Support For Dennis Farm Grows As Nation Readies For Semiquincentennial

Gathering at the Dennis Farm in January to select an appropriate site for installation of a commemorative replica of the Liberty Bell for the United States Semiquincentennial (America250PA) are (top, from left) Charles McNamara, timber-frame specialist; Jason Cook, stonemason; Connor McNamara, timber-frame specialist; Lonnie Moore, Dennis Farm Charitable Land Trust VP of marketing; John Arnone, DFCLT Land Manager; Darryl Gore, DFCLT VP of development; Ken Ruby, Hemmler & Camayd Architects; archaeologist and DFCLT board member Wade Catts; archaeologist and DFCLT board member Patrice Jeppson; and Brian Doran, Hemmler & Camayd Architects. Above, Prince Perkins plays the fiddle for the community’s July 4 celebration in 1800, as depicted by artist Eileen Potter-Kopelman.

Edited from Submitted Materials

The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania will begin its celebration of the nation’s 250th birthday and the Perkins-Dennis family’s legacy by placing a commemorative replica of the Liberty Bell on their land near Kingsley in Susquehanna County, 223 years after Prince Perkins played his fiddle to celebrate the United States’ twenty-fourth birthday. Support for the significant national historic site has continued to grow over the past year, as members of the Dennis Farm Charitable Land Trust (DFCLT) prepare for a series of celebrations and continued progress toward erecting a museum and visitors center there.

Prince Perkins and other free African Americans who came to Pennsylvania from Connecticut after the Revolutionary War have found their place among the county’s most formidable founders. Prince Perkins, whose granddaughter married a Dennis from Dimock and inherited the farmstead, was a fiddler and often the focal point of community events. As the story of the Dennis Farm reaches larger audiences, restoration of the property inches ever closer to achieving the status of a historical destination that its descendants and supporters envision.
In November 2022, DFCLT president and CEO Denise Dennis received an email from artist Eileen Potter-Kopelman offering to create a series of paintings based on the history of the Dennis Farm and donate them to the DFCLT. Dennis is a direct descendent of Prince Perkins. Although Potter-Kopelman and her husband live in the Pittsburgh area, Eilleen grew up in Susquehanna County on Potter Road, approximately three miles from the Dennis Farm between Brooklyn Township and Kingsley, and still feels connected to the region and its history. Potter-Kopelman is a member of the Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR) and learned about the history of the Dennis Farm at an exhibition at the Smithsonian.
“I saw some of the artifacts from the Dennis Farm in Washington at one of the museums there,” she wrote. Potter-Kopelman then decided she wanted to contribute to preserving the Farm and its role in the region’s history. After sending a financial contribution, she wrote to Denise about making an artistic contribution. Potter-Kopelman had read a passage in Emily Blackman’s 1873 History of Susquehanna County about Prince Perkins playing the fiddle for the community on July 4, 1800, and offered to begin the series with a painting of that early celebration of our nation’s birthday.
The sign at the Perkins Homestead Site on the Dennis Farm has a photo of a violin on it and quotes the passage from the history book about Prince Perkins fiddling on the Fourth of July 1800. Denise Dennis was delighted that Potter-Kopelman wanted to bring this moment from history to life and assured her that the painting would be displayed in the Dennis Farmhouse Museum, once the museum is funded and open. Potter-Kopelman completed her painting and sent a photo of it to a proud Denise Dennis. On June 28, 2023, when representatives form the Pennsylvania Commission for the United States Semiquincentennial (America250PA) dedicate their first bronze Semiquincentennial Bell at the Dennis Farm, Potter-Kopelman’s beautiful painting will be on exhibit.

In December 2022, as part of “Wreaths Across America,” the nearby Brooklyn Historical Society placed eight wreaths at the Perkins-Dennis Cemetery in honor of the veterans interred there. Four wreaths were placed on graves inside the cemetery, two were placed on the cemetery gate, and two were placed at the Perkins-Dennis Family Cemetery Monument.

“We are proud to do this and recognize the honorable service of veterans at the (Perkins-Dennis) Cemetery,” said Dave Palmer of the Brooklyn Historical Society.
“The Dennis Farm Charitable Land Trust and descendants of the Perkins-Dennis family are honored and thank the Brooklyn Historical Society for placing the ‘Wreaths Across America’ wreaths at the cemetery in recognition of the American Revolution, War of 1812, and Civil War veterans resting there. Each veteran served in the United States’ military so that all Americans could enjoy the freedoms we enjoy today,” said Denise Dennis. “We are deeply appreciative that their service is being recognized.”
In January, Pennsylvania treasurer Stacy Garrity welcomed Dennis, DFCLT VP of Development Darryl Gore, and DFCLT VP of marketing Lonnie Moore to Harrisburg, where Garrity held a videotaped conversation with them as part of a documentary about the Dennis Farm that treasurer Garrity commissioned and presented in Harrisburg during Black History month. Following the videotaping, Garrity hosted the Dennis Farm team and Pennsylvania Auditor General, Timothy DeFoor, at her office.

Also in January, experts in architecture and construction met with a team from The Dennis Farm Charitable Land Trust to select a location for the Pennsylvania Commission for the United States Semiquincentennial (America250PA) Bell to install a six-feet tall replica of the Liberty Bell that will be dedicated during the special ceremony on The Dennis Farm on June 23. Readers who would like to learn more about the Dennis Farm Charitable Trust may log on to and click on the following stories archived at , ,

Celebrating the history of the Dennis Farm during 2023’s Black History Month in January were (from left) Pennsylvania Treasurer, Stacy Garrity; DFCLT VP Darryl Gore; DFCLT president & CEO Denise Dennis; DFCLT VP Lonnie Moore; and Pennsylvania auditor general Timothy DeFoor.

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