1125 William Charles (possibly a cousin)
Sarah Unknown
1595 - 1693 1595 - 1696
1015 James Dennis, Sr.
b. About 1636
d. Sep 1730
Marblehead, Essex, Massachusetts, USA
Mary Charles
b. Probably England
d. About 1671
Marblehead, Essex, Massachusetts, USA
Relationship Events:
About 1654 Marriage James Dennis Sr. to Mary Charles in Marblehead, Essex, Massachusetts, USA
26 Nov 1774
Ancestor Leaf 960 James Dennis, Jr. bp. About 1663 in Massachusetts, USA; d. ?
Sarah Pitman, 25 Mar 1682 in Marblehead, Essex, Massachusetts, USATen Children: Jonas, Amy, Benjamin, Mary, Sarah, Thomas, Samuel, Elizabeth, William, Charles, and Hannah Dennis
  Mary Dennis d. before1674      
  Amos Dennis bp. About 1669 in Marblehead, Essex, Massachusetts, USA; d. ?
Elizabeth Russell 15 Mar 1691 in Marblehead, Essex, Massachusetts, USA Nine Children: Amos, Elizabeth, Mary, James (1), Lucy, Benjamin, James (2), William, and Charles Dennis
  Agnes Dennis bp. About 1672 in Marblehead, Essex, Massachusetts, USA; d. 1749 in Marblehead, Essex, Massachusetts, USA
Thomas Trevy (Trefry) 15 Mar 1691 in Marblehead, Essex, Massachusetts, USA Nine Children: Thomas, Mary, James, Agnes, John, William, Sarah, Amy, and Abigail Trefry.
What We Know


Various sources give us a little information about James Dennis, his wife Mary Charles, and their children. I was not able to determine whether James Dennis Sr. was born in America or whether he immigrated here with his parents.

William Charles arrived in America in 1648. Her marriage date to James Dennis is listed as about 1654, but I believe this is too early. Most likely, however, she was born in England. William Charles refers to her husband and Mary as "Cousin." I believe it's possible that Sydney Perley who identified Mary's children as William Charles' grandchildren may have been incorrect.

William Charles left the children of Mary Charles Dennis two pieces of land when he died in 1692.

William Charles' will also tells us that James Jr., in addition to owning the pieces of land left to him, was a blacksmith. Amos was a fisherman, and son in law Thomas Trefry was a mariner.

Some genealogical information lists two women Mary Coney and Mary Lathrop as additional wives of James Dennis. I've researched the possiblility that Mary Coney rather than Mary Chapman is the mother of James Dennis, Jr. Mary Coney Dennis had children named John and Mary, the final recorded birth being in Boston in 1666. The birth dates of James Jr., Amos, and Agnes are estimates only based on the years of




their marriages, which we do know. It's possible that Mary Coney Dennis gave birth to these children in Boston. William Charles lists the names of Mary's children as James Jr., Amos, and Agnes Dennisin his will. If these children were those of Mary Coney Dennis rather than Mary Charles, they would be her step children. It's not impossible that her father mentioned them even if they were not related by blood. (See below for a long article on the heritage of Mary Coney Dennis).

In New England Marriages before 1700, we see listings for all three women with some dates, which although estimated, are not in sync with what we know of our James Dennis.We know the year of birth of our James Dennis since he was 94 at the time of his death in 1730. James Dennis of Boston, husband of Mary Coney, was born 10 years earlier in 1626. Mary Lathrop married James Dennis in Boston. I've seen no evidence that this James Dennis could be our James Dennis of Marblehead.

It's quite possible that James and Mary had more than the three children we know from their listing on the will.

James lived to the ripe old age of 94, long enough to see the birth of 28 known grandchildren born between 1688 and 1719 and the start of a very large Dennis dynasty in Marblehead.




Notes about James Dennis and Mary Coney:

Many genealogies name James Dennis, the husband of Mary Coney of Boston, as the same James Dennis who then later relocated to Marblehead.

