Davenport, John, 1597–1670, Puritan clergyman, one of the founders of New Haven, Conn., b. Coventry, England, educated at Merton and Magdalen colleges, Oxford. Starting as a Church of England cleric, Davenport turned more and more to nonconformity. As pastor of an influential London parish he fostered the Puritan cause and in 1633 had to flee to Holland. There he also got into theological troubles, and, after returning to England, he and Theophilus Eaton headed a party of Puritan colonists who sailed (1637) to New England. In 1638, Davenport led the colonists to a spot chosen by Eaton, and New Haven colony was founded. Davenport was minister in New Haven and a powerful figure in the colony until he lost (1665) the bitter fight to prevent the union of New Haven colony and Connecticut. In 1667 he accepted the call to the First Church in Boston, where new theological disputes caused many of his congregation to secede and form the Third or Old South Church.
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.
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