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A Biographical Dictionary of the Maryland Legislature 1635-1789 by Edward C. Papenfuse, et. al.
Volume 426, Page 260   View pdf image (33K)
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DEN BIOGRAPHIES

TION: 1,509 acres in Queen Anne's County (1,115
acres from his father; 394 acres by purchase). SIG-
NIFICANT CHANGES IN LAND BETWEEN FIRST
ELECTION AND DEATH made a deed of gift of
part of his home estate on Wye Neck, Queen An-
ne's County, to his son William Henry, 1822;
deeded 600 acres in Queen Anne's County, plus 1 1
slaves, a library of books, and plate to his son Wil-
liam Henry in return for an annual rent of

$200.00, 1 824. WEALTH AT DEATH. DIED: On April

8, 1827, probably in Queen Anne's County. PER-
SONAL PROPERTY: size of estate unknown; proba-
bly had deeded everything to his only surviving
son before his death. LAND: probably all of his real
property deeded to his son before his death. ADDI-
TIONAL COMMENTS: In his will he requested that
his descendants resume the spelling of the family
name as "DeCoursey," instead of "Coursey," the
"De" having been dropped "to efface the mark of
their being of French descent."

DENNIS, BENJAMIN (?-1808). BORN: of age by
1768. RESIDED: in Acquango Hundred, Worcester
County. MARRIED possibly Leza. CHILDREN. SONS:
Benjamin; James; and Whetty (Wheatley). DAUGH-
TERS: Leah, who married James Fooks, son of
Thomas Fooks; Sarah, who married (first name
unknown) Atkinson; Ann, who married John
Johnson, son of Benjamin Johnson; and Betsy.

PRIVATE CAREER. EDUCATION: literate. OCCUPA-
TIONAL PROFILE: carpenter, 1789; owned two-
thirds of a vessel, 1789; mill owner. PUBLIC CA-
REER. LEGISLATIVE SERVICE: Lower House,
Worcester County, 1788, 1789, 1790, 1791-1792,
1792. LOCAL OFFICE: justice, Worcester County,
1791 -at least 1800. MILITARY SERVICE: captain of
a company belonging to the Wicomico Battalion,
Worcester County Militia, commissioned 1776.

WEALTH DURING LIFETIME. PERSONAL PROP-
ERTY: assessed value £188.7.4, including at least 4
slaves, 1783; owned 7 slaves, 1790. LAND AT
FIRST ELECTION possibly ca. 850 acres in
Worcester County. SIGNIFICANT CHANGES IN

LAND BETWEEN FIRST ELECTION AND DEATH:

obtained over 1,260 acres in Worcester County
through purchase, patent, and several patent
resurveys, which he deeded to his children be-
tween 1802 and 1808, reserving a life estate for
himself. WEALTH AT DEATH. DIED: between July
29 and August 26, 1808, in Worcester County.
LAND at least 865 acres, plus a life estate in over
1,260 acres in Worcester County.

DENNIS, HENRY (?-1785). BORN: probably at
"Beverly" on the Pocomoke River, Worcester

County, of age by 1774; second son, but eldest
surviving son by 1777. NATIVE: probably fifth gen-
eration. RESIDED: in Pitts Creek Hundred,
Worcester County. FAMILY BACKGROUND. FA-
THER: Littleton Dennis (ca. 1728-1774), son of
John Dennis (1704-1767). MOTHER. Susanna Up-
shur (1733-1784). UNCLE: John Dennis, Jr. (ca.
1724-1782). BROTHERS: James (?-by 1777); Little-
ton; and John. SISTERS: Elizabeth; Sarah. FIRST
COUSIN: Samuel Handy (1751/52-1828). MARRIED
on November 23, 1783, Ann, daughter of Capt.
John Purnell (?-ca. 1761), and wife Euphame Ar-
buckle (1734-?); granddaughter of John Purnell
(?-1755), and of Gen. William Arbuckle (1689-
1751), of Virginia; niece of William Purnell (?-
1777), a possible legislator, Zadock Purnell (?-
1805), Thomas Purnell, of John (?-1796), and Ar-
ralantar Purnell (?-1782), who married Thomas
Robins (?-1766). Her brother was William Purnell
(?-1798). Her first cousin was John Purnell Robins
(?-1780). Ann subsequently married by 1793 Wil-
liam Polk. CHILDREN. SON: Littleton (1784-?). PRI-
VATE CAREER. EDUCATION: literate. RELIGIOUS
AFFILIATION: Anglican, Rehobeth Church, Coven-
try Parish, Worcester County. SOCIAL STATUS
AND ACTIVITIES: Esq. at death. OCCUPATIONAL
PROFILE: merchant, partner with Zedekiah Whal-
ley; owned mill lands; owned a privateer during
the Revolution. PUBLIC CAREER. LEGISLATIVE
SERVICE: Lower House, Worcester County, 1779-
1780, 1780-1781, 1781-1782, 1782-1783, 1783
(elected, but did not attend). LOCAL OFFICES: Cov-
entry Parish Vestry, Somerset and Worcester
counties, elected 1781 and 1784; militia recruiter,
Worcester County, in office 1781. MILITARY SER-
VICE: 1st lieutenant, Snow Hill Battalion,
Worcester County Militia, commissioned 1777.

WEALTH DURING LIFETIME. PERSONAL PROP-
ERTY: inherited law books from his father, 1774;
assessed value £513.0.0, including 13 slaves, 1783.
LAND AT FIRST ELECTION: over 2,850 acres in
Worcester County (inherited from his father), plus
116 acres in Accomack County, Virginia. WEALTH
AT DEATH. DIED: ca. July 1, 1785, in Worcester
County. PERSONAL PROPERTY: TEV, at least
£2,833.3.11 (including 25 slaves); FB, estate over-
paid £358.16.10. LAND: ca. 3,214 acres in
Worcester County, plus 116 acres in Accomack
County, Virginia.

DENNIS, JOHN (1704-1767). BORN: on August
12, 1704, in Somerset County. NATIVE: probably
third generation. RESIDED: in Pocomoke Hundred,
Somerset County. FAMILY BACKGROUND. FATHER:
John Dennis (1676/77-1744/45). MOTHER: Sarah

260



 

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A Biographical Dictionary of the Maryland Legislature 1635-1789 by Edward C. Papenfuse, et. al.
Volume 426, Page 260   View pdf image (33K)
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