James Denning, son of Henry Denning and Martha Nichols, was born at Coleford, Kilmerston, Sommersetshire, England, on 2 March 1830. His father was a Collier (miner). When very young, he went to the mines to work; he never had the opportunity of attending school.
July 8, 1849, he married Sarah Merrifield, at Tahowan, England. After their marriage, his wife taught him his ABC's and he learned to read; was a great reader; read everything he could get hold of, and became well-versed and could talk intelligently in discussions on most every subject.
They joined the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints in 1850; my father, John Williams, baptized them on January 4, 1850 at Abeceycan, South Wales.
On Feb. 15, 1853, they went on board the ship called "International" to sail from Liverpool, England. Their baby (James Henry) was three weeks old. The ship laid in the Irish Channel until the 28th of Feb., before sailing, it was waiting for favorable weather conditions.
There were 425 Saints, under the direction of Christopher Arthur, aboard. Baby James Henry took terribly ill on this hard two-month voyage, he was thought to be dead, so they strapped his body to a board (as was the custom) and raised the board to shove him overboard. One of the Saints shouted "Wait, I believe I saw the baby breathe!" They pulled the board back and unwrapped the baby and HE 'WAS BREATHING. He lived to fill a noble and wonderfully useful life; loved and respected by everyone.
They arrived in New Orleans Apr. 23,1853.