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WILLIAM D. DENTON

PROMINENT DENTON FAMILY GENEALOGIST

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 William D. Denton of Elizabethtown, New York has built a national reputation researching the Denton family. The son of Albert and Jennie (Otis) Denton, he graduated from Elizabethtown high School and attended Clarkson College of Technology in Potsdam, New York.

Bill worked for the New York State Department of Public Highways as a junior engineer from September 1927 until April 1936. On June 21, 1934, he married the former Gertrude E. Bacon of Utica. A son, William Alanson, was born on April 27, 1935.

From 1936 to 1941 he owned and operated a food market in Elizabethtown. Unable to join the U.S. Armed Forces because of poor eyesight, from December 1941 to May 1945, he worked as a mining engineer with Republic Steel Corporation. From May 1945 until September 1945 he worked as a survey party chief for the H.W. White Surveys Co., Rockville, Maryland.

He returned to Elizabethtown where he started his own commercial printing business and founded the weekly newspaper, the "Valley News," which he operated as publisher and editor.

On September 20, 1945, the Dentons had a daughter, Cheryl Margaret. With his brother, Albert, he built a business block containing two stores and four apartments in 1939. In 1947 they teamed up to build another block containing four apartments and a super market. By 1950 Bill bought a business block which contained the local Post Office, two apartments and a plant for his printing and publishing business.

He is a member of the Adirondack Lodge No. 602, F. & A.M.; Elizabethtown Kiwanis Club; a member of the Sons of the American

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Revolution; Elizabethtown Chamber of Commerce, Men's Club; Elizabethtown Fish & Game Club; Essex County Historical Association; Elizabethtown Volunteer Fire Company; New England Historical & Genealogical Association; and the Elizabethtown Episcopal Church. He was a trustee of the Village of Elizabethtown from 1944 to 1950, and was Mayor of the village for six years. In 1950 he was chairman of the Youth Recreational Program.

Bill's son joined him in the printing and publishing business after he was discharged from the U.S. Army in 1958. His daughter also joined him in the business in 1962. Both parts of the business grew and prospered The one newspaper grew to nine, one of the largest weekly chains in the state.

Bill's first newspaper, the "Valley News," which he started in 1948, has won numerous state and national awards for excellence in journalism. A scholarship and prize has been established and presented to the outstanding senior in the Elizabethtown graduating class who has demonstrated the ideals of the founder of the "Valley News," -- "More than a newspaper.. .A community service.

Bill is Chairman of the Board of Denton Publications, while his son and daughter-in-law are co-publishers. Bill's daughter, Cheryl, is Secretary to the Essex County Attorney. He has three granddaughters, Tammy Allen, who is living in Germany with her husband who is in the U.S. Army; Barbara Denton, who is a sophomore at Oswego State University; and Susan Denton, who is a freshman at New Paltz State.

Bill and his wife, Gertrude, celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary on June 21, 1984 at their summer camp in Verona Beach, New York. Since then, Gertrude died after a long illness on September 12, 1985.

 

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Over the years Bill has enjoyed many hobbies including stamp and coin collecting, reading, and most of all his genealogy.

Bill began researching the Denton Family of America which included all Dentons. The two largest groups are the descendants of Rev. Richard Denton who came to America in 1635 and the descendants of John Denton of Eastern Virginia. Both groups had descendants in Virginia, North Carolina and Tennessee.

Early in his research Bill made contact with Walter Bion Denton, then of Detroit, Michigan. Walter had been a traveling salesman covering most of the eastern and central states. He had started his research in the 1880's. During several years of correspondence much work was done on the extension of Walter's earlier research. His whole collection now is at the Burton Library in Detroit. Bill has a copy of this collection and has worked on extending and enlarging this research.

Bill also came in contact with George D. Combes, banker, of Rockville Center, Long Island, who had published the First Five Generations of Rev. Richard Denton, compiled from the Eardley Notes and his own research. There were some errors which Bill and Mr. Combes were putting to right at the time of Mr. Combes' untimely death.

Bill made contact with Walter Womack of McMinnville, Tennessee, who published Descendants of Rev. Richard Denton compiled by Mrs. Edith Whitley from the collection of John Savage Denton of Franklin, Tennessee and her own research. Errors appeared in the Joseph Denton line. Bill and Mr. Womack corrected some of these. John Savage Denton had done considerable work on the Denton Family, chiefly on the descendants of Abraham Denton, early settler in Washington County, Tennessee.

During the following years Bill corresponded with many des-

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cendants. Many, too numerous to mention, he gave considerable help to on their own line and allied lines.

Dwight W. Denton (deceased) of Lancaster, Ohio sent in many records he had collected from visiting courthouses in Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, Kentucky and other states.

Bill made several field trips through the southern and central states as far as the Mississippi. Many census records were researched.

Bill, who is in the publishing business, had planned to start a newsletter many years ago.

After a long life of excellent health, 77 years, he was stricken with neuropathy which leaves him practically bedridden. He was hospitalized 6 times during 1985.

To all those reading this who helped in his work on the Denton family he says "Many Thanks."

Bill would like to hear from anyone wanting data on their line. He will try to answer all letters.

(1998 Note:  Bill is a patient at an Elizabethtown nursing home.   His address is:   William D. Denton, Horace Nye Home, Elizabethtown, NY 19132.  He would love to receive your cards and letters!)

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