Taken from many sources, starting with Mrs. H(arriet) N. Harris' (of Glendale, California) compilation titled, "Denman Family History -- From the Earliest Authentic Records Down to the Present Time" (c1913 printed at the office of the Glendale News)...
"The Denman Book does not attempt to give records of all Denmans, though it is well understood that all persons bearing that name have descended from the same kind of source, -- from some Dane-man. There are many in England and Canada, and in the United States whom we cannot reach: and of many others we find only fragments of records as are of little practical value. No records are here presented which do not definitely lead from a particular ancestor...
"And very recently discovery has been made of many descendants of two brothers who went from New Jersey to Georgia in Revolutionary times, and were lost to the knowledge of their kindred..."
A set of several illustrations is included in the book, most notably the Denman Coat of Arms & the Denman House in Cranford, "... built over the same cellar, and by the same well, as the original house built by John Denman of Long Island in 1720. His son Christopher, who bought the shares of the other children in the property and spent his life there, left it to his only son, John. In his lifetime it was burned down, and another built. Though enlarged and much changed since, a part of the house remains the same. It has always been occupied by Denmans [as of the publishing of the book in 1913]..."
An old Franklin Fireplace in the 1826 house that was rebuilt after it had burned down, a cradle used by 4 generations of Denmans spanning 130 years, a ladderback chair, & a rather nice looking desk or bureau / dresser, are also shown. Several portraits of family members who aren't very closely related to us, are shown as well.
One portrait, that of Lord Chief Justice of England Thomas Denman (1779-1854), reminds me of my father a little bit; I can see the family resemblance in it. Another one, of Reverend & Revolutionary War Chaplain John Gerneau (Gano), one of the Huguenots related to our ancestor, Marie Madelain Ganeaux (Mary Gano -- they spelled their surname with a number of different variations), looks very much like another Huguenot in our family: Governor / General John Sevier (Xavier) -- although there's no documented connection between the two families.
"Denmans in England -- The name Denman is a very ancient one, and is a contraction from Dane-man; that is, one of the Danes.
"The first appearance in England of the Danes -- inhabitants of Denmark -- was near the close of the eighth century. Their war standard was a blood-red one, with a raven woven upon it. The Raven was the national emblem of the Danes, just as the Eagle was of the Romans. An attentive reading of the opening chapters of the book of Numbers affords clear ideas of the use of standards and ensigns among the Hebrews. 'In the wilderness of Sinai, on the first day of the second month of the second year, after they were come out of the land of Egypt,' a complete and most systematic plan was given to Moses for the arrangement of the people, both when in camp and when on the march. They were to be divided into four brigades of three tribes each, the several brigades having men of ability for their leaders. Each brigade and each tribe had a standard, necessarily held aloft, in order to be seen by so many thousands. There were also 'the ensigns of their fathers' houses'; see Numbers 2:2. The ensign served to help keep the members of a family connection together. The later use of family coats of arms served the same purpose. The presence of the Raven in every form of Denman coats of arms is the evidence that Denmans were Dane-men.
[NOTE: "Den", in Danish means "THE"; "Man" (also sometimes spelled "Mand"), in Danish means "MAN". (The Raven is the national emblem or bird of Denmark, and is found on every official, legitimate Denman coat of arms). "Mark", in archaic Middle English means "BORDERLAND"; "Denmark", in English means "THE BORDERLAND". Therefore "Denman", in archaic English means "THE MAN".
The more modern 'interpretations' of the ancient name of Denman, are all dead wrong; they're faulty, even in some so-called "surname dictionaries".
If you wish to learn more about the linguistics of the English language, I recommend, "History of the English Language", by Albert C. Baugh, c1935.
("The Dane-men, or Denmans, are a most ancient Retford family, and have retained much of the ability and acquisitiveness of their Viking ancestors. They had a house in "Newgate," now Grove Street, in the reign of Phillip and Mary, for in the Court Rolls of this ancient Borough in 1554, is a record...")]
"Three Weeks We Westward Bore" c1922 book illustration by Richard Fayerweather Babcock (I colored the original b&w print; notice the little Raven leading the Danish Viking ship?)
"It is of interest to note the relative position and strength in the Hebrew camp, of the brigade of Dan. While the brigade of Judah, always leader, was the strongest, that of Dan was next in strength, and 'these shall set forth hindmost,' that is, bring up the rear; a position only less responsible than that of the leader. Much can be found in history, both sacred and common, showing that the Danes were descendants of Dan; but space forbids further remark here.
"Since the middle of the fourteenth century there have been continuous records of Denmans in the north and east of England -- in Cumberland, in Linconshire, and Nottinghamshire, in East Yorkshire, and, later, in Sussex. These records, though more or less incomplete, are full enough to prove the identitiy of the family line. Many Denmans became land-holders of wealth and influence. The first one found recorded was William Denman, who came into possession, in the latter part of the fourteenth century of Newhall Grange, one of the granges of the old town of Brampton, in Cumberland. When the Monks of Britain were dispossessed of their Manors, this Newhall Grange became the residence of William Denman. The fifth in descent from him was Nicholas Denman, still owner of Newhall Grange, who was recorded Alderman of the city of Hull. A later descendant, John Denman, possessed Newhall Grange in 1585. Later, persons of this line of Denmans went southward to Sussex County, whence some of their descendants migrated to America in 1795.
"But these [southern England, Sussex County] Denmans [who migrated to America in 1795], descendants of the line found earliest recorded in England, were not the ones earliest to come to the shores of the New World. The first comers arrived in 1635. These came from Retford, in Nottinghamshire. That their origin was the same is demonstrated by their identical coats of arms.
"In the records of Retford, the first names with full dates are John Denman, born 1430, died 1517, and Rev. Thomas Denman, born 1432, died 1516.
UPDATE: According to the resource linked above, I was able to fill in some gaps, which I'll list here:
William Denman (b. ca 1325), spouse unknown, (England, possibly not in Retford but nearby; ie, Tynneslowe or Derby, etc.)
William Denman (b. ca 1350-1392) + Joan Bolingbroke (b. ca 1352) m. ca 1374
[Joan's parents were William Bolingbroke and Margaret Atvicars]
John Denman (b. ca 1375) + Jane Fauconberg (b. ca 1377)
Thomas Denman (ca 1400-1483) + Isabel Hercye (b. ca 1404)
John Denman (1430-1517) + Katherine Sandford (b. ca 1433)
John Denman (ca 1455-16 Nov, 1517) + Isabel Mountney (b. ca 1455) m. ca 1480
Rev. Nicholas Denman (1487-1561) + Anne Hercye (b. ca 1507)
Rev. Francis Denman (b. ca 1531-1599) + Anne Blount (b. ca 1525)
1-John Denman (1591-1623) + Judith Stoughton
(He might be the ~nephew of Francis Denman, rather than his son; because according to all sources, Francis only had two female heirs, and no surviving sons... although they could be mistaken, perhaps; because the Denmans have been known to leave certain family members - including the eldest son - out of an inheritance, perhaps for the sake of the less wealthy members of the clan).
2-Anne Denman (b. ca 1587-d. 1661), great-grandmother of the Queens of England, Mary II & Anne, and sister (or cousin) to our ancestor
They're all Retford people, and this tentatively bridges the gaps between our American ancestors and William Denman (the one with the sweet poem on his grave marker, cited elsewhere in this blog). It also reveals the connection between us and the Queens (whom I'd guessed correctly were our distant cousins, although I didn't know the precise link).
(I still have some problems linking us to the English Denmans, prior to John Denman of Retford (1591-1623), Judith Stoughton's first husband. Still working on that issue.)
