Since the early days of opening of the reservation, the subject of this sketch has toiled well here with display of wisdom and industry in the manipulation of the resources of the County and the result is that he now owns a fine farm one-half mile west from Mohler of one hundred and sixty acres and he operates eighty more.

James Dennis was born in Wyandotte County, Ohio, on August 10, 1849, being the son of Jonas I. and Sarah (Henry) Dennis, natives of Ohio and Pennsylvania, respectively. The father, who was a tanner, was born in 1814 and died in Wisconsin, on January 14. 1857. His parents were pioneers in Ohio, as he was in Wisconsin. The mother of our subject came from an old Dutch family and she died March 18, 1893.

James was reared and educated in Wisconsin and when eighteen went to Marion County, Iowa. There and in Madison County he remained eleven years. In the spring of 1878, he went to Kansas and later returned to Cass County, Iowa. In 1882 he came to Cheney, Washington, with the Hoyt Colony. They shipped wagons and horses to Silver Bow, Montana, and went thence over the old Mullan road to Washington. He labored at railroading near Sandpoint and in 1883 took a homestead near Oakesdale. In the spring of 1893 he sold out and bought property in Oakesdale. In 1897 Mr. Dennis leased school land where he now lives and on December 24, 1901. he purchased the same at auction. He has done excellent work in farming and enjoys the proper reward of thrift and industry.

On January 10, 1876, Mr. Dennis married Miss Ruhama R., daughter of Justus and Nancy E. (Cain) Wade. The father, a plasterer by trade, was born in 1839 and enlisted in an Iowa regiment and died from exposure in the war, in December, 1866. The mother was born on February 20, 1836, in Indiana, and now lives in Spokane. Mrs. Dennis was born in Lucas County, Iowa, on October 6, 1858, and has five brothers and sisters, George W., Justus E., Victoria Gertz, Cora Ingalls, Flora Willis. The brothers and sisters of Mr. Dennis are named as follows: John, Flora A. Baker, Mary E. McMillen, William, Margaret Long, Charles, Isaiah, Edward, Jennie, deceased, Ira. To Mr. and Mrs. Dennis one child, Nellie M. Giles was born on May 25, 1877, who is now living in Mohler.

Mr. and Mrs. Dennis are members of the Methodist Church.

Back to: Nez Perce Biographies

Source: An Illustrated History of Northern Idaho, Embracing Nez Perce, Idaho, Latah, Kootenai and Shoshone Counties, Western Historical Publishing Company, 1903