Charles Milford Denison

Submitted by Nancy Hauser


CHARLES MILFORD DENISON, of Whitesboro, was the son of Samuel Denison and Nancy Burlingame, and was born in the Town of Floyd, Oneida County, N. Y., April 3, 1822. He was a descendant of New England ancestry and prided himself upon the conspicuous part which his family had taken in molding the affairs of the young republic. He was a descendant of Captain George Denison and Captain Avery, of Stonington, Conn., both of whom were famous Indian fighters. He was also a descendant of Elder William Brewster, thee spiritual leader of that little coterie who came in the " Mayflower." He was a third cousin of Horatio Seymour and a second cousin of Vice-President Schuyler Colfax. 
    Mr. Denison received his education at Holland Patent Academy, Whitestown Seminary, and Clinton Liberal Institute. After leaving the latter institution he taught school for a time, and while thus engaged studied the rudiments of law. Having determined upon the practice of law as a profession, he entered the office of Foster & Baker, at Rome, which firm later became Foster & Bennett. The head of the firm was Henry A. Foster, at one time a United States Senator from New York. In those days it took the law student seven years to sufficiently qualify himself to be admitted to the bar.
    In four years Mr. Denison was admitted to practice in the Court of Common Pleas, and at the end of the prescribed
seven years was admitted to practice in the Supreme Court. This was in 1848.
    Within a short time he was admitted to partnership in the firm of Foster & Bennett, and later he was a partner of Mr.
Leahy, also of Rome. Afterward lie was associated professionally with George F. Bicknell and G. Harrison Lynch, the
latter having been Special County Judge and for a number of years Recorder of Rome. Mr. Denison continued to practice law in Rome up to 1870, but in 1868 he also established an office in Utica, in the Tibbitts block, and continued to occupy the same office until failing health compelled him to abandon his practice.
    Mr. Denison's life was one of exceptional activity. From early manhood he displayed a deep interest in politics, and so eminent were his qualifications for party leadership that in 1863 he was made Chairman of the Republican County
Committee, which position he held continuously until 1870. Again in 1879 he was called to the fore and was chairman for the two years following. As a political manager he has rarely been equaled. At the outbreak of the Civil War he was made a member of the committee appointed to assist in the recruiting and officering of regiments from Utica and vicinity for service in the South and in this work displayed much activity. From 1863 to 1870 he was Assessor of Internal Revenue with the exception of a few months when President Andrew Johnson removed all of Lincoln's appointees in the North, and when the Senate refused to confirm his successor. In 1872 he was appointed by Judge N. K. Hall United States Commissioner, and from the United States Circuit Court he received the appointment of Chief Supervisor of Elections for the Northern District of New York. He continued in both offices up to 1894, when the office of Chief Supervisor was abolished, and Mr. Denison declined re-appointment as Commissioner.
   In 1880 Governor Cornell appointed Mr. Denison Canal Appraiser and in this office he served a term of three years.
While serving as Assessor he was appointed special agent of time Treasury Department. He was one of Roscoe Conkling's most intimate friends and advisers in matters political, and was extremely active in the eection of Conkling in 1867 and in the election of Platt in 1880. He was a member of a number of Republican National and State conventions and of the celebrated convention in 1870. His loyalty to Conkling was supreme, and h was at Albany in charge of his canvass, after his resignation from the Senate, leading the historic twenty-nine in voting for Conkling's return until they were forced down by the opposition. At the funeral of Conkling, Mr. Denison was one of the bearers. He had a long and profitable practice at the bar and was identified with some of the largest and most important litigations in his part of the country. During the practice of his profession in Utica Mr. Denison made his home in Whitesboro in a beautiful residence on Main Street. He was identified with the old Utica Club. He was especially fond of the comforts and luxuries which the house affords, and many enjoyed his ready and generous hospitality. He was one of the charter members of the Carlton Island Club. He died in Whitesboro, November 5, 1900. In Rome, March 4, 1851, he married Cornelia, daughter of the late General Julius Pond, of Clinton. She died in February, 1898. Of the four children born to them only one survives, George E. Denison, of Utica.

Source: 'The Empire State in Three Centuries' Volume 3 Century History Company