(More history about William Denman may be found in genealogical sites in the UK.)
I also learned from this same site, that John's half-brother, William Smead, married the daughter of Capt. Thomas Lawrence and Elizabeth Bates, Elizabeth. They had a child, Judith Smead, who married Eleizer Hawkes and had a daughter, Elizabeth Hawkes. Elizabeth Hawkes married Hezekiah Stratton, and had a son, Eleazer Stratton. Eleazer Stratton married Lydia Allen, and had daughter, Lydia Stratton. Lydia Stratton married James Knox and had son, Charles Knox. Charles Knox left Franklin MA (where the rest of his lineage were born and lived out their lives) and married Mellona / Malona Badger ca 1810, in Broome, NY, where he lived out the rest of his life, until age 75.
So, he obviously didn't get "lost among the Indians"...
"A large land-holder of that locality was Sir Humphrey Hercy, of Grove, Nottinghamshire, who had one son, John, and eight daughters. The son, according to custom, inherited the title, and also the lands; but he died unmarried in 1570. He had divided his vast estates among his eight sisters, the second sister, Anne, receiving as her share the manor of West Retford. This sister, Lady Anne Hercy, married Rev. Nicholas Denman, the fact of the marriage, though without date, being found in the parish records. They had a son, Francis, the date of whose birth is not given, but of whom it is said that he was rector of West Retford from 1578 to 1596, and that he died in 1599. Taking the exact dates of John Denman, 1430-1517, and Rev. Thomas Denman, 1432-1516, and passing over to the next exact dates, those of Rev. Francis Denman, who died in 1599, we infer that his father, Rev. Nicholas Denman, was not later than the next generation after the two earliest persons of known dates. It may be remarked in passing that the manor of West Retford continued in this family nearly one hundred years, when it was sold to the corporation of East Retford, which still owns it and uses it as the Holy Trinity Hospital.
"The queens Mary and Anne came in a direct line from this family. Rev. Nicholas Denman and Lady Anne Hercy had a daughter, Anne, who married Sir Thomas Aylesbury in 1610. Their daughter married Sir Edward Hyde, afterward the first Earl of Clarendon. The daughter of this couple, Lady Anne Hyde, became the first wife of King James II, and was the mother of Queens Mary and Anne. Mary was married to William, Prince of Orange. Upon the abdication of James II, in 1689, William and Mary were called to the throne in the interests of the Protestant religion. Mary died, in 1694, without children. When William died, in 1702, her sister Anne, who was married to Prince George of Denmark, became the sole ruler, and bent all her energies toward the full emancipation of her country from Popish control. At the battle of Blenheim, in August, 1704, this great end was finally accomplished under the masterly generalship of the Duke of Marlborough, and with the help of troops from Denmark. Queen Anne died in 1714, having borne six children, none of whom lived to maturity. Thus royalty in the Denman line died out. It is matter for gratitude that the reigns of these two queens served high purposes for England.
"Another line of descent from these Denmans of Retford embraces celebrated physicians and lawyers. The earliest person of this line found definitely recorded was Thomas Denman of Bevercotes, Nottinghamshire, who was born in 1644 and died in 1740. He had a son Thomas, born 1705 and died 1752, who was a doctor and apothecary in Bakewell, Derbyshire. This doctor had two sons, Joseph who died without heirs, and Thomas, who became the most eminent surgeon of his time, and was author of a valuable medical work. He married Elizabeth Brodie, a descendant of the family of Brodie, of Morayshire, Scotland. They had twin daughters, and one sone, Thomas, who became one of the most celebrated of the Lord Chief Justices of England. Lord Denman's endowments were very great and his educational acquirements profound; and the qualities of his personal character were such as to make him eminently worthy of the supreme position to which he attained. He was raised to the peerage in 1832. His son, the second Lord Denman, died in 1894, aged eighty-nine. The third, a nephew of the second, succeeded to the title when but twenty years of age. He has had a military education, saw service in the war in South Africa, and was made Governor-General of Australia in 1911.
"Some instances of Denmans in other useful positions may be given here. In 1782 Flaxman, the sculptor, married Ann Denman, who afforded the finances and the patient co-service necessary for the great advancement which he made. Many of his most valuable works are now in a permanent gallery under the dome of University College, London, the gift of Miss Denman, his sister-in-law. Rev. F. L. Denman of Lincoln's Inn Fields, London, is Secretary of the London Society for Promoting Christianity among the Jews. This society celebrated its one hundred and fourth anniversary in Caxton Hall, London, on May 2, 1912, and is the oldest organization in existence for work among the Jews. Its Secretary is an able writer and speaker and efficient worker.
"Returning to the Retford Denmans, as a chronological starting point we can think of the beginning of our knowledge of them as a century earlier than Queen Elizabeth [I], who was born in 1533.
"John Denman of Retford [our ancestor, the brother of Rev. Thomas Denman], who was born in 1430 and died in 1517, was buried under Christ Church in Retford, Nottinghamshire, where a tablet commemorates his death and burial. No name is given of his children or grand-children; but the next name found with date is John Denman, born in 1591. This man was married to Judith Stoughton, daughter of Rev. Thomas Stoughton, one of the sons of Henry De Stoughton or De Stuckton of Stoughton Hall, Stoughton, in Surrey. John and Judith Denman had a son, John, born in January, 1621, and a daughter, Mary born in December, 1621. The father died in 1623 or 1624. His widow married as her second husband William Smead, by whom she had one son, William. In 1627 or 1628 she was again a widow. In 1635, with her three children, John and Mary Denman and William Smead, she came to New England. There is a tradition that William Smead eventually was lost among the Indians. There is no further word regarding him. [I've read online that this is not true, that William Smead did in fact grow up, get married, and start his own family; but that's just a rumor as far as I'm concerned, since I haven't looked into it.] Two of her brothers had preceded her, having come to Boston in 1633 to engage in mercantile pursuits. One of them went later to Windsor, Colony of Connecticut, where he died in 1686. The other brother, Israel, afterward returned to England, where he died in 1642, having bequeathed to the newly organized Harvard College three hundred acres of the best land in what is now Dorchester, a part of Boston. His son William, who became Lieutenant-Governor of Massachussetts Bay, gave the money for building the first Stoughton Hall at Harvard. His portrait is among those in Memorial Hall at Harvard. [Judith's nephew, William Stoughton, who never married or had any known children, was also the Chief Magistrate of Salem Colony during the time of the notorious Salem Witch Trials - which were held in the years 1691 to 1692].
[Also note that Stoughton, Massachussetts, was named after the Lt. Governor of Massachussetts Bay Colony, William Stoughton (Judith's nephew). And that Israel Stoughton was a Colonel; and his brother, Captain Thomas Stoughton built the first mill in the region. Thomas later moved to Connecticut. Israel returned to England, where he died a somewhat untimely early death from some unnamed illness.)http://books.google.com/books/about/The_English_ancestry_of_Thomas_Stoughton.html?id=FUFWAAAAMAAJ
(Thomas Stoughton, Judith's father; I'd like to get my hands on a copy of that book.)
(A nice image of a letter written by Israel Stoughton, dated November 6, 1637.)
Israel Stoughton returned to England & died there, but his brother, Thomas erected this memorial stone for him in Windsor, Conn. (Brother John Stoughton always resided in England, I believe).
"Ensign Thomas Stoughton" (Israel's and Judith's brother) is listed on the righthand side of this "founders monument" in the town square at Windsor, Connecticut.
