[circa 1870 photograph shows the brothers and William Fay in front of the "spirit cabinet"]
Ira Erastus Davenport September 17, 1839 -July 8, 1911
William Henry Davenport February 1, 1841-July 1, 1877
The Davenport Brothers, were American Magicians in the late 19th Century, sons of a Buffalo New York Policeman. The brothers presented illusions claimed to be supernatural.
The Davenports began in 1854, less than a decade after Spiritualism had taken off in America. After stories of the Fox Sisters, the Davenports started reporting similar occurrences. Their father took up managing his sons and the group was joined by William Fay, a Buffalo resident with an interest in conjuring. Their shows were introduced by a former “Restoration Movement Minister, Dr.J B. Ferguson, a follower of Spiritualism, who assured the audience that the brothers worked by spirit power rather than deceptive trickery. Ferguson was apparently sincere that the Davenports possessed spiritual powers.