Seth and Chloe Davenport farm - 133 North Avenue.
Benjamin Davenport farm - 73 North Avenue.
The Davenport Family: Leaders in Farming, 1764 - 1900
Seth Davenport built a farmhouse in 1793 that became the family homestead and the center of a very
productive and profitable agricultural business that would last for several generations. The
Davenports were superb farmers and marketers. Through hard work, intelligent business dealings,
and the good fortune to own 212 acres of rich North Avenue farmland, they provided food for the
region and distant cities. Their excellence in agricultural endeavors rewarded them with substantial
wealth and high social status in the Mendon community.
The farmhouse at 133 North Avenue was a symbol of the family's prosperity. It was large scale with
many rooms and a granite foundation. It was located across the street from the head waters of
Muddy Brook, and it overlooked the long stretch of pastures and meadows that gradually sloped to
the south flowing brook. Its land extended from the Upton town line to Northbridge Road on both
sides of North Avenue. For many years, it remained as a cornerstone of agricultural success.
Farming was the family business of the Davenports. Seth was born in 1739 in Milton. His family
moved to Mendon in the 1740s. He married Chloe Daniels in 1764, and it is believed that their first
home was located at 30 Miscoe Road. They established a successful farming operation and raised
several children. By 1793, the new farmhouse was completed. It remained as a Davenport home
and center of farming activity for many years. As the families grew, more farmhouses were built, and
new business practices expanded. Seth Jr. married Betsy Godfrey in 1797. He promoted fruit
growing and specialized in Rhode Island greening apples that were very popular in Boston markets.
Benjamin built a farmhouse for his family at 73 North Avenue in 1820. His specialty was dairy
farming. Seth Jr.'s son, Joseph, built a house at 101 North Avenue. George constructed farmhouses
at 85 and 100 North Avenue. Austin, who lived at the homestead, was a dealer in dairy cows, horses,
and cider. The cider refined at his farm was sold in markets as far away as California. The family
business of farming was healthy and prosperous.
The 1793 homestead and other Davenport farmhouses on North Avenue and Miscoe Road are
symbols of Mendon's economic strength from the 1700s through the early 1900s. By 1920, the
economy had been changed by the trolley and the automobile. Farm land was sold. Houses were
built, and later, a regional school was constructed. The last Davenport farm was Sunnyside Farm,
operated by George Godfrey Davenport and Sons. The existing houses, barns, and stone walls are
subtle reminders of a great family that was the backbone of Mendon's agricultural way of life. They
call to mind the town's great history of glory days gone by. Richard Grady, October 2011.