The Dorchester, Mass., Historical Society published in their "Dorchester Day" Official Program (June 7, 1913) a photograph of "Gen. Stoughton's Tomb". In the Dorchester Atheneum, this same photograph (compliments of the Dorchester Historical Society) is listed in their Images file under the keywords: Israel Stoughton Tomb, Dorchester North Burying Ground. However that's incorrect: it's William Stoughton's tomb.
"A most distinguished patron of Letters and literary men"...
Photo of the old Stoughton School (with old map of its location), named for William Stoughton, Israel's son and "Dorchester's most prominent citizen of the latter half of the seventeenth century."
A biographical sketch of Israel Stoughton (portrait is of his son, William).
An excellent, exhaustive study of one of America's worst miscarriages of justice. I'm sorry that my cousin was involved in it; and I just hope that he also had remorse for how it played out.
However, far more people were cleared of charges than were convicted (over 200 people were accused of witchcraft in the Summer of 1692 alone). And some who were convicted, received subsequent pardons by Governor Phips, sparing their lives. It wasn't entirely a religious issue, since the local Protestant ministers (except the overly zealous and emotional, also very politically inclined, Cotton Mather) were mostly against the trials, including Rev. Samuel Willard, from Chief Justice Samuel Sewall's church. But one in particular (Rev. Samuel Parris) was the father and uncle of the two children who made the first accusations (against their two Carib slaves, surnamed "Indian").
The hysteria seemed to be grounded in the many stresses of colonial life which included bloody, violent battles with the Native Americans, actual proven criminal behaviors within the community, high death rates due to disease and complications of childbirth, possible hallucinations caused by ergo-tainted rye grain, conflicts and oppressions from England, etc... Also later:
"On October 17, 1711, the General Court passed a bill reversing the judgment against the 22 people listed in the 1709 petition (there were seven additional people who had been convicted but had not signed the petition, but there was no reversal of attainder for them). Two months later, on December 17, 1711, Governor Joseph Dudley (William Stoughton's close friend and associate) also authorized monetary compensation to the 22 people in the 1709 petition. The amount of 578 pounds 12 shillings was authorized to be divided among the survivors and relatives of those accused, and most of the accounts were settled within a year, but Phillip English's extensive claims weren't settled until 1718."
And since bestiality (for just one example of a very sinister type of crime) was rather common in those days; and since Salem has since turned itself into the Witchcraft capital of America (if not the world) -- I don't doubt that there was at least ~some truth to some of the exagerated accusations.
The key to the problem with those trials, was the acceptance of so-called "spectral evidence" by William Stoughton and some of the other judges involved. That problem was fairly quickly corrected by Massachussetts' systems of checks and balances in place at the time. But again, I think it's a testament to Protestantism, that the Salem Trials lasted only less than two years (the European Catholic Inquisitions continued for over 700 years, in contrast).
William Stoughton's personal seal.
An old lithograph depicting testimony at the trial.
Arresting a Witch; artist Howard Pyle
"There is a Flock of Yellow Birds Around Her Head"
The tragic and cruel execution of Mr. Giles Corey.
"It was no small matter for the widow of John Denman to make that journey to the New World. The unrest in England had become so great, in both church and state, that many people were driven to seek new homes in America. This the Government sought to prevent by radical measures. On February 21, 1634, ten vessels having on board passengers for America were detained in the Thames; and in the next April eight vessels were ordered to put ashore all persons embarking for New England. So it came about that many took shipping for some part of the West Indies, intending thence to proceed to America. Our travellers, watching their opportunity, came on a ship sailing for Barbadoes, and afterwards to Boston.
"Denmans in America -- With the arrival in Boston in 1635, of Judith Stoughton Denman Smead and her children, the history of Denmans in America may properly be said to begin. They had sailed September 3, from Gravesend, [London], England, in the ship 'Dorset', Capt. John Flower, and had come by way of Barbadoes because of the refusal of the English Government to permit emigration to America. The family settled at Salem, Colony of Massachussetts, where the mother died in 1639. The daughter, Mary Denman, married Clement Maxfield, and died in 1707 in her eighty-sixth year. The son, John Denman, married a wife whose name is not on record [she is now known to have been Sarah Hollander, born 1620; John Denman was 14 years old at the time of his sea journey, according to the ship's log], and had three sons, John, Philip, and William. Philip married a Miss Hasadink and lived at Derby, Colony of Connecticut. They had six children between 1678 and 1688... Philip is frequently mentioned in the 'Old Derby Records' as a 'freeholder,' which means a land-owner.
"The other [two] brothers went to Long Island while yet in their teens; for John, the eldest of the three, and who was born in 1643, is recorded as joining with others in the purchase of land from the Indians before he was [age] twenty. William, the youngest, died there unmarried in 1702, and nothing is on record of his life there. Hence our interest in that strenuous period of Long Island history is concentrated upon John, who took an active part in the development of the new territory, and remained unmarried till past middle life. Some account must here be given of the manner in which a foothold was obtained upon the soil of this part of the new world, the aboriginal owners gradually giving place to white settlers from over the sea. When Sir Henry Hudson in the little ship, the Half-Moon, came to anchor in the Bay of Sandy Hook on September 3, 1609, he threw out a line which grew apace into a strong cable between Holland and America. For, though he was an English navigator and had explored for England in her quest for a route to the Pacific, and afterwards lost his life in another effort toward the same end, he was at this time sent over by Holland, which was then the chief maritime power of the world. He was met by the Indians in the utmost good will, they bringing gifts of corn, wild fruits and oyster. After making many soundings in the great harbor, he passed into the river Sha-te-muc, the Indian name for the noble stream which now bears his own name, spending eight days observing the magnificent forests, distant mountains, and fertile valleys with bits of ripening corn, which were a tempting sight. After a month of exploration he departed, bearing a good report to his employers. The next year saw several vessels from Holland engaging in a very lucrative traffic in furs with the Indians; and in 1614 the Dutch Government gave to merchants of Amsterdam the exclusive right to establish trading settlements in the territory explored by Hudson. The first was on Manhattan Island, where a fort was built, and the settlement was called New Amsterdam. The territory from Cape Henlopen to Cape Cod was now claimed by Holland and was called New Netherlands. In 1621 the Dutch West India Company was organized with the exclusive privilege of planting settlements in America, and within two years the first colony was established on Manhattan Island; a company of thirty families of Walloons from Flanders in Belgium, Dutch Protestant refugees of the same faith as the Huguenots in France, came to America and settled at New Amsterdam. Soon civil government was begun; and the whole of Manhattan Island, containing over 20,000 acres, was bought from the Indians for $24. In that year began the settlements of Waal-bocht and Breukelen on Long Island, -- now Wallabout and Brooklyn. In 1629 the West India Company created a 'Charter of Privileges' under which a class of proprietors called Patroons were authorized to possess the land, making their purchases from the Indians, with their boundaries carefully designated. Quite large tracts were thus purchased, to be held for life as a dependency of Holland, with the understanding that within four years each manor should be peopled by not less than fifty persons. Just as would be the case now, the prospect attracted attention, new settlers came in, and prosperity seemed fully assured. But other nations saw, and coveted; and a period of encroachment and struggle of the most strenuous sort ensued, which finally resulted in the occupation and control by the English, of all that had been called New Netherlands. King Charles II gave to his brother James, then Duke of York, early in 1664, two large grants of American territory along our eastern coast; and without regard to the rights of Holland, or of the West India Company which had done so much to develope the locality, regarding not even the voice of Parliament, 'the English monarch in one short hour despoiled a sister kingdom of a well-earned province.' On September 8, 1664, New Netherlands ceased to exist, and the name of New Amsterdam was changed to New York. Distresses seemed to have just begun when the English rule asserted itself; not that the English people were at fault, but that their rulers, from the throne down, were for the time singularly corrupt. We need here to notice an exaction which bore upon the colonists with painful weight, -- namely, the annulling of the old titles by which they had held their lands for half a century. They were obliged to accept new deeds at the hands of the English governor, and to pay him, for them, such sums as yielded immense revenues. Their carefully outlined boundaries were disputed, also, as we learn from old legal papers. The first transaction in which John Denman was concerned occurred before the English capture, and is thus narrated in 'Old Brooklyn Records.' 'On October 3d, 1662, John Denman, with John Scudder, John Coe, and others, purchased of the Indian chiefs Wamatupa, Wanoxe and Powatahuman the neck of meadow land commonly called by the English "Plunger's Neck," lying on the south side of Long Island, bounded on the east side by the river Hohosbow, with a small brook on the west running into the river before mentioned.' We have no knowledge of what was done with this land; but of another purchase made after the English possession, we have information. Under the new order of things the people were obliged to ask renewal of privilege to make purchases; and having done, this is said: 'In pursuance of said license, in the same year, did in due form of law purchase of and from the Indian natives all that tract of land situated between Maspeth Hills and Flushing Creek, on Long Island, to hold unto the said inhabitants of Newtown forever; as by a certain deed or writing under the hand and seal of Powanhon, dated July 9, 1666.' Among the names attached are those of John Denman, and Samuel and John Scudder, Jr.
