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Tuesday, January 10, 2012

My Direct Paternal Lineage, as far back as I'm able to trace it

Me (female, with two female siblings; no brothers)

Father -Leon Denman (10 years, US Airforce, quit, general discharge, no veterans' benefits, Japan, Okinawa; an only son, Marion Co., Florida; m. Betty Jo Thompson; died in 1987-8 at age 52; donated his corneas [or some other part(s) of his ~eyes] to needy recipient(s), upon his death by stroke / brain aneurysm; high blood pressure; he didn't drink or smoke; only took prescribed pharmaceuticals)

Grandfather - Vernon Winters Denman (died under suspicious and murky circumstances, ruled "suicide" by authorities, in a subsequently sued, indicted, and closed down, scandal-ridden state mental hospital in Arcadia, FL, in around 1943-4 [give or take one year]; I don't know, nor did my father seem to know, WHY he was there in the first place; grandmother Lillie refused to talk about it with me...

My father had good, loving memories of my grandfather, and only spoke kindly of him, seemed to miss him a lot, seemed very hurt emotionally, by Vernon's death; Dad was called out of 3rd or 4th grade classroom when just a child, in order to be informed of his father's death...

The loss of his father made Dad an orphan in the Florida and possibly Atlanta, Georgia, foster care system(s) at some point in his childhood; for awhile he was the ward of Congressman Bill Chappell's mother, then went to live with his sister Pat, at their aunt and uncle's Florida homestead...

According to my father, Vernon was about ~38 yrs old at time of his death; my father was about ~8 yrs old; however Vernon's gravestone, which wasn't purchased until roughly ~60 or so years after his death, wrongly displays the year "1950" on it as his date of death, when he ~would have been ~44 years old [if that date were accurate, which it isn't -- it's off by about 6 years later]...

The family at the time [mostly Baptists], accepted the authorities' ruling on his cause of death [poisoning], and due to certain members of the family holding unshakable religious beliefs concerning "suicide" [whether proven or not, apparently], treated Vernon after death like a 'lost' soul, damned to Hell -- hence the lack of a proper monument on his grave in Millwood Cemetery, Reddick, FL [which my father visited many times, often taking me with him when I was in my teens and twenties]; brother Forest Denman, FL; sister Shirley Denman; married Lillie Yarbrough)

G-grandfather - Isaiah Cranfield Denman (musically gifted; an only son, FL; married Lillie V[...] -- Vernon?; buried with wife at Millwood Cemetery, in Reddick, FL; sister Septa Denman Hall)

Gg-grandfather - William C. Denman (CSA, fought for the state of Alabama; Vicksburg, MS, Union Army pow military prison parolee; b. Georgia; d. FL; marrued Sarah [Sallie] Crankfield [our gg-grandmother from Fairfield, South Carolina and granddaughter of Littleton Crankfield]; buried together on private property [now known as 'Spinks Cemetery' or the Denman Family Cemetery, in a rural, fallow farm field in Flemington, Marion Co., FL)
UPDATE: The Jones' family is now calling our cemetery the "Jones' Cemetery", lol.  I think that it should rightly be called the Denman cemetery, since all but one grave is of that surname, and the other one has no relationship at all to our family.

Ggg - Blake Denman (Georgia; had other sons, one son also named Blake, who served in the CSA; married Neaty Elston [g-granddaughter of Tennessee Governor / General John Sevier and first wife Sarah Hawkins]; buried together in a Calhoun Co., AL, municipal cemetery...
Also a Revolutionary War veteran.

[...Governor/General John Sevier and Sarah Hawkins --> (their eldest daughter) Elizabeth Hawkins Sevier and William H. Clark --> (their daughter) Elizabeth Clark and John Elston --> (their daughter) Neaty Elston and Blake Denman --> (their son) William C. Denman (my gg-grandfather)...]

Gggg - James Denman (b. New Jersey; won North Georgia land in a post-Revolutionary 'lottery'; m. Claranna Welborn; grave locations unknown to me... Revolutionary War veteran.)

[All the Denman men listed in the above linked source, were somehow related to me; especially at least one of the James Denmans listed there (and I don't know what H.R. means after the other one's name, could be anything).]

