max Possible Persons:

107

241

232

229

Max Possible Households:

19

39

38

35

                 

     "Probable" Persons:

 

72

163

174

180

           
           

 

     Probable # Households:

13

28

28

28

   

*Estimates for 1800 and 1810 are based upon the joint probability of (a) the Kortright household being included in the Wallace Patent (Column A) and (b)  the probability of the household being located in the area that in 1817 became Davenport (Column B).

 

probabilities discussed above and shown in columns (A) and (B) of the table.  The small numbers are regarded as most likely, but the actual totals could in fact have been either smaller or larger.  The lower numbers have the virtue of seeming to agree with the recollection of Nicholas Sigsbee of 33 voters in the annexed Davenport territory, “all democrats but one.[2]  Since Sigsbee was “a pronounced democrat,” in the words of his Oneonta Herald obituary (1890), it is conceivable that his memory was accurate on this score.  Voters in the early 1800s would have largely been male property owners.[3]  Twenty-eight or so households in 1830 could well have contained about 33 voters.

For the time being, it will be assumed that the transferred section of Davenport included the lower number of households and persons shown above.  They suggest that between 1800 and 1810 the Davenport section of the Wallace Patent grew rapidly, more than doubling its population, and then remained fairly stable from 1810 to 1830.

The end result of these statistically speculative operations is to provide an estimate of Davenport residents in 1810 and revised estimates for 1820 and 1830.  These are shown in the following table.  (All estimates below have been revised to exclude those persons transferred to Oneonta.)  Included also are the 1810-30 totals for Kortright and for Maryland revised to exclude those persons assigned to “Davenport.”  For comparison purposes the table also includes 1840 totals and 1810-1840 census figures for the neighboring towns of Meredith, Franklin, and Harpersfield.

 

Table 2

Revised Population Totals for Davenport, Kortright and Maryland, and Census

Population Totals for Meredith, Franklin, and Harpersfield, 1800-1840

Census

Davenport      

Kortright

Maryland

Meredith

Franklin

Harpersfield

 1800

     459

  1032

Not available

    237

   1386

  1003

 1810

     842

  2092

  1008

    726

  1708

  1691

 1820

   1210

   3319   2545

  1439

  1375

  2481

  1884

 1830

   1598

  2865

  1749

  1666

  2786

  1976

 1840

   2054

  2442

  1843

  1640

  3025

  1699

Source:  Calculations in this paper for Davenport, Kortright and Maryland.  Third to Sixth U.S. Census, 1810-1840; 1810 Kortright and Maryland population excludes estimated inhabitants of what became Davenport in 1817; 1800-1830 Davenport figures exclude inhabitants lost to Oneonta.  The 1800 Meredith total is from “Munsell” (1880, p. 249) whereas the Federal census worksheets show 213.  Franklin had territory changes affecting its population in 1800, 1801 and 1822.

 

These figures suggest a strong population growth of over one-third for the six towns as a whole between 1810 and 1820.  1800-1810 growth had been even more rapid for the towns for which we have more or less comparable 1800 census numbers, Kortright, Meredith, and Harpersfield.  These population increases during the first twenty years of the century undoubtedly reflect the completion in 1802 of the Catskill-Susquehanna Turnpike.  Even Davenport, though not directly in the path of the new turnpike, benefited.  Davenport's strong population growth after 1800, when still a part of Kortright and Maryland, certainly contributed to pressures for creating the new town.  (Population in the area of Davenport may have grown by 83 percent between 1800 and 1810 and by another 44 percent over the next decade.)

By the 1820-1830 decade, turnpike traffic growth had fallen off along with a decline in road maintenance.  A new extension, the Charlotte Turnpike, was built in the summer of 1834 from Harpersfield through Davenport to Oneonta and on to Oxford.  This drew traffic away from the Susquehanna Turnpike, which finally ceased to operate and became a public road in 1845.  (Monroe, 1949, p. 92; Kubik, 2001, pp. 87-90.)

Turnpike developments again affected population growth.  Among the towns in the table above, Davenport was the principal beneficiary of the Charlotte Turnpike extension.  The Davenport’s growth exceeded that of its neighbors in both 1820-1830 and 1830-1840.  Meanwhile, not only did growth slow down in towns along the old Susquehanna turnpike, but population actually fell between 1830 and 1840 in Kortright, Meredith and Harpersfield.

