In November 2022, 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 Dennis Farm Charitable Land Trust (DFCLT).
Although she and her husband live in the Pittsburgh area, Potter Kopelman 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, a member of the Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR), 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.
This winter, Eileen Potter Kopelman completed the painting. On June 28, 2023, when the Pennsylvania Commission for the United States Semiquincentennial (America250PA) dedicates their first bronze Semiquincentennial Bell at the Dennis Farm, Potter Kopelman’s beautiful painting will be on exhibit.
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, 223 years after Prince Perkins played his fiddle to celebrate the United States’ twenty-fourth birthday.