Wednesday, November 06, 2013

The Roger Williams Connection

Rev. Frederic DENISON by midgefrazel
Photo by Robert Grandchamp, used with permission
Rev. Frederic DENISON, a photo by midgefrazel on Flickr.

Is this man a descendant of Roger Williams?
This is the essential question

This is a photograph of a painting that hangs in the Westerly Public Library in Westerly, Rhode Island. My friend and young (published) historian Robert Grandchamp snapped this photo for me while we were collaborating on a book about James Albert Barber. I call this project: The Roger Williams Connection.

Frederic (not spelled as Frederick) Denison was a graduate of Brown University in 1846 and was a Baptist Clergyman.

In addition to being a published author, poet and Civil War veteran, Frederic was a genealogist. Intensely interested in his ancestors and the history of "South County", Rhode Island, I share a passion of his, "the graveyard". 

In his book, Westerly and its Witnesses, he located and identified many small family graveyards some of which are the only time they have been written about until John Sterling came along to identify and number them as "historical cemeteries."

Rev. Fred (as I like to think of him) was a very vocal member of society. His life as a family man is brief and not well recorded.

He was my 2nd great grand uncle, being brother to my 2nd great grandmother, Eliza Fish Denison, wife of Dudley Wheeler Stewart. Even with all his books, there is not likeness of him that I can find inside any of them. 

Most of the regular records about him are pretty clear. I can find him in every census even though he was a clergyman in "Westerly, Norwich, New Haven and Providence" (according to he current Denison genealogy #2453 p. 149.) He must have moved around a lot.

Rev. Frederic  was a graduate of Brown University in Providence, RI,  having grown up in Mystic Connecticut in a large family of nine children (Denison genealogy p. 82). His father, Isaac Dension, Jr and his mother Levina Fish were prominent figures in the area and staunch members of the Mystic Baptist Church.

He was born 20 Sept 1819 and died 16 Aug 1901.  Read more about him in this clip from the Palmer Reunion book.

But, I found one record that did not make sense. This is a short term project about that one record and how I solved the problem of reading it, evaluating it and researching it.


No comments: