Who Was the "Yankee Rebel?"
Ambrose R. Davenport
September 11, 1772—March 13, 1858
The Yankee Rebel Tavern was named after
the patriot, Ambrose R. Davenport, who arrived on Mackinac
Island as a military enlistee and later became a wealthy fur
trader. While a prisoner of war during the War of 1812, Davenport
refused allegiance to the British crown and simply, but proudly,
declared, "I was born in America and am determined at
all hazards, to live and die an American citizen."
Having experienced the patriotism of
the American revolution as a child, Ambrose Davenport attended
school in Virginia with William Henry Harrison. Upon
graduation he enlisted with the US Army and was assigned to
Fort Mackinac here on the Island and was present for the American
takeover from the British in 1796.
In the years that followed, Ambrose Davenport left the military
and remained on the Island for the lucrative fur trading business.
By 1812, the prominent Davenports had six children and faced
the British Invasion of Mackinac Island. As the war
of 1812 progressed, the Fort, its entire garrison, and many
Islanders (including the Davenports) became Prisoners of War.
British Captain Charles Roberts demanded all American captives
swear allegiance to the crown, but Ambrose Davenport refused.
Deported to Detroit, along with other prisoners, Davenport
was placed on parole while his wife and family remained on
Mackinac Island. Mrs. Davenport was constantly harassed
and insulted by the British as they referred to her as "the
wife of the Yankee Rebel".
the recapture of Mackinac Island, Davenport returned home
in 1815 and turned to farming since John Jacob Astor now dominated
the fur business. He became a charter member of Mission
Church in 1823. A veterans land grant for his farm was finally
confirmed by Congress in 1830 and his deed signed by Andrew
Jackson. Their farm was located in the area now known
as Hubbard's Annex.
Ambrose Davenport and his family weathered the failures and
fortunes of farming and his homestead remains standing today
as an old small house at the back of the property owned by
the Chambers Family. At his death at the age of 87, in 1858,
he left a large family that has dispersed throughout the United
Today, the Yankee Rebel Tavern carries
on the patriotic theme and strives to serve the finest American
cuisine on Mackinac Island and
in Northern Michigan.