Cliff McCarthy, 2017
Milford, Connecticut was founded in 1639 by settlers from New Haven and Wethersfield. The Milford men came in two bodies, those of 1639 and those of 1645. Early settlers that were church members were listed at the November 20, 1639 town meeting as “free planters.” Those not officially with the church were not granted “free planter” status. Those that came more than 5 years after the town’s founding — from about 1645 until 1700 — are referred to as the “after-planters.” Robert Denison (sometimes Dennison) was an “after-planter” at Milford, CT by 1645.
Most of these settlers were from the English counties of Essex, Hereford and York. There were fifty-four heads of families or approximately two hundred settlers. Some came from New Haven, others from Wethersfield, following Rev. Peter Prudden who had ministered previously in both places. Rev. Prudden was ordained as pastor of the Milford church, April 18, 1640, after which time he took up his residence in Milford.
Robert Denison possessed a 3-acre lot (#31), which would be on the present-day North Street. Sometime in the 1650s, Robert married Esther (surname unknown) as his second wife. He already had at least two children by a previous marriage: James and Mary. With Esther, he had at least four, perhaps five, children.
Robert and “Goodwife” Denison were mentioned as minor characters in a paternity suit brought against John Baldwin on behalf of Bethia Hawes in Milford in 1658.
Robert Denison was among the original settlers of Newark, New Jersey. He was involved in the purchase of the land from the native people there and, in June 1667, was an original signer of the Fundamental Agreement for the new settlement. He died about 1676 at Newark.
Children of Robert DENISON & his wives
ROBERT DENISON married (1) 1ST WIFE. He married (2) ESTHER.
The Children of ROBERT DENISON and 1ST WIFE are:
i. JAMES DENISON, b. 1638; d. 8 May 1719; m. BETHIA BOYKIN, 25 November 1662, New Haven, New Haven Co., CT; b. Abt. 1643.
ii. MARY DENISON, b. Abt. 1640; d. Bet. 1693 – 1694, Newark, NJ; m. ROBERT DALGLISH OR DOUGLAS, Abt. 1660.
The Children of ROBERT DENISON and ESTHER are:
iii. JOHN DENISON, b. 1654, Milford, CT; d. 1694.
iv. SAMUEL DENISON, b. 4 June 1656, Milford, CT.
v. HESTER DENISON, b. 24 August 1658, Milford, CT.
vi. HANNAH DENISON, b. 19 March 1661/62, Milford, CT.
vii. SARAH DENISON, b. probably Newark, NJ.
- Abbott, Susan Emma Woodruff, Families of Early Milford, CT, (Clearfield Co., Inc. and Genealogical Publishing Co., Baltimore, MD, 1979).
- Atwater, Edward E., History of the Colony of New Haven, (Journal Publishing Co.:Meriden, CT, 1902; as republished by Heritage Books, Inc.:Bowie, MD, 1989.).
- Blue, Jon C., Case of the Piglet’s Paternity, The, (Wesleyan University Press, Middletown, CT, 2015).
- Jacobus, Donald Lines, Families of Ancient New Haven, (Genealogical Publishing Co.; Baltimore, MD, 1981).
- “Memorable Milford History,” website at: http://www.memorablemilford.com/founders.php