DENTON, Arthur, of Stokes Co NC


If you are descended from Arthur Denton and have taken an autosomal DNA test, please let me know if you have any shared matches with these surnames: Fortner, Forkner, Faulkner, Stodgill, Stockstill.

Arthur Denton’s birth was in NC, stated without known evidence to have been in 1732.[1] He was a son of Thomas Denton, about whom more has been written than about the son.[2]

Thomas Denton was one of the first Anglo-American settlers in Kentucky, and his wife Elizabeth is generally acknowledged to have been one of the three white women to see that land. Nothing has been written about how many marriages Thomas had or whether his wife in 1775 was the mother of his children. Before 1798, Thomas had married a woman named Sarah.[3]

Thomas moved to Kentucky about 1775 along with others in his family. He lived on Shawnee Run, Mercer Co KY.[4] On 29 Apr 1777, he was court-martialed and fined for failing at guard duty, in Harrodsburg, Kentucky.

He moved to Louisiana about 1806 [now Missouri]. His home was north of St. Louis in Florissant. He lived with the Yocums in Louisiana for about 12 years. They were the family of his son John’s widow.

His wife, along with the wife of Daniel Boone and others, were the first white women to see Harrod’s Settlement.[5] Danville KY has a plaque honoring these first women. There are listings of several thousand acres along the Salt River and Sinking Creek given as grants to Thomas and Arthur by James Harrod and his heirs for the years 1779 through 1783.[6]

Before moving to Kentucky, Thomas lived in North Carolina and was probably the Thomas Denton on a 1771 Surry Co NC tax list, along with son Arthur. He had three known children: Arthur, Mary and John. Any other children were deceased without heirs by 1779.

            John Denton was married possibly in Harrodsburg, now Mercer Co KY, to Diana How, daughter of James and Catherine (Cox) How. He died in 1779 during at battle with Indians near present Chillicothe, Ohio.[7] John’s widow Diana was remarried at Harrodsburg, 12 May 1787, to Jesse Yocum; Thomas resided with this family for the rest of his life, moving with them to Florissant, Louisiana [now Missouri]. Thomas Denton witnessed deeds for the Yocums in 1796.

Thomas’s daughter Mary was married to Jonathan Richardson of Grayson county, Virginia. A statement at claims she and her husband came with family members to Harrodsburg KY, but later left Kentucky in 1796 and went back to Grayson Co VA, then down to Stokes Co NC, which is just across VA/NC border from Grayson. By 1810 they had moved to Pulaski County, Kentucky.

Mary, along with her husband, and Arthur were the heirs of their brother John. They sold the land they inherited from John to their father Thomas in 1796.[8] Sometime before 1796, Arthur Denton married Catherine. She may have been the mother of his children.

In 1790 the family of Arthur was in Stokes Co NC, p 180: Arther Denton, 2/4/4; he had as many as five sons and three daughters. No clues to most of these children’s identities has been found, and Arthur’s 1800 census has also not been located.

In 1810, Arthur was next door to Isaac Denton: Shores Reed Twp, Stokes Co NC, p 156: Arthur Denton, 01011/30010/00; Isaac Denton, 20101/01000/00.  In addition to Arthur, it appears a younger family was in this household in 1810, parents 26-45, 3 daughters and a son. It has been suggested that Isaac was a brother not a son of Arthur’s, but the legacy from his brother John seems to make this unlikely.

The census record indicates that Arthur had one son over 16, 4 under 16, wife and three daughters. 1810, he had one male 10-16, and 3 females under 10, plus a son 26-45. One female 26-45 may have been a second wife, or a daughter-in-law (the younger children in 1810 may have been grandchildren).

Known children of Arthur and his wife or wives include:

  1. Isaac DENTON. Born in 1773[9] in probably Surry Co NC, Isaac died in KY in the 1850s. 1820 census: Wayne Co KY, p 85: Isaac Denton, 200010/10010. 1830 census: Wayne Co KY, p 228: Isaac Denton, 000120001/000110001. 1850 census: Casey Co KY, p 304, 213-218. Isaac married Mary S –?– in Stokes Co NC. Born in 1773 in NC or MD, Mary S died in KY in 1860/1870. Isaac had at least the following known or suspected children:
    1. Benjamin (1802-1850)
    2. Malinda (1812-1901)
    3. Lorenzo D (ca 1812-<1876)
  2. Jacob DENTON. Born aft 1774. He served in the War of 1812 from Stokes Co NC and may have been the father of the younger family with Arthur Denton in 1810. Possible child:

Susey married 29 Jun 1816, Stokes Co NC, to James Bolerjack. She is not known to be a daughter of Jacob’s, but she was in NC after Isaac moved to KY and was almost certainly not a child of Thomas Denton from AL. She was probably one of the females under 10 in Arthur’s 1810 census.

