John Davenport was a mariner from Rhode Island who settled in Monterey in 1849, and later moved north to establish a business (which may or may not have involved whaling) at what is still known as Davenport Landing. In the 1860s, Davenport and his partner John King built a wharf and other facilities at the little North Coast cove. In addition to Davenport's own activities, the wharf was used by local lime manufacturers, lumber producers and other exporters. A small town grew up around the wharf and associated businesses. Davenport's two sons ran a shipping business that owned several ships.
The town that later grew up around the cement plant, a couple of miles to the south, adopted the name Davenport. The original town of Davenport Landing was destroyed by fire in 1915 and the wharf was destroyed by storms. Neither were ever rebuilt.