X Bucks County Pennsylvania History and Genealogy
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DENNIS FAMILY

Submitted by: David Wallace Tourison, of Sheridan Wyoming - many thanks

The following is a retype from EARLY FRIENDS FAMILIES OF UPPER BUCKS, with Some Accounts of Their Descendants, by Clarence V(Vernon) Roberts, assisted by Warren S. Ely, Originally published Philadelphia, 1925, Reprinted Genealogical Publishing Company, Inc., Baltimore MD 1975. Comments in ( ) are note inclusions from the publisher/writer; Comments in [ ] are from me personally:

Chapter XIII DENNIS FAMILY Beginning on Page 97

1. JOSEPH DENNIS, the pioneer of the Richland family of that name, came to Bucks County about 1737. He is supposed to have been the son of John and Rachel (Hull) Dennis, of Woodbridge, New Jersey, born there 3 mo. 8, 1697 (O.S.).

The Dennis family of New Jersey are principally descendants of Robert Dennis, an early settler of Portsmouth, Rhode Island, who according to the Connecticut records was at Plymouth in 1645.

This Robert Dennis purchased land in Monmouth County, N. J., in 1691, of his brother-in-law, Jebediah Allen, and an effort has been made to identify him or his son Robert with Robert Dennis, on of the first patentees of Woodbridge, May 21, 1666, but this seems to be contradicted by the fact that Robert Dennis of Portsmouth died there in 1691.

Robert Dennis of Woodbridge came from Wymouth, Mass., and was granted land at Woodbridge by Phillip Carteret, and was one of the associates of the Woodbridge patent, above mentioned. He was a surveyor and a member of the first legislature of New Jersey, which met at Elizabethtown May 26, 1668, and represented Woodbridge, with Samuel Moore, in the legislature for the years 1669 and 1672. Woodbridge Township was chartered June 1, 1669, and patents were granted to Robert Dennis for 448 acres; Samuel Dennis 94 acres; John Dennis 107 acres; Thomas Bloomfield 92 acres; John Bloomfield 90 acres. There has been considerable speculation as to whether Samuel and John Dennis were sons or brothers of Robert Dennis. John, at least, was probably a son of Robert.

John Dennis, born about 1640, married 10 mo. 18, 1668 (O.S.), Sarah Bloomfield, daughter of Thomas. He was granted 107 acres in Woodbridge, adjoining John Bloomfield, by Philip Carteret, Esq., Governor, on 8 mo. 16, 1669.

JOHN DENNIS, Jr., son of John and Sarah (Bloomfield) Dennis, was born at Woodbridge 7 mo 9, 1669, and died there 11 mo., 1702–03. His will was dated January 3, 1702–03, and probated March 27, 1703, and the inventory of his estate made January 28, 1702–03. He married, 2 mo. 8, 1691, Rachel Hull, daughter of Benjamin and Rachel Hull, and granddaughter of Hopewell Hull, one of the original associates in the Woodbridge Patent. Both John Dennis, Sr., and John Dennis, Jr., were carpenters. The will of John Dennis, Jr., mentions his uncle, [page 98] Samuel Dennis, and brother-in-law, Nathaniel Fitzrandolph, who had married Grace Hull.

Children of John and Rachel (Hull) Dennis:

Tunis, b. 10-29–1694
Joseph, b. 3-8--1697; d. 1767
Rachel, b. 3-14–1699
John, b. 11-14–1700–01

Whether Joseph Dennis, son of John and Rachel, was the pioneer of that Bucks County family remains somewhat in doubt for the reason that historians have assigned this Joseph to Middletown, Monmouth County, N. J., where the will of a Joseph Dennis was probated 10 mo. 8, 1814. There does not seem to be any proof of the identity of the two men. Joseph Dennis, son of John and Rachel, did remove to Monmouth County, where he made a deed May 30, 1727, to Thomas Ayres for land on the line between Piscataway and Woodbridge, patented to his father, John Dennis in 1669, to which he affirms he had an “absolute estate of inheritance.” Following the conveyance of his heritage in New Jersey he probably removed to Bucks County. Tradition in the Dennis family of Haycock makes Jonathan Dennis the first ancestor, but this is a mere supposition on the part of the descendants of the 5th and 6th generations. However, it is possible that Joseph Dennis may have been the son of Jonathan Dennis, another son of Robert of Woodbridge. This Jonathan Dennis married Rachel Moore. Children of Jonathan and Rachel (Moore) Dennis:

