The settlement in the area now known as Davenport was established in 1838 when the U.S. military set up Fort Davenport during the Second Seminole War, about 12 miles north of the present site of Davenport.
The fort was one of a number built at 20 mile intervals along a trail from Fort Brooke to Fort Mellon. The fort only lasted a few years. The fort was named for Colonel William Davenport, who served as the local U.S. commander in the war.
The modern city of Davenport had its start in the 1880s when the South Florida Railroad was extended to that point. The settlement was first known as Horse Creek, for the creek first recorded on a U.S. Army survey of 1849 which flows past the site to enter Snell Creek and eventually Lake Hatchineha in the Kissimmee River system. Davenport was incorporated in 1915.