Ggggg - Daniel Denman (b. New Jersey; also presumably fought in the Revolution for Georgia; married Deborah Scudder.  When Daniel didn't return to New Jersey following the War [she may have received word that he'd died in Georgia or elsewhere], Deborah remarried to Daniel's brother, Phillip, thence she resided with him in Connecticut...

(...According to Harriet Newell Harris' [born 1835] c1913 "Denman Family History - From the Earliest Authentic Records, Down to the Present Time", it is believed that Daniel and brother, John, left family behind in New Jersey when they went to Georgia to fight in the Revolutionary war against the British.  The remaining Denman men [~7 of them listed on various New Jersey state archival military records] of fighting age and fitness, fought for New Jersey at the time.)

Gggggg - John Denman (b. 1700, Newtown/Elmhurst/Middleburg, Queens, Long Island, New York; d. New Jersey; married Mary Elizabeth Williams [of Welsh descent, possibly related to Roger Williams (who was also Welsh), Colonial governor of Rhode Island]; buried together in the Elizabethtown, New Jersey, Presbyterian Church burial grounds, I believe, [the family had switched from attending the Episcopal church which was further from their home, to the closer Presbyterian one, during the Revolutionary war]...

(This John Denman was an early founder of Cranford / Westfield, NJ, where he settled a 100 acre "plantation" [or estate, farm].  Their land supplied timber for the USS Constitution ["Old Ironsides"].  He also owned half interest in a local mill, which he later bequeathed to his sons.  To his eldest son, John, he left "2 shillings"; and to his wife, "all the good she brought to the marriage" -- basically disinheriting both of them with no explanation.
(Also, if Mary Elizabeth Williams is indeed a relative of Governor Roger Williams, that would almost guarantee a family relationship, however distant, to the wealthy and prominent, Colonial American, Lyons family.  Nevertheless, even if not, there is some historical connection between the Lyons and Denmans, based on some Lyons' family records viewable online.

"The USS Constitution", also known as "Old Ironsides"; originally built and launched in 1797 to combat piracy, later used during the War of 1812 against the British.  This finely crafted ship is still sea-worthy, after more than two centuries.  Some of its wood (not sure precisely how much) came from the Denman estate.

"Old Peppy", a Pepperidge tree on the historic Denman estate and a local landmark.  This tree is supposed to have been planted during the Revolutionary Era, by the Denman family (perhaps as a memorial to a fallen soldier or some other death in the family).

(The above is linked to a copied abstract of this particular "John Denman's" last will and testament.  I was always confused about ~which John Denman had gotten disinherited by his own father of the same name.

(Now this clears it up for me: it was Daniel Denman's eldest brother, John [my grand-uncle many times removed], the same one who had accompanied Daniel and Daniel's son James, also born in New Jersey, to Georgia during the Revolutionary war; and who was the co-progenitor along with Daniel, of the entire Southern American Denman family lineage, from the John Denman-Retford, England branch.  I believe most of John's offspring ended up in places West of Georgia, like Mississippi and Texas.

(There is also a very sad story about the murder of family man and American patriot, Pastor James Caldwell of the same Elizabethtown, NJ, Presbyterian church, who was shot through the heart with a musket ball, in the hands of a local traitor / British-paid assassin, a man named Tom Morgan.  Mr. Morgan also torched the church to the ground, afterwards.  He was soon afterwards caught, tried, convicted and hung on nearby 'Morgan's Hill'.
This great website (above) also has a good article on this page, about Pastor Caldwell and his contemporaries.

(...According to the Daughters of the American Revolution, his wife was murdered by British soldiers less than a year prior to his own death, his family and property often the subject of intensely hateful, spiteful harassment through various types of assaults by the British / Loyalist enemies.  This same story is also related in a 19th century text I believe entitled: "The Annals of Elizabethtown, New Jersey"; but I couldn't find it at the moment, to cite for reference.

(Sussex County, NJ, was a small, close-knit community in those days; and so it's no big surprise to me, that the Denmans are however distantly related to both, the Caldwells and the Morgans.)

