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Second Generation


3. MILES DENNIS1,2,3,4 was born in 1805 in North Carolina.5 He died before February 1858 at the age of 53 in Jackson County, Tennessee.4,6

Joseph CHAFFIN b. 3 Jan 1793 NC had a brother named Elias CHAFFIN. These brothers had property in Putnam Co., TN that was occupied by a Miles DENNIS in January 21, 1827. Survey Book of Richard F. Cooke. Witnessed by Edward Lax and Miles Dennis, page 587, Survey No. 511, on file, Putnam Co, Tenn: "By virtue of entry No. 1070 for 75 acres, dated January 21, 1827. I have surveyed for Elias Chaffin 75 acres of land in said county on the waters of Flynn Creek joining Joseph Chaffin's entry beginning at Hickory and Dogwood running South 110 poles with the West 109 poles to a double chestnut oak thence North 110 poles to a hickory black gum and dogwood in said Joseph Chaffin's South B line of his 50 acre tract. Thence East with said line passing the Northeast corner in all 109 poles to the beginning including the house and improvement now occupied by Miles Dennis."

Found in the 1850 Jackson Co TN Census are the following which may be family of Miles
1st Civil Dist, p.159; Household 4
Thomas E. Dennis age 35 [no place of birth given] with Katharine age 44 b. NC, James 21, Francis 19, Henry T. 15, Almeda C. 10, Margaret 8, Frances A. 5, Polly A. 2.
9th Civil Dist; p. 183, Household 344:
Andrew Dennis age 32, b. in NC with lady named Nancy also 32, and James 13, William 11, Martha 9, Thomas 7, Josephine 3, and Nancy 1.
Household 345:
Hewit Dennis age 30 [no place of birth given] age 30. lady Eli, age 28, and Nancy 6, Sary 5, Dorcus 4, Polly 2, and Nancy Crocker age 65.
p.186, Household 388
Andrew Dennis age 65, Alas age 70 and Lucinda age 12. [No places of birth given]
[Also near Andrew in Household 386 is John Putty, age 58, born NC - his daughter Florentine, age 18 in 1850, will marry Benjamin Dennis, son of Miles.]
11th Civil Dist,
p.289, Household #738, following Miles "Davis"
John Davis age 21, Farming, b. TN, Elizabeth 21, Pinkney age 1.
p.319, Household 1159
Joshua Dennis, age 45, born NC with Anna age 45, William 18, Lucinda 13, Caroline 11, Harrison 6, Samuel 4, Logan 2.
It is possible that the older Andrew is the father of the others: Joshua who at 45 is the same age as Miles, Thomas, Andrew the younger, and Hewit.

1850 Census listed as Miles S. "Davis".

1840 Jackson Co TN, District 9 - these pages are not numbered, nor do they have any designation written on them as to county. No one was counted next to any of the other Dennis families, but all on the same page are:
Miles Dennis:
1m -5 [Madison was 5 could be in either]; 3m 5-10 [Richard, Benj F. and Madison], 1m 20-30 [Miles, age 35]
2f -5 [Elizabeth & Martha Jane]; 1f 20-30 [Sarah, age 29]
My note: There is an extra male child. Looks like there could have been a son that died young. Actually the son Madison, found in 1850, was not named in the divorce proceedings so he possibly died, too.
Andrew Dennis:
2m 5-10; 1m 15-20; 1m 50-60 [Andrew who will be 65 in 1850]
1f 5-10; 1f 30-40; 1f 50-60 [Alas "Alice" who will be 70 in 1850]
My note: Given the age of Alice, the children under age 10 are not hers. I'm guessing the young man 15-20 probably is a son. The female 30-40 probably a daughter or dau-in-law living at home with three young children.
Thos. G. Dennis
1m 5-10, 1m 15-20, 1m 20-30 [presumably Thomas]
1f -5, 1f 10-15, 1f 20-30
My note: There was a Thomas E. Dennis in 1850. He was age 35 at that time so could fit here. But the rest of the family is a big stretch. I also question that the male age 15-20 was a son given Thomas' age; more likely a brother or brother-in-law living with them.
In 1850: wife Katherine was 44 [could be a 2nd wife]; older children were James 21, Francis 19, Henry 15 [so one too many sons and ages don't match - of course there could be stepchildren given Katherine's age and the enumerator failed to note their surname or was not told]; oldest dau was Almeda age 10.
A note about the enumerator - in some columns appears what looks almost like a printed capital letter D. When he placed a number 1 in the wrong column, he seems to have attempted to turn it into a zero. There is a mark such as this in the column for females age 15-20 in Thomas G's line.
A. R. Dennis [Andrew Richard ????]
2m under 5; 1m 20-30 [A. R.]; and 1f age 20-30
My note: The young Andrew in 1850 was 32; so was his wife Nancy. There were two sons over age 10 by 1850 - James 13 and William 11. Obviously a match. And young Andrew was shown as born in NC in 1850
Two pages later:
Joshua Dennis
1m 5-10, 1m 10-15, 1m 30-40 [Joshua]
4f -5, 1f 5-10, 1f 30-40
My note: In 1850 Joshua was 45 as was his wife Anna. There was a son William age 18 who would have been 8 in 1840 - I would presume the older son had left home [This could be John Dennis, living next door to Miles in 1850.] There were two daughters in 1850, Lucinda 13 and Caroline 11. The older daughter from 1840 could be married by 1850. Some of those little girls probably died.
One other observation. There was a Hewit, age 30, in Jackson Co in 1850. He could be either the male age 15-20 in the household of Andrew in 1840. Or he could be the male age 15-20 living with Thomas G. You can effectively account for most of this family from 1840-1850.


