Born: 1780, Died: 1850
Married: Polly Ripple
Dennis Devitt, originally from Ireland, had emigrated to America and settled in New Jersey. In the early 1800's, he came with his wife Polly and family to Copetown in Upper Canada and then shortly after to the very early settlement that became Waterloo.
Devitt was an accomplished carpenter and stone mason. When Abraham Erb, in 1816, decided to build his early grist mill, he hired Devitt as foreman and, with a crew of local helpers, erected the mill that gave a focus for the establishment of a village later called Waterloo.
Devitt's wife Polly was dissatisfied with Waterloo and moved back to New Jersey, leaving most of her family behind with her husband. As was common in those days, neighbours and others helped by looking after some of the large family.
Abraham Erb and his wife had recently lost their only son Benjamin, and in 1818 the Erbs "adopted" Barnabas Devitt then age 11. In those days, "adoption" did not necessitate a name change, and Barnabas Devitt grew up to raise a family that made significant contributions to the development of early Waterloo.
Sources: Ezra E Eby, A Biographical History of Early Settlers and their early Descendants in Waterloo Township, Eldon D Weber, Editor, 1971.