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
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
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,
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
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
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
Children of Joseph Dennis:
- John, b. –1719; d. 8-25–1797; m. Kezia Ball
- Charles, m. Sarah Morgan
- Joseph, m. Hannah Lewis
- 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
Children of John and Kezia (Ball) Dennis:
- Joseph, b. 12-14–1741; m. Deborah Webster (?)
- Ezekiel, b. 12-17–1742; m. Ann -------
- Catharine, b. 11-1--1744; m. Joseph Speakman
- John, b. 1-26–1746
- Sarah, b. 12-21–1749; d. unm., in Rockhill, in 1807
- Kezia, b. 2-22–1753; m. John Strawn (See No. 4, Chapter XLIV)
- 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,
Children of Charles and Sarah (Morgan) Dennis:
- Amos, d. 5–1803; m. Jane Heacock
- Josiah, d. 12–1819; m. Alice (Heacock) Wilson
- 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:
- Ezekiel, b. 6-12–1753; was an Ensign in Third Battalion, N. J., in
- Jesse, b. 1-30–1755; d. 9-27–1802; m. first, Ann Schooley; second,
- Sarah, b. 1-11–1757; no further record
- Anne, b. 10-11–1758; m. Daniel Wilson, of Sussex Co., N. J.
- Lewis, b. 4-22–1761; d. in Canada; m. first, Mary Dyer; second, ------
- Joseph, b. 7-18–1763; d. in Sussex Co., N. J.; m. 5-29–1796, Christiana
- 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:
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:
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:
- Townsend, returned to Richland in his early manhood and resided there
several years, returning to Springfield, Burlington Co., N. J.
- Kezia, d. 11-11–1803; m. Abel Penrose. Had no children. (See No. 34,
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.
Children of Josiah and Alice (Heacock-Wilson) Dennis:
- Cynthia, b. –1795; d. unm., 1-5--1868
- 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:
- Ezekiel, b. 9-2--1782; d. 10-7--1832; m. first, Mary Baldwin; second,
Sarah (Baldwin) Smith
- 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:
- John, b. 5-12–1768; d. –1854; m. 1809, Didema Tingley. They lived and
died in Sussex County, N. J.
- Joseph, b. 5-20–1790; d. 3-14–1791
- 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.
- Nathanel, b. 10-24–1793; d. 1-2--1849; unm.
- Lewis, b. 11-11–1798; d. 8-16–1836 in Sussex Co., N. J.; m. Charlotte
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.
David Wallace Tourison, Sheridan Wyoming, 19 Feb 2002