BENEFITING: Museum of the American Revolution
ORGANIZER: Museum of the American Revolution
Museum of the American Revolution wrote -
We hope to raise $2,500 to conserve a recently acquired artifact: an early nineteenth-century chair owned by Revolutionary War veteran James Davenport. This important object will undergo treatment by a trained conservator who will search for clues to reconstruct the chair’s original upholstery covering. Archival-grade materials will replace the spring seating and stuffing found in the chair. Using the documentation found within the object, the conservator will recover the chair, bringing it back to the original form that the elderly veteran Sergeant James Davenport sat on in his Dorchester home, as he shared memories of his role in the founding of the United States.
Born on October 13, 1759, Davenport grew up in Dorchester, Massachusetts, where he served an apprenticeship as a shoemaker. In 1777, at the tender age of eighteen, Davenport enlisted as a private in Col. Benjamin Gill’s regiment of Massachusetts militia. He later served in 8th and 9th Massachusetts Regiments of the Continental Line. In 1781, he was a sergeant in General Lafayette’s Light Infantry Division, and witnessed the surrender of Lord Cornwallis’s army at Yorktown. After receiving his discharge in 1783, he returned home to Dorchester and married Esther Mellish. Together they raised eleven children, of which six lived to adulthood. On July 17, 1824, James Davenport died at age sixty-four.
Isaac Davenport, James and Esther’s oldest son, learned the trade of cabinetmaking and became very successful. He probably made this easy chair for his ailing father around 1820. Generations of his descendants preserved the memory of an aged James Davenport sitting in this chair as he told tales of fighting British and Hessian troops in the American Revolution. As he leaned toward the fireplace from time to time (it was said), he would launch a stream of tobacco juice at one of a pair of hot andirons cast in the form of Hessian grenadiers! The sizzling sound of the tobacco juice striking the hot cast iron made such an impression on his young son Isaac that the tale was passed to his grandson’s grandson, who donated the easy chair and andirons, along with other Revolutionary era relics, to the Museum of the American Revolution in 2015.
We will display the chair in our new museum as an authentic witness to the stories of the men who served during the Revolutionary War risking everything to help create a new nation.
Please help us keep their legacy alive by donating to our campaign.
Thank you for your support!