William Dennison

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William Dennison

Birthdate: (78)
Birthplace: York, Pennsylvania, United States
Death: August 13, 1840 (78)
New Boston, Mercer, Illinois, United States
Place of Burial: New Boston Cemetery, Mercer, Illinois, United States
Immediate Family:

Husband of Rachel Dennison
Father of John William Dennison; Joseph Arnel Dennison; James R. Dennison; Erastus Segustus Dennison; William Harrison Dennison and 6 others

Managed by: Private User
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About William Dennison


The Denison family is well documented in the book History of Mercer County, Illinois 1882. William Denison (b.1761-d.1840) and his family were the first white settlers in Mercer County. They arrived in 1827 and operated a wood yard at Denison’s Landing supplying steamboats traveling up the Mississippi River. The Denison family got along peacefully with the Sauk and Fox Indians, who hunted and fished in the area. All the Denisons learned to speak the native language and were close friends of Chief Black Hawk and Chief Keokuk, whom often visited their home as they traveled up and down the Mississippi. Early in 1832 Black Hawk, Keokuk, and 3,000 followers held a council of war at the future location of New Boston. The Denisons were present for this historic moment when Black Hawk spoke of war and Keokuk spoke of peace with the white settlers. Keokuk had sold 26,500,00 acres to the United States Government for 3 cents an acre in 1830 and had persuaded most the Sauk and Fox to move to the west side of the Mississippi. Black Hawk, who wanted to return to their settlement at Rock Island, wanted to drive the white settlers from the area. When the Black Hawk War started later that year the Denison Family temporally left the area for Nauvoo upon Chief Black Hawk’s urging. Black Hawk had some of his followers protect the Denison home so it would not be ransacked or burned. Three of William Denison’s sons, William Harrison Dennison, Erastus S. Denison, and Joseph Dennison fought in the Black Hawk War. William and Joseph were privates and Erastus was a sergeant. The Denisons returned to Dennison’s Landing when the war ended that same year.

In 1834 William Denison Sr. and his son William H. Dennison sold some of their land along the Mississippi to Elijah Iles, a well-known land speculator from Springfield. A Captain in the Black Hawk War, Iles had opened the first store in Springfield in 1821, and later served as an Illinois State Senator in 1826 and again in 1830. The purpose of the Denison land sale was to create the town of New Boston and make a profit for the three by selling the individual lots. Abe Lincoln, a young surveyor from Springfield, who had served under Iles for twenty days during the Black Hawk War, worked with the Dennisons to lay out the town on September 20, 1834. The surveyed lots were divided equally between William Denison Sr., his son William H. Dennison, and Elijah Iles and were later either sold or auctioned off. As part of the sale arrangement the Denisons were given the exclusive rights to operate a ferry and wood yard. The senior Dennison, who had served in the Revolutionary War, died in 1840 and is the only Revolutionary War Veteran buried in Mercer County. He is buried in the New Boston Cemetery. Additional information can be found on the surveying of the Denison’s land in the book A. Lincoln With Compass and Chain by Adin Barber.

                 -- added by Maria Edmonds-Zediker, 9/22/10


Birth: Nov. 5, 1761

York County

Pennsylvania, USA

Death: Aug. 14, 1840

New Boston

Mercer County

Illinois, USA

Married Rachel Johns (1776-18530 on 1796.

Children are James R. Dennison (1797-1846), John William Dennison (1799-1855), Joseph Arnel Dennison (1801-1888), Erastus Segustus Dennison (1809-1849), William Harrison Dennison (1810-1846), Theresa Dennison (1811-xxxx), Julia Ann Dennison Gilmore (1814-1895), Sarah E. Dennison Horton (1815-xxxx), Ezra Ferris Dennison (1817-1903), Newton Dennison (1820-xxxx) and Elmore J. Dennison (1824-1899).

Family links:

 James R. Dennison (1803 - 1846)*


New Boston Cemetery

New Boston

Mercer County

Illinois, USA

Created by: Larry McNeal

Record added: Sep 06, 2004

Find A Grave Memorial# 9426042

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William Dennison's Timeline

November 5, 1761
York, Pennsylvania, United States
Age 37
Age 39
Age 41
Age 47
August 6, 1810
Age 48
Lebanon, Warren, Ohio, United States
Age 49
Age 52
Age 53
Age 55