Elizabeth, b. 8-8--1678
Mary, b. 2-7--1682
Rachel, b. 8-30–1683
Jonathan, b. 11-29–1685–86
Joseph, b. 12-18–1687–88
Charles and Sarah, twins, b. 11-4--1689–90
Hannah, b. 11-26–1691–92

There are so many branches of the Dennis family in New Jersey, the members of which bore similar names, that it is impossible to determine to what branch Joseph Dennis of Bucks County did belong, but a careful study of the genealogy of the different branches strongly indicates that he was a son of John and Rachel of Woodbridge, as above stated. Charles E. Stickney, in his little book entitled “Dennisania,” published at Wantage, Sussex County, N. J., in 1904, after giving a large amount of genealogical statistics of the early Dennis families of New Jersey, concludes that Joseph was a son of John and Rachel.

A branch of the Dennis family of Woodbridge migrated to Cape May [page 99] County and settled at the site of the present town of Dennis or Dennisville. The names of Joseph, Jonathan, and Charles also appear in this branch.

Another branch of the family settled at Cohansey, Salem County, New Jersey, apparently founded by Jonathan Dennis, Jr., of Woodbridge. This branch spread over into Cumberland County and members of the family have migrated to Pennsylvania at different dates, one branch of the family still being residents of Falls Township, Bucks County.

Henry Dennis, son of John of Salem County, married, 3 mo. 14, 1751, Martha Lynn, of Philadelphia, and the death of several of their minor children is recorded on the Philadelphia Monthly Meeting Records.

Thomas and Mary Dennis were also members of Philadelphia Monthly Meeting, and the birth of their son Benjamin, 6 mo. 13, 1713, is recorded there. Cornelius Dennis and Mary Durborrow were married at Philadelphia Monthly Meeting 5 mo. 30, 1733.

1. JOSEPH DENNIS settled in Bucks County in 1738. Under warrant of survey dated 4 mo. 17, 1738, a tract of 236 acres and 51 perches of land was surveyed to him “in the Forks of Kimball’s Meadow Creek, four miles from Durham,” and it was patented to him on 8 mo. 29, 1739. Subsequent conveyances show that this tract was located in Haycock Township, on a branch of the Tohickon Creek. He conveyed about one-half of this tract to his son, Charles Dennis, and removed to Wantage Township, Sussex County, New Jersey, where he died about 1770. On 5 mo. 13, 1768, then a resident of Sussex County, he conveyed the remainder of the tract in Haycock, 183 acres, to Phillip Herring. The will of Joseph Dennis, of Wantage Township, Sussex County, New Jersey, drawn 9 mo. 29, 1767, and probated 4 mo. 7, 1770, devises his estate to four of his sons. Children of Joseph Dennis:

  1. John, b. –1719; d. 8-25–1797; m. Kezia Ball
  2. Charles, m. Sarah Morgan
  3. Joseph, m. Hannah Lewis
  4. Ezekiel
  5. Nathaniel, d. in Sussex County, 5-20–1776; unm.

2. JOHN DENNIS2 (Joseph1), son of Joseph Dennis, born in 1719, died 8 mo. 25, 1797, came to the Great Swamp District with his parents in 1738. In 10 mo., 1739, he was admitted a member of Gwynedd Monthly Meeting on his own petition, and in 2 mo., 1740, married at that meeting, Kezia Ball, daughter of John and Catharine (Lester) Ball. (See No. 4, [page 100] Chapter VIII). She was born 8 mo. 13, 1716, and died 1 mo. 15, 1803. On June 17, 1738, the same date upon which a warrant was issued to his father, a warrant was issued to him for the survey of 200 acres of land. It was laid out in Rockhill Township, where he lived and died. On December 6, 1759, he purchased of Walter McCoole and wife 100 acres additional in Rockhill. He was a wheelwright and farmer. On May 30, 1760, John Ball and Catharine his wife conveyed to John Dennis of Rockhill, wheelright, his son-in-law, 74 acres of land in Richland, the consideration for which was that John Dennis and Kezia his wife were support and maintain the said John Ball and Catharine his wife during their natural lives and the life of the one living longer. It was part of the tract of land in Lower Richland, bordering on Rockhill, which Peter Lester had conveyed to John Ball, and part of the Griffith Jones tract conveyed to Peter Lester in 1712. The will of John Dennis dated 12 mo. 14, 1792, probated 11 mo. 7, 1797, describes his as aged and infirm. His friend William Penrose, and Amos Richardson, “whom I raised,” were named as executors with his wife Kezia. His estate is devised to his sons, Joseph, Ezekiel and John, and daughters, Catharine Speakman, Sarah Dennis, Tamar Thomas and Kezia Strawn. Kezia (Ball) Dennis was for many years an overseer of Richland Monthly Meeting, was its representative in the quarterly meeting, and served on numerous committees.