After doing considerable research, I've established the following facts and dates:

Elizabeth Hawkredd was the daughter of Anthony Hawkredd and his second wife Elizabeth Hatcher. She was born 8 Dec 1605 in Boston, Lincolnshire, England and died in England in 1670. She had two sisters, Mary who married Thomas Coney, and Sarah, who married first William Story, second the Reverend John Cotton, and third the Reverend Richard Mather.

Elizabeth Hawkredd married three times:

1. John Coney, the brother of Thomas Coney (her sister Mary's brother), in England 16 Dec 1624. John and Elizabeth Hawkredd Coney had four children as follows: Marie (1) who was baptized 9 Oct 1625 and buried 10 Dec 1625; Marie (2) who was baptized 28 Jun 1627 and buried Aug 16 1627; John who was baptized 17 Jul 1628, and Marie (3) who was baptized 2 May 1630.

2. Oliver Mellowes in 1630. Oliver and Elizabeth Hawkredd Coney Mellowes had Samuel bp in 1634, Martha bp. in 1636 (who married Joseph Waters, and Mary baptized in 1638 who married Emanuel Spingfield.

3. Thomas Makepeace in 25 May 1641. Thomas Makepeace died in about 1667, and his will provides as follows for his three stepdaughters "1 give to my wife's three daughters, vizt. unto Mary, the wife of James Dennis of Boston, and to Martha, the wife of Joseph Waters of Milford, and to Mary the wife of Emanuell Springfield in Old England, * * * to each and every of them * * * the sume of fifty shillings." After Thomas's death, his widow Elizabeth returned to England, where she died in 1670.

Elizabeth Hawkredd Coney Mellowes Makepeace's daughter Marie Coney married Dennis James in 1652 in Boston, and she gave birth to at least five children, whose births are recorded in the Massachusetts Records to 1850: John (1) born 6 Dec 1653 and died 31 Jan 1654; John (2) born 4 Aug 1655 and died 10 Jul (probably August) 1655; Mary born 4 Aug 1660; Mary born 5 Jun 1661; and Mary b. 15 Jun 1666.

I have dates found on a genealogy site which indicate that James Dennis of Boston was born in 1626 and died on 6 May 1691 at the age of 65. The same site also listed Mary Coney Dennis's death as 16 Nov 1696 in Boston. If these dates could be substantiated, the possiblity of James Dennis of Boston being the same James Dennis of Marblehead would be definitely disproved since we have a death record for James Dennis of Marblehead from the Massachusetts Vital Records to 1850 as being in 1730 at the age of 94 (which would give his year of birth as approximately 1636, ten years later than James Dennis of Boston. Mary Coney had an interesting heritage, as she was the niece of a woman who married both the historical Reverends John Cotton and Richard Mathers; however, I just don't see the evidence that she married our James Dennis of Marblehead.

I've quoted an article below which gives much of the Coney family history:

The parentage and English progenitors of Nathaniel Coney of Boston, Mass

 By Thomas Hills, Nathaniel Coney

The Rev. John Cotton, who for more than twenty years was vicar of the parish of St. Botolph's in Boston, Lincolnshire, arrived at Boston in New England, Sept. 3, 1633. He was born in Derby, England, baptized there Dec. 15, 1584, and died at Boston, Mass., Dec. 15, 1652. His will, probated in Suffolk Co., contains this clause: "I give unto hir my well beloved wife, first all rents of hir house & garden in ye market place of Boston in Lincolnshire, wch are myne by right of marryage with hir during my life. Item. I give unto hir what moneys were left in my brother Coneyes hand, & are now in ye use of my sister Mary Coneye his wife or my cosigne John Coneye their sonue, so far as my pcell yt of Remayneth in their hand." Volume IV of the Heraldic Journal shows that his father was Roland Cotton, of the eleventh generation from his earliest known paternal ancestor. The list of his children, as given, is:

Mary, bapt. 1 Sept., 1583; m. Robert Bamford.
John, bapt. 15 Dec, 1584.
Roland, bapt. 17 Mar., 1588.
Thomas, bapt. 19 May, 1594.

