Delaware County, NY Genealogy and History Site

About the DHS

Perhaps the most remarkable thing about the Davenport Historical Society (DHS) is that it has remained both continuously active and satisfyingly productive for more than thirty years - possibly something of a record in rural Delaware County, New York. Davenport appointed its first Town Historian in 1956, and it was in 1974 that a newly formed Davenport Historical Society obtained a formal charter from the Regents of the State University of New York. August 2, 2004, marked the 30th anniversary of that event.

During the 1960s a group of dedicated volunteers, many of them students from the local central school, had already begun recovering, sorting chronologically and otherwise classifying many thousands of old documents going back to the town's formation in 1817. (Nearly 8000 items alone were uncovered for the 43 years, 1817-1860.) Most of this work was done upstairs in the often too-warm or too-cold Highway Department garage, using planks on saw horses for sorting-tables and desks. In the late 1990s most of these documents were copied into DHS computer storage and indexed, among other ways, by names of persons mentioned. This was after the Society in 1987 moved into permanent quarters in a relocated former Grange Hall, the newly-constructed lower portions of which became town offices and a post office. For renovating its portion of the old building, the DHS raised about $36,000. By 2000, the original Town documents found a permanent home in a temperature and humidity-controlled walk-in vault attached to the Society's Grange offices. Throughout these productive years the Society received substantial local financial assistance, most notably from the Town of Davenport and from Delaware County's A. Lindsay and Olive B. O'Connor Foundation.

In keeping with its charter, the Davenport Historical Society over the years has conducted many lines of historical research and has published more than a dozen books and a number of pamphlets and papers - with important help from the young and old volunteers who have been the backbone of the organization from the beginning. (The twice monthly "workdays" are accustomed to draw from three to fourteen or more of these volunteers. Publications currently still in print are listed below.) Genealogical inquiries are of course frequent, often from the Midwestern and western states to which early inhabitants migrated. Other major undertakings have included historical documentation on the nearby Fergusonville Academy (including two volumes of old letters published, transcriptions of old records and a scale model of the main building), leadership in the Town's 1976 Bicentennial celebrations that included a history-recreating musical, a 14-foot long map showing Davenport property owners in 1991, guides to 35 Davenport and other nearby cemeteries, tracing the ownership of many properties in town, recording every student who attended the town's public schools from 1817 to 1960, producing a monthly newsletter (since 1987) and organizing monthly talks and related events, from April to early December, for members and all other interested persons. Davenport, Fact and Fancy is the first full account of Davenport's history and marks the culmination of the Society's work to date. It also provides current and future DHS members with a reminder of the considerable work still to be done.

Davenport Historical Society Charter
The original Davenport Historical Society Charter from 1974 incorporating the DHS.

DHS Publications Available, January 2005

[Current DHS members receive 10% off these prices. For mail orders, please add $4 S&H for each Ferguson-Jayne set, $4 for each copy of Davenport, Fact and Fancy ($2 for the CD-ROM only), and $3 for each of the other volumes listed. Orders (with checks) should be addressed to the address below.]

Contact Information:
Mailing Address
Davenport Historical Society
11790 State Hwy. 23, Davenport Center, NY 13571.
Phone (607) 278-5149

About the CD
The CD was edited by Nathan Preston, who has been working with the DHS since 1998 to computerize many of its records.

The CD includes a sophisticated Java-based search engine added by Nathan for searching the HTML version of the book. Also included on the CD is a beautiful PDF version of the book created by David M. Griswold. Jeffrey Griswold composed the Davenport Story supplement and made some revisions to the CD, including the addition of a convenient Photos page providing a direct indexed link to all the pictures (and maps) appearing in the book and the Additional Materials section of this CD-ROM.

The CD is intended as a supplement to the printed edition of Davenport, Fact and Fancy, which may be purchased from the Davenport Historical Society. Enjoy!

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