William Dennison, Jr.

William Dennison, Jr.

Infobox Governor
name =William Dennison, Jr.

order =24th
office =Governor of Ohio
term_start =January 9, 1860
term_end =January 13, 1862
lieutenant =Robert C. Kirk
predecessor =Salmon P. Chase
successor =David Tod
order2 =21st United States Postmaster General
term_start2 =September 24, 1864
term_end2 =July 25, 1866
president2 =Abraham Lincoln
predecessor2 =Montgomery Blair
successor2 =Alexander Randall
birth_date =birth date|1815|11|23|mf=y
birth_place =Cincinnati, Ohio
death_date =death date and age|1882|6|15|1815|11|23|mf=y
death_place =Columbus, Ohio
nationality =
party =Whig
spouse =Anne Neil Dennison
relations =
children =
residence =
alma_mater =
occupation =
profession =Lawyer
religion =

website =
footnotes =

William Dennison, Jr. (November 23, 1815ndash June 15, 1882) was a Whig and Republican politician from Ohio. He served as the 24th Governor of Ohio and as U.S. Postmaster General in the Cabinet of President Abraham Lincoln during the American Civil War.

Early life and career

Born in Cincinnati, Dennison graduated from Miami University, studied law, and was admitted to the Ohio bar in 1840. A canny businessman, he led the Exchange Bank and the Columbus and Xenia Railroad, and organized the Columbus and Hocking Valley Railroad, while becoming active in politics.

In 1840, he married to Anne Eliza Neil, the daughter of the wealthy, Columbus, businessman William Neil, whose farm later became the campus of Ohio State University. Together, William and Anne Dennison had seven children. The eldest of them was a son, William Neil Dennison, who later won distinction in the Civil War while serving in the U.S. Horse Artillery Brigade.

William Dennison, Jr., was one of the first major Ohio politicians to leave the dying Whig Party for the new Republican Party. He rose quickly through the party ranks due to his anti-slavery and anti-discrimination efforts in the Ohio State Senate. Dennison was elected to the governorship in 1859, defeating Rufus P. Ranney, and served a single term from 1860 to 1862. Before the outbreak of the American Civil War, he refused the demands of Kentucky and Virginia state authorities for the extradition of fugitive slaves or the punishment of those who helped them.

Civil War

He organized Ohio's mobilization in the opening days of the war, and was generally effective, despite having a small staff and no prior military experience. His efforts led to the creation of several large training camps for newly raised troops, one of which would be named for him (Camp Dennison). Dennison tried but failed to be elected to the United States Senate in 1861, when he was defeated by John Sherman.

Without being asked by the War Department, he sent Ohio troops under George McClellan into western Virginia, where they guarded the Wheeling Convention, which eventually led to the admission of West Virginia as a free state. He also took the initiative to seize control of Ohio's railroads and telegraph lines early in the war to allow military usage, angering Peace Democrats in the Ohio Legislature. He denounced secession and Ohio's "Copperheads", established a consistent supply of arms and equipment for the new troops, and was a vocal supporter of Lincoln's policies. During his term, he raised over 100,000 troops and organized 82 three-years regiments for the Union army.

However, errors by the Governor and his subordinates led the state's alliance of Republicans and War Democrats to drop Dennison as a candidate in 1862. The parties turned instead to David Tod, a War Democrat. Historian Richard H. Abbott wrote, "No Ohio chief executive [before Dennison] had ever exercised such powers and fulfilled such duties with a greater sense of public responsibility and determination. Nevertheless...politics dictated his demise."

Dennison accepted this turn of events with good grace, capably advised his successor, and provided valuable services in helping recruit black troops for Ohio units. He served as Chairman of the Republican National Convention in 1864. He was appointed U.S. Postmaster General by President Abraham Lincoln, and served from 1864–66, leaving the Cabinet after he decided he could no longer support the policies of President Andrew Johnson.