Beginning in July of 1856, Sarah filed for divorce from Miles.
In this case, Miles states that Richard is the oldest child, age 26. Richard also filed the suit this time on behalf of Sarah as would befit an eldest son.
Sarah's petition stated that Miles was abusive, whipping and cursing her. Richard was her eldest and there were seven minor children still living at home. She stated that their farm, which had come to her from her father, was mortgaged for debts that were almost paid. She lists their material possessions and livestock. She asked for an injunction to keep Miles from removing or selling any of the property. The divorce was likely filed in July of 1856 with a hearing set for early February of 1857. Witnesses were summoned to include Henry Fox, William Davidson, John Craig, and John P. Davis. Security for Bond for Sarah Ann & Richard Dennis were Bartlett A. Fox and William N. Billingsly. Sarah's lawyer presented her petition in early January of 1857; Miles' lawyer presented his "answer" about two weeks later. Miles' answer denied all the charges claiming she had been mentally deranged for the past 3 or 4 years and the whippings were required for discipline. He had not hit her a lick for over a year. He admitted to harsh language whose words he could not recall. He admitted the land had come from her father, but denied all the debts were just. He protested the divorce claiming she was as much as fault for the difficulties as he. He believed the children needed his care and that her mental condition was such that she could not raise them.
Apparently the hearing did take place on 4 Feb 1857 at which time additional witnesses were summoned to appear this "instant" to include Polly Williams, John K. Fox, Anny Dennis & John Dennis. [No testimony of any of the witnesses is included] An amended bill was filed by Sarah which stated that Miles had committed numerous infidelities during their marriage, named one as Betsy Pryor, and that he was then afflicted with syphillis. Miles was given until July, 1857, to respond to the amended Bill. At that time the judge failed to appear and the case was continued to Febuary of 1858 by which time Miles had died.

From Jackson Co TN Chancery Court Minutes; Volume C Jul 1856-Aug 1860
LDS Microfilm #09855253

p.74; Feb Term 1857
Sarah Ann Dennis vs. Miles Dennis
Petition for Divorce
In this case the complainant is allowed to file an amended bill which is done and this cause is continued until next Term. The copy of the amended Bill states that Miles is afflicted with syphllis.

p.89; Feb Term 1858
Sarah Ann Dennis vs. Miles Dennis
It appearing to the Court that since this bill was filed the defendant has died. It is ordered that the suit abate & order she pay the costs for which execution may issue.
[So, Sarah Dennis sued for divorce but Miles died before Feb. of 1858. No Divorce.]


MILES DENNIS and SARAH ANN FOX were married about 1830.4 SARAH ANN FOX7, daughter of BENJAMIN FOX and ELIZABETH ANDERSON, was born in 1811 in Tennessee.1,5,6

An 1860 Jackson Co Census gives her age as 46 (head of household) which would place her year of birth 1814.

