Hi Melissa and Amy!
I too am working on this line. I think we've all spoken before.
I have a copy of John Denman's will and I have found no reference to a wife in that document. The only Nancy mentioned in John's will is a daughter named Nancy. I'm assuming that his wife had already died. There is a reference to a son named William, but no age or birth date is given. Sadly, I have found no concrete evidence to link William to John. I'm trying another approach to finding William's father.
This was a period in history in which there was a great shift of the population to the western frontier. Few passes existed through the Appalachian Mountains. Many people from the Mid-Atlantis states used the Braddock pass from Frederick, Maryland to Cumberland and then followed the Braddock road, and the rivers along it, to head west. Along the way forts were built to protect the pioneers from Indian raids. As William appears to have been the first born and was the only child born in Pa. I'm thinking that he might have been born at one of the forts along the way.
A large family of Denman's seem to have "wintered over" at the Old Redstone Fort in what is now Fayette County, Pa. They were there around 1802 through 1806 waiting for the Ohio territory to be declared safe for occupation by families. I'm thinking that William may have been born at Old Redstone Fort or possibly at Fort Necessity. I'm trying to find out if records were kept of the births at these forts.
Also, there was a Matthias Denman (b. 1751) who had acquired large land holdings in Ohio in 1800. Matthias never saw his land. His relatives settled his land in the area and later some moved on into Indiana when it was deemed safe to do so. This may have been the route William and his family took west.
I'm hoping to find out more through the Fayette County Courthouse. Wish me luck and I'll keep you both posted.
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