Saluting service: Homer parade honors Davenports and vets

August 2015 Posted in Community, People
Ann Davenport Vasconi

Ann Davenport Vasconi

By Kristine Thomas

Homer Davenport isn’t the only noteworthy Davenport.

Just ask Ann Davenport Vasconi, who can trace nine generations of Davenports in America.

The local Davenport history begins with Dr. Ben and Sarah Davenport who staked a land claim in the Waldo Hills in 1851.

“Sarah had five children and the youngest son was Ben Jr., my great grandfather,” she said.

Looking at a book she created on her family’s history, she points out all the ways the Davenports have contributed to their community and state including Homer’s father, Timothy Davenport, who in many regards had a bigger impact – at least on Oregon’s growth – than Homer did. Being a Davenport, she said, is a part of her heritage, something she takes pride in.

“The Davenports were important people in Silverton and they have a long history. Homer was the grandson of Dr. Ben,” she said, adding she is Homer’s third cousin.

A 1947 graduate of Silverton High School, Ann was chosen as the grand marshal of this year’s Homer Davenport Parade.

“I was shocked and I didn’t expect it,” Ann said, adding she was chosen to represent her great grandpa Dr. Ben Davenport, who was a Civil War veteran.

Silverton Mayor Rick Lewis said the Homer Davenport committee selected a military veterans theme for the 2015 parade through downtown Silverton on Saturday, Aug. 8, 10 a.m.

The theme is “Silverton Veterans – A Legacy of Service.”

“We want as many veterans as possible to participate in the parade this year,” Lewis said, adding he would like to group military veterans in order of the era in which they served (World War II, Korea, the Cold War, Vietnam, Desert Storm, Iraqi Freedom, Enduring Freedom and any period of time in between).

Lewis said the parade committee is working to obtain the use of several flatbed trailers to transport those veterans who are unable to endure the walk on the parade route.

“We are also arranging for some restored military vehicles to participate in the parade,” Lewis said. “The Silverton Delbert Reeves American Legion Post is also assisting in the planning effort to make this year’s parade a special tribute to our military veterans past and present.”

Silverton resident and local historian Gus Frederick has made it a goal to put the Davenport back in Davenport Days. He will be presenting “Who the Heck is Homer?” at the Silver Falls Library at 1:30 and 3 p.m. on Aug. 8.

Frederick said Ann has an intense knowledge of her family’s history. Ann and her daughter, Frederick said, transcribed T.W. Davenport’s handwritten memoirs from the University of Oregon’s archives.

“She has been helpful for me during my on-going research,” he said.

Both Ann and Gus wanted people to learn that it’s not just Homer who made a difference. “T.W. and his brother Ben were very much active in state politics. T.W.’s wife Nancy, (Homer’s step-mother) was active in the Woman’s Suffrage movement and hosted Abigail Scott Duniway on several visits to Silverton. John Davenport, the other T.W. brother, was an advocate for and personal friend of Chief Joseph,” Gus said.

For Ann, tracing her family’s history back nine generations in America is like solving a mystery or piecing together a puzzle.

A former teacher and principal, she enjoys researching her family history as well as helping others in their research.

The donation land claim from 1851 is still in her family as well as the home place, which will be 100 years old in 2016.

“Understanding a family’s history helps to understand their story,” she said.

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