Endless Mountains Heritage Region, Dennis Symposium

EMHR Director Serves as Keynote Speaker at Dennis Farm Event

By Rick Hiduk

 

Endless Mountains Heritage Region (EMHR) executive director Cain Chamberlin was the keynote speaker at the Dennis Farm Charitable Land Trust (DFCLT) Symposium, which was held recently at Keystone College in La Plume. The Dennis Farm Historic Site, located in Brooklyn Township, Susquehanna County was home to a prominent free African-American family who made an indelible mark on local and national history.

Cain Chamberlin

DFCLT president Denise Dennis selected Chamberlin as the first “local” keynote speaker in the Symposium’s seven years, she explained, because of the early and ongoing relationship between the EMHR, which was founded in 1998 and the DFCLT, which was initiated in 2001. The EMHR’s facilitation of funding supplied by PA DCNR allowed for the development of a special purposes study and master site plan that have formally encapsulated the story and the Dennis family and their vision for the future of the property.

In 2016, Denise worked with the EMHR again for inclusion of the Dennis Farm on the revamped Susquehanna County Heritage Attractions sign and map. That project garnered the Dennis Farm its first street address – 7799 Creek Road, Kingsley – and a much-deserved position among the county’s other historic sites, few of which date as far back as the 1793 arrival and settlement of Revolutionary War veteran Prince Perkins, who would later marry into the Perkins family of Dimock.

This past year, the EMHR helped to fund the design, production and installation of 10 interpretive panels that have been situated upon the 153-acre spread. After the symposium, dozens of guests, many making the trip from the Philadelphia area for the first time, were shuttled to the farm for guided tours by Dennis family and DFCLT members and docents from Keystone College. The new signs and a monument were unveiled in the course of their visit.

Mountain View High School gifted teacher Charleene Martens presents a jar of syrup to Denise Dennis (center) that was produced from sap collected from centuries-old maple trees on the Dennis Farm by Mountain View students. Joining them are (from left) Dennis family member Lonnie Moore III, Mountain View superintendent Karen Voigt and special education teacher Brion Stone, Dennis family member Darryl Gore, Dennis Farm Charitable Land Trust board member Wade Catts, and program emcee George Stark of Cabot Oil & Gas Corporation.

Seventeen years and $50,000 into their partnership, EMHR board members met the Dennis family in June for a tour of the site, delighting in Denise’s ability to recall such minute details of nine generations of Perkins and Dennis ancestors and relatives and their specific contributions to local history. “It’s easy to see how passionate they all are about their story,” Chamberlin remarked. “We are so fortunate to have places like the Dennis Farm in our region. It is a true gem of the Endless Mountains.”

“Having been asked by Denise to be the keynote speaker for the event was particularly humbling and a true highlight of my time with the Heritage Region thus far,” said Chamberlin. “Because of its agricultural connection. Fully documented family history, and association with early African American life and American conflicts dating back to the French and Indian War, the historical and cultural significance of the Dennis Farm is almost immeasurable.”

Chamberlin applauded the Dennis family’s passion for historical preservation and their desire to learn all they can about their lineage as truly inspiring and exemplary of what the EMHR looks for in a heritage partner.

The EMHR serves and promotes historical and agriculture initiatives in Bradford, Sullivan, Susquehanna and Wyoming counties.

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