Remembering Our Ancestors: James Denney

James was the first direct Denney ancestor who put the second “e” into the last name.

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Tomorrow 159 years ago, our 5th (and 6th) great-grandfather James Denney passed on.

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James Denney was born as James Denny in 1777 in Surry County, North Carolina, to be more precise, on the Martin Flinchum farm on the banks of Pilot Creek, under Pilot Mountain.  His father Azariah and his mother Sally (nee Wise Felton) had settled there to raise their family, and Sally lies buried on the river bank under a stone pile that can still be found today.

James grew up with six brothers and six sisters, one of whom died before reaching adulthood.  He married Rebecca Vanderpool in 1796 in Pilot Creek, and he and Rebecca had in turn 13 children, all while they were still living under Pilot Mountain.    

Around 1830, James and his brothers Harrel, Henry and William with their families went west and settled near Gallipolis in Gallia County, Ohio, first settled by the French and named for their homeland, Gaul.  These four Denny families from North Carolina decided to change their last name from Denny to Denney in order to differentiate the family lines that moved west from those that stayed behind in NC.  William later moved his family on to Indiana, while James, Harrel and Henry all stayed in Ohio more or less along the Ohio river.

James Denney died on 29 June 1860 in Gallipolis, Ohio, having lived a long life of 83 years.

Rest in Peace, Great-Grandpa James.

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