Abraham Dennis
Abraham Dennis [a] b abt 1710, d aft Oct 1767. He md [1] Mercy Ellis 24 Oct 1734, Sandwich, Barnstable, MA, daughter of Mathias Ellis and Thankful Basset, and [2] Rebecca aft 1737.
Known children of Abraham Dennis and Mercy Ellis were:
  • Thankful Dennis b 14 Sep 1735, Rochester, Plymouth, MA, d 15 Aug 1770, Liverpool, Queens County, Nova Scotia. She md Barnabas Freeman 15 Nov 1759, Rochester, Plymouth, MA, son of Elisha Freeman and Lydia Freeman.
  • Benoni Dennis b 31 Jul 1737, d 16 Jun 1737, Newport, RI.

a. The following records refer to Abraham Dennis of Newport, Newport RI:

"Abm Dennis" witness to the will of Kendall Nichols, Newport, RI, Sep/Oct 1767;
Abraham Dennis witness to the 1756 Newport, RI will of Nathan Townsend;
"Friend Abraham Dennis, cordwainer", mentioned in the will of Nathaniel Norton of Newport, RI, 1757;
"DENNIS, Abraham, no stone, Mercy, wife of Abraham, d 8 or 28 June 1737 in 24y (cites year of birth 1714), a footstone remains" (Newport Common Burial Ground).
"Dennis, Benoni, of Abraham & Mercy d 15 June 1737 age 17d (Newport Common Burial Ground)."

The latter two records immediately above indicate that Mercy (Ellis), wife of Abraham, died 28 (not 8) Jun 1737, probably as a result of complications from childbirth.

Additionally, it appears also that Abraham Dennis remarried after Mercy's death; note the age of death of this second wife, which indicates she was a contemporary of subject Abraham Dennis:
"Rebecca, wife of Abraham Dennis d 10 Oct 1753 in 39y"

The parentage of Abraham Dennis has remained a mystery, no doubt due to the loss of records in Newport, RI during this time period. But there is high likelihood of a direct connection with the Dennis family of Portsmouth, Newport, RI. The evidence is circumstantial, but compelling and worth mention. According to Volume I of Rhode Island Families, Descendants of Robert Dennis of Portsmouth, RI, Robert Dennis and Sarah Howland had five children (from his will), Mary, Robert, Sarah, John, and Joseph. The children of both sons, Robert and Joseph, are known, but only one child is known for John Dennis. This John Dennis was born 15 August 1682, and married Ann Brayton (born 6 July 1683, daughter of Stephen Brayton and Ann Tallman) and resided in Newport, Newport, RI. Notable in this article is the comment "no account has been obtained of the birth of more than one son to them (John Dennis and Ann Brayton), the record is presumed incomplete". An Abraham Dennis appears in records in Newport, RI in the correct timeframe to have been subject Abraham (note that neither of the two brothers of John Dennis (md Ann Brayton) had a son named Abraham), and John appears, by the records, to have been the founder of this Dennis branch in Newport, Newport, RI). While many researchers believe that Abraham was likely the son of John Dennis and Ann Brayton, this, due to the loss of records, may never be conclusively proven. This article also states, contrary to what is seen in many genealogies online, that Robert Dennis was most probably NOT the son of Robert Dennis of Yarmouth, Mass., but probably a relation of Thomas Dennis. The latter arrived on the ship Swallow (part of the Winthrop Fleet) in 1630, and later removed to New Jersey. Additional information from this article which alludes to a familial connection between Robert Dennis and immigrant Thomas Dennis, is mention of Thomas' son Samuel Dennis, who was a Judge on the bench (in New Jersey) with Jedidiah Allen. Jedidiah Allen and Robert Dennis of Portsmouth, RI, were brothers-in-law, having married sisters; also that Jedidiah Allen, in 1691, sold Robert Dennis 150 acres of land in Monmouth Co., NJ. This appears to be convincing evidence that there was indeed a familial connection between Robert Dennis and Thomas Dennis.
GL: Genealogies of Rhode Island Families, Volume I, Descendants of Robert Dennis of Portsmouth, RI, by Otis M. Humphrey, pp 415-416; Rhode Island Vital Records, New Series, Vol 11, Births from Newport Common Burial Ground Inscriptions, 1590-1930, pp 131-132, Rhode Island Genealogical Register, Abstracts Pre-Revolutionary Newport Wills, p 24, 48, 50; Mack Genealogy, Volume II Appendix, p 1420, by Sophia Smith Martin, 1904.
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