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History of the Mohawk Valley: Gateway to the West 1614-1925
Alfred D. Dennison

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[This information is from Vol. III, pp. 543-544 of History of the Mohawk Valley: Gateway to the West 1614-1925, edited by Nelson Greene (Chicago: The S. J. Clarke Publishing Company, 1925). It is in the Reference collection of the Schenectady County Public Library at R 974.7 G81h. This online edition includes lists of portraits, maps and illustrations. As noted by Paul Keesler in his article, "The Much Maligned Mr. Greene," some information in this book has been superseded by later research or was provided incorrectly by local sources.]

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Alfred D. Dennison, district attorney for Fulton county, has achieved prominence in the legal profession in Johnstown and vicinity by reason of his long and highly successful career as an attorney in this city. A native of Johnstown, he was born September 19, 1880, the son of James Alfred and Ella C. (Dudley) Dennison. His father was born in the state of Missouri and although he was under age he served in the union army during the Civil war. At the close of the war he secured an appointment to the United States Military Academy at West Point, from which he duly graduated and then served in the regular army for four years. Abandoning his military career, he later took up the study of law in Albany and practiced his profession in Little Falls, New York, for two years. At the end of this period he again responded to the call to arms, this time receiving an appointment as a major in the Egyptian army for service in the war against Abyssinia, which lasted for about two years. When he returned to the United States and the pursuits of civilian life, this veteran of two wars resumed his legal work as a partner of his father-in-law, James M. Dudley, of Johnstown, with whom he was closely associated until the early '80s, when he was appointed deputy attorney general for New York under Judge Leslie Russell. This connection led to his forming a partnership with Judge Russell for the practice of law in New York city, where he remained in active life until his death on July 12, 1900. During his residence in New York city he entered the National Guard, rising to the rank of lieutenant colonel of the Seventy-first Regiment, New York city. Mrs. Dennison is still living and resides in Johnstown, her girlhood home. She is a member of the Dudley and Swartout families which have descended from good old pre-Revolutionary stock. Her ancestors originally were settled on Long Island but with the opening up of the Mohawk valley they drifted northward to this vicinity, where they have been actively identified with the history and growth of the state for generations.

Alfred D. Dennison was reared and educated in Johnstown and New York city, attending the public and high schools of this state. He prepared for a career in law by taking the course of the Albany Law School, from which he graduated in 1903 with the LL.B. degree. After leaving college he spent one year as a librarian clerk in the department of law at West Point, whence he came to Johnstown to become associated with his uncle, Harwood Dudley, in the practice of law. This partnership was continued with both pleasure and profit to the two principals until the death of Mr. Dudley, which occurred in 1915. Since then Mr. Dennison has been practicing alone.

On June 22, 1911, Mr. Dennison was united in marriage to Miss Marguerite R. France, daughter of the Rev. Joseph H. and Hannah (James) France, natives of Washington, D. C. Mr. France has been in the ministry of the Presbyterian church all of his life and has recently retired to make his home in Naples, New York. Mrs. France died in 1912. Mr. and Mrs. Dennison have become the parents of three children, a son and two daughters: Marguerite D., born May 9, 1912; Alfred Dudley, Jr., born January 6, 1914; and Frances, born June 27, 1924.

Mr. Dennison is a republican in his politics and has been quite active in party affairs. In 1923 he was elected district attorney of Fulton county and is now serving in that responsible office. During the World war he gave his country the benefits of his legal ability by serving on the legal advisory committee for this district and to this patriotic work he gave unstintingly of his time and energies. As an Episcopalian Mr. Dennison has been prominent in the work of the local parish, holding the position of vestryman and directing the Sunday school as its superintendent. He is likewise a leading member of the Masonic fraternity, being past master of Patrick Lodge, No. 4 [i.e., St. Patrick's], A. F. & A. M. and district deputy grand master of the Mohawk valley District in 1916 and 1917. His clubs are the Colonial and Sir William Johnson Country Clubs. In connection with his profession Mr. Dennison maintains membership in the Johnstown Bar Association, of which he is president. This lawyer comes from families that have been distinguished for their legal ability and doubtless inherits a taste for the law. To whatever natural inclination he may have had toward his profession, he has added a keen intellect, thorough study and that determination to succeed without which no man, however talented he may be, rises above the level of mediocrity. Mr. Dennison has not only upheld the professional standards set by his predecessors, but he has done more; he has made a name and a reputation for himself that reflects only credit upon his character and ability.

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