"During 'the difficulties' an investigation was made of disputed lands. When government took possession of 1200 acres they began to survey from near the house of John Denman. After his death in December, 1713, the farm was sold in 1717 by the Denman heirs, to Richard Hallett, and from him has descended to present proprietors 170 acres. So, after the government had seized 1200 acres of the original purchase, this 170 acres was all that was left to John Denman.
"This farm was sold to Richard Hallett for the sum of 'three hundred and fifty pounds current money of the Colony of New York, well and truly paid,' etc.
"The deed was signed by the widow Mary Denman, and her brother, Jeremiah Gannugh of Flushing, L. I. [Long Island], who were the executors of the will of John Denman, made December 13, 1713, and proved March 1, 1714, to be 'the last Will and Testament of John Denman of Newtown in Queens County, Long Island.'
"This will is yet to be seen in the office of the County Clerk at Jamaica, L. I., written in a bold, strong hand. The dignified language and the Christian spirit of the document, naturally lead us to hold this pioneer ancestor of ours in the new world, in great respect. We have no knowledge of the place of his burial, beyond the fact that he died at Newtown, while all his family left there within a few years. Neither do we know the time of his marriage, nor the age of his wife.
[Note: this is the same will, that essentially wrote off & disinherited our branch of the Denman family tree... she obviously had read the will, but made no comments about that fact. Obviously, she married into a part of the Denman family to which the money & real property had been reserved. I guess that explains why she admired the old man so much for writing it that way. At some point, she also mentions the two brothers, John & Daniel, who later left the moneyed, wealthier members of the family in New Jersey, to resettle in Georgia, around the time of the American Revolution, saying that they never heard from them again. I've learned recently (although it's only a rumor, until further verification), that Daniel brought an entire church group of Congregationalists (a kind of Puritan Christian, from South Carolina) with him to Georgia... Similarly, we never again had contact with our northern brothers and sisters either. The family got so divided and isolated from each other, that each one -- north & south -- eventually forgot about the other's very ~existence~. And to this day, I don't know WHY John was eliminated from his inheritance (he was his parents' eldest son, & went on to rebuild his own life away from them). Furthermore, from the time John disowned his eldest son, also named 'John', no other Denman from the entire family EVER AGAIN named their first-born sons 'John'. I would really like to know, why?]
[UPDATE: I've since learned that it ~wasn't the above mentioned will, but rather the later one of Mary Gano's son, John Denman (b1700), which disinherited his son John (and his wife Mary Williams), for whatever unexplained reason(s), from his 100 acres of land in New Jersey. It may have just been that the two didn't need the property (were wealthy enough, themselves) and wanted to allow the remaining children to have it. There's no way of knowing for sure, except there doesn't seem to be much evidence that the family hated John for any reason. After the Revolution, it is rumored that John (after fighting in Georgia) returned to New Jersey to reunite with his family there. However Daniel, who accompanied John to Georgia during the war, and who brought his grown son James to Georgia too, did not reunite with his New Jersey family, remarrying in Georgia. James' mother might well have been Deborah Scudder, in fact probably was. She would be my ancestor, not Daniel's second, Georgia wife. Because, my ancestor, Daniel's son James, was born in New Jersey (although he acquired lottery land in Georgia after the war). There are two wills on record, which I have posted elsewhere on this blog; Harriet Harris' description of the will and everything else is pretty accurate, actually.
Also, since nothing more is said or heard from again about Daniel Denman, since the Revolution -- he might have been killed or went missing in action during that conflict... In fact, I'm inclined to believe that he died around that time (in other words, he might not have remarried in Georgia as it has been rumored -- it was probably his nephew namesake instead, who had married in Georgia); and since there's no known marked grave for him anywhere (or any proven record of his marriage), he very likely was a casualty of the war. Luckily for me, however, my ancestor (Daniel's son, James) did survive it long enough to have his own children.]
"Interesting combinations occurred among the elements in that wonderful tide-flow from the old world. John Denman's grandmother was a Stoughton [Judith], from England, driven westward by the stress of conditions at home. Of his mother we know nothing. She may have been, like his sister-in-law, Mary Hasadinck, a Hollander [it's now known that his mother was indeed Sarah Hollander, born 1620, & married to the John Denman who had immigrated from England on the Dorset at age 14]. His wife [Mary Gano, grandmother of the John Denman who, along with his own mother, got disinherited in New Jersey] was a Huguenot, escaped from the greater stress in France, of which we must now give some account.
"In 1598 Henry IV of France had granted to the Huguenots, or Reformers, full religious liberty equal with their long-time oppressors, the Romanists [Catholics]; and his successor, Louis XIII, confirmed and renewed the 'Edict of Nantes,' as it was called. But Louis the XIV, after a period of persecutions which has been styled 'The Reign of Terror,' finally signed the decree called 'The Revocation of the Edict of Nantes,' which annulled forever all the privileges granted by the two previous kings, absolutely prohibited the exercise of their religion, destroyed their churches, ordered their pastors to leave France with fifteen days and forbade their people to follow them under pain of confiscation and the galleys. But 'vast crowds found means to evade the vigilance of the police and sought shelter in England and other lands.'
"Francis Gerneaux [Mary Gano's father] escaped to England by being nailed up in a hoghead, as freight, on a boat across the channel. How his family escaped we do not know; but at least his daughter Mary and his son Jeremiah were with him when, the next year, 1686, he came to America and settled at New Rochelle, Colony of New York. [The family, which I believe included the mother & possibly one other child, sailed from La Rochelle, France, aboard the 'De Beaver']. He was wealthy in France; but when told that his estates were confiscated, he said: 'Let it go with the name. Henceforth we will be known as Gano.' The full change of name was not at once adopted, but followed in course of time.
"Francis Gerneaux died at New Rochelle in 1723 at the age of 103 years.
"It is not known when John Denman and Mary Gano were married, nor when she was born or when she died [I believe the author may have even gotten her father's name incorrect, as I have him down as Etienne Gayneau, and her mother as Lydia Maestereau... I've collected several conflicting facts about Mary Gano, not uncommon for family histories; I'll try to sort it out and make corrections about her vital statistics, later]. The entire period from the arrival of the Ganos at New Rochelle in 1686 [?] till the death of John Denman in 1713, was but twenty-seven years; and as the youngest of his children was born when he was sixty-four or sixty-five years old, his wife must have been much younger than he was. She doubtless kept her family together and went with them to their new home in New Jersey after the sale of their farm at Newtown in 1717.
