Hon. James S. DENT, of Waukesha, is among the comparatively few citizens of Waukesha County whose coming dates back more than half a century. Time with his relentless scythe never wearies of his work and the pioneers of fifty years ago are fast falling victims of the silent reaper, death. However, Mr. DENT is not yet an old man, having been but a lad, in his eleventh year, when he came with his father's family from the state of New York to the territory of Wisconsin in 1842. Richard DENT, his father, was born in Lincolnshire, England, in 1800, and was a son of Joseph DENT, a man of some prominence and considerable wealth. In 1804, Joseph DENT, with his family, emigrated from England to America and settled in the town of Oxford, Chenango County, N.Y. At that time that part of the state was practically unsettled, and the DENT family were among its pioneers. They continued to reside there until after the death of the wife and mother, Nancy (TONG) DENT. Subsequently the father re-married and removed to Licking County, Ohio, where he spent the remainder of his life. Joseph DENT had five sons and two daughters who grew to mature years, all of whom save one, were by his first marriage; however, all of that generation of the DENT family have passed away.

Richard, the father of James S. DENT, grew to manhood on the home farm in the state of New York, and at the age of twenty-two years was united in marriage to Miss Jean McGIBBON, who was born in Scotland in 1799, and come to America with her father's family when but four years old. Her mother died on the passage across the ocean and was buried in the sea. Her father, with his large family of children, settled in Delaware County, N.Y., where one of the sons, the only surviving member of the family, still lives. After his marriage Richard DENT continued to reside in the Empire State until 1842, when he emigrated with his family to the territory of Wisconsin. They came from Buffalo by way of the Great Lakes to Chicago. Our subject, though but a lad remembers distinctly the more interesting events of the journey. Chicago was then but a small uninviting place, and gave no promise of its present greatness. He remembers landing on a pier made of tamarack poles, and that he formed quite an unfavorable impression of the place and its surroundings. The family consisted of the parents and seven children, five sons and two daughters. The eldest of the brothers, Joseph H. DENT, had come from the state of New York in 1839, and by him the family was conducted to Prairieville, now Waukesha, making the trip from Chicago by team. For one year the family lived on the place of A. C. Nickell, about two and a-half miles south of the village, and then removed to the town of Menomonee, Waukesha County, (then Milwaukee County) where they settled on Milwaukee & Rock River Canal land. This was land ceded by the general Government to the territory of Wisconsin to aid in the building of a canal between Milwaukee and Rock River, and consisted of a strip, ten sections in breadth, along the entire length of the proposed canal from Milwaukee, through Waukesha and Jefferson Counties to Lake Koshkonong.

It is needless to say the canal was never completed and only resulted in giving Milwaukee a good water power. An act was passed by the Legislature whereby all persons who had bought canal lands at twenty shillings per acre, were given a "float" or a certificate of ten shillings per acre which could be applied the same as money on the purchase of other lands on that strip. Thus Mr. DENT obtained his land at a comparatively small cost. The patent to Richard DENT, bearing the signature of Gov. Henry DODGE and dated August 1, 1847, is now in the possession of his son, James S., who owns the original homestead. The land was heavily timbered, but the father and elder sons cleared it up and made of it a valuable farm. There the parents spent the remainder of their lives, the father dying on the 11th of May, 1850 and the mother, December 24, 1878.

Of the family of Richard DENT, comprising nine persons, who came together to the territory of Wisconsin in 1842, only James S. and one sister are living. Joseph H., the eldest of the children, who as stated above preceded the family to Wisconsin by three years, was accidentally killed in 1857, being struck by his plow-handle while plowing on his farm in Green Lake County. He left a wife, one daughter and two sons. The latter are still living, and both served in the Thirty-first Wisconsin Infantry in the late war. William M. died August 14, 1852. His widow re-married and is now a resident of Milwaukee. Her daughter, Mrs. James E. DAVIS, also lives in that city. Another of the brothers, John T. DENT, enlisted in the Thirty-first Wisconsin Infantry, and died of typhoid fever in the field hospital in Atlanta, the day after General SHERMAN's army entered that city. The subject of this article is next in order of birth. Helen is the widow of O.P. MINOR, of Cherokee, Iowa. Olive became the wife of David HALL, and died in December, 1880. Andrew B. volunteered in the First Wisconsin Infantry and was killed in the battle of Perryville, October 8, 1862.

James S. DENT, the subject of this record, is the only surviving son of his father's family; his birth occurred in Steuben County, N. Y., August 1, 1831, and he was therefore, but about eleven years old when he came to Wisconsin. He grew to man-hood on the home farm, which he still owns, as stated, and since April, 1888, has resided in Waukesha. His marriage occurred in Granville, Milwaukee County, Wis., February 5, 1863, the lady of his choice being Lemyra J. OLIVER, daughter of John and Elizabeth (MORSE) OLIVER. The latter are natives of the state of New York, who in 1847 emigrated to Wisconsin and settled in the town of Lisbon, Waukesha County, which was their home until 1870, when they removed to Waukesha where the father died July 4, 1894, aged eighty years, and where the mother lives, aged seventy-five years on April 1, 1894. They were among the well known and esteemed early settlers of Waukesha. Mrs. DENT was born in the town of Clarkston, near Rochester, N.Y., April 20, 1845, and is one of a family of nine children, six of whom are living, four sons and two daughters. The sons are all residents of Minnesota, and the daughters of Waukesha. Mr. and Mrs. DENT have had seven children, but three of whom are living, as follows: Andrew B., of Waco, Tex.; Willis J. and Elmer J., at home. The former is engaged in the real-estate business. The deceased children were aged between two and eleven years, and were name Myron J., Alice L., John R. and Sylvia E.

Mr. DENT has been prominently identified with the growth and development of Waukesha County, and has served in various official positions. He was twice Chairman of the town of Menomonee, and Assessor many times; was Assistant United States Marshall in 1861; was elected in the fall of 1875 to represent the Second District of Waukesha County in the State Legislature, and is now a member of the County Board of Supervisors. In his political affiliations he is a Republican. He and his wife have a pleasant home at No. 219 Barnard Street, and are numbered among the esteemed and respected residents of their village and county.

Chicago: Excelsior Publishing Co. 1894.
pp. 641-43.

James S. DENT, a prominent citizen of Menomonee, was born in Hornellsville, Steuben Co., NY, Aug. 1, 1831; he came to Wisconsin in 1842 with his parents, Richard and Jean DENT; they settled in the town of Menomonee, Waukesha County, where they resided during their life. He married in Granville, Milwaukee Co., on the 5th of February, 1863 to Lemyra J. OLIVER; she was born in Orleans Co., NY and was the daughter of John and Elizabeth J. OLIVER, who settled in the town of Lisbon in about 1846 and are now residents of Waukesha; they have five children living -- Andrew B., Willis J., Alice, Elmer, and Sylvie; in 1861, Mr. DENT was assistant United States Marshall and in 1876, was a member of the Wisconsin Assembly, and Chairman of the Menomonee Town Board twice, Assessor several terms, and has several other offices; he owns 120 acres of land and is a successful and leading farmer; his farm is on Sec. 17, is well improved and only a short distance from Menomonee Falls, his post office address; Mr. DENT is an active and consistent supporter of the Republican party; in every position he has filled, he has given universal satisfaction to his constituents and to the people in general.

The History of Waukesha County, Wisconsin
Chicago: Western Historical Co. 1980.
p. 984 Town of Menomonee

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