Children of John and Kezia (Ball) Dennis:

  1. Joseph, b. 12-14–1741; m. Deborah Webster (?)
  2. Ezekiel, b. 12-17–1742; m. Ann -------
  3. Catharine, b. 11-1--1744; m. Joseph Speakman
  4. John, b. 1-26–1746
  5. Sarah, b. 12-21–1749; d. unm., in Rockhill, in 1807
  6. Kezia, b. 2-22–1753; m. John Strawn (See No. 4, Chapter XLIV)
  7. Tamar, b. 8-10–1755; m. -------- Thomas

3. CHARLES DENNIS2 (Joseph1), son of Joseph Dennis, came with his father to Bucks County in 1738, and settled in Haycock. His father conveyed to him 160 acres of the tract patented to Joseph in 1738. He also acquired title to another tract of 50 acres surveyed to his father on May 9, 1747, the patent being issued direct to Charles in 1764. The conveyance of the 160 acres was made on February 19, 1755. At least a portion of this land remained in the ownership and occupation of his descendants until the death of his grandson, William Dennis, in 1875. It was located near Applebachville. The land was in the tenure of his son Josiah in 1813. He took a certificate from Richland Monthly Meeting to Muncy, Lycoming County, 4 mo., 1813. His two sons do not seem to have accompanied him. [page 101] Charles Dennis married at Richland Monthly Meeting 4 mo. 11, 1747, Sarah Morgan, daughter of John and Deborah (Woodruff) Morgan. (See No. 6, Chapter XXXIII).

Children of Charles and Sarah (Morgan) Dennis:

  1. Amos, d. 5–1803; m. Jane Heacock
  2. Josiah, d. 12–1819; m. Alice (Heacock) Wilson
  3. a Levi

4. JOSEPH DENNIS, Jr.,2 (Joseph1), son of Joseph Dennis, came to Bucks County with his father in 1738, and like his brother John became a member of Richland Monthly Meeting of Friends in 1750, and married at that meeting, 5 mo. 20, 1752, Hannah Lewis, daughter of Lewis and Ann (Lord) Lewis. (See No. 8, Chapter XXIX). She was born in 1730.

In 1767 Joseph Dennis and wife Hannah and their seven children took a certificate from Richland to Kingwood Monthly Meeting in New Jersey, and settle din Wantage Township, Sussex County.

Children of Joseph and Hannah (Lewis) Dennis:

  1. Ezekiel, b. 6-12–1753; was an Ensign in Third Battalion, N. J., in Revolution
  2. Jesse, b. 1-30–1755; d. 9-27–1802; m. first, Ann Schooley; second, Martha McCoy
  3. Sarah, b. 1-11–1757; no further record
  4. Anne, b. 10-11–1758; m. Daniel Wilson, of Sussex Co., N. J.
  5. Lewis, b. 4-22–1761; d. in Canada; m. first, Mary Dyer; second, ------ Taylor
  6. Joseph, b. 7-18–1763; d. in Sussex Co., N. J.; m. 5-29–1796, Christiana Dunn
  7. Hannah, b. 5-22–1765; no further record

5. EZEKIEL DENNIS2 (Joseph1), son of Joseph Dennis, probably accompanied his parents to Bucks County in or about the year 1738. He accompanied or preceded his father to Wantage, Sussex County, New Jersey, where he was appointed to the court on 5 mo. 30, 1754, Overseer of the Poor for the district of Wantage. Charles E. Stickney, the author of “Dennisania,” thought that Joseph Dennis resided during the later year of his life with his son Ezekiel. We have no record of his marriage or family.

