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William Denning

Revolutionary War Vet Obituary

Extracted from
The Pennsylvania Magazine of History and Biography, Volume 38, January 1, 1914
pages 443-60

[The following obituary notices of officers and privates who
served in the Continental Line and Militia of Pennsylvania during
the Revolution have been collected from the newspapers of Montgomery

William Denning.-Died at his residence in Mifflin township, Cumberland
county Pa., Jany. 18, 1831, William Denning in 99 year of his age. The
deceased was an Artificer in the army of the Revolution. He it was who,
in the days of his country's need, made the only successful attempt ever
made in the world to manufacture wrought iron cannon, two which he
completed in Middlesex, and commenced another and larger one at Mount
Holly, but could get no one to assist him who could stand the heat, which
is said to have been so great, as to melt the lead buttons on his clothes.
This unfinished piece lies as he left it, at either Mount Holly Forge or
Carlisle Barracks. One of those completed was taken by the British at the
battle of Brandywine, and is now in the Tower of London. The British
government offered a large sum and an annuity to the person who would
instruct them in the manufacture of that article, but the patriotic
blacksmith preferred obscurity and poverty, in his own beloved country.
The strength of his good constitution continued near his last, and he was
able to walk to the village of Newville, two miles from his residence,
until about six months before his death.
-Free Press, January 18,1831.

Keywords/Tags: William Denning, Pennsylvania, Revolutionary War, Norristown Free Press

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