Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Prisoner Exchange - Samuel Denning

Samuel Dennen/Denning served on a privateer in the Revolutionary War. He had the misfortune to be taken prisoner and sent to Halifax, Nova Scotia. Unfortunately, my search for additional information has not yielded much. The best information comes from a listing that tells of his return in a prisoner exchange on September 30, 1778.  The Revolutionary War, by Charles Patrick Neimeyer, notes that privateers who were captured by the British posed a real dilemma. Normally, pirates were sent to the gallows, but these enemy combatants were different. Many were pressured to join the British navy and doing so would increase the chance of surviving the war. The British were reluctant to consider them prisoners-of-war because that would be admitting that the United States was an independent nation. However, executing all those captured on the land and at sea was not practical either. It would greatly inflame the passions of the already highly motivated Patriots. In the end, several hundred American sailors were taken to Halifax, Nova Scotia and kept in a sugar house. I have no idea what happened to Samuel from his return until the end of the war. Did he continue his activities? 

A descendant applied for a veteran's gravestone and seems to have struggled to prove his service. It does appear that both the Sons & Daughters of the American Revolution have awarded membership to his descendants. His grave can be viewed on here. 

Samuel Dennen married Keziah Bray on March 14, 1754 in Gloucester, Massachusetts and at some point they moved to Maine. Thier children were: 

  1. Judith born in 1754
  2. Abigail born in 1756
  3. Job born in 1760
  4. Mary born in 1762
  5. George born in 1767
  6. Simeon born in 1771
Samuel Dennen
Judith (Dennen) Morgan
Martha (Morgan) Yates
Moses Yates
Gilbert W. Yates
Estes G. Yates
Linona Alice Yates - my grandmother


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