Finally, the populations shown in the above table are no more than preliminary estimates and may be further revised after scrutiny by others.  The general shape of the several towns’ population growth, however, should remain about as shown.  

If for example the .90-.95 probabilities assigned to many Kortright and Maryland census names in 1810 are too conservative and should instead be 1.0, Davenport’s 1810 population estimate would have been larger by 50 or so.  Kortright’s adjusted 1810 population would have been smaller by 46 and Maryland’s by only 4.  These further changes would decrease to 36 percent the table’s implied 1810-1820 Davenport growth rate of 44 percent.  This would be a substantial drop but would not change the fact that Davenport was one of the faster growing towns during these early years.


REFERENCES 

Baker, Harvey.  1892.  “Oneonta in Early Time,”  chapter 9 (“The Early History of Town and County”) Oneonta Herald, January-July 1892, clipping in Anna Manning’s “Scrapbook 1870-1895”, p. 56 (Huntington Library, Oneonta, NY), and chapters 24-26 (“Biographical Sketches of its Oldest Inhabitants”), from Bissell (1999, pp. 11-13).

Beers, F.W.  1868.  “Map of Oneonta, Otsego Co., N.Y., 1868.”   Huntington Library, Oneonta, NY.

Bissell, Lynn H.  1999.  Oneonta Trails, 1771-1980.  (Reproduced at Main St. Print Shop, 353 Main Street, Oneonta, NY  13820.)

Davidson, H. Fletcher.  1976.  Delaware County: Fur Trading to Farming.  (Delhi, N.Y.: R. B. Decker Advertising, Inc.)

_________________, compiler.  No date.  “County of Delaware, Census Information, 1790-1840.”  (Davenport Historical Center, from county historian, Delaware County, NY.)

Hinman, Marjory Barnum.  1975.  Onaquaga: Hub of the Border Wars of the American Revolution in New York State.  (Deposit, NY: Valley Offset, Inc.)

Houck, Shirley A., ed.  1995.  The Evolution of Delaware County, New York, Being a History of Its Land.  (Nashville, TN: Express Media Corp., 1400 Donelson Pike, 37217.)

Hurd, D. Hamilton, ed.  1878.  History of Otsego County, N.Y., 1740-1878.  (Philadelphia: Everts and Fariss.)

Kubik, Dorothy.  2001.  West Through the Catskills: The Story of the Susquehanna Turnpike.  (Fleischmanns, NY: Purple Mountain Press.)

Monroe, John D.  1949.  Chapters in the History of Delaware County, New York.  (Delaware County Historical Association.)

“Munsell.”  1880.  History of Delaware County, N.Y., 1797-1880, with Illustrations, Biographical Sketches, and Portraits of Some Pioneers and Prominent Residents.  (New York: W. W. Munsell & Co.)

Sigsbee, Nicholas.  1889.  “Early Recollections of Oneonta and Vicinity,” Oneonta Herald, Sept. 12, 19 and 26.  (From “Scrapbooks, 1889-1970?” of Edith Delello, Huntington Library, Oneonta, NY.)

Taylor, Alan.   1995.  “The Great Change Begins: Settling the Forest of Central New York,” published in New York History, vol. LXXVI/3, New York State Historical Association, and quoted in Telian (2000, pp. 5-11).

Telian, Bernice Mable Graham.  2000.  Two Hundred Years of Rolling Suns: Meredith Township, 1800-2000.  (Walton, N.Y.: The Reporter Co., Inc., printers.)


[1] An account of Butler’s punitive expedition against the Indians on the Susquehanna is found in Monroe, 1949, pp. 72ff.   A copy of the William Gray map, courtesy of the New York Historical Society, is included in Hinman, 1975.

[2] Democrats in the presidential election of 1836, about the time when some local Davenport residents discovered that their voting district was now in Oneonta, would have voted for Martin Van Buren, Andrew Jackson’s vice president, former U.S. Secretary of State (1829-31), and governor of New York (1828-29).  Van Buren defeated William H. Harrison, a Whig, in 1836 but lost to the victor of Tippecanoe in 1840.

[3] The “Census of the State of New York for 1855” lists 2326 electors in Delaware County who owned freeholds in 1821, another 1285 electors who were not freeholders but rent payers, and 1355 who were to become electors in 1822 because of service in the militia or in activities exempt from taxation.  In 1826, the New York constitution was amended to abolish the property qualification of white voters.  (1855 Census, pp. x, xiii.)