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Doctor, Doctor, Give Me the News 
in Williams County, OH
 1862

By

Pamela Pattison Lash

When family researchers talk to each other some amazing things happen. After writing my story on the Benner-Yeagley family, "Black Sheep, Where Are You", I was discussing the details with Karen Borton, a Yeagley researcher, and she mentioned the coincidence of the doctor who probably treated the Yeagleys in the Stryker-Evansport area and the Christian name of a Yeagley son in my story. How many men in this area were called Davenport? "It must have been after Davenport C. Clover, the local doctor." When she said that I realized that one of the principals in another potential story was this doctor and the name was Clover, not Glover as I had found in the Civil and Criminal Court records (Journal 6 p194). From Karen’s comment I was able to deduce the details of this genealogical detailing.

Davenport C. Clover, the eldest child of Pennsylvania natives, Nathan and Hannah (Roll) Clover, was born 3 April 1820 in Clarion, Armstrong Co, PA. Shortly after his birth the family moved to Portage Co, OH and then later to Mahoning Co, OH; by 1840 the Clover family was enumerated in Smith Twp, Columbiana Co, OH p33 with a family of 8 people (2 adults and 6 children) before returning to Portage where the father and mother died in 1872 and 1874 or 1877, respectively.  The History of Portage Co, OH, 1885, mentions Davenport’s sister, Samantha L, b. Deerfield Twp, 3 July 1833 as the daughter of Nathan and Hannah Clover.  “The Clover family moved from PA to Portage in 1827.  The family was Methodist; Samantha after her marriage to William Willsey became a member of the Disciples Church.”

Davenport became an apprentice millwright and carpenter in 1839 and for two years he ran a shingle-machine.  He soon decided that he would build on his common school education and enrolled in the Lenion Academy in Portage, followed by a further learning experience at the Quaker Academy in Marlborough, Stark Co, OH where he taught school and lectured on such diverse subjects as physiology and phrenology. My friend and fellow researcher, Martha Richie, told me it is not uncommon for a non-Quaker to teach at such academies.  According to the 1850 Edinburgh, Portage Co, OH census, Davenport was living with his parents.

 In 1851 he graduated from the Physo-Patho Medical College in Cincinnati, OH and traveled back to Stark Co, OH to practice medicine until 1855 when he moved to Edinburg, OH for two years, then Lima, Allen Co, OH for one year before traveling to NW Ohio as a doctor in Defiance Co, OH for four years.  Sometime around 1858 he served as an elder in the Disciples Church in Alliance, Stark Co, OH. While in Stark County, Davenport married Harriet M. Burden on 5 March 1855.  Harriet, an Ohio native and the youngest child of Levi and Rhoda (Holloway) Burden, was born in 1837, making her 17 years younger than her new husband.  Her father was from Fayette Co, PA and her mother was born in Virginia.  The Burdens were Quakers having been married 1 Jan 1812 in Salem, Columbiana Co, OH.  From 23 Apr 1827-15 Apr 1833 Levi served as a trustee in Lexington Twp, Stark Co, OH.  The Encyclopedia of American Quaker Genealogy of OH/PA, Hinshaw, lists Levi, Rhoda, and many of their 11 children. It would appear that the Burden parents remain in Stark Co.

The 1860 Tiffin Twp, Defiance Co, OH federal census p416, enumerated Davenport (35 PA) and wife Harriet (23 OH) but there were no children listed.  (Note that Davenport should be older.) While the couple lived in Evansport, Defiance Co, OH Davenport stated that Harriet had committed adultery with a John M. Miller and on 13 Sept 1861 she eloped with Miller for parts unknown.  Davenport sued Harriet for a divorce on 27 Mar 1862 where the Williams County Civil and Criminal Court Records (Roll 15 case number 105) show he was granted the divorce after determining that Harriet was “guilty as charged.”  Although Miller is a common surname there was a John Miller enumerated in the 1860 Tiffin Twp, Defiance Co, OH federal census p415, as John 37 BADEN wagonmaker, Anna 39 PA, Melvin 7 OH, Fred 4 OH, Winfield 4 OH, and Anna 2 OH, neighbors of the Clovers.

An interesting detail about this proceeding was that Davenport had to show proof to the court that he was indeed married to Harriet and he supplied the date I have cited.  On the Internet there are several Clover-Burden researchers who use 23 Jan 1853 as the marriage date.  Presumably Dr. Clover should have known his own marriage date, but in working with the divorce records I have encountered other instances when men give one date and the actual record that I have checked gave another.  Few women have made that mistake in divorce proceedings, so what does that tell you, dear readers, about husbands and anniversaries?  Another explanation is that he (Davenport) was correct and those people posting info on the Internet are perpetuating a mistake. 

On 26 July 1862 in Defiance Co, OH, Davenport married Louisa Shepmyer, born 1843 in Prussia.  This second wife was 23 years younger than her husband.  Louisa was the third child of Frederick and Louisa Schopmeir who were married 14 Feb 1836 in Germany.  Frederick (9 Aug 1808 – 10 Oct 1849; bur Old St John’s Cem, Tiffin Twp, Defiance Co, OH) and Louisa (15 Sept 1810 – 22 Sept 1901, Stryker, Williams Co, OH; bur with Frederick) came to Tiffin Twp c. 1845.  After Frederick’s death, mother Louisa married Ludwig Linebrink, 27 July 1850.  Young Louisa, age 7, was living with the Benjamin Hilton family in the 1850 Brunnersburg, Noble Twp, Defiance Co, OH federal census. The Lindenbrink family was listed in the 1860 Tiffin Twp, Defiance Co, OH federal census p417, as L 53 HANOVER farmer, Louisa 49 PRUSSIA, Henry 19 OH, William 17 OH, Lewis 13 OH, and Mary 8 OH. Again note that Louisa was not listed with her mother.

By the 1877 Wms Co, OH Directory for Stryker DC Clover was a partner with FA Sneer at Defiance Street for 14 years in a practice listed as “druggist, physicians, and surgeons”.  According to the 1880 Stryker, Springfield Twp, Wms Co, OH census p667B the family is enumerated as follows: Davenport 60 PA with parents from NJ and PA; Louisa, his wife, 34 Germany with parents from Germany; and daughter Clara E. 15 OH with parents from PA and Germany.  The History of Williams County, OH by Goodspeed, 1882, stated that Davenport was the oldest physician in the county when the book was published. 

His obituaries in both the Bryan Press (30 Jan 1896) and Bryan Democrat (30 Jan 1896 p8) relate that Davenport died at his home in Stryker on 25 Jan 1896 at 76 years of age and I found his burial plot in Oakwood Cemetery.  His estate was not probated until 6 June 1899 (case #4036) and listed his widow, now remarried as Louisa Randall of Garrettsville, Portage Co, OH and his daughter Clara now Mrs. Alexander Friedman (married 20 Jan 1892, Wms Co, OH marriages V6 #612) of Toledo, Lucas Co, OH.  His obits state “he was regarded as an exemplary citizen and a clever physician” and in political matters he was a Republican.  He had been in failing health for several years but in the fall of 1895 he was thrown out of his wagon and never recovered fully from the accident.  In neither obit was his first wife mentioned, so if a researcher went strictly by the historical article, the obits, and the probate, that researcher would have been unaware of Davenport’s first marriage.  That is one of the reasons why I believe the divorce records are important tools for any serious researcher who wants to go beyond the usual vital records. 

 

What happened to Harriet Burden Clover is unknown at this time. If you have info on this family please contact this author 
 
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