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McLean County, Illinois
History and Genealogy



CAPT. JOSEPH DENISON, Treasurer of McLean County, and a resident of Bloomington, came with his parents from Pennsylvania to the Prairie State in 1851. He was born in December, 1832, in Baxter County, Pa., and is the son of Andrew and Susanna (Herr) Denison, also natives of the Keystone State. Andrew Denison was a farmer by occupation and after a residence of two years in this State, in the meantime having been visited by a sad affliction in the death of his wife, which occurred in 1853, he returned to Pennsylvania and lived there until 1857. He then came back to McLean County, Ill., and engaged in farming near Bloomington, being thus occupied until his death, which occurred in 1865. He belonged to the Dunkard Church. The parental household consisted of three children, two only of whom are living Joseph and Noah W. a resident of Freeport.

The subject of this history remained with his parents on the farm, receiving careful home training and a practical education, until sixteen years of age. He then engaged as clerk in a store of general merchandise for the four years following. After coming with his parents to Bloomington he engaged in the marble business for four years and then operated a grocery and bakery until 1857, when he resumed his former occupation of clerk, and thus labored until 1862. The late war being then in progress he enlisted as a Union soldier in Co. F, 94th Ill. Vol. Inf., as First Lieutenant. After six months he received a Captain's commission, which he retained until the expiration of his term of service in 1865. Mr. Denison with his comrades participated in the battle of Prairie Grove, Ark., the sieges of Vicksburg, Ft. Morgan and Spanish Fort, and was in many other engagements and skirmishes, escaping without serious injury. After his honorable discharge from the army Capt. Denison returned to Bloomington City and subsequently engaged in the grocery trade at Lexington. In 1868 he was appointed United States Storekeeper at Bloomington, and after six months was promoted United States Gauger at Bloomington and Pekin, and was thus occupied until the summer of 1870, when he was elected County Treasurer, holding the office four years. In 1876 he was re-elected, and has held the office continuously since that time.

Capt. Joseph Denison and Miss Sarah J. Strain were united in marriage in 1854. Mrs. Denison is the daughter of Isaac and Mary Strain, natives of Ohio, and of her union with our subject there are five children, as follows: Herbert L. married Miss Florence Downey, of Bloomington, and they have two children Edith and a babe unnamed; Adella, residing in Bloomington, married Edward L. Blair, and they have one child Earl B.; Josephine, Noah B. and Isaac P. are with their parents at home. Capt. Denison and his family occupy a comfortable and attractive residence at No. 609 West Washington street, and enjoy the friendship and society of a large circle of warm friends. Our subject is prominently connected with the Republican party and socially belongs to the A. F. & A. M. and the G. A. R. He is in all respects a worthy and valued citizen, and both socially and as a business man is a representative citizen of McLean County.

Portrait and biographical album of McLean County, Ill. : containing full page portraits and biographical sketches of prominent and representative citizens of the county, together with portraits and biographies of all the governors of Illinois, and of the presidents of the United States. (Chicago: Chapman Brothers, 1887), 685. Transcribed by Judy Rosella Edwards.


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