"Their [John Denman, the son of John the immigrant aboard the 'Dorset', & Mary Gano's] children were Martha, Mary, Elizabeth, John, William, Philip and Thomas. The date of birth in case of the daughters is not given.
"John [our ancestor] was born in 1700, William in 1702, Philip in 1704, and Thomas in 1706 or 7. John bought a farm of 100 acres at Westfield, Essex Co., N. J., in 1720 and settled there. The farm continued in the possession of his children for several generations, the portion of it occupied by the original home being still the home of a Denman [as of 1913, when the book was published], although very little of the original house can be found in the present one. [John married Mary Elizabeth Williams].
"William settled at Elizabethtown, where he married Abby ____ , and died in 1751, leaving no record of any family. Philip and Thomas both settled at Springfield, also in Essex Co. [New Jersey].
"The eldest daughter, Martha, married [in 1733, to] John Cory [born 1703]... long an elder in the Presbyterian Church... [many of the early settlers to which we were related, including some Denmans, are buried in that churchyard:]... *Cory, *Denman, *Hendricks, *Craig, Mills, *Marsh, *Miller, Woodruff, Frazer, and Pierson... [Martha and John Cory had a family of eight children]. Mary, the second daughter of John [Denman] and Mary Gano, went with her brother William to Elizabethtown, married a Mr. Beris and had a son Denman [Beris] and a granddaughter Mary [Beris], of whose descendants we have scanty records. The third daughter [of John Denman and Mary Gano], Elizabeth, married a Caldwell; but no further record is found.
"From this point onward we follow the descendants of Judith Stoughton Denman [Smead] under the heads or lines of [her g-grandsons; John Denman & Mary Gano's sons, other than William], John, Philip, and Thomas.
"John, the eldest son of John Denman and Mary Gano, who was born in 1700 and died March 15, 1776, was married in 1721 or 1722 to Mary Williams, of Welsh descent, who died March 27, 1762. They had two daughters, Mary and Jennie, and four sons, John, Joseph, Daniel and Christopher. Mary married Samuel Yeomans and had a large family. One daughter married Col. Charles Clark of the Continental Army, who served throughout the war.
"Jennie married Aaron Faitonte and had an only child, Abigail, who married Charles Marsh and had ten sons and two daughters, nearly all of them married and raised large families. Their descendants are scattered in nearly every state, and some in foreign lands, all worthy and respected citizens.
"John, the eldest son [who, along with his mother the Welsh woman, Mary Elizabeth Williams, was the one disinherited in Westfield, New Jersey], married Patience Yeomans, who died in 1754, aged 28 years, leaving no record of any children. Neither was any further record found of John himself until now, in 1910, when information has been gained concerning himself and his brother Daniel. (See below.)
"Joseph, the second son [of John Denman and Mary Elizabeth Williams], married a wife whose name is not on record, and had a family of five sons and four daughters, all born on his farm in Essex Co., N. J., near Elizabethtown and Westfield. The date of his death is not known, neither that of his birth; nor are the dates of any of his brothers or sisters known, except in the case of the youngest, Christopher, of whom we have full records. His [Joseph's] death occurred while our country was in the midst of the Revolutionary War; and it was sudden, apparently from apoplexy. He had gone out on his farm to cut firewood, and not coming home for dinner at the usual hour, search was made. He was found lying dead near a tree which he had begun to cut down. No signs of injury were visible, and apoplexy was the only explanation. [He had four boys and four girls, all of whom eventually emigrated to Ohio, some living in Kentucky prior to settling in Ohio].
"Daniel, the third son of John Denman and Mary [Elizabeth] Williams, is not mentioned in the old manuscript records except to give the date of his birth. No further reference is made to him, just as is the case with the eldest son, John, after his marriage and the death of his wife. In preparing for committing these records to print every effort was made to trace both men, and with some success. From old letters, and from the church records of St. John's Episcopal Church of Elizabeth[town?] and the Presbyterian Church of Westfield, material of importance has been secured. The Denman, Hendricks, and Craig families all belonged to the Episcopal Church until when, in the latter part of 1776, the British swept through the region, took the St. John's Church, and used it for barracks. Then these families went to the Presbyterian Church of Westfield, which was nearer their own homes. On the baptismal records of St. Johns are found the names of several Denman children. There are two of Christophers, one who was baptized in 1770 on the same day with a son of Daniel. Another definite statement in an old letter is, that three of the brothers had children baptized on the same day, some later day. Still another definite statement is made that the father [the writer of the New Jersey will] of these brothers stood god-father for a grandson, John, on March 8, 1776, and that he took cold and died of pneumonia on March 15, 1776. He was seventy-six years old, and feeble, and there were no stoves in churches.
[Note: I have evidence that Daniel was born ca.1732... I've noticed that unlike the cliched stereotypes one hears about the ancestors, mine didn't usually marry very young, certainly not in their teen years but rather in their mid-twenties usually. Some, like Mary Gano's husband, married their first wives in mid-life (fifties)... Also, although quite a few did die young (mid-twenties to forties), most of them lived to their 70s, 80s, and 90s... Another thing: I had gotten the wrong impression from sloppy online records at various genealogy websites (ancestor.com being about the worst for it), that my male ancestors habitually traded wives. Not so, although many of them remarried after their wives died in childbirth, etc. Apparently, after Daniel Denman left all of his family except James in New Jersey, during the American Revolution, and either died down there during the war, or maybe remarried in Georgia (no surviving records to show what really happened to him after he left New Jersey) -- it would seem that Deborah Scudder (considered to have been most likely Daniel's first, and possibly his only, wife - and the mother of son James, our ancestor) got remarried to his brother, (widower? I believe) Philip Denman (second marriages for both parties). It's very probable that Daniel was indeed killed or lost in the war, since I doubt that either one of them were bigamists.]
"A letter only recently found states that John and Daniel both went to Georgia, the time not given, but evidently at an early day, probably before or during the Revolutionary War. That was a time when communication between distant localities was not easy; and it is not remarkable that these men should have dropped out of sight. Turning to manuscript records from Southern States, Georgia, Missippi and Texas, there are names and dates fitting well to the opinion that descendants of both missing men are there in considerable numbers; but as yet we lack the positive links of connection.
"Christopher, the youngest son of John Denman and Mary Williams was born March 5, 1741, and died October 28, 1808. In 1766 he married Abigail, daughter of Isaac Hendricks and Lydia Craig of Scotch descent, who was born February 17, 1746, and died June 20, 1803... Christopher Denman served in the Revolutionary Army, his record being still in the office of the Adjutant General of New Jersey. Eight children were born to this couple, two of whom... died early.
That's about all that I could glean from Harris' Denman history; from that point forward, I've been able to piece a few facts together: James married Claranna Welborn in Georgia, producing a large family including Blake Denman. Blake married the g-granddaughter of Tennessee's first governor, General John Sevier (through Sevier's first wife, Sarah Hawkins ---> their eldest daughter, Elizabeth Sevier Clark ---> Elizabeth and William Clark's daughter, Elizabeth Clark Elston ---> then Elizabeth and John Elston's daughter, (my ggg-grandmother) ~Neaty Elston).
Neaty and Blake Denman had a large family, including William C. Denman (and William's brother, another CSA veteran, also named Blake). "C" perhaps stands for Clark, not sure... William married Sarah (Sallie) J.(?) Crankfield (granddaughter of Littleton Crankfield, of Fairfield County, South Carolina). The Crankfields are descendants of the English "Cranfills". Neaty and Blake are buried in a Municipal Cemetery in Calhoun County, Alabama.
