Early Settlers of
Their Descendants...Their Stories...Their Achievements
Lifting the Mists of History on Their Way of Life
By: Ethelene Dyer Jones
After a brief diversion to pursue another topic, I return in this column to write about families with the surname Denton who were early settlers in Union County.
In the 1834 Union County census, three families had the name Denton, with seventeen total Denton residents, eight males and nine females. Two heads of households of these early settlers were women with similar names: Eliza Denton had two males and two females in her household. Elizabeth Denton had two males and one female residing in her home. The third Denton household was headed by James Denton whose family had four males and six females.
I expected to find these three households listed in the 1840 Union census, but the search for these three Denton families was not that easy, for none of the three appeared as heads of households in 1840 or in 1850.
Five residences in 1840 had Dentons as follows:
Household numbered by the census taker as 115 had Levina Denton (one female between the age of 20 and under 30).
Further on, in household 328. was Samuel Denton, with three males under five, one male aged 20-30, 1 female under five, and 1 female aged 20 – 30. (Note: This Samuel Denton is not to be confused with the Samuel Denton, Jr. who, we will learn shortly, married Elizabeth Ann Chastain.)
Jonathan Denton in household numbered 331 had the largest of the 1840 Denton families with one male (10-15), two males (15-20), one male (40-50), one female (5-10), one female (10-15), one female (15-20) and one female (30-40). We will see that his household is also listed in 1850.
In Elijah Denton’s family (house # 469) was one male (10-15), one male (40-50) and one female (30-40).
The last Denton household in 1840 was # 471, George M. Denton, with one male (under 5), one male (20-30), one female (under 5), one female (20-30) and 1 female (60-70). The older female in Jonathan’s household may have been either Eliza or Elizabeth listed in 1834, who possibly was the mother of George Denton.
By the 1850 census, the number of Denton households had climbed to six in Union’s census, and we find that some of the names are the same as those we discovered living in the county in 1840. The total Denton population in 1850 in Union numbered 31 as follows:
Household 929: George Denton, age 37, his wife, Catherine, age 31, both born in North Carolina, and six children, all born in Georgia: Elizabeth, 13; William, 11; Elisha, 9; Nancy, 7; Madison, 5; and Jeremiah J., 2. This household had also been in Union since 1840. We will hear more about these in next week’s column.
Household 1057: Samuel Denton, 25, born in Tennessee, his wife, Missa, 23, born in North Carolina, and children John, 6; Mary, 4: and Melissa, 4 months. A search of the Union marriage records shows this Samuel Denton married Artemica Berrong on August 5, 1842. She must have preferred her shortened name, Missa, to Artemica.
Household 1081: Jonathan Denton (remember he was listed in the 1840 census), age 56, his wife, Agnes, age 46, both born in North Carolina, two older children also born in North Carolina, Francis, 20 and Rachel, 15; and three more children born in Georgia: Jonathan, 10; John, 7; Agnes, 5. Living in the household with them (as in 1840) was Betsey Denton, age 79, born in Virginia, no doubt the Elizabeth listed in the 1834 census. By searching the Pierre Chastain Family History (for several Dentons married into this line of Chastains), I discovered that Jonathan Denton was a son of Samuel Denton, Jr. and his wife, Elizabeth Chastain Denton. “Betsy,” living with Jonathan and Agnes in 1850, was, indeed his mother who was the Elizabeth Denton in Union by 1834. Her father was the famous Rev. John “Ten Shilling Bell” Chastain, known for establishing several Baptist churches in Virginia and the Carolinas. Her mother was Rev. Chastain’s first wife, Mary O’Bryan Chastain. Samuel Denton, Jr. was born in 1775 and died in Haywood County, NC before some of the Dentons moved into Union County prior to 1834. Elizabeth and Samuel Denton, Jr. had these known children: Jonas, Jonathan, Jemima Mimi who married John Middleton; Elijah who married Jane Coward; Hulda who married Mark Burrell; John N. who married Sarah (mnu), Cloey who married James Coward; Isaac; and George (1813-1881) who married Catherine Wood (more on this family later).
This second son of Samuel, Jr. and Elizabeth Chastain Denton, Jonathan Denton, was born May 12, 1794 and died February 17, 1881. His wife, Agnes, was a McConnell, born in 1804 and died August 23, 1860.
Jonathan and Agnes had two older children who were already married and gone from home by the 1850 census. Their oldest was Samuel (b. 1822) who married Artimissey (sic) Berrong in 1842. They were living in their home near his parents in 1850.
Jonathan and Agnes’ other older child, gone from home in 1860, was Elizabeth Ann Denton, born in 1824, who married Walter Mounteville Burrell on July 16, 1840, with Rev. Abner Chastain performing their ceremony. This family lived in Household numbered 1090 in 1850. He was 33, she 25, both born in North Carolina. Their children were William, 9, Jonathan, 7, John, 6, Marcus, 4, Laura, 2 and Sarah, 4 months.
Household 1082: William Denton, listed as a teacher, age 30, and his wife, Betsy Ann, age 27, both born in North Carolina. They had three children in 1850, all born in Georgia: Jane, age 8, Sarah, age 5, and Elizabeth, age 7 months. Union marriage records show William Denton married Elizabeth Ann Chastain on January 26, 1841 with Rev. Abner Chastain performing their ceremony.
Household 1085: Elihu Denton, age 23, born in Georgia, his wife, Marcena, 20, born in North Carolina, and their one month old male son, Pinckney, born in Georgia. I looked for this marriage record in Union’s listings, but did not find these names.
Household 1086: Elijah Denton, born in South Carolina, age 52, and his wife, Jane, age 47, born in North Carolina. This couple was listed in the 1840 census with a son, age between 10 and 15 still at home then. From what I learned in the Chastain book, Elijah was the fourth child of Samuel Denton, Jr. and his wife, Elizabeth Chastain Denton. Elijah was born in 1798 and married Jane Coward.
In next week’s column, we will pursue some of these Denton families to other places where they became a part of the fabric of new counties as they formed.
[Note: My columns have not gotten to the paper by the deadline on a regular basis recently because of computer breakdowns due to severe storms. Call the delays an “act of nature” rather than my being ill or negligent. We were not severely damaged, like hard-hit areas, but we were without power for three days and many electronics were damaged in the storms that raged at different times My computer was a “victim”, and hard was the task to get up and running adequately again.-EDJ]
Jones; published May 5, 2011 in The Union Sentinel, Blairsville,
Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.
[Ethelene Dyer Jones is a retired educator, freelance writer, poet, and historian. She may be reached at e-mail email@example.com; phone 478-453-8751; or mail 1708 Cedarwood Road, Milledgeville, GA 31061-2411.]