3. Thomas DENTON. Born say aft 1774. Thomas died in Montgomery Co AL, in 1820, leaving his estate to his father and siblings from Stokes Co NC.

4-8. two sons, 3 daughters DENTON.

[1] Sue Cook-Montgomery. Denton database, <;, 28 Apr 1999.

[2] Genforum message from Walter Krumm, <Re: Arthur Denton of Stokes Co NC>, to Kathy Patterson, 27 Apr 1999.

[3] From Mercer Co KY Genweb site: 1798 Thomas Denton & wife vs. Mathias Yokum,
 Mercer Co Circuit Court. Box D-5, submitted by Anne Baker. Thomas Denton & Sarah his wife by their atty complains of Mathias Yokum on a plea of trespass of assault and battery. For that whereas sd deft. On __ day of __ 1797 at the sd county came upon the sd Sarah Denton, wife of Plaintiff and assault did make with fists and arms to wit with fists and clubs and to her the sd Sarah did beat and wound and evilly entreat and other wrongs to her then and there did to the damage of sd Plaintiff. Therefore they bring suit. Subpoenas issued 25 May 1798 to Sarah Sportsman & Betsy Froman to appear on the 5th of June to testify on behalf of Thomas Denton and wife.

[4] Thomas and his wife were among the first settlers of Harrodsburg, KY in 1775 “along with [John] Crow and David Williams and, apparently, their wives, Thomas’s sisters.” Although the first part of this statement from Genforum is true, the last part is not. There appears to be no connection between Thomas Denton of North Carolina and the children of Robert and Jane (Moon) Denton of Hardy Co VA, since Robert had a son Thomas, a different man.

[5] Daniel Morgan, Boone, Chapel Hill: Algonquin, 2007.

[6] Early land grants: Denton, Dianna, 400  Shawnee Run, 12-24-1779  A-6; Denton, Thomas, 400  Salt River, 11-03-1779  A-1; Denton, _____, 400  Salt River, 02-19-1780  A-14. Mercer Co KY Online has a list of Harrodsburg signers of a 1785 petition, including the name of Thomas Denton (

[7] Morgan, op cit. gedcom: “In May 1779, Col. John Bowman headed an expedition against the Indians residing at Chillicothe. Although he was forced to retreat, his men did kill two chiefs, the celebrated Blackfish and Red Hawk. He burned the town and captured 163 horses. Young John Denton was carried down the road home but died before arriving at Harrodsburg.”

[8] Mercer Co KY. Deed Book 3, pg 195, 18 Oct 1796 Jonathan Richardson and Mary his wife of Grayson Co VA though now present in County of Stokes, NC sell to Thomas Denton of Mercer Co KY. Whearas John Denton, son of sd Thomas Denton was entitled to settlement and preemption of 1,400 acres of land in KY, and sd Thomas Denton obtained a certificate for such by virtue of a claim of said John Denton in name of Dianna Denton as heir at law of sd John Denton.  Thomas Denton has purchased sd settlement and preemption from Jesse Yocum and Dianna his wife. Jonathan Richardson whose wife is lawful daughter of sd Thomas Denton is the heir at law of John Denton and not the sd Dianna. Jonathan Richardson and his wife sell all right and title to this land to Thomas Denton for the love and affections they feel towards him and 5 shillings pd by sd Thomas Denton. Signed: Jonathan Richardson, Mary Richardson Stokes Co., NC: Jonathan Richardson & Mary Richardson ack. The above deed 18 Oct 1796. Recorded in Mercer Co KY. Nov. Ct 1796

Mercer Co Ky. Deed Book 3, pg 197, 13 Oct 1796. Arthur Denton of the State of NC sells to Thomas Denton of the State of Kentucky.  Whearas John Denton, son of Thomas was entitled by Law of Va. to a settlement and premption of 1,400 acres in Ky. And sd Thomas Denton obtained a certificate of settlement and preemption for 1,400 acres now in County of Mercer claimed of sd John Denton in name of Dianna Denton as his heir at Law to sd JOHN and whearas sd Thomas Denton has since purchased a part of sd settlement and preemption From Jesse Yocum and sd Dianna his wife and whearas it now appears that the above named Arthur Denton is heir at law of sd John Denton and not the sd Dianna now sd Arthur for consideration of the love and affection which he bares to the sd Thomas Denton and for 5 shillings pd by sd Thomas Denton, Arthur Denton sells to Thomas all his right, title and interest both in Law and Equity in and to settlement and preemption to the only proper use of sd Thomas Denton. Signed: Arthur Denton, Catherine Denton Stokes Co., NC. Arthur Denton & Catherine his wife, citizens of sd Co. appeared in Court Oct 13, 1796 & acknowledged sd deed Recorded in Mercer Co KY. Nov Ct. 1796.

[9] This is according to his 1850 census; earlier years indicate birth dates from him of 1784-94 and for Mary of 1784-1790.

Published on August 17, 2008 at 9:56 am  Leave a Comment  

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