Third Generation

19. William R. DENNIS was born in 1832 in Illinois.

1860, Dist 12, Jackson Co TN, Hh 294
William Dennis, age 28. Sarah Dennis age 26. Benjamin 2.

In 1870, living next door to John, Dist 1, Jackson Co TN, p.128, Hh 56
William Dennis, age 36, b. TN. Mary A. age 26, b. TN. Franklin 12 [Benjamin Franklin], Samuel 4, and John H. age 5 months.
William has apparently married a 2nd wife probably sometime between 1860 and 1866.

1880. District 13, Jackson Co, p.170A, Hh 7
Wm R. Dennis, age 52 [b. 1828], IL., father b. NC, mother b. TN
Mary, wife, age 39, b. TN as were both her parents
Margaret, b. 1868, daughter. John H. b. 1870, son. Sarah A. b. 1873, dau. Mary M. b. 1878, dau. and Willie Bell, age 9 months, born Sept (1879)
on the same page - Hh 2 was
Frank Dennis, 21, b. TN, father b. IL, mother b. TN
Susan, 20, wife and William, 11 months, son - both listed as having "Chills"

William R. DENNIS and Sarah Ann "Sally" PORTER were married in 1852 in Jackson County, Tennessee. Sarah Ann "Sally" PORTER, daughter of William PORTER and Ruth CHAFFIN, was born in 1827 or 1834 in Tennessee. She died circa 1865 at the age of 38.

The marriage records for Jackson Co TN for this time period are lost - however, I believe this is most likely the identification of Sarah "Sally" Dennis, as a daughter of William Porter.
In 1850, Sarah appears to be in the household of William & Ruth Porter, age 23. She had brothers William and John - later in 1853 there will be a court case which mentions William M. Porter and John C. Porter. Then in 1860 when shown with her husband, William Dennis, she gave her age as 26. However, in 1860, William & Sarah were living next door to Rutha Porter, widow.

On 25 July 1853, Sarah Ann Dennis appeared in Jackson County court with a bill of divorce represented by her "next friend" John C. Porter. Women could not yet represent themselves in court. She sought an injunction to prevent her husband William Dennis from selling or otherwise disposing of her share in four tracts of land left by her father to his eight heirs, of which she was one, and his widow. Note: William Porter was still living in 1850, his widow Rutha in 1860. The father is never specifically named, but three of the tracts quote the land grant when they were granted to William Porter and the fourth matches a grant he received in 1834. The 1850 census household of William Porter also confirms that the number of heirs is probably correct. Sarah had a five-month-old son, Merrit Alexander, that William Dennis had threatened to take away from her. She stated she was married "about" the 25th of May in 1852 - a year's residence was required for filing for divorce so whether or not this was the actual date of their marriage cannot be determined. Apparently the couple was reconciled and the child Merrit did not survive.

From the TN State Library:
Sarah Ann Dennis vs. Wm Dennis, Chancery, 1852
Married on 25 May 1852. He has behaved in a harsh and unbecoming manner. He has in her presence threatened to whip her and at one time he drew his knife and threatened to cut out her heart. Since the marriage her father William M. Porter died intestate leaving property granted by the State of Tennessee to William Porter by Grant #7701 dated 3 Dec 1839. One other tract granted William Porter by Grant #7723 dated 5 Dec 1839. One other tract granted William Porter by Grant #7724, dated 5 Dec 1839. One child five months old named Merret Alexander Dennis. Before her father died, he was desirous that the lands be divided, she thinks so that he could get possession of her share and sell her interest.

1860 Census, Dist 12, Jackson Co TN, Hh 294
William Dennis, age 28. Sarah Dennis age 26. Benjamin 2 [Benjamin Franklin].

By 1870, William's wife is noted as Mary and the child Franklin, age 12, was living with them. The next child in the family was Samuel, age 4. It would appear that by 1865, Sarah had died.

William R. DENNIS and Sarah Ann "Sally" PORTER had the following children:



Merrit Alexander DENNIS was born in 1853 in Jackson County, Tennessee. He died before 1860 at the age of 7.

Merrit Alexander was about 5 months old when Sarah Ann filed for an injunction against Miles Dennis in July of 1853. Her husband had threatened to take the baby from her. This child was not listed as living with Sarah in 1857, so he obviously did not survive.



Benjamin Franklin DENNIS was born in 1858 in Tennessee.

This appears to be this man.
1880 Census, Dist 13, Jackson Co TN, p.170A
Frank Dennis, age 21, father b. IL, mother b. TN
Susan, wife, age 20, b. TN. Father b. GA, mother b. TN
William son, age 11 months.

William R. DENNIS and Mary A. [DENNIS] were married circa 1865. Mary A. [DENNIS] was born in 1844 in Tennessee.

William R. DENNIS and Mary A. [DENNIS] had the following children:



Samuel DENNIS was born in 1866 in Tennessee.



Margaret DENNIS was born in 1868 in Tennessee.

Margaret was not listed with the family in 1870.



John H. DENNIS was born in January 1870 in Jackson County, Tennessee.

1870 census gave age as 5 months, January as his birth month.



Sarah A. DENNIS was born in 1873 in Tennessee.



Mary M. DENNIS was born in 1878 in Tennessee.



Willie Bell DENNIS was born in 1879 in Tennessee.