William H. Davenport - Republican, Elected


  • Davenport-WilliamHWilliam H. Davenport - Nevada Historical Society

6th Nevada Attorney General
Term:  January 1, 1883 - January 3, 1887

Biography

William H. Davenport, born in Delaware in 1831, came west when Nevada still was a territory.  In 1862, he represented Storey County in the Nevada Territorial House of Representatives, and in 1864, he served as the Police Recorder and Justice of the Peace for Virginia City.  Thereafter, he established a law practice in Treasure City (present day White Pine County) and then in Eureka, Nevada, as the city’s first attorney.  In 1872, Mortimer Fuller, Judge of Nevada’s Ninth Circuit District Court, appointed Davenport as the “Register in Bankruptcy”[1] for the District of Nevada.  In 1880, the voters elected him District Attorney of Eureka County.[2]

Election of 1882

Elected as Nevada’s sixth Attorney General on November 7, 1882, Davenport (Republican) received 7,181 (50.2%) of the 14,297 votes cast, and G.W. Merrill (Democrat) 7,116 received (49.8%) votes.[3]

Office Administration and Duties

Davenport, as his predecessors before him, had no deputies or other support staff according to the Nevada Attorney General’s budgets for the 1883–1885 and 1885–1887 state biennial fiscal periods:

1883–1885 Budget

$6,000

 

$6,000

Attorney General’s Salary

 

 

Office expenses came from an appropriation “[f]or a current expense appropriation, to defray the telegraphic, postage, and contingent expenses of the several state officers, Supreme Court, and State Library, to be expended under the direction of the Lieutenant Governor, State Controller, and Secretary of State, $8,000”

1885–1887 Budget

$6,000

 

$6,000

Attorney General’s Salary

 

 

Office expenses came from an appropriation “[f]or a current expense appropriation, to defray the telegraphic, postage, and contingent expenses of the several state officers, Supreme Court, and State Library, to be expended under the direction of the Lieutenant Governor, State Controller, and Secretary of State, $6,000”

The 1883 and 1885 Nevada State Legislatures added no additional duties for the Attorney General to perform.  Davenport’s last report to the legislature (Nevada Attorney General’s Report, 1886) stated that he suffered from “physical indisposition.”


[1] “Register in Bankruptcy “may be defined to be, ‘[t]he incumbent of an office created by the U. S. Bankrupt Act of 1807 OR 1867—an assistant to the United States District Judge in Bankruptcy Proceedings.’”  Manual of the U.S. Bankruptcy Act, 1867:  With the Rules, Orders, and Forms of Proceedings Thereunder.  Conveniently Annotated, Classified, and Arranged.  Clinton Rice.  Philip & Solomons, Publishers, 1867.
[2] Nevada Historical Society Quarterly, Volume XXVII, Spring 1984, Number 1, page 16.
[3] Political History of Nevada, 2006, page 358.

    Last reviewed 1/4/2015