William and Sallie are buried on their old homestead in Flemingtion, in western Marion county, Florida, way out on hiway 27, near the Gulf Hammocks, Reddick, Irvine, Fairfield, Bronson, Cedar Key and Williston (my mother's birthplace in Levy county), at the Denman Family cemetery (also known as the "Spinks Cemetery"... this is also being dubbed the "Jones' Cemetery", now -- wow, everyone wants it), along with someone who may have been their 20 yr old daughter (Willie D.[enman?] Brown; lovely marble tombstone), and with an infant child (Willie Lee) of their son Isaiah and his wife Lillie V. William has an official CSA marker, while Sallie's is a Depression-era home-made cast concrete stone. Sallie was over 90 yrs of age, at her death.
At the same Denman burial grounds (where only five known people are buried), is an older grave for someone unrelated to us, Ann White (1826-1854). She died more than a decade prior to the purchase of the land by my family. Oddly, if I recall accurately, her tombstone faces in the opposite direction from our family graves. It's also more exposed, while the others are back further off the road and hidden within a small thicket. I believe hers faces West, etc., although I'm not absolutely certain of it (it faces the road, while the others don't, if I remember right... maybe not). Anyway, hers is a very nice, large marble marker. All of the markers are quite nice, in fact, except that Sallie's was homemade.
Sallie and William C. Denman had only two surviving children: Septa Denman Hall, and Isaiah ("Isaac") Cranfield Denman (the "K" got omitted from his middle name, whether by accident or not). Isaiah was said to have been a gifted musician, who could play just about any instrument well. He married a woman named Lillie V.[ernon?].
Lillie V. and Isaac C. had three surviving children: Shirley, Forest, and my ancestor, Vernon Winters Denman. Vernon married Lillie Yarbrough (whose sister Georgie, and brother-in-law, Ed Hampton, later took my father and his sister Patricia Kay Denman Barker, into foster care on the Hampton homestead in southern Marion County, Florida).
Vernon and Lillie had two children, Patricia Kay and my father Leon Conway Denman. Vernon died at age 38, in 1943 or '44, while in the custody of the Florida State mental hospital in Arcadia, Florida, many miles and several countys south of the family's residences. His death was ruled a suicide (poisoning) by the hospital and the local authorities down there, and the Baptist members of our family (Vernon's grandmother, Sallie, had been a firm Baptist; as was Vernon's aunt Septa; and his daughter, Pat) all accepted the ruling without questioning it.
For Baptists, suicide is a shameful way to die, because they believe that it is the only truly unforgiveable sin. They believe that when a person "kills themselves" or "commits suicide", that because they are dead already -- they have no chance to ~repent of that particular sin. So that is why Vernon never got a proper grave marker for many, many decades after his interment at Millwood Cemetery in Reddick, Marion county, Florida.
However, I have not (nor did my Dad ever) understood or been shown any factual evidence, to explain WHY Vernon was locked away, in the first place. I personally don't believe that he would have committed suicide -- especially not in a hospital, in what should have been a therapeutic environment.
And the same entity, that Florida State hospital in Arcadia (along with several Dept. of Health and Rehabilitation officials, the hospital's director, and Florida state Governor, Lawton Chiles) was sued and charged under the Law, for patient abuses and malicious practices there, in the late 1990s -- resulting in its controlled, gradual, and finally ~permanent closure.
So, I don't simply accept the authorities' word, concerning my grandfather's death. I do not accept, as my father was forced to when only 8 or 9 yrs old, that his father is barred from heaven. I find that a very judgemental, narrow-minded attitude to take, and probably one that was influenced by all of the stress and drama surrounding Vernon's untimely demise.
Ironically, the same year that his father passed away, Dad's future wife (my mother, Betty Jo Thompson Denman) nearly died of complications from "German measles". She lay in a coma for three days with meningitis, while my dear grandmother had two other small babies to care for at the same time. Gladys' sister and next-door neighbor, Cely Elkins Gaines, dropped everything and went to care for my mother, nursing her back to life and to health again. I will always be grateful for that.
Vernon's wife, grandma Lillie, was a very sweet but quiet woman. She never talked about Vernon, and refused to do so when I asked her to tell me about him. Not one word would she utter, about him; and I don't really know why.
She remarried after Vernon's death, a Mr. Armstrong, who Dad didn't like very much ("he had Mother doing roofing work on their shabby little house"). She later separated from Mr. Armstrong, but retained the surname (perhaps they never got a legal divorce); then moved to Atlanta, Georgia, for a while afterwards, where she worked while Dad spent a lot of time alone (Pat had by this time already been taken in by the Hamptons, feeling lonely and abandonned without her own family, although sheltered at least).
Dad spent many hours watching movies in Atlanta, and once he even managed to get his picture taken at an arcade. I wish I still had that photograph. (I've lost so many personal belongings from all of the moving that I've had to do, throughout my life. I always longed to settle down peacefully and permanently, in one place, where I could have a garden and keep my belongings nicely organized. Due to financial difficulties, I've been forced to move dozens of times throughout my life, both in childhood and as an adult).
He was very young (it must have been not long after his father passed away, he had not reached puberty yet, and was wearing over-alls). When showing it to me, Dad pointed out his red hair, explaining that he had inherited the genetic trait of juvenile red hair from his grandmother, Sallie. (People with that physical trait have red hair as children; then it later turns, usually to a dark brown, in adulthood).
Dad didn't know his mother's parents or people other than his Aunt Georgie. Lillie told me that her father had died unexpectedly, from the poison of "bad whiskey". It must have been during the Prohibition, I would presume. I suppose supplying someone with "bad whiskey" would have been a convenient method of murder; but, I don't know the factual circumstances of his death (don't even know his full name, his wife's name, or anything other than that they were from "Alabama"). However, generally alcoholism doesn't run in the family, so I doubt that he was a heavy drinker, but believe that probably like many men (and women), liked to have one or two occasionally.
I wouldn't presume that he was just some sorry ol' drunk, in other words. Not without further proof, or testimony from the family. Unfortunately, when a parent dies while the children are still quite young, they may not fully understand the whole truth of the matter. They are easily traumatized emotionally, with feelings of shame, guilt, and so on.
I recently read while researching the family history, that another, more distantly related American Denman relative (an uncle or cousin "Isaac", in New Jersey) had apparently "committed suicide" by hanging. But, I wonder how much evidence they really had, to support such a finding for cause of death? A hanging might easily have been a lynching or other sort of murder, staged to look like a "suicide". I don't take authorities' word on things like that, anymore. So, I suspend judgement until further evidence is presented to me.
It makes me wonder how Judith Stoughton became a double widow, losing two husbands while her children were very, very young. She left England with her three children, at a time of great religious and political upheavals going on over there. She and our whole family were Protestants, resisters of the Pope and of the Vatican -- and often felt the stresses of persecution for being so inclined. Our Huguenot branches of the family left their homelands in Spain and France, for the same reasons.
I also wonder what were the real facts surrounding grandma Gladys' second husband's death. Eldridge Hagewood was aunt Celeste's ("Cissy's") father, a very handsome fellow who died very young just a few days after his birthday. Grandma just said that he left for work that day, and never came home alive. I think he died on the weekend though, so he might have lingered for awhile prior to finally passing away. Because I doubt that he worked on the weekend (although anything's possible, I suppose -- I don't even know what he did for a living).
These days I often wonder how many so-called 'accidents' might have actually been 'helped along' by the victim's associates, 'friends', or co-workers. In most cases, we will just never know the truth while we live, if ever.
