Note for: Dennis , BET. 1627 - 1629 - 1707 Index
Richard Sperry's wife Dennis (also spelled Dennes or Denis) absolutely
has to be one of the most sought after mystery ladies of all time. Just
going by the notes I have in front of me, one can see that people have
been trying to figure out who she was for at least 40 years - several
HUNDRED people Yet nobody has ever shown one concrete piece of evidence
to prove who this lady was.
One thing is for sure:
Donald Lines Jacobus - a professional genealogist who is responsible for
" Families of Ancient New Haven" (FANH)shows Richard Sperry married to
Dennis in New Haven. However there is no surname provided for Dennis.
"Families of Ancient New Haven" is taken directly from New Haven Vital
Records and is credited as being so complete & thorough that no update
will ever be needed. If you've ever seen just one page of it you would
be inclined to agree.
That one blank line where her surname should be has created many theories
Theory #1 states that Dennis was the daughter of Stephen Goodyear - the
Deputy Governor & the man that Richard Sperry was gardener/farmer for.
However, Dennis is NOT listed in FANH as a child of Stephen Goodyear. She
is also not listed in Grace Goodyear Kirkman's "Genealogy of the Goodyear
Family" nor is Dennis listed in any other Goodyear family tree.
Theory #2 states that Dennis may have been the orphaned niece of Stephen
Goodyear - but, again, there is no source, no listing in any published
book or Goodyear family tree. So far I have seen her as his brother
John's child, his brother William's child and have seen an Andrew listed
as a possible brother to Stephen but AGAIN with no further information
Theory #3 states that Dennis was an illegitimate "love child" of Stephen
Goodyear. Somehow, I find it IMPOSSIBLE to believe she would have been
given his surname & been raised & recognized as his child in a PURITAN
society. I also doubt he would have become the respected public figure
he was with a skeleton like that rattling around in his closet.
Theory #4 states that Dennis was an amnesia victim , possibly from a ship
wreck (the ship being from France) who was 'taken in' by Stephen
Goodyear. Again, no proof, no source, no documentation.
Dennis is even listed as Dennis Goodyear in "The Ancestry and the
Descendants of Abel Sperry (Richard's grandson)" by L. Steele printed in
Richard's Will lists her only as "My wife Dennis" and Dennis Sperry's
will was proved in March of 1707. Records give her age at death as both
78 years of age & 80 years of age.
Now, I can't possibly be the only person who finds it strange that the
daughter/orphaned niece/ship wreck victim adopted child of the Deputy
Governor would be marrying her father/uncle/whatever's farm overseer.
Some accounts show Dennis Goodyear born1627 in England - possible, but no
proof except other people's undocumented LDS files. Other accounts show
her born 1627 in New Haven - impossible since New Haven didn't exist
until 1638 and again with no sources. Others show her Baptism as 1624 in
England. Well, that's 3 years before most people say she was born -
Recently I found 2 people looking for our Dennis under the surname
Richard. One states that New Haven vital records shows a marriage of
Richard Sperry to Dennis Richard. However, I do not have a copy of this
record so it must be verified. Families of Ancient New Haven DOES NOT
note a date or source for Richard & Dennis' marriage NOR do they note
birth dates for either of them.
One can assume they married at least in the early part of 1647/48 (if not
earlier) as their son John is on record as being born in January of
A second, unrelated person, researching totally unrelated families also
posed a question requesting information on a Dennis Richard who married &
was widowed by a man named Goodyear and who later married a man by the
name of Sperry & had at least two sons - Daniel & Thomas Sperry. Both
of whom are recorded, documented sons of Richard Sperry & Dennis ?. Upon
contacting this man he checked his database only to find he does not have
the source of this information in his database. HOWEVER, he assures me
that he has it "on paper" in his filing cabinet "somewhere" & promises to
find it ASAP.
I sure hope he does as a maiden name other than Goodyear & a first
marriage to a man named Goodyear could certainly explain why several
hundred people have been unable - for all these years - to find one bit
of documentation on our mystery lady.
One more bit of info regarding Dennis. The book "Molly & the Regicides"
Crandell, 1968 which includes Richard Sperry in at least 11 chapter's
names Richard's wife as Hepzibah. All other names in the book are
factual. It even refers to Richard Jr. as "Dicky". The book was derived
from records collected in 1700s by President Stiles of Yale University
(who wrote History of Judges's), Governor Hitchenson's History of
Massachusetts and stories handed down by word of mouth. My questions now
Who is Hepzibah Sperry?
Is this name based on fact or fiction?
Note for: John Sperry, 9 JAN 1648/49 - 1692 Index
Date: 28 AUG 1687
Place: First Congregation, New Haven, Conn.