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An event at the 1736 Josiah Dennis Manse Museum. West parlor exhibit of Reverand Dennis’ “general store” used by the parish. Also exhibited is an English oak chest brought by Thomas Howes to Plymouth in 1637.
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The 1736 Josiah Dennis Manse Museum was the home of the first minister of the Second Parish of the Church of Yarmouth, Reverand Josiah Dennis (1694-1763), for whom the town of Dennis was later named. Docents in period costume guide visitors through exhibits of local parish history and the maritime years of clipper shipbuilding and sea captains.
Mannequins of Reverand Josiah Dennis and his second wife, Phebe, in replicated period dress, welcome visitors into the West Parlor. There are no photos and little information about this man who served as the first minister for 36 years. As a Congregationalist, Josiah cared for the spiritual well-being of his people. He also cared for their physical well-being and survival. This poor rural parish of about two dozen families was diverse in ethnicity, education, and religion. It was part of an English colony that collected taxes, commodities and imposed laws. Survival relied on working together.
The West Parlor was once used as a general store or trading hub for the people of the parish and is now exhibited as such. Crop excesses, candles, soap, knitted stockings and communications from Boston would have been available here. Phebe Dennis was the widow of a doctor and well known as a “healer.” She made herbal remedies from plants grown in her garden.
Josiah Dennis, an apprenticed carpenter whose father and uncle were cabinet makers graduated from Harvard in 1723. On display is a student desk, attributed to Josiah, that may have been used by the minister to write his sermons and ledgers on.