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DENNIS, ISAAC N.

DENNIS, ISAAC N. (1829–1910). Isaac N. Dennis, lawyer, legislator, planter, and Confederate soldier, was born in the Dallas County, Alabama, community of Marian on June 25, 1829. He attended Richmond College in Dallas County, Alabama, and studied law in Cambridge, Massachusetts, before being admitted to the bar at Cahaba, Alabama, in December 1850. He moved to Texas from Marian and on January 2, 1853, settled at Wharton, where he established a legal partnership with Judge George Quinan. In August 1855 he was elected to represent Wharton and Matagorda counties in the Sixth Legislature; he was reelected in 1857 to serve in the Seventh and in 1859 to the Eighth Legislature. Dennis served as chairman of the Committee on State Affairs and of the Committee on Engrossed Bills and was a prominent candidate for attorney general at the time of secession.

During the Civil War he served on the staff of Brig. Gen. Paul Octave Hébert and saw duty in Texas, Arkansas, and Louisiana. At the end of the war he returned to Caney Creek in Texas and became a planter. A succession of poor crop years, however, forced him to return to the legal profession. In 1879 he was returned to the House of Representatives when Matagorda, Galveston, Brazoria, and Wharton counties elected him to the Eighteenth Legislature. In that session he chaired the Committee on Federal Relations.

On January 13, 1853, Dennis married Patience L. Texas Horton, the daughter of former lieutenant governor Albert C. Horton; they had one child. After her death in 1863 he married Sadie Hinton in 1865, and then, after her death in 1869, he married Maggie Knox; with Maggie he had five children. Maggie Dennis died in 1886, and Isaac Dennis on March 25, 1910. He was a Baptist, a Mason, an Odd Fellow, and a Democrat.

BIBLIOGRAPHY: 
H. L. Bentley and Thomas Pilgrim, Texas Legal Directory for 1876–77 (Austin: Democratic Statesman Office, 1877). William DeRyee and R. E. Moore, The Texas Album of the Eighth Legislature, 1860 (Austin: Miner, Lambert, and Perry, 1860). Galveston Weekly Journal, February 11, 1853. Frank W. Johnson, A History of Texas and Texans (5 vols., ed. E. C. Barker and E. W. Winkler [Chicago and New York: American Historical Society, 1914; rpt. 1916]). Memorial and Genealogical Record of Southwest Texas (Chicago: Goodspeed, 1894; rpt., Easley, South Carolina: Southern Historical Press, 1978).
Thomas W. Cutrer

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Handbook of Texas Online, Thomas W. Cutrer, "Dennis, Isaac N.," accessed April 29, 2016, http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/fde41.

Uploaded on June 12, 2010. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.