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John Dennison
November 12, 1833


JOHN DENNISON, farmer, Clay Twp., Sec. 17; P.O. Onslow; was born in County Antrim, Ireland, in 1833; he came to the United States in 1851; he lived in Connecticut till April, 1852, when he went to Minnesota, where he remained but a short time; thence to Dubuque; came to Jones Co. in May, 1852; in February, 1853, he entered forty acres of timbered land in Sec. 11; in March of the same year, he bought a claim of forty acres adjoining that which he entered, where he settled in 1858; his farm now contains two hundred and forty acres. He was married to Matilda Campbell, born in County Antrim, Ireland; they have five children—John, Agnes J., Mary M., Elizabeth M. and Anna L. In 1867, Mr. Dennison visited his native land; was absent about six months. He is one of the substantial farmers of Clay Township.

Source: History of Jones County, Iowa, Western Historical Company, Chicago, 1879, page 702.

John Dennison, who enjoys the reputation of having one of the neatest farms in Jones county and who has been prominent in the affairs of Clay township for more than thirty years, was born in Ireland, November 12, 1833. His parents, John and Mary (Orr) Dennison, were also natives of the Emerald isle, which remained their home until their death. Ten children were born to them, six of whom are living: Martha, who is the widow of Alex Campbell and lives in Clay township; John, the subject of this sketch; Mary, who is the widow of William Neelans and lives in Clay township; George, who remained in Ireland; Sarah, who is a widow and lives in Ireland; and Margaret, who is also a widow in her native land.
John Dennison came to America in 1851, when he was about seventeen years of age. He had received some education in the land of his birth and after his arrival on the shores of this country he devoted himself solely to the work of procuring a livelihood and of bettering his condition. First he lived in Connecticut and then went to Minnesota, which he was compelled to leave on account of the cholera. Next he came to Iowa, locating in Dubuque first and then, on May 28, 1852, coming to Jones county. The following February he entered eighty acres of government land in Clay township, not taking up his residence upon it, however, until 1857. Nine years later he bought two hundred acres adjoining his first farm and, moving to that, made it his home until 1908, when he sold it, purchasing instead the seventy-six acres on which he is living at present. Part of this is within the corporate limits of the village of Onslow, but it is a good tract of land, which with the inborn skill of a successful agriculturist Mr. Dennison has made one of the most fertile tracts in his locality, while the orderly appearance of his fields and the excellent condition of his buildings have secured for it an enviable reputation among farms of even larger size in Clay township and beyond its borders. Mr. Dennison also owns one hundred and forty acres in Clay township, one hundred and twenty of which he rents and the other twenty is timber land.
In 1869 Mr. Dennison married Miss Mathilda Campbell, who was born in Ireland in 1848 and came to America at the age of twenty, making her home in Jackson county, Iowa. Ten children have been born to them: John, Jr., who is living in Los Angeles, California; Agnes, who is the wife of John Canada, of Clay township; Mary M., who married Harbison Orr, of the same township; Elizabeth M., who is the wife of John McAlister, of Delaware county, Iowa; Anna L., who is the wife of J. G. Boomhour, professor in a school of North Carolina; William M., who lives in Dallas county, Iowa; Jackson B., at home; and three who died in infancy.
Mr. and Mrs. Dennison are consistent members of the Presbyterian church, and he has given stanch support to the democratic party in political matters. He has filled a large place in local affairs, for during a period of twenty-five years he has served intermittently as township assessor; has been a member of the school board for twenty-one years; and for the past thirty years has acted as the justice of the peace. Successful in his calling and punctilious in the performance of his official duties, he has wielded a strong influence for good and improvement during the years he has been a resident of Jones county.

Source: History of Jones County, Iowa, Past and Present, R. M. Corbitt, S. J. Clarke Publishing Co., Chicago, 1910, p. 470.

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