My Dennis Family Research                    

My Dennis Family Research

From what research I have done, and received from Other Dennis surname researchers, it appears that my Dennis family originated in the State of Virginia in the mid-1600's, migrated to the State of Maryland in the late 1660's, and eventually migrated to the State of Ohio around 1803-1804. Below is a summary of my Dennis family.


The Dennis Family in Virginia

It appears to me from my research as of now, that Donnock Dennis immigrated from Ireland to Virginia somtime early 1650's. Records of other researchers have indicated he was born 1645 in County Galway, Ireland, however, this has not proven conclusive. From some records I have seen, and will reference here later, I believe he may have come over at a very young age, and his name was not recorded correctly on the passenger lists. His name was misspelled so often, we can't really be certain. I have personally seen his name spelled as Donnock, Dornick, Donagh, Dunnock, Tonnath, and Tonath.

The earliest his name appears as Tonnath Dennis is in a headright of Nov. 20, 1657 to William Roberts in Northampton Co., VA. I found 2 different records in the book Cavaliers and Pioneers, Abstracts of Virginia Land Patents and Grants, 1623-1666. Pg. 353 shows a headright for 600 acres near Matchepungoe. Here the spelling of the name is Tonnath. Pg. 356 shows another headright for what appears to be the same parcel to William Roberts, and here the spelling is Tonath.

There is one curious earlier headright granted to Roland Lawson, 1300 acres situated in Rappa. Riv., 20 June 1651, that shows transfer of an Xpo Dennis. While most show the symbol Xpr as Christopher, one person tells me that Xpo was the symbol that Christopher Columbus used for his name. I wonder if that really stood for something else, but have found no proof thus far. I kind of feel it may be an early record of Donnock.

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Dennis Family Ancestors from The Eastern Shore of Maryland


Click on the persons name to see more about them

Donnock Dennis
	b c 1645 County Galway, Ireland
	m 31 Jul 1661 Elice Nebulian
	d 1717 Somerset Co., MD

	Children of Donnock and Elice
	Donnock Jr
		b 16 Feb 1669
		m Sarah Johnson
		d 1747
		Children of Donnock Jr. and Sarah
		Sarah
		Affradozi
		Annanias
		Samuel

	John
		b 12 Feb 1676 at Quindocqua, Somerset Co., MD
		m Sarah Littleton
		d 1741
		Children of John and Sarah
		Donnock
			m Sarah Johnson
			children of Donnock and Sarah
			Johnson
				b c 1735
				m Nancy
				d c 1811
				Children of Johnson
					William Dennis
					(This is my g-g-g-g-grandfather, I believe)
						b 1758 Somerset Co., MD
						m1
						(?)m2 6 Feb 1799 Polly Dukes
						d 1833 Ross County, OH
					John
					James
					Henry
						b 1758
						m1 Ann Lewis
						d 1849
						Children:
							Daniel Dennis
					Thomas
					Johnson
					George
					Mary
					Kessiah
					Mathias
		John
			b 12 Aug 1704
			m Mary Purnell
			d 31 Aug 1766
			Children of John and Mary
			Sarah
			Elizabeth
			Littleton
			John
			Mary
			Eliza
			Leah
			Ann

		William
		Elizabeth
		Sarah
		George	

The following Dennis family I believe to be related to my family. Possibly Henry was brother to William I have found charts listing the children of Johnson Dennis. Henry was his son, Williams brother. Daniel Dennis listed below is indeed related to my family.

Henry Dennis

	Daniel Dennis, b 7 AUG 1788 Worcester Co., MD  
               m Nancy Penniwell c 1808/1809.  
               d 12 Oct 1877 Monroe Twp., Pickaway Co., OH	

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The Dennis Family in Ohio

In 1803-04 William Dennis moved his family to Ross County, Ohio.

It appears that the Dennis family came with the colony of people who arrived in Ross County in 1804 as told in a Ross Co. History:
In the year 1804 there arrived in Ross County a colony of people from Maryland. There were seventy of them, the poorest of poor, oppressed Marylanders. These Marylanders had brought all their possessions in a cart drawn by a pony. The land had not yet been surveyed and much of it was owned by the state of Virginia.

The Marylanders followed Rev. Timmons to Ohio where he helped assist each of these families to secure homes in the wilderness. The Timmons name and White Brown's name are found in many records concerning the William Dennis family. Many Dennis men and women were married by Rev. Stephen Timmons as found as found in Ross Co. marriage records.

Researching Ross Co. records has not proven the issue of William Dennis. Descendants relate that it has always been said that "six Dennis brothers came from Maryland." My research indicates that these "brothers" were in reality not all brothers, but all were likely related. The 1820 census shows the following Dennis men living in the area of Ross Co, Deerfield Twp. : Daniel Dennis, Jonathan, Mathias, Pernai (likely Purnell), Robert, and William. Of these, Jonathan, Mathias, Purnell, and Robert are brothers. William is their father. Daniel would be their cousin. There was also listed a Jonston Dennis, likely Johnson, who was in Pickaway County, Deercreek Township. I believe him to be Williams brother, although I have no proof at this point.

