Captain George Denison - Tells his story. 1690 (written by past curator Helen Keith)
My name is George Denison and this land was granted to me by John Winthrop, Jr. in 1654. First, let us begin with my birth in 1620 in Bishop’s Statford, England where my father, William Denison, was a well-to-do merchant. In 1631 my family sailed to the colonies aboard the Lionand settled in Roxbury, part of the Massachusetts Bay Colony.
At 19 I fell in love with Bridget Thompson. I married her and we had two daughters, Sarah and Hannah. When Bridget died giving birth to Hannah I was devastated and left at once for England. There I joined Cromwell’s army and soon became a Captain in his cavalry. I was wounded and taken prisoner at the battle of Marston Moor, but I escaped. I was more severely wounded at the battle of Naseby and was sent to Cork, Ireland to recuperate at the home of John Borodell, a wealthy English leather merchant. My nurse was his lovely daughter, Ann, whom I married and with whom I returned to Roxbury the year before my dear mother, Margaret Chandler, died in 1645.
I expected to be elected as the head of the militia, but was not so honored. Immediately thereafter I joined John Winthrop, Jr. at Pequot Plantation, later known as New London. There, in 1651, I was named Captain of the train band and was given a house and six acres. I established the defenses for the town. In return for my services I was granted 200 acres east of the Mystic River in the town of Stonington. I have served as Deputy to the Connecticut General Court from New London and from Stonington many times. I served on the War Commission for New London in 1653; as Captain during King Philip’s War 1676 and second in command of the Connecticut Army under Maj. Robert Treat. I was rewarded with large land grants by both The Colony of Connecticut and the town of Stonington. The Mohegan chief, Oneco, gave me a great feast and 2,000 acres of tribal lands. My sons will inherit many thousands of acres in Connecticut and Rhode Island.
In 1654 I removed my family to my land in Stonington and built a rough lean-to surrounded by a stout stockade for my protection and that of my neighbors. As an excellent surveyor I fixed the boundaries of the town of Stonington and laid out a road from the ford at the Pawcatuck to the ferry at the Thames. Thomas Stanton and I set aside 8,000 acres for the scattered Pequot tribe as the first Indian reservation. After the threat of attacks by the Indians ended I took down the palisade and built my “grate hous” where Lady Ann, as my good wife was called by our neighbors and friends, held famous dinner parties and “grate feasts” for friends and family, including our three sons and six daughters (all married now) and our 58 grandchildren.