Last Update: September , 2001
1st Gen. USA
Thomas Dennis was born about 1630 or 1638 in Portsmouth, New Hampshire (most likely the former date). Thomas moved to Ipswich in 1667. He had purchased property from William Searles in 1663. Thomas was constable of Portsmouth, New Hampshire in 1665. Thomas was a friend and acquaintance of William Searles Sr.
William Searles had came from Boston and married Grace Cole. She was the daughter of Richard and Grace Cole. William's choice of employment was to be a Joyner. A joyner was a maker of fine furniture. He purchased a dwelling place in Ipswich, Massachusetts from Shoreborn Wilson for 26 pounds in 1663. William and Grace had a son, William Jr., on November 22, 1665. Their son became a carpenter when he grew up. When William Searles Sr. died on August 16, 1667 his acquaintance Thomas Dennis, came to live in Ipswich and be administrator of his estate. Thomas had lived near his friend, William Searles Sr. He had worked with his friend and learned a lot from him.
One year and two months after Graces husband died she married Thomas Dennis. Their wedding took place on October 26, 1668. Grace had inherited all of William's property, which included a share of Plum Island.Thomas purchased a house lot from Robert Dutch in 1671. Later he also bought a ½ acre lot on Brook Street in 1677 Thomas was a joyner by trade, but seemed to be more of a craftsman than a mere carpenter. Several examples of his craftsmanship are still in existence either in museums or in private collections. He made furniture, chests, carved boxes and other articles. One of his houses at No. 10 County Street in Ipswich is still standing and is protected by the Ipswich Heritage Trust. Thomas and Grace had their first child on November 30, 1670 in Ipswich, Ma. (Essex County). His name was Thomas Dennis after his father. When he grew up he married Elizabeth Green. He died at a fairly young age. It was on January 23, 1703 at the age of 33. Thomas and Elizabeth had only one son and they named him Thomas Dennis. Thomas and Grace had their second child on February 22, 1673 in Ipswich, Ma. (Essex County). His name was John Dennis and on March 31,1699 he married Lydia White. They had five children. After Lydia died he married Sarah Cogswell Tuttle Ward. John Dennis died on May 13, 1757. The third child born to Thomas and Grace was a girl and they named her Elizabeth Dennis. She was born in 1675. Elizabeth married Ebenezer Hovey on July 23, 1704. Elizabeth and Ebenezer had two children. In June of 1676 Thomas Dennis Sr. was credited for serving in the King Philip's War at Marlboro Garrison. The King Philip's War is named for the chief of the Wampanoags, Metecomet. Philip was his christian name. The King Philip's War was a bloody Indian war throughout most of Colonial New England during 1675 to 1676. Half of all white settlements in New England were destroyed, but the Colonist's victory broke the power of the southern New England tribes. Philip was killed on August 12, 1676. On February 1678, Thomas Dennis Sr. was on a list of persons who had "the right of commage according to law and order of the town." On June 17, 1680, "Thomas Dennis Sr., with others, has the liberty with others to raise the hindmost seat on the north west side of the meeting house 2 feet higher than it is now for their wives to sit in, having the approbration of the Decons." Thomas Dennis Sr. was constable and collector of Ipswich from 1685 to 1692. Then in 1685 the town records list him buying a house and land at the corner of County and Summer Streets. He may also have had some property in Rowley also. In 1686 Graces Searles Dennis died at the age of 50 years. She was buried in the Old North Burial Yard in Ipswich and her gravestone reads:
Here Lys ye Body of Mrs. Grace Dennis
wife of Mr. Thomas Dennis who died
Octo ye 24, 1686, Age 50 years
Reader consider and they Redeemer seeke
For in this bed a friend of Christ doth sleep.
It is thought that Thomas Dennis Sr. married again after Grace died. Very little is known of this union, expect that her name was Sarah. Sarah and Thomas lived in Rowley for a while.
Thomas Dennis Sr. died in Ipswich on May 23, 1706 at the age of 68 years. He was buried in the Old North Burial Yard and his gravestone reads:
Here lyes buried the Body of Thomas Dennis
Aged about 68 years. Departed this life,
May ye 23 1706.
Sarah remarried in 1706 to Captain John How of Topsfield.