Isam W. Denney, president of the Fortville Bank and one of the most prosperous farmers of Vernon township, Hancock County, Indiana, was born near his present home February 28, 1844, and is a son of Alfred and Sarah (Kingery) Denney. The former was a native of North Carolina, and was born near Dobson’s Cross Roads, in that state in 1819, and when about six years of age moved with his parents to Ohio, and shortly afterwards came to Indiana, first locating near Dublin, Wayne County, and thence came to Green township, Hancock county. There they entered land and afterwards resided until their deaths. Alfred Denney was married in this county to Sarah Kingery and soon afterwards settled on forty acres of land in Vernon township, which he had previously entered.

At the breaking out of the war with Mexico, in 1846, Alfred Denney enlisted in the United States volunteer service and served all through the struggle; at its close he returned to his farm and in earnest began the battle of life. In this he proved to be the conqueror, as he acquired a large amount of property. He had early embraced the faith of the German Baptist church and one of his first acts evidencing the truly philanthropic nature of his soul was to erect, with the aid of his son, Isam W., a brick church edifice on his farm in the southeastern part of Vernon township, which farm he increased to over six hundred acres. Of this faith he was the first believer and advocate in Vernon township, if not in Hancock county, and seed then sown by himself and son has since fructified most prolifically, the congregation of Dunkards (or German Baptists) being now as numerous, probably, as those of any other religious denomination within the county’s limits. Of this church Rev. Elias Caylor was the first pastor, officiating early in the ‘fifties. During the Civil War Alfred Denney was drafted, but as his religious belief forbade his bearing arms, he was exempted.

Alfred Denney and his wife were both called from earth in 1897, at the respective ages of seventy-nine and seventy-six years, and their mortal remains were interred within the shade of the church building they had aided to erect and which they so dearly loved in life and in which they took so commendable a pride. Mr. Denney was a gentleman of most noble character and philanthropic spirit and no resident of Vernon township was ever more truly and unfeignedly honored by his fellow citizens. He had but one brother, older than himself, who lived on a farm adjoining Alfred’s on the south. This brother died in 1864.

James Denney, father of Alfred Denney, also a native of North Carolina and a pioneer of Hancock county, Indiana, was the first of this honored family to settle in the Hoosier state. In religion he was an old-school Baptist, and after settling in Indiana became one of its most useful and progressive citizens, being largely instrumental in clearing up the wilderness and in preparing it as an abode for civilized society. Jacob Kingery, maternal grandfather of Isam W. Denney, was a native of Virginia, and on first coming to the west, located near College Corners, Union county, Ohio, where Sarah Kingery, mother of Isam W. Denney, was born. Alfred Denney and wife became the parents of three children, of whom Isam W. was the first born; Jacob, the second born, is a resident of Vernon township, this county. He married Mary Bock, who bore him eight children, four of whom are now living, viz: Isam W.; Samuel, Alvia and Lee C., Mary C., the youngest, is now the wife of James M. Cook, whose biography appears elsewhere in this volume.

Isam W. Denney has thrice been married. His first wife, whom he married in 1864, bore the maiden name of Amanda Cook, was born in Missouri and was the youngest daughter of Jesse Cook, The nuptial happiness of Mr. Denney with this lady was of but short duration, as she was called to her eternal home at the age of twenty-one years. The second marriage of Mr. Denney was with Miss Lydia E. Southard, a daughter of James and Winnifred Southard, and to this union were born two children, Orie, now the wife of Walter B. Wheatley, and resides on her father’s farm, and Francis O.., deceased. Mrs. Lydia E. (Southard) Denney died May 13, 1881. The third marriage of Mr. Denney was solemnized August 3, 1881, with Miss Mary E. White, a daughter of William White, of Madison county, Indiana. Three children graced this last marriage: Andy H., Charles O. and Mollie E. The grandchildren of Mr. Denney number two and are named Elsie May and Orza Wheatley.

Isam W. Denney was educated in the district schools, but this education was not of a very expanded nature; yet he has been a very close an omnivorous reader of all classes of English literature, ahd has thus become self-educated, being at the present time a ripe scholar. He is of a kindly disposition, extremely affable in deportment, and counts his friends by the hundred. Alfred Denney became a stockholder in the Fortville Bank about 1893 and was at that time made its president, in which capacity he served until his death, and at his father’s death Isam W. assumed his father’s position and has acted as its president since.

Transcribed from Biographical Memoirs of Hancock County B. F. Bowen, Publisher, Logansport, Indiana, 1902 Pages 404-405.

Submitted by Sylvia (Rose) Duda, Laingsburg, MI Sept. 22, 2003.

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