Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, the Dennis Farm was originally settled by the family of Prince Perkins, free African Americans who moved to northeastern Pennsylvania from Connecticut in 1793, with the original wave of settlement into the region following the American Revolution. Descendants of the Perkins’ granddaughter, Angeline Perkins Dennis, and her husband, Henry Dennis, have retained ownership of the 153-acre property into to the twenty-first century, although it hasn’t been a working farm since the early twentieth century. This continuous, documented ownership of property by African Americans represents a little-known and remarkable story in American history and holds lessons for us today.
The site’s historical features include:
The Perkins-Dennis Cemetery – The remains of family members born in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, including veterans of the Revolutionary War, are resting in the Perkins Dennis Cemetery. One Civil War veteran who was a friend of the family and men and women who died on the Underground Railroad are among the fifty souls interred in the cemetery.
The Prince Perkins Archaeological Site – The Perkins’ early homestead, including the foundation of the house, spring, garden markings, and well, are located at the hilltop.
Fieldstone Walls – An elaborate series of stone walls, built during the nineteenth century, define the perimeter and individual sections of the property. The walls help track changes in the farm throughout the century.
The Farmhouse – Built in the first quarter of the nineteenth century and restored in 1939, the farmhouse is an example of a classic timber frame saltbox, reflecting the family’s New England background.
Barn Complex Ruins – The stone walls of the original barn complex foundation also trace the growth of the farm from the early nineteenth to the early twentieth century.
If you would like to tour the farm, please call Keystone College at 570-945-8150.