Elmer Eugene Dennis

Elmer Eugene Dennis is one of the progressive and enterprising citizens and business men of Grand Rapids, is know as an authority in all details of the lumber industry and business and is president of the E. E. Dennis Lumber Company, with offices in the Michigan Trust Building. Mr. Dennis was born in Oakfield township, Kent county, Michigan, December 28, 1861, and is a son of Leonard L. and Susan (Corey) Dennis, both natives of the state of New York and both representative of families that were founded in Michigan in the pioneer days, the paternal grandparents of the subject of this review having made the journey from Macomb county to Kent county with wagon and ox team, in the early fifties and having settled in Oakfield township, this county. The Dennis family came in the early fifties and gained pioneer precedence in Kent county, their arrival here having occurred prior to the construction of any railroad in this section of Michigan, and theirs having been a full share of hardships, trials and arduous labors that attended the development of a pioneer farm. On the old Dennis homestead farm is still standing a barn of hewed logs that was built by Leonard L. Dennis, father of him whose name initiates this sketch, he having used a hewing or broad axe to prepare the pine logs for use in this building, which is now one of the venerable landmarks in Oakfield township. Both parents passed the remainder of their lives in Kent county, the father dying December 11, 1896, and the mother September 8, 1895. Both are buried in Oakhill cemetery, Grand Rapids. The early education of Elmer E. Dennis was acquired in the Lincoln Lake district school in Oakfield township, and was limited in scope, as he early began to assist in the work of the home farm, in which connection his services were needed so that after twelve years of age he attended only the winter terms of school. He continued his active association with farm work until he was twenty years old, and he then found employment in the great lumber woods further north in the state. In this connection he gained valuable experience, including accurate knowledge of timber values, and after saving from his earnings of six years the sum of $500 he utilized the same as the basis of his independent operations in the lumber business, of which he is now one of the veteran representatives in Grand Rapids, where he has been continuously engaged in this line of enterprise since the summer of 1889, being alone for one year, after which his brother Alvin was associated with him in the business for seventeen years under the firm name of Dennis Brothers, and after the severing of this alliance in 1908, a corporation was formed in 1910, Mr. Dennis admitting his son, Roy E. to partnership, under the title of Dennis Lumber Company, Incorporated. From the beginning Mr. Dennis applied himself diligently and with circumspection in acquiring full knowledge of the varied details of the lumber industry, its conditions and requirements, and thus he has broad and accurate information pertaining to this important line of industrial and commercial enterprise. The corporation owns and operates several sawmills in the better lumbering districts still remaining in Michigan, and they have gained substantial success in their well ordered activities, so that, after forty-three years of close application, he is able to relegate to a large degree the active management of the business to his son, Roy E., who has been his efficient and valued coadjutor. Mr. Dennis, also his son Roy, are affiliated with the Masonic fraternity, including the Mystic Shrine, and he has membership in the Peninsular Club of Grand Rapids and the Detroit Athletic Club. In 1887 Mr. Dennis wedded Miss Cora Finch, whose death occurred April 17, 1889, and who is survived by one son, Roy E., who as noted, is associated with his father in business, he having married Miss Katherine Hartman, daughter of John Hartman, of Grand Rapids. In 1898 was solemnized the second marriage of E. E. Dennis to Miss Kathryn Jenison, of Jenisonville, Michigan. Mrs. Dennis is a popular figure in the social and cultural circles of Grand Rapids, where she is president of the grand Rapids Art Association, an active member of the St. Cecelia Club, a zealous supporter of hospital work and a member and earnest worker in the Westminster Presbyterian Church.


Transcriber: Nancy Myers
Created: 24 March 2005
URL: http://kent.migenweb.net/white1924/personal/dennisee.html