Ggggggg - John Denman (b.1643; d. 1713; married Mary Gano [aka Marie Madelaine Gerneau, descended from French Huguenots]; b. near or in Newtown, New York [New Amsterdam, at that time]; his original will is supposed to be on record in the state of New York.  After his death and the takeover of New Amsterdam by the British crown, our branch of the family cut their losses, sold their property, and moved down to New Jersey, settling therein around Westfield, Cranfield and Elizabethtown, in about 1717; his grave location is unknown to me [possibly buried anonymously or otherwise, at a church nearby, or on their property in Newtown]...
[some info about Marie Madelaine Gerneau (Mary Gano) and her family's sailing journey from France to America, on the 'de Beaver']
[more about the emigration of the Ganos]
[a nicely detailed description of the Long Island property purchased by John Denman]
[an 1882 history of Newtown, with John Denman listed as one of the "freeholders" (landowners)]
[The above link is for an 1884 edition of the Newtown, NY, "Register" and newspaper.  On the top of the second column from the far right side of the page, is a full copy of John Denman's will, leaving all of his property to his young wife Mary Gano, to his children, and others mentioned in the legal document.]

(This John Denman, the grandson of Judith Stoughton, is the one who, along with two Scudder brothers, purchased approximately 1200 acres of land [including "Plunder's (or "Plunger's") Neck", a salt marsh in Southern Long Island, which they held in common for hay production for their cattle] from the Native Indians of Long Island.  However, after the British came in and made New Amsterdam "New York" [ironically, the Denmans were also related to the Duke of York], and the surveyors were done measuring -- they ended up with only about a total of 170 acres...)

Gggggggg - John Denman (b.1621 Retford, Nottinghamshire England?, the only son born to John Denman and Judith Stoughton Denman Smead [a Puritan, and daughter of Rev. Thomas Stoughton of Sussex or Surrey, England, twice widowed before sailing from England to America with her children]...

(...Emigrated when age 14 from the port at Gravesend, London, England, to Boston / Salem / Massachussetts Bay Colony [embarking on September 30, 1635, according to ship's log] on the 'Dorset', Capt. Flower, via Barbadoes, with mother Judith, one female sibling [Mary Denman, who was only about 11 months younger than John, and who later married Clement Maxfield], and one younger half-sibling [William Smead]...
[the log for the 'Dorset' is found in this book, with John Denman and family listed therein, p132]

(...[Two of Judith's brothers were Boston merchants, Colonel Israel and Captain Thomas Stoughton.  Israel's son (John Denman's cousin), William Stoughton, became Lt. Governor and Chief Magistrate of the Massachussetts Bay Colony during the infamous Salem witch trials of 1691-2.  The Stoughton's donated 300 acres of prime real estate to Harvard college, and Stoughton Hall at Harvard is named for them]...
[some background history about Colonel Israel Stoughton's activities as a colonist in Dorchester, Massachussetts, near Boston]
[Interesting family, those Stoughtons]

(He [John Denman, the 'Dorset' passenger] moved to Long Island, New Amsterdam [later New York], while still very young, in his late teens, according to the Denman family history book by Harriet Harris.  His and wife Sarah's grave locations are unknown to me [although they're probably somewhere around Newtown at a churchyard, or on their family homestead]...

(...married Sarah Hollander, in Queen's County, Long Island...)

I was reading some of the history of Newtown / Middleburgh recently, and came across an interesting though ghoulish story: to wit, sometime after the British takeover of New Amsterdam, the Denman house in Newtown was later sold to another family, whose Indian manservant and Negro maidservant were accused of killing the entire family, including the pregnant wife and their children, while they lay sleeping in their beds one night -- reportedly (and incredibly), in order to gain possession of the property!?

They were caught and arrested of course, and shortly thereafter executed.  She was burned at the stake, and he was hideously and unmercifully tortured to death for the whole community to witness; facts which are appalling to me for their unusual cruelty, not that they didn't deserve punishment for the murders IF they committed them.  And it would ~seem (superficially) that they were indeed guilty of doing so, although I suppose that there is room for doubt.

There could have been circumstances going on in the town and Colony, at that time of great political turmoil, about which we may never fully know.  The exagerated drama of their executions stands out to me, and may have actually been contrived to serve some powerful person or group entity in deliberately or intentionally ~obscuring some of the true facts of the case, on a purely ~emotional level, methinks.