7. JOSEPH DENNIS3 (Joseph1, John2), son of John and Kezia (Ball) Dennis, was born in Rockhill 12 mo. 14, 1741. He removed to Canada with his family in 1788, taking a certificate from Richland Monthly Meeting to the meeting at Niagara, dated 5 mo. 29, 1788, which included his wife Deborah and three children. Deborah is supposed to have been the daughter of Joseph and Elizabeth Webster, of [page102] Hunterdon County, N. J., born 12 mo. 9, 1743. She was disowned as Deborah Dennis by Kingwood Monthly Meeting 12 mo. 18, 1781, for marriage “out of unity.” Children of Joseph and Deborah (Webster) Dennis:

  1. Ann
  2. Joseph
  3. Deborah

A letter of Eli W. Strawn to Alfred L. Dennis 12 mo. 2, 1901, says: “Alexander Dennis of Canada paid a visit to relatives at Richland sixty years ago. He claimed to be a cousin of my uncle, Wilson Dennis.” He was doubtless the son of the above named Joseph, son of Joseph, or one of the sons of Ezekiel Dennis who removed with his family to Niagara with his brother Joseph in 1788.

8. EZEKIEL DENNIS3 (Joseph1, John2), son of John and Kezia (Ball) Dennis, born in Rockhill 12 mo. 17, 1742, also removed to Canada wiht his family in 1788. He purchased in 1776 three tracts of land in Lower Richland aggregating 120 acres, being part of the tract originally taken up by John Morgan on Morgan’s Run, it being that part of the Morgan tract which was repatented to Jonathan and Susanna Heacock in 1760. It adjoined the 74 acres conveyed to his father by his grandparents John and Catharine Ball, and his father John Dennis conveyed to Ezekiel five acres of this tract together with eleven acres in Rockhill in 1787. On June 3, 1788, Ezekiel Dennis of Richland and Ann his wife conveyed the balance of the Richland tract and the eleven acres in Rockhill to Robert Penrose.

On 5 mo. 29, 1788, Richland Monthly Meeting granted a certificate to Niagara for Ezekiel Dennis, his wife, and the nine children, whose names are given below. We do not have any record of his marriage. Children of Ezekiel and Ann (--------) Dennis:

  1. Abigail
  2. John
  3. Kezia
  4. Hannah
  5. Mary
  6. Susanna
  7. Tamar
  8. Joel
  9. Charles

9. CATHARINE DENNIS3 (Joseph1, John2), daughter of John and Kezia (Ball) Dennis, born in Rockhill 11 mo. 1, 1744, married at Richland Monthly Meeting, 11 mo. 14, 1776, Joseph Speakman. On 1 mo. 20, 1780, they took a certificate from Richland Monthly Meeting to Wrightstown, and resided for a number of years in the locality.

Children of Joseph and Catharine (Dennis) Speakman:

  1. Townsend, returned to Richland in his early manhood and resided there several years, returning to Springfield, Burlington Co., N. J.
  2. Mary
  3. Kezia, d. 11-11–1803; m. Abel Penrose. Had no children. (See No. 34, Chapter XXXVII)

[page 103] 14. AMOS DENNIS3 (Joseph1, Charles2), son of Charles and Sarah (Morgan) Dennis, born in Haycock Township, about 1750, died there 5 mo., 1803. He was a wheelwright by trade. He removed to Pennsbury Township, Chester County, in 1770, taking a certificate from Richland to Kennett Monthly Meeting 12 mo. 20, 1770. He returned to Richland in 1780, and married at Richland Meeting 11 mo. 30, 1780, Jane Heacock, daughter of William and Ann (Roberts) Heacock, of Rockhill. (See No. 17, Chapter XX). They settled in Rockhill, where Amos Dennis followed his trade of a wheelwright until 1790 when he purchased a lot of 10 acres in Richland on which they resided until his death in 1803. His will, dated 6 mo. 6, 1801, was probated 5 mo. 27, 1803. Jane (Heacock) Dennis was born in Rockhill 2 mo. 10, 1758. She removed with her son and daughter to Greenwood, Columbia County, Pa., where she was living 6 mo. 28, 1815, when she signed with her children a letter of attorney to Everard Foulke to sell her husband’s real estate, but was evidently deceased on 5 mo. 22, 1816, when another letter of attorney was executed by the children alone. Children of Amos and Jane (Heacock) Dennis:

