Thomas Dennis was likely born in England and emigrated to Ireland in about 1673 (847). He was a member of the Religious Society of Friends, the Quakers. His parents have not been identified, and little is known about his first wife who may have been Jane Tatnell. The couple married in Ireland, in or before 1677—possibly at Edenberry in County Offaly—or perhaps England. In about 1677, a son John Dennis was born to Thomas Dennis and his wife in Ireland. On 5 Mar 1679, a second son Samuel Dennis was born in County West Meath, Ireland. Apparently, the first wife of Thomas Dennis died in Ireland after the birth of her son Samuel and before Mar 1682.
In Mar 1682, the Moat Meeting of County West Meath in Ireland issued Thomas Dennis a Certificate of Removal, noting that he “Dwelt Amongst us about nine years” (874). Thomas and his two sons immigrated to the New Jersey Colony in 1682, where he was admitted to the Haddonfield Monthly Meeting of Friends in Gloucester County (845).
Presumably, Thomas Dennis remarried in New Jersey. His will made in 1720 implies that five children were born to Thomas and his second wife: Hannah, in about 1678; Mary before 27 Apr 1691; William, Thomas Dennis, Jr.; and Rebeckah Dennis (866).
On 1 Apr 1684, Thomas Dennis purchased 40 acres of land on Newton Creek in West Jersey, New Jersey from Thomas Carelton of Ballincarrick in the County of Wicklowe, Ireland (1034). The deed referred to “Thomas Dennis of said Newton, shoemaker…”. On 12 Mar 1687, Thomas Dennis acquired a lot on Walnut Street east of 5th Street in Philadelphia, Philadelphia County, Pennsylvania from John Laeis (872). Presumably, Thomas operated his business as a shoemaker from this location. In 1692, Thomas Dennis acquired a lot on Walnut Street in Philadelphia east of his prior purchase from Cath Wilson (872). On 2 Nov 1696, Thomas sold both Philadelphia lots (1193).
On 5 Jan 1719, Thomas Dennis, Sr. and Thomas Dennis, Jr. witnessed the Will of William Alberson in Newton Township of Gloucester County, New Jersey (851). William Alberson named his wife, Ester Alberson, and children, William, John, Jane, and Mary. At least two of these children were less than 21 years old. He also named his wife’s daughter, Hester. Heirs would inherit William Alberson’s home farm on fork Creek, opposite to John Mickle’s land and adjoining Thomas Dennis, brother Abraham, Joseph Lowe, and heirs of John Dennis; 300 acres on Egg harbor Road; and personal property. Ester Alberson, William Alberson’s wife, was the sole executrix of the estate. Thomas Dennis, Thomas Dennis, Jr., and Thomas Sharp witnessed the will. The Will of William Alberson was proved on 19 Apr 1720.
On 1 Jun 1720, Thomas Dennis, Sr. made a will in the Newton Township of Gloucester County, New Jersey (866). He named his wife and children: Thomas Dennis (married), William Dennis, Mary Dennis, and Hannah Dennis as heirs of his real and personal estates. He named his son Thomas Dennis as executor. John Williams, Thomas Sharp, and Abraham Alberson witnessed the will. John Mickle and Thomas Sharp made an inventory of the £38 personal estate of Thomas Dennis on 12 Dec 1720. The Will of Thomas Dennis, Sr. was proved on 20 May 1721.
Notes and Comments
A certificate of removal issued to Thomas Dennis by the Moat Meeting of County West Meath in Ireland states that he “Dwelt Amongst us about nine years.” (847). Presumably, Thomas immigrated to Ireland in about 1673, probably from England.
Assuming that the wife of Thomas Dennis was at least 19 years old when her oldest son John was born in 1677, then she was born before 1655, and she married Thomas Dennis in or before 1677.
If Jane, born 1655 in Ireland, was the mother of sons John and Samuel Dennis, born in Ireland, and assuming that she died in about 1680, then the younger children of Thomas Dennis: Thomas Dennis, Jr.; William; Mary; Rebeckah; and Hannah Dennis were by a second wife who has not been identified.
The Will of Walter Forrest provides evidence of the children of Thomas Dennis. On 18 Mar 1691, Walter Forrest of Bubury, New Jersey made a will (871). He named his wife, Ann, to receive one-half of the two mills, one in Salem and the other in Bubury. William Albertson, Jr.; Abraham Albertson; and Rebecka Albertson were heirs to the other half. John and Samuel, sons of Thomas Dinnis of Philadelphia, shoemaker, were heirs to 1,000 acres of land on Unknown Creek in Salem Tenth, bought by brothers John and France Forrest. Rebeckah, Mary, and Hannah, daughters of Thomas Dinnis, were to receive legacies. Walter Forrest left the residue of all goods and chattels to William Albertson, Sr. of New Town Creek, West Jersey and named him executor. John Gilbert, Lansey Boore, and Elizabeth Chapell witnessed the will. The will was proved in Salem County, Pennsylvania on 2 May 1692.
