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Chicago: Chapman Bros., Publishers


BAZZILL DAVENPORT, Esq. The fifty six years of the residence of this gentleman in Jacksonville compass his entire life, as here his birth took place, Jan. 26, 1832. His parents were Ira and Nancy (Henderson) Davenport, natives respectively of Virginia and Ohio. Ira Davenport left the Dominion with his parents when a child, they emigrating to Ohio, where he was reared to manhood in Pickaway County. He there remained until 1829, assisting his father in developing one of its best farms. There also he was married.

The parents of our subject came to this county in the year above mentioned, bringing with them two children. The father now departing somewhat from his former occupation, engaged in general merchandising and milling, and acquired a good property, continuing to reside in the vicinity of Jacksonville until his death. In company with one Mr. Fitzsimmons, he operated the City and Morgan Mills. He was a prominent man in the county, and in 1845 was elected Sheriff, serving two years. In 1848 he was elected to the same office to fill a vacancy, and held it successively for a period of seven years. He also engaged in pork packing. A man energetic, capable, and of excellent judgment, he was closely identified with the growth and development of Morgan County, together with that of the city of Jacksonville. He was an active spirit in most of its leading enterprises, and among other responsible positions held the office of Treasurer of the Blind Asylum for many years before his death. He was then succeeded by his son, David S., who held the position until his death, in 1876. Upon the death of David it was given to Bazzill, our subject. The three discharged its duties for a period of twenty-five years.

Ira Davenport, politically, was an Old Line Whig during his early manhood, and later affiliated with the Republicans. Both parents were members of the Methodist Episcopal Church. The mother is deceased, her death occurring in December, 1835. The parental household included seven children. Bazzill pursued his first studies in the subscription schools of this county. About 1850 our subject and his brother, Brackston, started for California, going overland by team, setting out on the 9th of April. They arrived in Sacramento City on the 22d of August following, but soon afterward returned east as far as Ringold, Cal., where they established a grocery and provision house, which they operated until the spring of the year following. Then, dividing the spoils, they struck out in different directions, entered the mines, and were engaged in searching for gold until 1857. They were quite successful in their labors, and deciding to return home, took passage on a steamer, crossing the Isthmus on the 4th of July.

Soon after his return to Jacksonville, our subject began clerking for his father in the flour and feed store, and was thus employed until the spring of 1872. He was then elected City Assessor and Collector, which office he held four years. The two years following were occupied in the settlement of the estate of his brother David. Mr. Davenport was elected Justice of the Peace in 1877, holding the office four years and being re-elected. In 1885 he was appointed Public Administrator for the county - first under Gov. Beveridge, and has received the appointment from each successive Governor since.

The 31st of December, 1861, witnessed the matrimonial alliance of our subject with Miss Mary E. Metcalf, a native of Greene County, this State. Mrs. Davenport was born Dec. 30, 1842, and was the daughter of William and Sarah (Buchanan) Metcalf, natives of Kentucky. Their family consisted of four children, and she was the eldest. She received a good education, being for a time a pupil in the Jacksonville Female College, and remained under the parental roof until her marriage. Of this union there were born two children, sons - Ira W. and Fred. The elder is now a student at Yale College, and a very bright and promising young man, and has been elected Superintendent of the Public Schools of the city of Jacksonville. He was graduated first from the High School at Jacksonville, then from the Illinois College, and subsequently became a teacher in the Blind Asylum, where he continued two years. He commenced in the primary department, and in three months had been promoted as one of the principal instructors of the institution. He resigned this position to enter Yale. Fred completed his studies in Illinois College, and now is a student of the Renssalaer Polytecnic Institute at Troy, N. Y.

Mrs. Davenport was a lady of many excellent qualities, and a prominent member of the Centenary Methodist Episcopal Church for a number of years. Her death took place on the 30th of June, 1885. Of this body our subject also has been a member and was Treasurer for many years. Politically, he votes the straight Republican ticket, and in the I. O. O. F. has been through all the Chairs of his lodge - Urania, No. 243 - of which he is now Deputy, besides holding the same office in Ridgely Encampment, No. 9 and the Jacksonville Rebecca Degree, No. 13. The family residence is No. 503 East State Street. The Squire's office is on the north side of the Square, No. 43. He is a general favorite in the social and business circles of his community.

1889 Index
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