38 Diana, m. Nathan Heacock. (See No. 30, Chapter XX) 39 Charles, m. Jane Heacock. (See No. 32, Chapter XX). Removed with Nathan and Diana Heacock to Columbia Co., Pa., about 1808, and in 1816 removed with them to Salem, Ohio

15. JOSIAH DENNIS3 (Joseph1, Charles2), son of Charles and Sarah (Morgan) Dennis, born in Haycock Township, Bucks County, Pa., about 1751, died there 12 mo., 1819. He inherited 100 acres of his father’s lands in Haycock and seems to have lived threon all his life. He died intestate and the real estate descended to his son and daughter. He married, 11 mo. 28, 1793, Alice (Heacock) Wilson, widow of Henry Wilson, and daughter of William and Ann (Roberts) Heacock, of Rockhill. (See No. 16, Chapter XX). She was born 2 mo. 7, 1756: Children of Josiah and Alice (Heacock-Wilson) Dennis:

  1. Cynthia, b. –1795; d. unm., 1-5--1868
  2. Wilson, d. unm., 8-30–1875

15a. LEVI DENNIS3 (Joseph1, Charles2), son of Charles and Sarah (Morgan) Dennis, was a farmer in Haycock, and was taxed for 80 acres of land for the years 1779 and 1790. He was probably living on his father’s land, as we have no deeds to or from him. He married out of meeting and removed to Upper Canada. In 1807 he sent a written acknowledgment and request from a monthly meeting there that he [page 104] Might be reinstated in membership and received a certificate, which was accomplished. We have no further record of him.

17. JESSE DENNIS3 (Joseph1, Joseph2), son of Joseph and Hannah (Lewis) Dennis, born in Richland, Bucks County, Pa., 1 mo. 30, 1755, removed with his parents to Sussex County, New Jersey, where he died 9 mo. 27, 1802. He married, first, at Kingwood Meeting of Friends, 10 mo. 18, 1781, Ann Schooley, daughter of Benjamin Schooley of Schooley’s Mountain, now Warren County, N. J. She was born 1 mo. 13, 1759, and died 5 mo. 21, 1785. He married, second, at Hardwick’s Meeting House, 5 mo. 16, 1787, Martha McCoy, daughter of John McCoy, a pioneer settler in Wantage Township. She was born 5 mo. 7, 1760, died 1 mo. 21, 1849.

Children of Jesse and Ann (Schooley) Dennis:

  1. Ezekiel, b. 9-2--1782; d. 10-7--1832; m. first, Mary Baldwin; second, Sarah (Baldwin) Smith
  2. Schooley, b. 9-13–1784; d. 3-8--1860, Independence, Oakland Co., Mich.; m. 9-23–1809, Anna Mabee and they removed to Michigan in 1838. Children of Jesse and Martha (McCoy) Dennis:
  3. John, b. 5-12–1768; d. –1854; m. 1809, Didema Tingley. They lived and died in Sussex County, N. J.
  4. Joseph, b. 5-20–1790; d. 3-14–1791
  5. Jesse, b. 10-18–1791; d. 5-24–1877, in Evansburg, Crawford Co., Pa.; m. Margaret Ann Barton, in Sussex Co., N. J., and removed to Crawford Co. in 1824.
  6. Nathanel, b. 10-24–1793; d. 1-2--1849; unm.
  7. Lewis, b. 11-11–1798; d. 8-16–1836 in Sussex Co., N. J.; m. Charlotte Turner

41. WILSON DENNIS4 (Joseph1, Charles2, Josiah3), only son of Josiah and Alice (Heacock-Wilson) Dennis, born in Haycock, about 1797, died there unmarried, 8 mo. 30, 1875.

