Family history has always interested me enough that I would remember a story or sometimes jot down a note but not enough to get as wrapped up in it as I have seen so many people do who try to make their heritage some honor that places them superior to others.  Years passed and I missed the opportunity to talk to my aunts and uncles who all were gone by 1968.  Yet the mystery remains and comes back from time to time.  I often heard the name Sylvester mentioned by family members and it always was an intriguing name to me.  As a child I heard my Uncle Chess called John Chester Sylvester and everyone laughed for some reason.  But the laughter was never at Sylvester who was revered as by far the greatest man in the family.  No one really knew much about Sylvester though; it was said that he was tough and could whip three men, was a full-blooded Irishman, and had lived back in Alabama where the family came from.  I often wondered when he was born and when he had died but no one really knew.  In 1957 I met a Marvin Sylvester Densmore whose father John was born in Alabama in 1870; again this name Sylvester invoked mystery but to this day I still cannot find the connection of our families.


It was not until my cousin Kenneth Densmore (grandson of George Henry Densmore) and his wife Peggy talked to us with a similar interest did I begin to seriously investigate the history of our family.    As far as I can determine no letters exist before this century for reference leaving us to remembrances and legends which are not always accurate.   Some census records answered a few questions but more than anything else the information from Mamie and Harry Atkinson who are the most knowledgeable of anyone on the Densmore family enabled me to put together the following material.


I have made every effort to identify material that is not proven by indicating “this is believed” or by “according to” and so forth.  In many cases I have not identified the source of a comment or story because it has been told by many individuals and it would become an awkward process. Much of the census work is mine but I have relied on census work of others who I know are trusted and accurate historians.  It should be noted that the census is often in error on birthdates, and in particular these errors increase as a person age.  Often, we find birthdates varying several years from one census to another.  Whoever answered the door gave the ages as best as they could remember.      In some cases where no proof exists, and interesting questions remain I have made some observations as what may have occurred, but in all cases I have identified these as my own deductions.  It should be remembered the Densmore name is spelled Dinsmore, Dunsmore, Dinsmoor, and other combinations randomly without pattern.  Through the patience and help of my wife, Leslie Seaman Densmore, we have been able to put together the following on our family.