Various records do show more than six Dennis men were residing in the area during the time frame. Only William Dennis paid taxes in the 1810 Ross Co. tax list. Only William Dennis purchased land in Ross Co. patented to Henry Massie called #6834, sixty acres for $120.00. The land record was filed in 1812. William Dennis, Sr. sold that same land to Dennis in 1833. In the 1830 Ohio Fed census William was listed as a man 70 to 80 years of age with a wife of age 60 to 70. James Dennis was listed beside William. No further records were found for William and his wife. William sold his land to James in 1833. He died intestate.

The marriage records of Ross County show that several young men and women named Dennis married during this time span. In as much as William was the only Dennis in the county of the age to have marriageable children, it is logical to assume that these were his children.

William Dennis, b 1758, Worcester Co., MD
		m(1?)
	        m(2?) 6 Feb 1799 Polly Dukes
		d 1833 Ross County, OH
	           
Children of William 
	Robert, b c 1785 MD
		m Sarah
		d c 1840 Ross County, OH

	Jonathan, b c 1785 MD	
	(my g-g-g-grandfather, I believe)
		m 1819 Elizabeth Gadden
		d c 1840 Ross County, OH

	Purnell J., b 25 Dec 1790 MD
		m1 12 Jan 1815 Sarah Penniwell, Ross Co., OH
		m2 27 May 1841 Sarah Baggs
		d 7 Jan 1866, Monroe Twp., Pickaway Co., OH

	   	Veteran of War of 1812

	Mathias, b c 1795
		m1 1816 Priscilla Dennis
		m2 9 Jun 1819 Patty King, Ross Co.,OH
		d 1840 Iowa

	James M. Dennis, b 8 Jul 1801, near Salisbury, MD
       		m Nancy Coleston Meekins 3 Aug 1824 Ross County, OH
       		d 1 Jul 1877 Ross County, OH

	Polly "Molly", b c 1793 MD
		m 24 Jul 1810 Conlee Vass , Ross County, OH
		d 
	
	Elizabeth, b
		m 25 Aug 1810 Ephraim Knolds, Ross County, OH
		d

	Kesiah, b
		m 13 Dec 1813 Henry Corkwell, Ross County, OH
		d

	Nancy, b
		m 22 Feb 1810 Thomas Vincent, Ross County, OH
		d

	Hannah, b 1805
		m 8 Feb 1821 Selby Lewis, Ross County, OH
		d

	William, b 12 May 1809 Ross County
		m 13 Apr 1834 Mary Meekins, Ross County, OH
		d 3 Jun 1872, Jackson Co., MO; buried Lee's Summit, MO.

William's son Jonathan is where we will pick up the story of MY Dennis family. Jonathan was born c 1785 in Maryland, and came to Ohio with the family. According to the early marriage records of Ross County, OH, he married Elizabeth Gadden in 1819.

No other records, save the census records, show a record of a Jonathan Dennis in Ross County. The 1830 census records show Jonathan Dennis living in Ross County, Deerfield Twp.(pg 231). The 1840 census shows Jonathan in Pickaway County, Perry Twp. From these records on, Jonathan Dennis does not appear, leading one to make the logical assumption that he likely passed on in the 1840's at the age of approximately 60-65.

The 1850 census lists my great-great-grandfather, Daniel Dennis, living in Ross County, Deerfield Twp., apparently in the same household with his mother, Elizabeth, Age 52, from Maryland, and his 2 brothers, Henry, Age 29, Wingate, Age 24.

The 1860 census shows Daniel, now age 30, now married to his second wife, Elizabeth Jane Haran (this name has been (mis)spelled as Herron and Horn). They are listed in Ross County, Deerfield Twp. Also living with them are 3 of Daniels children from his first marriage to Mary Ann Lane (they married in 1852, she died in 1859), Missouri, age 7 female; William, age 5 male; and Rebeccha age 3 female. Also listed in the household is his mother, Elizabeth, now showing as age 54 (seems people had a hard time admitting their age back then too!).

It was from Daniels second marriage that my great-grandfather Allen T. Dennis was born. Allen was apparently the first born of Daniel and Elizabeth, born the 2nd day of November, 1861, near New Holland, OH. Daniel and Elizabeth had 10 children together, but I have thus far only found record of 7 of them: Allen, born November 2, 1861; Martha, born circa 1864, Sara, born circa 1865; Chauney (Chauncey?), born circa 1869; Alice, born May 1, 1873; and Etta, born Oct 28, 1874.

During his second marriage, Daniel served in the Civil War in Company H of the 149th Regiment of the Ohio Volunteer Infantry. His term of service began May 2, 1864 at age 34, and he was mustered out along with his company on Aug 30, 1864 after 100 days of service. He held the rank of Private.

