The story of the Dennis family in California starts with George W. Dennis coming here in 1849 as a slave. The story of his journey and buying his own freedom is fascinating. He later bought his mother's freedom, too. 1

George Washington Dennis (c.1825 – September 16, 1916) married Margaret A. Brown (Dennis) on June 21, 1855 in San Francisco, and they had 11 (or 13?) children. In 1856, Dennis bought a lot between Post, Geary, Hyde and Larkins streets for $1,550. He built a home there at 919 Post Street (pre-renumbering), where 4 of the children were born. c.1879 the family lived at 906 Jackson; c.1887 and later they lived at 2507 Bush Street in San Francisco. Margaret and George lived to celebrate their 50th wedding anniversary, and George's mother lived to age 105.

  • George Washington Dennis, Jr. (1857 – January 31, 1906) - Studied at UC College of the Law, San Francisco (then known as Hastings College of the Law); lawyer, delegate to the Democratic convention, and on the Board of Harbor Commissioners in SF. Died in Alameda, and is buried in St. Mary's Cemetery.
  • [James] Carlyle Dennis (c.1859 - c.1891) - worked as a butler for Mark Hopkins' family
  • Margaret ("Minnie") Louise Dennis (Benston) (June 11, 1861 – March 29, 1944) - first Black woman to graduate from San Francisco High School (and with honors), proficient in Spanish and Chinese. Taught in a private school for Chinese Americans. She had been offered a position as interpreter for the courts of San Francisco, but instead married Alfred Benston, a Civil War veteran.
    • Marguerite Benston (Evans) - valedictorian of a class of 700 at the Commercial High School in SF. Married Rufus L. Evans, a steward in the U.S. Navy.
  • Charlotte ("Lottie") Rice Dennis (Downs) (August 9, 1863 – March 4, 1952) - taught music c.1880
  • Abraham Lincoln ("Link") Dennis (1865 – June 29, 1909) worked as a clerk for Standard Oil, then opened Link Dennis' saloon on 7th Street. Sadly, he fell into debt and took his own life.
  • Edward Dennis - first Black police officer in SF
  • Joseph Dennis (December 23, 1875 – December 28, 1933) - was an altar boy at St. Dominica's Catholic Church. Married Inez (Rickerts) (Dennis); their daughter Elsie Rickerts was "a violinist and pianist and gives great promise as an artist with the brush." 1 He worked in the printing business.
  • William E. Dennis - worked as a clerk c.1883
  • Andrew Jackson Dennis - drove a hack (horse-drawn taxi) c.1880. In 1900 he was a porter for the California Commission to the Paris Exhibition in France. There was accusations of "grave offenses" by some of the commissioners, and Andrew was called on to give testimony. 2,3,4
  • Alexander Dennis
  • Julian Dennis

Links and References

  1. Negro trail blazers of California by Delilah Beasley, 1919
  2. Foote's Hard Blows Laid Truman Low San Francisco Examiner November 15, 1900
  3. Charges Paris Commission With Grave Offenses San Francisco Call February 1, 1901
  4. Was Afraid Foote Would Shoot Him San Francisco Examiner February 3, 1901