William Neil Dennison (12/10/1841 to 12/31/1904) won distinction in the Civil War while serving in the U.S. Horse Artillery Brigade. Dennison, William Neil. Ohio. Ohio. 2 lieutenant 2 artillery 5 Aug 1861; 1 lieutenant 12 Nov 1861; captain 3 Jan 1867; brevet captain 6 July 1864 for gallant and good conduct in the battle of Antietam Md; major 6 July 1864 for gallant and good conduct in the battles of Gaines Mill and Malvern Hill Va and lieutenant colonel 13 Mar 1865 for good conduct and gallant services during the war; discharged 31 Dec 1870 at his own request.
While running for mayor of Columbus, Ohio in 1879, he was noted as being supported by "the most disreputable bummers, as well as the entire gambling fraternity, their cappers, and the gin-mill combination." He lost.
Colonel Dennison was married to Mary Cole Haldeman (October 20, 1851 (1856/ CENSUS) - December 15, 1882), the daughter of Edwin Haldeman and Harriet Cole of Pennsylvania. The Dennisons had four children. Ethel Dennison Dedman (Ernest J. Dedman 1873-1930) b. 05/31/1874 to 06/27/1937; Ann M Dennison 04/23/1890 to 08/21/1979; Edwin Haldeman Dennison b. 1871 and d. 1931 (U.S. Consul in Dundee, 1914; Quebec City, 1920-29; U.S. Consul General in Christiania, 1916-17), and Mary Dennison b. 1876.
A Chicago Tribune article of 1882 describes the plight of William Neil Dennison's poor family, left back in Ohio after the Colonel's journey west, uncared for, living off the generosity of Dennison's parents, his wife forced to perform on stage to feed her children.
"She has four children, ranging from 4 to 9 years of age, and a husband living in Denver, who neither writes nor sends her a dollar, oblivious to her existence and to his four children. Gentlemen returning to Columbus who have seen him in Denver report that he makes money fast, and, in his princely style, anybody can share it with him—except his wife and children. Later in June of 1896, Horace Tabor was forced by the court to sell his opera house in Leadville, and the only bidder was — Col. Neil Dennison."
William Neil Dennison died December 31, 1904, and was buried in Green Lawn Cemetery, Columbus, Ohio.
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