Friday, February 19, 2016

Holbrook line: John Dennis 1587-1679 or 1652, Immigrant

It's going to be fun to write about a Virginia ancestor in the Holbrook line.  So many of this line were New England people that it's interesting when someone outside that geographic area pops up.  Of course, it's difficult, too, because I know far less about early Virginia history.  But I love a challenge, and good people who are also part of this family have done so much research it's almost a matter of just putting my slant on his life.

Just knowing that John Dennis went to Virginia instead of New England tells us a couple of things.  He was not a Puritan, and he may very well have come to Virginia for economic reasons.  He came here prior to 1634, for records are found in 1634 in which he was ordered to pay Mr. Obedience Robins 24 lbs tobacco, and Goodwife Haynie 166 pounds tobacco.  There was a John Dennis who was admitted to the Shareholders of the Virginia Company in 1621-22,  but we don't know that it was this John Dennis, or even a relation.  A John Dennis was transported in 1635 on the "Merchant's Hope" but it is unclear whether this was John Dennis son of the first immigrant, or whether the immigrant had returned to England for some reason and was now on his second voyage to the colony.  .

We don't know for sure who John Dennis Junior was, either.  It is believed that he was not the child of John Sr and his second wife, Barbary, but he may have been John Sr's son by an earlier wife, or possibly the result of an "indiscretion."

John Jr. died in 1652 and we find varying dates of John Sr's death, either in 1652, after John Jr.s death, or in 1678-79.  If John Senior died in 1652 then he was 65 when he died, which was a reasonable age to die in Virginia at that time period (many, many men died much younger than 65).  If he lived till 1678-1679, then he was over 90 years old, a venerable age indeed considering all the hardships that he would have endured.

It's not know how many children John Senior may have had, or whether John Junior may have been an only child.  We do know that he had land, 350 acres, on a branch of the great Wicocomoco River called Dennis Creek, bordering land of Thomas Gascoigne and William Spicer in Northumbrland County.  We can wonder if he had slaves, since, he was ordered to pay fines in tobacco.  We can wonder how he felt about the Lord, since not all Virginians worshipped on a regular basis.  And we can certainly wonder who his parents were, and what connection, if any, he had with "Sir Thomas Dennis", who was a member of the Virginia Company of Bicton and Holcombe.  We can also wonder what sort of relationship he had with the native Americans, and whether he was called upon to fight at any time.

I know there are Dennis researchers because I've found these bits and pieces on line, but I am responsible for the conclusions and questions I've written.  I'd love to hear from these folks, our distant cousins, about our common ancestor and their search for the details of his life.

Our line of descent is:

John Dennis-
John Dennis Jr-Barbary
Mary Dennis-Frances Garrett
Dennis Garrett-Barbara Stone
Johanna Garrett-John Cole
Sarah Cole-Charles Gorsuch
Hannah Gorsuch-Thomas Stansbury
Rachel Stansbury-Alexis Lemmon
Sarah Lemmon-Abraham Hetrick
Isaac Hetrick-Elizabeth Black
Mary Alice Hetrick-Louis Stanard
Etta Stanard-Loren Holbrook
Gladys Holbrook-Richard Allen
Their descendants

Updated to correct date in title, and a spelling error