In 1883, Daniel married for the third and last time. He married Margaret Davis Dean on the 9th of May, 1883. They had no children together. One interesting fact about this marriage is Daniel and Margaret died within minutes of each other on the 21st day of March, 1908, of pneumonia.

Allen Dennis was, like most of my side of the Dennis family, evidently a quiet family man. No major items regarding his life can be found in any newspapers of the times, nor do any major records of land purchases or the like appear. He married Laura Jeannette Dean October 25, 1883. Laura was born in Morgan County, OH to John and Margaret Dean October 27, 1866.

Allen and Laura had 10 children together, including my grandfather, Harold Dean Dennis. The children were: Oran (Ode) Dennis, born December 5, 1884; Roy Allen Dennis, born Feb 22, 1886; George, born Feb 24, 1888; Orpha, born Nov 22, 1889; Hugh McKinley Dennis, born Nov 22, 1891; Cary (Doc) Dennis, born Aug. 9, 1897; Leotta, born April 22, 1894; Harold Dean Dennis, born Nov 20, 1902; Gertrude, born Sep 24, 1907; and Goldie, born Oct 8, 1899.

Allen died Oct 21, 1924 at the age of 62. Laura died March 22, 1938.

Harold Dennis, my grandfather, was a farmer all his life. Mostly, to my recollection, Grandpa and Uncel Bud (Roy) farmed the acreage just north of the Ross County fairgrounds. The old house they lived in still stands, although I am sure it has undergone much renovation since I last was there in 1967, just after Grandpa died.

Harold married Vera Frances Hunter June 27, 1930. Vera was born December 13, 1904 to James Garfield Hunter and Clara Dawson. She was born near Bloomingburg, Fayette County, OH. Harold and Vera had 4 children together: James Allen Dennis, my father; Mary Louise; Donald Eugene; and Virginia Ann.

Harold died Oct 24, 1967 at the age of 64. Vera outlived him by almost 30 years, and touched the lives of many beyond the Dennis family. She died May 9, 1994 at the age of 89.


1) James Arlen Dennis (that's me!)
b 14 SEP 1958
married Darla June Young 20 JUN 1981
Children: Ryan James Dennis, b 19 SEP 1983; Jared Alan Dennis, b 19 AUG 1986
d Still Living

2) James Allen Dennis
b 5 FEB 1931 near New Holland, OH
Married 29 OCT 1955 to 3) Julia Anne Ashworth
Children: Joseph Andrew, James Arlen ,Janet Andrea , Joy Alison 
d 2010

Julia Anne Ashworth
b 2 Jun 1934 Ross County, OH
m 29 Oct 1955 to 2) James Allen Dennis
d 2004

4) Harold Dean Dennis  
b 18 NOV 1902 near New Holland, OH
Married 5) Vera Francis Hunter 27 JUN 1930
Children: James Allen, Mary, Donald Eugene, Virginia 
d 4 OCT 1967 Chillicothe, OH

8) Allen T. Dennis
b 2 NOV 1861
Married 9) Laura Dean 25 DEC 1883
Children: Oran, Roy, Hugh, Cary, George, Harold, Orpha, Gertrude, Leota, Goldie
d 24 OCT 1924
Chillicothe, OH

16) Daniel Dennis
b 15 Aug 1830(1831)
m1 16 Jun 1852 Mary Ann Lane
	Children Missouri b 1853, William b 1855, Rebecca b 1857
m2 26 Jan 1860 Elizabeth Jane Herron (also spelled Haran, Horn, Hern)
	Children 8) Allen b 2 Nov 1861, Martha b 1864, Sara b 1865, Chauney b 1869, Alice b 1873,
		Elizabeth b 1874, Etta b c 1875
m3 9 Mar 1883 Margaret Davis Dean
d 21 Mar 1908 (Ironically, m3 died same day within minutes)

The following data is not verified, but based on circumstancial evidence, such as locations, times, places, and conjecture.

Based on census records of 1850, I believe Daniel's mother to be Elizabeth, as she was shown living in same household. Based on her name, the only Dennis I can find who married an Elizabeth in Ross County, OH in the early 1800's (prior to 1831, when Daniel was born) is Jonathan.

32) Jonathan Dennis 
b c 1780
m 11 Aug 1819 Elizabeth Gadden 
	Children Daniel Dennis, Henry, Wingate
d unknown, believe c 1840

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Data used to trace/compile my lineage

  1. Worcester County Marriage Licenses 1795-1865, Mary Beth and Vanessa Long

  2. Old Somerset on The Eastern Shore of Maryland

  3. They Lived in Somerset: 17th Century Marylanders

  4. Immigrant Ancestors of Maryland, compiled by Martha and Bill Reamy

  5. Maryland Eastern Shore Vital Records 1776-1800, Book 4, by F. Edward Wright

  6. The Dennises of Beverly and their kin, by John V. Dennis

  7. From the Dennis Side of the Family, by Jean Phillips Whittaker

  8. A Somerset Sampler - Families of Old Somerset County, Maryland 1700-1776, compiled and edited by Pauline manning Batchelder


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