Established by Hope Dennis and her niece, M. Denise Dennis, in 2001, The Dennis Farm Charitable Land Trust a 501(c)(3) non-profit was created to preserve a rare and beautiful historical and cultural resource in the Endless Mountains of Susquehanna County, Pennsylvania. The family of Prince Perkins, free African Americans who emigrated to northeast Pennsylvania from Connecticut in 1793 with the original wave of settlement into the region following the American Revolution, first settled the Dennis Farm. Their direct descendants, the Dennis family, have retained stewardship of the property to the present day, although it hasn’t been a working farm since the early twentieth century. The history of the Dennis Farm and the Perkins- Dennis family is fully documented. This continuous and documented ownership of property by African Americans, in a northeast county largely populated by European Americans represents an overlooked and remarkable story in American history that holds lessons for us today.
The Dennis Farm is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
The purpose of The Dennis Farm Charitable Land Trust is to continue to develop the Dennis Farm as an educational and cultural site for scholars, researchers, cultural heritage tourists, school groups, and others who are interested in this extraordinary history.
The site includes:
- The Perkins-Dennis Cemetery where family members including veterans of the Revolutionary War, War of 1812, the Civil War, and forty other African Americans
- The Prince Perkins Homestead
- An elaborate series of stonewalls built during the nineteenth century
- The Dennis Farmhouse and Barn complex
- Family books dating back to 1815 and 19th century artifacts
According to a study prepared by a team of archeological and historical researchers, “The Dennis Farm represents an exciting opportunity to blend archeological and environmental history at one location… There are presently no other locations in the northeast that combine these ingredients and that are trying to actively interpret them, preserve them, and present them to the public. The property’s African American ownership for over two centuries is unique in northeastern Pennsylvania and is an important story that needs telling…Pennsylvania scholars have also identified the Dennis Farm as a potential location associated with Underground Railroad History.”