With his sister Cynthia, who also died unmarried, he inherited his father’s farm of 100 acres in Haycock near Applebachville, and Cynthia conveyed to him her interest therein in 1866. He continued to live thereon until his death. He was a prominent horticulturist making a decided success of all kinds of fruit on his rocky Haycock farm. William H. Johnson of Buckingham, then County Superintendant of Schools in June, 1861, made a trip from Quakertown to Haycock and Springfield Townships and described his trip and a visit to Wilson Dennis’s farm [page105] in an article published in the Doylestown Democrat of July 16, 1681. He described with apparent interest Wilson Dennis’s orchards and his success in cultivating improved kinds of fruit as well as vegetables, corn and other grains.

His will gives numerous small legacies to the children of his neighbors and the residue to his cousins. To Matilda Zorns he bequeathes the “large pewter dish and pewter mug and the dishes that were brought from England by our great-grandmother.” He conveyed about one-half of his farm to John S. Moyer in 1868, and devised the balance to him by his will.

42. EZEKIEL DENNIS4 (Joseph1, Joseph2, Jesse3), eldest son of Jesse and Ann (Schooley) Dennis, born in Wantage Township, Sussex County, N. J., 9 mo. 2, 1782, was a surveyor and storekeeper in Newton, Sussex Co., N. J., and died there 10 mo. 7, 1832. He married, first, 9 mo. 10, 1814, Mary Baldwin, daughter of Benjamin and Isobelle (Wright) Baldwin of Newton. She was born 1 mo. 1, 1789, and died 2 mo. 1, 1824. He married, second, Sarah (Baldwin) Smith, a widow, and probably sister to his first wife. She was born 1785, and died 12 mo. 3, 1870. By the first wife there were three daughters and two sons, and by the second wife one daughter.

ALFRED L. DENNIS, the second child and eldest son of Ezekiel and Mary (Baldwin) Dennis, was born at Newton, Sussex County, N. J., 4 mo. 4, 1817. He removed to Newark when a young man and became an apprentice to the book-binding business in the office of the Sentinel of Freedom. He became night clerk in the book store connected with the newspaper, and on coming of age purchased the store which he successfully conducted for many years, finally taking into partnership with his brother, Martin R. Dennis. He became director of the bank of Newark and later vice-president of the United Railroads in New Jersey, executive agent of the Pennsylvania Railroad at New York, president of the Jersey City Ferry Co., a director of the Delaware, Lackawanna and Western Railroad and of many ofther railroads and bridge companies. He married, 9 mo., 1841, Eliza, daughter of Major James Shephard, of Norfolk, Litchfield County, Conn. They had five children. The eldest was Rev. Dr. James S. Dennis, a graduate of Princeton College in clas of ‘62 and of Harvard University Law School, and many years a missionary in Syria. The other children were: Dr. Frederick S. Dennis, of New York, a celebrated surgeon; Warren S. Dennis, a prominent member of the New Jersey bar; Samuel S. Dennis, who was associated with his father in business; and Mary Eliza, an only daughter.

MARTIN RYERSON DENNIS, the other son of Ezekiel and Mary [page 106] (Baldwin) Dennis, born in Newton, N. J., 4 mo. 26, 1823, succeeded his brother Alfred L., as proprietor of the book store at Newark, and published many valuable historical works. He was also a talented physician, having graduated from Medical Department of the University of New York in 1847. He died at Newark 2 mo. 1, 1881. He married Josephine Rose, in 1850, and had three sons.

[END] David Wallace Tourison, Sheridan Wyoming, 19 Feb 2002

1. Davis History of Bucks County. . . 1876
2. An Illustrated History of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, Wm H. Egle, M.D. (1876)
3. Place Names of Bucks County . . . compiled by George Mac Reynolds (Doylestown, PA: Bucks Co. Historical Society, 1942)
4. History of Bucks County Pennsylvania Volume I, William W. H. Davis, A.M.
4a. THE JOURNAL, NOVEMBER 1998, PUBLISHED BY THE BUCKS COUNTY GENEALOGICAL SOCIETY
5. History of Bucks County Pennsylvania Volume II, William W. H. Davis, A.M.
6. History of Bucks County Pennsylvania Volume III, William W. H. Davis, A.M.
7. Battle's History of Bucks County. . . 1887

BUCKS COUNTY RESEARCH FORM
Quakertown Alive Main Street Project
DELHAAS-WILSON CLASS OF 1960
DELHAAS LINKS_BRISTOL/LEVITTOWN
REUNION PICTURES
NON-CUSTODIAL FATHERS


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