Postbellum career and memorialization

After the war, Dennison served on the Columbus City Council and organized the Franklin County Agricultural Society. President Ulysses S. Grant appointed him the first President of the Board of Commissioners for the District of Columbia, the highest governing office of Washington, D.C., in which Dennison served from 1874 to 1878. He sought the Republican nomination for the U.S. Senate in 1880, but was defeated by James Garfield. Dennison remained active in state and national politics until his death. He left behind a widow and seven children, and was buried in Green Lawn Cemetery, Columbus, Ohio.

Of Dennison's single term in the opening stages of the Civil War, historian John S. Stilt wrote, "His wisdom and foresight were appreciated by few and condemned by many.... It is doubtful whether any of his predecessors could have met the isues any more successfully."

Camp #1 of the Department of Ohio of the Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War is named for Governor William Dennison. It was chartered August 1 1882, shortly after Dennison's death at age 66.


* Harper, Robert S., "Ohio Handbook of the Civil War." Columbus, Ohio: The Ohio Historical Society, 1961.
* Reid, Whitelaw, "Ohio in the War: Her Statesmen, Her Generals, and Soldiers." 2 vol. Cincinnati: Moore, Wilstach, & Baldwin, 1868.
* [http://members.tripod.com/mcvicker16/GovenorWilliiamDennison.htm Dennison Camp of the SUCV]

External links


Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • William Dennison, Jr. — William Dennison Jr. William Dennison Jr. (* 23. November 1815 in Cincinnati, Ohio; † 15. Juni 1882 in Columbus, Ohio) war ein US amerikanischer Politiker. Er war von 1860 bis 1862 der 24. Gouverneur von …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • William Dennison — or Denison may refer to: *William Dennison (Ohio governor) (1815 ndash;1882) *William Dennison (Canadian politician) (1905 ndash;1981) *William Neil Dennison (1841 ndash;1904), American Civil War artillery officer *William Denison (1804… …   Wikipedia

  • William Dennison — ist der Name folgender Personen: William Dennison junior (1815–1882), US amerikanischer Politiker William Neil Dennison (1841–1904), US amerikanischer Offizier im Sezessionskrieg William Dennison (Kanadischer Politiker) (1905–1981), Kanadischer… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • William Dennison junior — William Dennison Jr. William Dennison junior (* 23. November 1815 in Cincinnati, Ohio; † 15. Juni 1882 in Columbus, Ohio) war ein US amerikanischer Politiker. Er war von 1860 bis 1862 der 24. Gouverneur des …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • William Dennison Clark — Date of birth: October 21, 1885(1885 10 21) Date of death: May 30, 1932(1932 05 30 …   Wikipedia

  • William Dennison (Canadian politician) — William David Dennison (January 20 1905 ndash; May 2 1981) was the last member of the Orange Order to serve as Mayor of Toronto, Canada. He held the office from 1966 to 1972, and was a long time member of Toronto City Council. Prior to entering… …   Wikipedia

  • William Dennison (Kanadischer Politiker) — William David Dennison (* 20. Januar 1905 in Westmeath[1]; † 2. Mai 1981) war vom 1. Dezember 1966 bis zum 30. November 1972 der 55. Bürgermeister von Toronto. Gleichzeitig war er das letzte Mitglied des Oranier Ordens, der dieses Amt bekleidete …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • William Dennison Cary — was the founder of Cary, Illinois, and one of its early prominent citizens. The town was named after him.He was born in 1808 in Sandy Creek, New York. In 1830 he married Lodemia Ells who was just one year older than him. They had their first baby …   Wikipedia

  • Dennison — ist der Name von: Aaron Lufkin Dennison, (1812 1895), US amerikanischer Uhrmacher William Dennison junior (1815–1882), US amerikanischer Politiker William Neil Dennison (1841–1904), US amerikanischer Offizier im Sezessionskrieg William Dennison… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • William Neil Dennison — (December 10, 1841 ndash; December 31, 1904) was a highly decorated artillery officer during the American Civil War, an attorney and business speculator during the postbellum years. Born in Ohio, Neil was the son of Ohio Governor and Postmaster… …   Wikipedia

Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”

We are using cookies for the best presentation of our site. Continuing to use this site, you agree with this.