Dennison, William

Life Span
to
Full name
William Dennison Jr.
Place of Birth
Birth Date Certainty
Exact
Death Date Certainty
Exact
Gender
Male
Race
White
Sectional choice
North
Origins
Free State
No. of Spouses
1
No. of Children
7
Family
William Dennison (father), Mary Carter (mother), Anna Eliza Neil (wife, 1840)
Education
Other
Other Education
Miami University, OH
Occupation
Politician
Attorney or Judge
Relation to Slavery
White non-slaveholder
Political Parties
Whig
Republican
Government
Lincoln Administration (1861-65)
Governor

William Dennison (American National Biography)

Scholarship
[Dennison] was an active leader in the first national Republican organizational meeting in Pittsburgh in 1856 and a prominent member of the convention that nominated John C. Frémont for president later that year. A frequent adviser on financial matters for Ohio's first Republican governor, Salmon P. Chase, Dennison was chosen in 1859 to run as his successor. Although the cool and aloof Dennison had never cultivated the common touch, he conducted a vigorous campaign, debating his opponent, Rufus Ranney, and calling in Abraham Lincoln, among others, to stump for him. He won with 51.9 percent of the popular vote.

The outbreak of the Civil War dominated Dennison's governorship. Like most northern governors, he found the task of organizing and equipping tens of thousands of volunteers an administrative nightmare. Unable to anticipate everything that might go wrong, he often had to react after disaster struck. Troops were ordered to assemble before they could be adequately quartered or fed. They suffered from disease in ill-chosen campsites. Weapons and supplies could only be found by paying exorbitant prices. Delays were inevitable but seemed intolerable to those who did not understand the difficulties. Dennison belatedly reorganized his staff, appointed George B. McClellan, who had extensive military and management experience, as major general over Ohio's volunteers, and systematized recruiting by mobilizing local elites into committees charged with organizing rallies and speakers. When he left office Ohio had met its recruitment goals and had a manpower surplus.
Phyllis F. Field, "Dennison, William," American National Biography Online, February 2000, http://www.anb.org/articles/04/04-00311.html.
How to Cite This Page: "Dennison, William," House Divided: The Civil War Research Engine at Dickinson College, http://hd.housedivided.dickinson.edu/node/5562.