Mr. Pishey Thomson, in his History and Antiquities of Boston, England, quotes the clause of Rev. John Cotton's will, and evidently relied on it literally, and in another part, referring to the children of Roland Cotton, states that his daughter "Mary—younger than John, was married to Mr. Thomas Coney Town Clerk of Boston and survived her husband. She was burried 15 Jan. 1655." This statement will be shown to be erroneous both as to fact and date.
A correspondence with the vicar of St. Botolph's, which began in February and continued to July, 1906, has given information which, added to that on this side of the Atlantic, satisfactorily accounts for the presence of John Coney in New England, and to determine his parentage. "Anthony Hawkredd of Boston, gentleman," was forty-four years old at the time of his second marriage, in July, 1615. His birth year must have been about 1571. In his will, dated Aug. 12, 1626, he mentions sons Anthony, John and Samuel. Assuming that they were named in the order of their birth, they were all born after 1606, for "Anthony Hawkredd of Boston, gentleman, aat 18," was duly licensed to marry Jane Aiscough, Sept. 14, 1625.

Lincoln marriage licences and Lincolnshire pedigrees show that the second wife of Anthony Hawkredd, senior, was Elizabeth, daughter of Thomas Hatcher and widow of Francis, son of Sir Edward Ayscough. The Hatcher pedigree goes back to 1556 and quotes a record in the Heralds College of coat armor. The Ayscoughs were also armigers and their pedigree extends nine generations back of a Sir William Ayscough, Chief Justice of Common Fleas, who died in the thirty-fourth year of Henry VI, whose reign began in 1421.

The elder Anthony had three daughters, whose marriage dates indicate that they were older than their brothers. Mary married Thomas Coney who became town clerk of Boston about 1620. Thomson says the marriage was in 1618. The parish register of St. Botolph's has record of the marriage of "William Story and Sara Hawkrit May 11, 1619," and of "John Conye and Elizabeth Hawkred Dec. 16, 1624." The testator of the will of Aug., 1626, mentions daughters Mary wife of Thomas Coney, and Elizabeth wife of John Coney. Thomas and John were brothers. The baptismal record is clear as to the first named; it reads in the parish register: "Feb. 21, 1599, Thomas Conie son of John Conie." As to that of his brother, the vicar's clerk writes: "that of John, I cannot come across, altho I have made a careful search, I send a tracing of the one which may be it; but one line is so run into another that I am not certain it is. '21 Oct. 1596. John son of John Conoke,' or it may be Conie; I cannot tell. You will see the tails of the line above go right through the name." The clerk correctly describes the obscurity, though it requires the help of one's imagination to see the resemblance of a k entangled in the loop of a y or a zof the line above. The marriage licenses of Lincolnshire contain this item: "1624—Nov. 29, John Coney of * * * ast. 26 and Elizabeth Hawkred of same, Spr [Boston]." The printed page shows clearly that the scribe that prepared the copy for the press could not read all of the crabbed script, and as to the residence of the young candidates for matrimony, could only guess that a certain jumble of lines was intended for the written word Boston. In modern writing it is easy to mistake an 8 and read it as 6. It is safe to conclude that the copyist was not as successful in reading the unit figure in the numerals that expressed John Coney's age as he was in guessing the place of his home. Ann, daughter of John Coney, died in Feb., 1652. A record of burial, in the Register of St. Botolph, which reads, "Mrs. Ann Cunny, widow, 9 May 1652," doubtless is that of the interment of the child's grandmother.

William Story, the husband of Sarah Hawkredd, was buried at Boston, Mar. 16, 1628, and on the 25th Apr., 1632, she married Rev. John Cotton whose first wife had died. So it was because Thomas Coney was husband of his wife's sister that Mr. Cotton left moneys in his "brother Coneye's hand," referred to his wife as "my sister Mary Coneye," and to his nephew by marriage as " my cosigue John Coneye their sonne."

Following first the line of Thomas the town clerk, and that of his son John who succeeded him in his office, the parish record shows the baptism of the first child of Thomas and Mary (Hawkredd) Coney, which reads: "John, son of Thomas Coney, gent, baptised Nov. 28, 1619." The father held his town office from 1620 to 1647. Thompson says he died July 31, 1649. The register of St. Botolph's has this record: "John Conny and Ann Mitchell married by license 16 Jan. 1638." This was the John who succeeded his father as town clerk. He died not later than 1653.




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