From Jackson Co TN Chancery Court Minutes; Volume C Jul 1856-Aug 1860 [LDS Microfilm #09855253]:
Feb Term 1857; p.74 Sarah Ann Dennis vs. Miles Dennis. Petition for Divorce.
In this case the complainant is allowed to file an amended bill which is done and this cause is continued until next Term.
Feb Term 1858; p.89 Sarah Ann Dennis vs. Miles Dennis
It appearing to the Court that since this bill was filed the defendant has died. It is ordered that the suit abate & order she pay the costs for which execution may issue.

Peggy Sham <Peggss@aol.com> Email of 3 Jun 2001
Kay, sorry I have been so long getting back to you with this info. We took
our long trip to Europe and I just got back from TN today. I pulled the
divorce file for Sarah and Dennis. I will copy and send to you soon. It is
hard to read, but here is the paraphrase version....
Since a woman was not allowed to bring a suit of any kind, Sarah was
represented by "her next friend, Richard H Dennis." (her second oldest son
and my gggfather) bill claims "disrespectful language, ... violence, .......
whipped her on many occasions,..... spent all the money she had when they got
married, trying to sell her land,. " An addendum says he commited adultery
with "Betsy Pryor and others" and from such adultery he acquired syphillus
and is now afflicted with the disease.
Miles response is even harder to read, but basically says that he beat her
for her own good because she had become impertinent and hard to live with and
needed discipline. And that she should not be able to bring suit against him
over it because she had forgiven him and even condoned the beatings! He
states that the suit does not reflect on Sarah, but rather on her "next
friend", who forced her to do it. I haven't gotten through it all to find his
response to the adultery charge.
In 2/1857 the case was continued until 7/1857. There was not court that day
because the judge was a no show. By the next court date in 2/1858, Miles had
died and the case was dismissed.

I did receive the copies of the divorce proceedings and have transcriptions.

MILES DENNIS and SARAH ANN FOX had the following children:

+15

i.

Richard H. DENNIS.

+16

ii.

Benjamin Franklin DENNIS.

+17

iii.

James Madison DENNIS.

+18

iv.

Elizabeth DENNIS.

19

v.

Martha Jane DENNIS was born in 1838 in Tennessee.1,6,7,8

A Martha J. Dennis married John A. Putty, 5 Jun 1865, Morgan Co, Illinois. Census records show her to be the same age and one of her brothers had also married into the Putty family, so presumably this is the same Martha Dennis.

1870 Census. Town of Macon, Macon Co, ILL. Hh 163
John Putty, age 55, b. TN
Martha, age 32
[Many of the children are too old - obviously her stepchildren]
Margret 19. Columbus, 17. Marion 15 [male). Allace 8. Sidney 9. All born in TN
Marlin, 8. Alinn, 7 [male], Born Illinois
If this is Martha and she married John in 1865, the rest of the children were also hers.]
James 4., Edward 2, and Thomas 8 months, all born Illinois

I looked back to 1860 and John Putty was then living in Putnam Co TN, Hh 46, a shoe & boot maker
John Putty, age 46. Ann, age 38.
Robt. 13. Margaret 10. Columbus 8. Monnie, 6 [male]. Sidney, age 1.
Elzabeth, age 18.
The school teacher, Fannie Cumming, age 22, lived with them.


1880 Census. The family had moved back to Jackson Co, TN. Hh 322
John A. Putty, age 61, farmer, b. TN
Martha J., 41, wife, b. TN
Merlin, 20, son, b. TN
Alvin G., 16, son, b. IL
Eddie A., 14, son, b. IL
Thos. H., 10, son, b. IL
Charlie F., 9, son, b. IL
David N., 8 son, b. IL
Sallie J., 5, dau, b. IL
Wilbert B., son, age 2, b. IL
Wilson C., son, age 4 months, born in March in Tennessee
Elizabeth Harp, age 22, Servant, b. NC

20

vi.

Sally Almira DENNIS4,8 was born in 1840 in Tennessee.1,6,7

Her name was given as Sally Almira in her mother's divorce petition.

1870 Census, Jackson Co TN. Probably this is Almira living with her uncle:
Dist 12, Hh 99. Richard Fox, age 53, Constable. b. TN. Susanna, age 55, b. TN.
Almira Dennis, age 31, b. TN.

21

vii.

Miranda DENNIS4,7,9 was born in 1842 in Tennessee.1,6

Named as Marenda in 1850. Name read as "Amanda" in 1860. The divorce proceedings of her mother list her as Marinda.

+22

viii.

LEROY W. DENNIS.

+23

ix.

Miles Pinkney DENNIS.

+24

x.

William Gilbert DENNIS.