Anyway, war and political strife continued and continues to be a societal problem, even here in America, the land of the Free, and the home of the Brave.
Anyway, Dad's life of wandering the streets of Atlanta alone while his single parent mother worked, came to a sudden halt when he was taken into foster care. He was still quite young, so it must have been very shortly after his father's sudden, emotionally charged death and his mother's subsequent remarriage and eventual separation. His childhood was filled with turmoil: having already lost his father, grandparents, and great-grandparents, he had only his mother, little sister, and aunt and uncle.
But he first went into Mrs. Chappell's house in Marion county, Florida, as her ward; prior to being placed with Pat at the farm. Mrs. Chappell was young future congressman, Bill Chappell's mother. Dad said he only remembers being admonished to be quiet there, so that "Billy" could practice his piano lessons. Lol.
It wasn't long before he was permanently placed at the homestead with the Hamptons and his sister Pat. Dad loved the farm, loved the people there. He was always very courteous, grateful, and kind towards them. But he quit school in ninth grade, and soon thereafter at age 17, joined the airforce for nearly 10 years of service (4 1/2 yrs in Japan and Okinawa). He was 23 when he and Mother got married, and my younger sisters, Odessa Lynn and Barbara Alice, were both born at Itazuki AFB, near Fukuoka. I was born at Eglin AFB, near Niceville, Florida.
Japan was very beautiful, and Mother and Dad enjoyed living there. The economy was such that a little bit of money could buy a lot, at the time (not like these days). Mother had gorgeous custom tailored cashmere and silk clothing made for herself; and bought me a little kimono and the little traditional Japanese wooden clogs that one wears with them. Dad was able to afford things like cameras and motorcycles; and he enjoyed his hobby of racing them on a dirt track over there. They could afford a maid, to help Mom when she was pregnant and had three little babies to care for. The maid's husband also helped my father with his racing hobby. Mom and Dad called them, "Mama-san" and "Papa-san".
Dirt bike racing in Japan... he earned about a dozen trophies from it.
Dad and "Papa-san" with his bike, BC39. Mom had a scooter to ride around town.
But things were not idyllic, nevertheless. The military environment had a culture of partying and drinking; but neither my Mother or Dad held their liquor very well. Mother probably didn't drink much if at all, due to her maternal duties. But I'm sure that Dad felt he must partake at least some, in order to 'fit in' with the rest of the crew (although shortly afterwards, he became a complete teetotaller, only very rarely having a small nip of blackberry brandy for his stomach; he also quit smoking cigarettes, something Mother was understandably unable to give up).
In that casual, yet very busy and hectic sort of atmosphere, misfortune was bound to happen: I once fell from some playground equipment, and virtually broke my neck, while Dad was watching me when Mother was busy either having a baby or taking care of them. (I suffered life-long pain from the injury, and have a badly degenerated disk now, because of it). I know that he felt very bad about it, and he never tried to hide what happened, from me. I remember the fall, in fact; and the blinding pain as I cried in his arms while he carried me home. To this day, I have a terrible fear of heights (acrophobia -- I once or twice got 'stuck' way up in trees, when as an older child my friends would talk me into climbing with them).
I also caught pneumonia at one point, when around age 4. I don't know whether that was the cause or the effect of it; but I've been an asthmatic my entire life. I think the asthma is actually hereditary though, since 1) Dad told me that Vernon had asthma, too; and 2) I often have asthmatic 'attacks' when exposed to allergies such as ~cats. I was forced to take a pharmaceutical called "Marax" throughout my childhood, for the asthma. Marax is a combination of epinephrin and phenobarbitol. It worked very well to open up my lungs so that I could breathe, yet at around age 16 I realized that taking the drug was actually ~triggering more attacks, every time the medicine wore off. I realized that it was a vicious cycle that could kill me, so I purposely weaned myself off of it. It was difficult at first (I had to suffer through several very bad 'attacks'); but eventually my body overcame its dependency on the prescription drug.
I accomplished that feat, all by myself. I didn't trouble Mom or Dad with it: they were too busy working or sick themselves, trying to keep the premiums paid on that Blue Cross / Blue Shield insurance policy. Mom and Dad never got over their blind trust and faith in doctors or in the medical establishment, or in the 'system' of American government; but I did. Mom and Dad were dirt poor, for obvious reasons, but never accepted a dime of welfare or even food stamps. Mother is on Social Security retirement now, finally; and she still acts as if her doctors are her closest of friends. They've made quite a lot of money off of her, in my opinion; trusted friends and good neighbors don't do that.
So, Japan was not as idyllic as it looked at the time (it was in fact breathtakingly beautiful, with its ancient Shinto temples and gardens). Rumor has it that Dad had an 'indiscretion' with the second(?), younger Japanese maid. I don't know whether or not she was related to Mama-san and Papa-san. I do remember however, her introducing her children to me: they all laughed because I was unable to understand their speech, bringing me to tears.
Mother later told me that as a child I'd been a very early speaker, but that when we came back state-side from overseas, I became practically a mute for about a year before getting my voice back. I don't know why that happened, or if my traumatic introduction to foreign children had anything to do with it; but something surely caused it.
Regardless, Dad decided for whatever reason to quit the military, after being stationed in Ohio, Indiana(?) and in Caribou, Maine. He didn't like the snowy weather much up North (although he made the best of it, and bought us kids a sled, lol); he wanted to return to Florida.
So he lost all of his veteran's benefits and pension, after nearly 10 years of service to our country, working on air bases. We lived in Zephyr hills at first (apparently there might have been some relatives in the area), where I first attended school. Then we lived in Leesburg, and then finally Yankeetown (near Inglis) for 2 1/2 years.
Dad, in front of an Air Force jet.
Back in the USA, at the Hampton's farmhouse. The Hamptons raised my father after he was orphaned by Vernon's death and Lillie's financial difficulties. The entire house was hand built of solid Pine, and there was another one similar to it, which Dad called the "Old Place". Both homes burnt to the ground, when their fireplace chimneys ignited.
So, I attended three different schools during first grade alone (in Zephyr Hills, Leesburg, and Yankeetown). And my first teacher was awful: she failed to recognize that I was left-handed, forcing me to hold my paper wrong (the way a right-hander should); then she gave me an "F" for 'penmanship'! Forever afterwards, I always got lower grades in 'Penmanship', my entire school career; although I was an honor student, otherwise. What's odd about it, is that I've occasionally gotten compliments about my handwriting.
Anyway, it fills me with pride (as someone who loves learning so much that I consider myself to be a student of Life) to know that we Denmans are descended from people who helped found Harvard University with substantial gifts of land and money (including even some precious silver by Boston's famed silversmith, John Coney). Stoughton Hall (the original building that is) was funded by William Stoughton, Judith's nephew; and her brother, Israel, donated 300 acres of land for the campus.
I even made it into Phi Theta Kappa and the National Dean's List, in my freshman year (my only year) of college. And my courses weren't easy: I carried a heavy schedule of training in Radiation Health Physics. I could have been either an X-ray technician or an environmental health monitor / lab technician. My training did help me to land a job with the City of Ocala for a while (before I quit due to the stresses of single parenthood), as a water treatment plant lab technician. I enjoyed that job, especially when we got to go out into Marshall Swamp to gather water samples for an engineering study that the City had funded. Their intent was to dump treated effluent into the Swamp, in the near future.
We only worked the Marshall Swamp Project two days per month, and it was one of those days out in the Swamp, that our crew had about an hour to kill (the Swamp was many miles from the Lab, and the diurnal sampling had to be spaced out chronologically, over the day). It was in September, typically hot in Florida, and I was exhausted from dragging equipment through the thick brush and up to waist-high waters of our designated sampling sites. The stress of worrying about my kids at the sitter's or at school (my son had developed the troubling habit of getting out of classes by telling his teacher that he was sick with stomach aches), while vigilantly keeping eyes and ears open for water mocassins and alligators, depleted me of my energy.
So, while my workmate sat in the truck listening to music or something, I laid down for a few minutes on the tailgate. When at first I settled down there, my resting spot was in shade, and I dozed off. But a few minutes later, the sun came through the leaf canopy above us, striking me full force in the face. I remember that it was the 13th, and I had a very bad premonition at that moment. I knew that it had something to do with my father.
I have frequently had premonitions like that, throughout my life; they almost always have to do with babies' births or the deaths of other family members (generally the elders). So although I didn't quite know what it was ~specifically about at the time, my heart sunk into my gut. And sure enough later that evening after I'd come home from work, my mother made a rare visit to my home to inform me that my father had died that day -- but that the hospital was keeping him on life support (though they 'knew' he was 'braindead') -- presumably so that I could make my way from Ocala to Tallahasssee in order to pay my last respects to him, while he still breathed and had a pulse.
At the time, I was too emotionally overwrought not to accept that explanation for why my father was being kept on 'life support'. I took time off of work and made haste to Tallahassee, kids in tow. The whole scene up there was surreal. I was the only one crying at the funeral, for one thing. Everyone else seemed to have taken their 'happy pills'... They acted as if a healthy man dying suddenly at age 52 was perfectly normal and natural. I suspected my grinning Baptist aunt and uncle judged that my father would be joining his dad in Hell, due to his complete rejection of organized 'religion'.
Maybe that's why he chose to be cremated (if indeed it was his choice; and I believe it was, though not entirely sure). Baptists also believe that you must be buried (not cremated) in order to awaken at the Resurrection. I suppose that means they believe anyone who dies in an accidental house fire, for example, although not ~intentionally sinning, receives the same arbitrary punishment decided on 'suicides'... even young children.
I guess they mean that anyone dying by fire must not be worthy of heaven, for whatever reason God chooses. It's not for us mere mortals to understand why that is, only that it is so. But my father loved his dad, Vernon; and I'm sure he wouldn't have wanted to go to heaven if his father wouldn't be welcome there, too.
But my father was a good, decent man (as I assume Vernon was too); he didn't willfully sin or do wrong to anyone. He was kind and gentle to everyone, and very honest. His good morals and tender heart is what kept him from becoming a rich man, in my opinion. Because, it wasn't for lack of intelligence or skill.
So he was too noble-minded to sin his way into Hell. He didn't even drink alcohol anymore, or smoke. His favorite hobbies included bird-watching at wildlife preserves (and tinkering with gasoline-powered engines). He enjoyed observing nature and wildlife, and had perfect 20/20 vision. He used to like hunting quite a lot (even taught me how to shoot), until I broke his heart crying over a dead squirrel. He never hunted again, after that day.
I remember one time, out at the Hampton's farm, he came and got me out of the house and walked me out to one of the fields, bordered by some woods. Standing in the pasture, he tried to show me a wild rabbit lying in the leaf-mold under the black-jack scrub oaks, but I couldn't see it no matter how hard I tried to follow where his finger was pointing. He seemed a little frustrated, wanting me to see it but knowing that if we got much closer the animal would probably quickly bolt away, out of sight.
But my eyes just weren't as sharp as his, and I couldn't ever see it. I don't believe the hospital kept my father on life-support only for his daughters' convenience. We didn't request that they do such a thing, anyway. He was an organ donor: he donated his eyes so that other people could see. The hospital made money off of those transplants.
My father didn't sin his way into Hell: he couldn't, his concience would never have allowed him to do such things. Yet his final act was to join his father anyway (wherever he was in reality), by choosing cremation over traditional burial.
We were all instructed to make donations to St. Mark's Wildlife Sanctuary, in lieu of flowers; but I bought him a spray of yellow roses, instead. Yellow roses were his favorite. He was a Leo, the astrological sign ruled by the Sun. And I bought a black dress to wear that day, out of respect for him. It was the least that I could do.
Leon Conway Denman
He was the last male of his particular lineage, the son of Vernon and the grandson of Isaiah. I wish that he were still with us, but maybe God has spared him from further suffering. I believe that he is with God now, if it's His will. For about a solid year after he died, I would sometimes hear him calling my name. His voice was so sweet and loving, as always; but I felt that his soul ought to be free and not Earth-bound, so I mentally suggested he go be with God in peace.
Maybe his soul had wanted to tell me something; but, I believe we aren't suppose to consort with ghosts or spirits. What could he have told me, anyway (I thought at the time), other than what I already knew: that he was an injured, oppressed Human being, who loved his daughter and stood by his principles nevertheless.
If there really was more to learn from him after his death, I might not have been ready to understand anyway: I was only 26 when he died, with a newborn baby girl and her big-hearted, funny older brother, my little Elijah and Emily. Besides, Dad was gone already, passed away.
...Then again, maybe hearing his voice was simply the result of grief and my unusually clear memory (they used to say, that I had "photographic" recall). Maybe someday I'll know the answer to that question; I hope so.
With me, at a Shinto temple garden in Japan. He enjoyed studying Zen Buddhism, but he also read the Bible and particularly loved reading and sharing the words of Jesus. Like me though, he had no use for organized, state-established religions.
He was a sweet, humble gentleman, who never knew much about his family history. He didn't know about the heroes on his family tree, and I wish that he was here to share with him what I've learned. He would have been as proud and pleased as I am.
John Denman ~~~~~~ Judith Stoughton
John Denman ~~~~~~ Sarah Hollander
John Denman ~~~~~ Marie Madeleine Gerneaux (Mary Gano)
John Denman ~~~~~~ Mary Elizabeth Williams
Daniel Denman ~~~~~~ Deborah Scudder
James Denman ~~~~~~ Claranna Wellborn
Blake Denman ~~~~~~ Neaty Elston
William C. Denman ~~~~~~ Sarah (Sallie) J. Crankfield
Isaiah ("Isaac") Cranfield Denman ~~~~~~ Lillie V[ernon?]
Vernon Winters Denman ~~~~~~ Lillie Yarbrough
Leon Conway Denman ~~~~~~ Betty Jo Thompson
Debra Ann Denman (me)
Odessa Lynn Denman
Barbara Alice Denman
So, there is the complete, direct paternal lineage, as much as I know of it. Since my father died without producing any male progeny, his particular line ends with myself and my sisters. We got "daughtered out", as they say, lol.
Excellent resources for researching Connecticut connections.
Related through Judith Stoughton, son William Smead (our half-uncle).
The Scudders; we are definitely related to this family. The Scudder surname is listed on the Huguenot registry for Huguenot Street (New York).
Brief bio of Captain John Flower (HMS Dorset).
This is not a complete list, but John Denman is shown on the Dorset passenger list. There are better sources which are more accurately detailed copies of the original ship's logs. On those, Judith Stoughton Smead and the other two children, Mary Denman and William Smead, are included.
Judith Stoughton Smead and her Stoughton relatives (brothers, sisters) included on this list of people presumed to be passengers of the Winthrop fleet.
Passengers of the Lyon; although, it doesn't appear to be complete (ie where is Roger Williams).
Judith Stoughton Smead and her Stoughton relatives (brothers, sisters) included on this list of people presumed to be passengers of the Winthrop fleet.
Passengers of the Lyon; although, it doesn't appear to be complete (ie where is Roger Williams).