52 Relatives 2018-1: Estella Davenport; Her Legacy

Estella, or Stella Davenport was born to Stiles Davenport and Mary C Searing Davenport on 10 Nov 1885 in Morristown, New Jersey, the sixth of their ten children. She first appears in the 1900 US Census in which she is living with her mother and stepfather, James Dugan, and she remains with them in the 1905 New Jersey State Census. Also in 1905 she is listed in the Morristown City Directory as a milliner at 18 Abbott Street with her elder sister, Jennie, a waitress, and brother Eugene, a laborer, living at the same address.

In 1905, Estella also marries Clarence DeWitt Babcock, a widower with a daughter, Ruth Babcock, age 7, in New Jersey. This family is living together in Bridgeport, Fairfield, Connecticut in the 1910 US Census; Clarence is employed as a driver.

On 27 Jan, 1917, Stella gives birth to a son, William Clarence Babcock, apparently her only biological child.

On 23 Jun 1917, Stella dies in her thirty second year; she is buried in Evergreen Cemetery, Morristown, New Jersey.

In the 1920 US Census a two and a half year old William Babcock is found in the household of Stella’s sister, Jennie Davenport Wright and her husband, James Wright. But Jennie too dies before 1927 when her husband remarries. I’ve found no record of Jennie’s death or burial, or any children having been born to Jennie and James Wright.

By 1930, young William is living with his grandmother, Mary C. Searing Davenport and her second husband James Dugan in Hanover, Morris County, New Jersey. By 1940 William has married Anita “Ella” Wildey; they share their household in Morris Plains, New Jersey with their son, William C Babcock, Jr., and an aged James Dugan, 80. William C Babcock Jr. is the only child of WIlliam Sr. and Anita “Ella” Wildey.

Stella’s son, William Babcock, became a respected member of the Morris County, New Jersey community, working as a service manager for several Ford dealerships until opening his own service station in Cedar Knolls Township in 1961. In 1972 he retired to Florida. Besides his business he was an active volunteer on the Cedar Knolls Fire Department beginning in 1942. He was Fire Chief in 1953, Chairman of the Hanover Township Fire Commission in 1966; he was a member of the Cedar Knolls First Aid Squad and a lifetime member of the New Jersey State Fireman’s Association.

William Babcock Jr predeceased his father by nine years, but carried on the tradition of volunteer firefighting with Birchwood Fire Conpany 4 in Rockaway. William Jr. left four children: William T., Steven J., Deborah Jean, and Linda S..

Clarence DeWitt Babcock lives until 8 Oct., 1960. He marries Minnie Miller La Fountain in 1934 in New Hampshire, but they divorce before 1940. His daughter, Ruth Babcock (Nasta) is mentioned in his obituary; his son, WIlliam, is not.

Stella’s stepdaughter, Ruth Babcock, 1918-1971, is a pioneer in women’s law enforcement, working first in private security, then as a police matron.


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