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Friday, December 23, 2011

Reply to thread about Military service on the DNA forums

I just learned that I'm directly descended from this man (on my father's side), Governor John Sevier, who successfully led 240 men against British major Patrick Ferguson in the 'Battle of Kings Mountain' (American Revolution).

He's my gggggg-grandfather, g-grandfather of my ggg-grandmother Neaty Elston Denman. (Hope I got all those 'greats' right).

He was the first & only governor of the State of Frankland (or, the Free Republic of Franklin) -- news to me, never heard of it before today. Also the first governor of the state of Tennessee.

He's descended from Don Juan de Xavier, a Basque Huguenot (whose family were former Navarre, Spain, Catholics -- including St. Francis Xavier) who fled the Spanish Inquisition for Paris, France, after the Saint donated their family castle to the Jesuits.  They later ended up in London, England after Louis the XIV Reign of Terror in France.  Juan's son, Valentine Xavier (John Sevier's grandfather) is described as a "French Huguenot".

I also recently learned from the archives, that our family had no less than 7 Denmans (all privates) fighting for New Jersey (where I had already determined the family was living at the time) during the Revolution.

I haven't yet pinpointed which one of the 7 might be my direct ancestor, but I believe it's probably John Denman of the company of Artificer's. I've got more details, but I'll leave it at that for now.

[UPDATE:  We are actually descended from John's brother, Daniel Denman, through his son, James (a Revolutionary soldier who fought for Georgia Colony), and grandson, Blake, and g-grandson, William C. Denman (a Civil War veteran)... John and Daniel left New Jersey for Georgia to fight the War, leaving their families behind.  John returned to NJ, but for some unknown reason, Daniel didn't -- I think he may have been injured, died, or too old and shell-shocked from the War, to go back home.  His widow, Deborah Scudder, remarried to his brother, Philip Denman and then went to live with him in Connecticut.)

I know that I'm directly descended from several generations of men named "John" Denman around & prior to the Revolution. Afterwards (after a father/son rift whereby one eldest son got disinherited), they quit naming their eldest sons "John". It was the husband of Mary Gano (another French Huguenot), I believe, who wrote his son out of his will, in New York.

[UPDATE:  It was actually the husband of Mary Elizabeth Williams (of Welsh descent), who wrote both his wife and eldest son, John, out of his will.  To his wife he left, "all the good she brought to the marriage," and to John, "two shillings".  Then the elder John Denman passed away after catching cold, shortly after standing in for his two absent sons (John and Daniel) at their infants' christenings in church, during the Revolution (1776).  No reason is given for the scanty bequeathals to what should have been two of the most significant of his family members.  I doubt that it was an act of cruelty or hatred, however.  It's more likely that they didn't need anything material from him, so he reserved what he had for all his other children (even his two daughters received fair shares from the inheritance, and the other sons got equal shares of his real estate and his half-interest in a local mill).  Of course, that doesn't explain why they stopped naming their first sons, "John".]

I'm having difficulty pinning that one down precisely too (the Georgia Denman soldiers), although there's a James Denman revolutionary listed in Georgia (I believe Blake's father's name was James; & I know that Blake was born in Georgia). I'm just a little confused about it, because someone mentioned a 'Daniel Wright Denman' & I'm still trying to figure out just how he fits into the picture.

And last but not least, my father was a 10 yr Air Force veteran of the Korean war, stationed in Japan / Okinawa (4 1/2 years overseas with his family).

Not long ago, I wasn't even sure if we had ancestor veterans of the Revolution (although I had suspected the answer was, "yes"). All that time researching is finally paying off for me, I've always wanted to know more about the family history.

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