Jouett (or Jewett) Harbert Davenport, livestock raiser, newspaper publisher, lawyer, state senator, and Confederate military officer, was born on November 1, 1828, in Campbell County, Georgia. He was the son of William and Elizabeth (Sydnor) Davenport. William, a native of Virginia, no doubt drew on the story of Jack Jouett when naming his first-born son. On December 4, 1851, Jouett Davenport married Margaret Sophia Brewster in Campbell County, Georgia. They had five children. In 1854 the family moved to Texas and settled in Coryell County. In 1860 Davenport was living in Waco, McLennan County, Texas, with his wife and longtime friend James T. Longino and his family. Davenport raised livestock and Longino herded the cattle. Davenport estimated his personal property to be worth $1,550.
Following the outbreak of the Civil War, a regiment of men from Hill County, Waco, and Round Rock was organized into ten companies of around 800 men for Confederate service on August 18, 1862, near Waco and designated First Texas Partisan Rangers. On that same day, Davenport was elected major of the regiment which subsequently became designated the Thirtieth Texas Cavalry Regiment and was assigned to protect the Red River entrance to Texas as part of Trans-Mississippi Department. The unit saw action in Arkansas and the Indian Territory. At the battle of Poison Spring on April 18, 1864, Davenport was among the nineteen casualties that the unit sustained. However, he returned to his regiment by June 22, 1864. On May 26, 1865, the unit disbanded in Austin after surrendering along with the rest of Gen. Edmund Kirby Smith’s army.
After the war, Davenport and his wife relocated to Belton, Texas, where, in 1866, he and his friend James T. Longino founded the Belton Journal, Texas oldest continuously-published newspaper. Jouett listed himself as a publisher on the 1870 census and employed his son Edward as a printer. Davenport estimated his real property at $1,000 and his personal property at $3,000 on the 1870 census. In 1873 Davenport and Longino sold the Belton Journal to a J. T. Battle.
In1873 Davenport was living in Eastland, Texas, and was elected to the Texas Senate for the Fourteenth Legislature from the (then) seventeenth district. He served in this capacity from January 13, 1874, to April 18, 1876. He was elected again to the Senate as part of the Sixteenth and Seventeenth legislatures on November 5, 1878, as a Democrat. In that election he defeated five other opponents—four Democrats and one Greenbacker—by a majority of about 3,000 votes. He took office on January 14, 1879, and his term expired on January 9, 1883.
After leaving politics, Davenport returned to Eastland and lived until his death on November 4, 1892. The Fort Worth Gazette described Davenport as “a distinguished Confederate officer, a prominent lawyer and legislator, and was held in high esteem as a public man and citizen.” He was buried in the Eastland Cemetery, in Eastland, Texas.
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Joseph H. Crute, Jr., Units of the Confederate States Army (Midlothian, Virginia: Derwent, 1987). Fort Worth Gazette, November 5, 1892. Legislative Reference Library of Texas: Jewett Davenport (http://www.lrl.state.tx.us/legeLeaders/members/memberdisplay.cfm?memberID=4204), accessed November 27, 2012. A Memorial and Biographical History of McLennan, Falls, Bell, and Coryell Counties (Chicago: Lewis, 1893; rpt., St. Louis: Ingmire, 1984). Stewart Sifakis, Compendium of the Confederate Armies: Texas (New York: Facts on File, 1995). E. W. Swindells, A Legislative Manual for the State of Texas (2 vols., Austin, 1879–83).
The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this entry.
Matthew K. Hamilton,
“Davenport, Jouett Harbert [John],”
Handbook of Texas Online,
accessed August 18, 2022,
Published by the Texas State Historical Association.
Original Publication Date:
December 21, 2012
This entry belongs to the following Handbook Special Projects: