DAVENPORT, John [1597-1670] -- American Puritan preacher
Born the son of the mayor of Coventry, England,
was educated at Oxford,
became chaplain of Hilton castle near Durham
and preached in London where he became minister of St. Stephen's in Coleman street.
He resigned about 1633, withdrew from the established church
and joined the Rev. John Paget of the English church in Amsterdam, Holland, as colleague.
Differing with his superior on the subject of infant baptism,
he returned to England in 1635,
and having been informed of the success of the Massachusetts colony,
he sailed on the Hector, reaching Boston June 26, 1637.
In August, 1637, he was a member of the synod that met at Cambridge and in March, 1638,
with many of the families that had come with him from England,
sailed for Quinnipiack, reaching the place April 14, 1638.
They afterward named the place New Haven.
In June, 1639, "all the free planters" met in constitutional assembly
and resolved that only church members should be burgesses
and he was elected one of the "seven pillars" to maintain civil government.
He continued to preach and govern in New Haven until 1667,
when the death of the Rev. John Wilson of the first church in Boston
determined that society to call him as their pastor.
He was installed Dec. 9, 1668,
but on account of his not being willing to accept the "half-way covenant"
respecting baptism, as adopted by the synod of 1662,
he withdrew from the first church with some of the members
and organized the "Old South Church."
He died soon after and was buried in the tomb of his old friend, the Rev. John Cotton.
Oxford gave him the degrees B.D. and M.A. in 1625.
Besides tracts, sermons and controversial pamphlets, he published:
"Instructions to Elders of the English Church" (1634);
"Catechism Containing the Chief Heads of Christian Religion" (1659);
and "Discourse About Civil Government in a New Plantation" (1673).
He died in Boston, Mass., March 15, 1670.
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Rev. Davenport was the first to propose that the new colony should have a college of its own.
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