In his will made on 1 Jun 1720, Thomas Dennis names children Thomas Dennis, Jr., William Dennis, Mary Dennis, and Hannah Dennis. The oldest son of Thomas and Jane Dennis, John Dennis died on 12 Dec 1712 in New Jersey, well before Thomas Dennis, Sr. made his will. The Will of Thomas Dennis, Sr. does not provide evidence of his son Samuel Dennis. Assuming that Samuel Dennis was born in 1679, then he was about 41 years old at the death of Thomas Dennis, Sr.
During the period 1674–1702, New Jersey was governed as two provinces, East Jersey and West Jersey.
In about 1715, Newton Meeting moved from its site along Newton Creek to Haddonfield and changed its name to Haddonfield Monthly Meeting.
Gloucester County, New Jersey was created on 21 Jan 1709/10. Parts of Gloucester County were gained from Cape May County. Cape May County was created on 12 Nov 1692. The boundaries of Gloucester remained unchanged until 7 Feb 1837.
Camden County, New Jersey was created on 13 Mar 1844 from parts of Gloucester County, New Jersey. The boundaries remained unchanged until 27 Feb 1871.
845. Thomas Dennis, Admittance, Haddonfield Monthly Meeting, Gloucester County, New Jersey, 1682. Marriage Certificates, 1681–1741. Quaker Meeting Records. Swarthmore College, Swarthmore, Pennsylvania (Database: Ancestry.com. Images: Ancestry.com. Image on file.)
847. Thomas Dennis, Certificate of Admittance, Haddonfield Monthly Meeting, Camden County, New Jersey, 13 May 1728. Quaker Meeting Records, Minutes 1710–173, Philadelphia Yearly Meeting Minutes. Swarthmore College, Swarthmore, Pennsylvania. (Images: Ancestry.com. Image on file.)
851. Abstract of the Will of William Alberson, Newton Township, Gloucester County, New Jersey, 5 Jan 1719. Calendar of New Jersey Wills, Administrations, etc. New Jersey Historical Society, Newark, New Jersey, 1901. (Database: Ancestry.com.)
866. Abstract of the Will of Thomas Dennis, Newton Township, Gloucester County, New Jersey, 1 Jun 1720. Nelson, William (Ed.). Documents Relating to the Colonial History of the State of New Jersey, Volume XXIII, Calendar of New Jersey Wills, Volume I, 1670–1730. The Press Printing and Publishing Company, Paterson, New Jersey. Page 135. (Images: Ancestry.com. Image on file.)
871. Abstract of the Will of Walter Forrest, Salem County, Pennsylvania, 18 Mar 1691. Salem County, Pennsylvania Will Book A, Page 69. Nelson, William (Ed.). Documents Relating to the Colonial History of the State of New Jersey, Volume XXIII, Calendar of New Jersey Wills, Volume I, 1670–1730. The Press Printing and Publishing Company, Paterson, New Jersey. Page 170. (Images: Ancestry.com.)
872. Deed by John Laeis to Thomas Dennis, Philadelphia, Philadelphia County, Pennsylvania, Deed Book 74, Page 63. (Index image on file.)
873. Deed by Cath Wilson to Thomas Dennis, Philadelphia, Philadelphia County, Pennsylvania Deed Book 74, Page 298. (Index image on file.)
874. Thomas Dennis, Certificate of Removal from Moat Meeting, County West Meath, Ireland, 16 Mar 1682. (Image on file.)
877. Peter Dennis Household, 1830 U.S. Federal Census, Putnam County, Georgia. Series M19, Roll 20, Family History Library Film 0007040, Page 212. (Images: Ancestry.com. Image on file.)
1034. Nelson, William. Patents and Deeds and Other Early Records of New Jersey, 1664–1703. Genealogical Publishing, Co., Baltimore, Maryland, 2000. (Image on file.)
1193. Index to Deeds by Thomas Dennis to John Coombe, John Douglass, Jr., and Patrick E. Whelan, Philadelphia, Philadelphia County, Pennsylvania. Philadesphia Deed Book Indices. Philadelphia City Archives, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (Index image on file.)