Perhaps that particularly ghastly, tragic crime might have instead been an early example of evil conspiracy, covert and passive-aggressive tyranny, premeditated genocide, greedy thievery, and government-sanctioned terrorism, amounting to systematic acts of war or treason -- with convenient, socially powerless 'patsys' nearby (the victims' slaves or servants in their employ at their home), of whom to wrongly frame, blame and punish for it in a false display of 'justice': who really knows now, after more than 200 years have since passed?...
(pages 142-3 contain the above related story; it also comments on the constant battles and bickering over property lines and boundaries at that time in Newtown history)

...This same 'Denman house' in Newtown, Long Island (I believe, according to Harriet Newell Harris), also burned to the ground at some time in its early history, and was then rebuilt on the same foundation.  I'm not presently certain when or how that incident occurred... But one thing that really stands out to me, when reading about early American colonial history, is the astonishing number of fires, many of which I presume to have been set by arsonists as a tool of weaponry against political or other opponents, or in many cases to destroy evidence of crimes])

Ggggggggg - John Denman (b.1591 Retford, Notthinghamshire England; died in about 1623, very young, only about 32 yrs old; m. Judith Stoughton; his grave location is unknown to me...

...I don't know how he died, but I must comment on the fact that our family of Protestants, Puritans, and Huguenots [including several clergymen, and two Denman-descended queens of England distantly related to us (the Stuart sisters, Mary II and Anne)] fought very courageously and passionately, resisting against the stiff and wickedly oppressive opposition of the Roman church, its Inquisitions and persecutions of 'heretics' [especially in France and Spain], the Vatican, and the Pope -- for our rights and freedom to worship and believe as they saw fit.  That gives me a sense of pride, but also sadness that it had [and still has] to be that way.)

Gggggggggg - John Denman (b.1560 Retford, England; grave location unknown to me)
[Quote: "'From Bertha Woodruff Hobson, D.A.R.#161845, records) John DENMAN, b. 1621, Immigrant, England to Massachusetts; his son, John DENMAN, 1643-1714, early settler at Newtown, Long Island, wife Mary Gerneaux, of Huguenot Family (Rochelle, France) who adopted the form Gano (according to the Townley, Rush and Hobson MSS).'"]


Further back in time than that, I get really confused, lol.  Some of my Denman relatives in those ancient times lived in places like Tynneslowe, aka Tinslow or Tinsley; Derby; and surrounding areas.

There is one story of a Reverend William Denman of Retford, who was harassed by Queen Mary I (a catholic) for being a Reformist (a Puritan, or Protestant).  He was fired from his job for that reason, during the reign of queen Mary I, but about 3 years later was reinstated by a monarch sympathetic to Protestants, queen Elizabeth I. He also died very young, only 37 yrs old (1550?-1587?).  His grave monument was quite poetic, but was later "greatly defaced" and disappeared from the church where he was buried.  It is preserved in historical records however.  One translation:

"I was a Squire’s son, my mother was heiress of a knight,
My name is Denman, I was a Master of Arts.
Rector of Ordsall in Mary’s reign removed,
Queen Elizabeth restored me to my flock;
And I thereupon worked that Retford should reap the fruits of my labours

any are zealous to maIf ke progress in Religion,
Ordsall knows I built houses for the poor.
Beneath this pile, I now am lying dead.
Ah! no, not dead, I live beyond in bliss,
Earth holds my corpse, in heaven my spirit dwells."

And an alternate translation:

"My father was a squire, my mother was a Knight's daughter, my name is Denman; by profession I was a Master of Arts; in reign of Queen Mary I was ejected from ministry in Ordsall, Queen Elizabeth restored me to my flock; I continued and have discharged it; Retford would reap the fruit if I persevere, if anyone desirous of religion. Ordsall witnesses I have erected houses for the poor. At length, being dead, I lie under this heap—Dead! Ah! Mistake!—I live a blessed life; the earth has my carcass; my Spirit inhabits Heaven."
[More legends of the Denman family, as pertaining to the Israeli tribe of Dan.]
[According to this UK source, the Denman family is descended from Danish Vikings!]


Note: I sent an emailed formal request to the administrator of the Denman surname project on Family Tree DNA, today.  I would be very interested in knowing at least a good educated guess of Dad's yDNA classification, since he was an only son and I've no living male relatives of his to get tested for it.

UPDATE:  Liz Jones of the Project informed me that Dad's yDNA (based on his pedigree, he had only one 'match') was R1b1a2 (same as King Tut's, lol).

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.

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