The Denison Homestead

300 Years of Mystic, CT History

Denison Society History

1930- The George and Ann Borodell Denison Society was created by Ann Borodell Denison Gates, affectionately referred to as Aunt Annie. She was the last Denison to live in the house after six generations. Annie gave the Society the 1717 house and about 125 acres, part of the original 200 acre land granted to Capt. George Denison for his service in the early Pequot militia in 1654. According to the Articles of Association, “The purpose is to maintain a museum and memorial in the town of Stonington, CT as a testimonial to the Denison Family” 

Today there are about 1100 Denison Descendant members across the country and world.  The Denison Homestead Museum also has a number of “Friends of the Denison Homestead Museum.”

In 1946 the name was officially changed to The Denison Society. “Friends of Pequot Sepos”were invited to join if they were not Denison descendants. J. Frederick Kelly, the notable Colonial Revival architect, was hired to restore the house as a museum. Each of the five main rooms were restored to meet a different period of history and the Denison family members that lived there at that time.  The rooms were furnish with family heirlooms.

In 1946 The Denison Society also created the Pequotsepos Wildlife Sanctuary Inc. in honor of Ann Gates’ love of birds. The Mystic Garden Club, of which Mrs. Gates was a founding member, suggested the idea. The Sanctuary was purposely formed as a separate organization from the Society. Their original Board was all Society members. They were given a 25 year lease and an operating subsidy of $1.00 a year.

In 1979 the Denison Homestead was placed on the National Register of Historic Places.

In 1992 The Denison Fund was launched by the Society to purchase 50 acres below Pequotsepos Manor.  The land was owned by family member Dr. Walter Morgan. (This land was part of the original land grant.) Bill Denison was instrumental in a capital campaign to buy this property and to stop a proposed development only a few hundred feet from the 1717 house. The majority of the money raised came from family members and the endowment.  The local community also contributed money to conserve this land.

 

Restoration of Pequot Sepos Manor- Pequot Sepos Manor, the 1717 house museum, is the pride of the Homestead! However it still needs major restoration.  The following restoration work has been completed:

 

  • In 2007, a new roof was installed on the north side of the Homestead and back ell and tied to the rear and front of the building to prevent further bowing out.
  • 2011. the Vogel Cottage was restored thanks to the generosity of the John Denison Miller family.
  • In 2011, the exterior siding of the manor house was powerwashed and preservative was applied to the shingles.  Windows were reglazed and exterior door and window trim were painted.
  • In 2013, the stone foundation of the manor house was repointed and drains were installed around the exterior of the manor house to prevent water from seeping into the cellar.
  • In 2014, a grant was received from the 1772 Foundation to repair the center chimney of the manor house so open hearth cooking demonstration can be offered.

 

Denison Cemetery:  This yard on Route One was originally owned by Capt. George Denison and that the stones are made of gray slate, red sandstone and granite.  One of many Denisons buried here, is Elisha Denison who died on the Prison Ship Jersey during the Revolutionary War. In 1907 a Civil War Parrot Cannon was placed here by the GAR pointing towards Long Island.