The Souvenir of Western Women/Life Sketch of Mrs. Mary A. Denny
Life Sketch of Mrs. Mary A. Denny
MRS. MARY A. DENNY was born near Nashville. Robertson County, Tennessee, November 25, 1822—the eldest of three children, two daughters and a son. Her father, Richard Freeman Boren, was a Baptist minister and moved to Illinois when Mary was quite young. The field of his labors covered long distances in this new and sparsely settled country, and the life proved too strenuous for his not very robust constitution. He passed away at the early age of 28, leaving his wife with three small children, the subject of this sketch being only 5 years old. Soon after his death his widow took the children back to her father. Joseph Latimer, with whom they remained until about 1830, when he decided to remove with his family to Illinois. They settled in Knox County, taking up land and opening farms. Mrs. Denny's childhood was spent much like that of all children in a new country, attending the district school and assisting with the housework, which included spinning and -weaving cloth for table and bed linen as well as for the family clothing. She was married November 23, 1843, to Arthur A. Denny, and in 1851, with their two little girls, they emigrated to Oregon. Leaving their Illinois home April 10, they reached Portland August 22, where their eldest son was born September 2. On November 5 they took passage on the schooner Exact, Captain Folger, for Puget Sound, where they and their party landed November 13. After nearly five months of weary travel they had at last reached the "land of promise." Is it surprising that the tears flowed when Mrs. Denny, with her tiny babe in her arms, looked around upon the wild unbroken forest and thought of the trials, privations and dangers of the life now before her? Mr. and Mrs. Denny remained during the winter at "Alki Point," where they first landed. The following April, in company with other members of their party, they crossed to the east side of Eliot Bay, and located claims where now is the city of Seattle.
Of the intervening fifty-three years much might be said, but as it would only be a repetition of the oft told experiences of pioneer women we will only add that Mrs. Denny brought up six children, two daughters and four sons, and was blessed with the companionship of her devoted husband fifty-six years. Now she awaits the end of this mortal life in happy anticipation of a glad reunion with him on the other shore.
Mrs. Denny is living in the enjoyment of the well-earned fruits of early industry and economy. In a beautiful home in one of the loveliest parts of the city of Seattle she is passing the evening of life. A devoted daughter lovingly attends her every want. Through her companionship and tender ministrations is rounded out the full measure of earthly happiness of this pioneer mother.