November 12, 1833–March 9, 1917
|John Dennison was born November 12th, 1833, in Creavery county, Antrim, Ireland. At the age of seventeen he came to America arriving in Connecticut in 1851. In 1852 he came to Jones county, Iowa, and in 1857 took up his residence in Clay township on a farm which was his home until 1903, when he moved to a farm partly within the limits of the village of Onslow, where he resided until the time of his death, March 9th, 1917.
Mr. Dennison was married to Matilda Campbell of Jackson county, Iowa, in 1869. She had also come from Co. Antrim, Ireland, a short time before. There came to bless this union, ten children, three of whom died in infancy. The other seven grew to manhood and womanhood together, until the happy circle was broken on April 8th, 1915, by the death of Mrs. Mary Dennison Orr. Mr. Dennison leaves to mourn his loss, a brother George, and two sisters, Margaret and Anna in Ireland; and another sister Mrs. Mary Neelans in Onslow. He leaves his wife six children, John of Los Angeles, California; Mrs. Agnes Kennedy of Onslow; Mrs. Elizabeth McAlister of Hopkinton; Mrs. Anna Boomhour of Margaretville, N Y.; William of Onslow, and Belden of Minneapolis, Minn.; also a host of other relatives.
Mr. Dennison was a man respected by all for his sterling qualities. He served his locality in ofllcial ways more or less through a period of a great many years, having served as assessor and on the school board and as justice of the peace.
The pastor, in preaching the funeral sermon, compared Mr. Dennison's life and character to that of Abraham. As Abraham was a pioneer and heard the call to go West from Mesopotamia to the promised land, and went to meet a larger life and a larger opportunity in the face of many difficulties, so Mr. Dennison was one of the best type of early pioneers who "heard the West a-calling" and who came out, faced and conquered many difficulties, and attained a larger and fuller life. As Abraham was emphatically an honest man in dealing with Ephron the Hittite and all others, so Mr Dennison had acquired the title of "Honest John" from his acquaintances. As Abraham had no fellowship with the ungodly, and would take nothing "from a thread to a shoe-latchet" from the wicked king of Sodom, so Mr. Dennison had no friendship with the thoroughly bad and vicious. And especially as Abraham was a man of God in the new land, so Mr. Dennison identified himself with a band of men who drew up and signed articles of incorporation for a new church "Bethel" to be the house for the worship of God.
Mr. Dennison was a rock for rightousness, and he had also a kindly and cheerful sense of humor which made him so companionable to his friends and so beloved by all who knew him. The strong and helpful influences of his life will last for years and years, and any man might be proud to call him friend.
(Editor—The passing of Mr. Dennison marks the going out of another of those sturdy pioneers to whom this generation owes so much. They were the men who developed this region. They were the ones who cast their lot in a strange land at a time when success was far from assured, when hardships and hindrances were such as to demand stout hearts and grim determination. John Dennison was a man who commanded respect. Those who long knew him, and long dealt with him, never had other than good words for him. He was a man of influence and that influence, always exerted for the better things, will survive with the history of this section. He left his children a heritage more than rarest jems—a heritage money cannot buy—the heritage of a good name.)
Submitted by: Brian McGregor
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