Here is Frank Davenport. We have a brief bio from another portrait:
Jeremiah Frank Davenport, born June 17, 1853. Died December 27, 1931. Pioneer to Hood River 1890. Built a saw mill in the upper Hood River Valley. Also was first man to bring irrigation into orchards in Hood River Valley.
We met his son, Emory, in an earlier photo.
I always become confused trying to keep track of the Davenport family.
His mother and father are buried at Idlewilde and his son Franklin R. was mayor of HR.
Was it E.L. Smith that praised J.F. Davenport for the money he invested into the HR irrigation system, which eventually led to his financial problems?
l.e. on 21st November 2014 @ 7:47am
This history about Davenport was provided by Eph Winans.
I think it is rather impressive to look at this photo and realize what he did for the HR Valley.
Indebtedness To Frank Davenport
Perhaps no other story will show you what I mean quite like that of Frank Davenport. Nor is this area more indebted to any one man, outside of the pioneer Coes, the first white people to settle here.
Frank Davenport first came to this valley from Utah in 1891. From time to time he operated various sawmills in Hood River valley. He carried on a rather large scale business. He owned the East Side lumber flume that discharged at Ruthton and also had a lumber yard and planer there.
Now Davenport was offered a certain amount of stock in an irrigating company, organized by a number of local men in 1896, providing he would build a flume to carry the water on the West Side.
Davenport agreed upon the plan, realizing he would have to move his mill. In the rainy, muddy weather of November, Davenport shut down operations, and, after great difficulty, hauled his mill to a spot below the forks of Hood river, where the head of the ditch was to be located. The moving required almost superhuman efforts in manhandling the equipment over the bluffs into the Middle Flat area.
Davenport expended of the loose lumber he had in getting the mill set up and he had hardly begun to turn out lumber for the flume when the backers of the proposition "welched" and left Davenport up in the air. He tried to get others to aid with the finances, for by this time Davenport, who was no farmer at all, could see the great possibilities in bringing irrigation water on to the land. But, much as he would plead, Davenport could get no backing. These were the "Cleveland Hard Times," and those who had a little money were holding on mighty tight.
Lumber Sales Sealed Off
Davenport could have possibly have helped himself out of the jackpot if he had been able to sell lumber around the valley. But once he moved his mill on to the flat he sealed off many lumber sales, for it was just too difficult to move that the lumber out. What lumber that was produced in that area had to be used there.
Davenport was in bad shape. Finally the stores would give him no more credit for provisions. He and his men were without any food except for what meat they could forage on hunting trips.
It was a cold, sloppy day in December when Davenport tramped into town for one more try with the store keepers. He wanted a 50-pound sack of flour for his helpers and his family. That would be enough to tide them over for a while, he said. But there was no credit to be had.
What would you do? Give up? Or would you rob? Davenport was not the type to give up hope. He set out for The Dalles afoot on the railroad track.
And at The Dalles he had an interview with an enterprising young man named Joe T. Peters. Yes, it was the same Peters who handled cord wood and other articles which could be hauled on the river to The Dalles. Peters had wealth and influence.
He was also a practical man. When Davenport presented the case to him, Peters saw the feasibility of the flume and ditch in Hood River valley. He agreed to lend Davenport some aid. And what did Davenport wanted most at that time, the 50-pound sack of flour, was provided right then and there. Davenport stayed overnight at The Dalles and spent the next day carrying the heavy sack of flour on his back in raw, wintry weather from The Dalles to Hood River and then out to the mill.
Such persistence on the part of Davenport appeared regularly. He undertook the job of supervising the ditch building and gave up all possible sales of lumber elsewhere to concentrate on the ditch. That spring he was able to get teams and men to work on the project, thanks to the backing of Peters. It took around two years before the ditch was completed. But it didn't take long for property values on the West side to jump tremendously. Land changed hands swiftly. Property was divided up as smaller lots showed promise of becoming profitable for farming. I would dare say that the value of property on the West side trebled within two years. Aside from the Coes, I say Frank Davenport did more for Hood River valley than any other man.
Provided by Jeffrey Elmer
l.e. on 22nd November 2014 @ 6:06pm
Another major Mormon impact on the Hood River valley was that of the Eccles family, with the Oregon Lumber Company and Mt. Hood Railroad.
Jeffrey Bryant on 23rd November 2014 @ 5:41am
Frank Davenport is my great-grandfather, and I'm writing a book about him, which should be published next year. I've almost completed the research. Emory (1880-1966), his second son, is my grandfather, and Doris (1911-2007), Emory's daughter, was my mother. I have many happy memories of spending the holidays with Emory and Nellie in the '40s and '50s, in their house at 709 Cascade. There are some condos there now, and the walnut and horse chestnut trees are long gone. There was a big house at Ruthton, where Frank and Helen, their 11 living children (they had 13) and Frank's mother lived for about 15 years, near the Ruthton planing mill and box factory. The flume and ditch structures that he built leading into Greenpoint (now Kingsley) and then down to Belmont and on to the Ruthton complex are incredible, along with the irrigation structures. They went from Hood River to Bull Run, on to Skye, WA and finally to Spray OR in Wheeler County, where he continued lumbering and ultimately raising turkeys. This book is a labor of love, and I hope to have as thorough a chronicling of his life as is possible. I would love to hear from any of you who follow this blog with any info you may be interested in sharing.
Jerry Larsen on 23rd November 2014 @ 11:25am
Seems this valley of fruit might consider naming the west side irrigation canal after this strong, visionary, and committed man, the Davenport canal System, or the Davenport/Peters canal.
nels on 23rd November 2014 @ 11:27am
Could the well to do man who financed much of it could be the man who the town of Petersburg is named after.
nels on 23rd November 2014 @ 11:31am
Frank and David Eccles were closely affiliated. Frank first came to Meacham, Oregon, in 1889 from Idaho to manage a new mill that Eccles had built, and then he came on to Hood River to manage Eccles' Oregon Lumber Company mills before creating the Davenport Brothers Lumber Company with his brothers Will, Mark and Warren.
Jerry Larsen on 23rd November 2014 @ 11:33am
Frank Davenport is my great-grandfather too Jeff. I had no idea you were related! My grandmother Clarice Remington Davenport Jensen was Frank and Helen's 9th child. Clarice married Luhr Jensen and had five children including my father, Dave Jensen.
Richard Jensen on 28th November 2014 @ 5:53pm
I am not related to Frank Davenport. That note was from Jerry Larsen.
Jeffrey Bryant on 29th November 2014 @ 4:55pm
While looking through old newspapers, I came across this article in the
March 31, 1897 The Dalles Weekly Chronicle.
First it tells about Mrs. Frank Davenport chopping off the end of her finger while splitting kindling, then it talks about Frank Davenport hiring men to work on the ditch.
The comment is made that Mr. Davenport has hired several men and teams from Portland, when it seem like people of the HR valley ought to be able to do this work, but he hasn't been able to get help from this area.
l.e. on 7th December 2014 @ 10:15am