Francis Marion Denman, a well known citizen of Kenesaw, Nebraska, eminently deserves classification among those
self made men who have distinguished themselves for their ability to master the opposing forces of life and to
wrest from fate a large measure of success and an honorable name. His early environment was such as has ever fostered
the spirit of personal independence and self reliance, which have played so large a part in the upbuilding of the
nation. His birth occurred on a farm in Miami county, Ohio; on the 12th of February, 1839, and his parents were
Abraham and Margaret (Stickles) Denman, who were born in Hamilton county, Ohio, where they were reared and married.
Both died in their native state and their passing was deeply regretted by their many warm friends. They were devout
Christians and exemplified the sincerity of their faith in their daily lives.
Francis M. Denman was reared under the parental roof and much of his time was devoted to farm work although he
received a limited country school education. When twenty two years of age he left home and went to Illinois, where
on the 5th of October, 1861, he enlisted in Company I, Fifty fifth Illinois Volunteer Infantry, as a private. His
command was assigned to the Army of the Tennessee and he took part in the following engagements: Shiloh, the siege
of Corinth, Chickasaw Bayou, Russell House, Arkansas Post, Hains Bluffs, Champion's Hill, the siege of Vicksburg,
the relief of Knoxville, the siege of Jackson, Kenesaw Mountain, Missionary Ridge, Fort McAllister, Savannah, Clinton,
the siege of Atlanta, Jonesboro, Columbia and Bentonville. He was also with Sherman on his famous march to the
sea and northward through the Carolinas. Hem was made fourth sergeant on the 1st of November, 1864, and served
as such with much credit to himself until the regiment was mustered out at Little Rock, Arkansas, on the 14th of
August, 1865. During the siege of Atlanta he was wounded in the left leg on the 22d of July, 1864, but escaped
further injury. His regiment made an unusual record, traveling eleven thousand miles and marching over three thousand
miles. He marched in the Grand Review at Washington, D. C., and while there visited the tombs of George and Martha
Washington. He is an ardent admirer of Generals Sherman and Grant, under whom he served, and he was for some time
under the command of General Halleck. He has a number of army relics but prizes most a cake of genuine army hardtack,
which he has had framed.
Following his honorable discharge from the army at the close of hostilities Mr. Denman returned to his old home
in Ohio, where he farmed until the spring of 1866, when he again went to Illinois. He was married there and followed
agricultural pursuits in that state for fourteen years, but on the 20th of February, 1880, became a resident of
Fillmore county, Nebraska, where he engaged in farming for twenty two years. He devoted much time and thought as
well as money to the development of his fine farm of two hundred and forty acres, which he made one of the best
farms in Fillmore county. In 1902 he retired from active life and removed to Bruning, where he interested himself
in various movements for the advancement of the community. In 1909 he came to Kenesaw, where he has since lived,
enjoying the fruits of his former labor. He owns the northeast quarter of section 13, township 2, range 3, Jefferson
county, Nebraska, and the southeast quarter of section 36, township 9, range 13, west, Buffalo county, on which
the town of Denman is laid out. He derives a gratifying income from his holdings and now ranks among the men of
affluence residing in Adams county.
Mr. Denman was married in Illinois, in 1867, to Miss Julia A. McKnight, who was born in Ohio, near Piqua, on the
2d of November, 1846, a daughter of John and Martha (Giffin) McKnight. Her parents were born in Ohio, where they
were reared and married, and the father passed away in Mason county, Illinois, at the age of sixty five years.
The mother is also deceased. Mr. and Mrs. Denman have had four children: Albert J.; Ella, the wife of E. Cook,
of Hastings; Martha B., the wife of Samuel Wells, of Hall county, Nebraska; and John F., deceased.
Mr. Denman cast his first ballot for Stephen A. Douglas for president in 1860 and has always taken a keen interest
in public affairs. His fitness for office has been recognized and while living in Bruning he served on the town
board and on the school board and while a resident of Fillmore county was for three years county supervisor. He
votes independently, preferring to follow his own judgment rather than the dictates of a party leader. His religious
faith is that of the Presbyterian church, in which he holds the office of elder, and fraternally he belongs to
the Independent Order of Odd Fellows. The success which he has gained in spite of the fact that he began his career
empty handed is indisputable proof of his energy and his sound judgment, and he has been so straightforward and
upright in all of his business transactions that there has never been the slightest question as to his integrity.
He is highly respected for his ability and sterling qualities of character and his pleasing personality has gained
him the warm regard of those who have been closely associated with him.
Past and Present of
Adams County, Nebraska
Supervisong Editor: Judge William R. Burton
Assistant Editor: David J. Lewis
The S. J. Clarke Publishing Company
Adams County, NE
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