English blood has in all periods of our national history tended to good citizenship. An example of this fact would not be sought for in vain in Union township, Doniphan county, Kansas, where men of the family of Denton are among the leaders in business and in politics and in all public affairs. The early history of this family, so far as it is obtainable, will be found in the biographical sketch of George Denton in this work.
Joseph Denton has been identified with the history of Doniphan county since 1877. His father, John Denton, one of three brothers -- William, John and Jonathan, -- was born at Bardney, Lincolnshire, England, in 1809, and died there in 1897, aged eighty-eight. He married Mary A. Pickwell, and Joseph Denton, their eldest child, was born at Bardney January 29, 1838. Mrs. Denton also died in England.
The youthful associations and environments of Joseph Denton were entirely rural and he naturally fell into the ways of the workingman while he was still little more than a boy. He learned to follow the plow, to tend the sheep and to keep the birds from the wheat fields. He was a wage-earner by the year for ten years, his wages ranging from four to sixteen pounds and board per annum. When he left England in 1865 he had saved up about seventy pounds. This amount he brought to the United States with him and it formed the nucleus around which he has gathered other sums annually for the past thirty-four years.
Sailing from Liverpool with his wife and two children, aboard the City of Manchester, an Inman line steamer, Mr. Denton handed at Castle Garden after eighteen days. Going direct to Chicago he secured employment there at the Lill brewery. He remained with that concern until its plant was destroyed by the great Chicago fire of 1871. He continued in the service of the same people until his departure for Kansas, July 5, 1880, when he purchased his present farm, upon which he has since lived and achieved a business success and reared his family. His premises show plainly his handiwork. The well-kept appearance of his farm, the arrangement and character of its improvements and the productiveness of its soil all testify to the industry, the system and the taste of its owner.
Mr. Denton is a Republican and has served as the overseer of the roads in his district. Though not an office seeker he is active in political work, for he believes that the triumph of his party will serve the interests of the whole people more completely and beneficently than the prevalence of any other political principles. In local politics his influence is recognized and appreciated by his fellow citizens. He has demonstrated that he possesses a good degree of public spirit and is considered an enterprising and useful citizen who has the welfare of the community at heart and is always ready to advance it by any means at his command. As a neighbor he has always tried to emulate the good Samaritan so far as has been consistent with a proper care for his own interests, and those who have sought and deserved his friendly offices have not been turned away.
Mr. Denton was married, in England, to Mary Bailey, who died in Chicago in the fall of 1866, leaving two children: William, a barber of Chicago, and Emily, wife of William Bowlby, of Allen county, Kansas. Mr. Denton's second wife was Lucy Markham, whom he married in May, 1868. She was born in Lincolnshire, England. The only child of this union is Mary H., the wife of A. B. Swartz.