Born: Oc­to­ber 8, 1866, Le­ba­non, Mis­sou­ri.

Died: No­vem­ber 5, 1945, Er­ick, Ok­la­ho­ma.

Buried: Er­ick Ce­me­te­ry, Er­ick, Ok­la­ho­ma.



John was the son of Jas­per Den­nis and Ca­ro­line Rop­er, and hus­band of Su­san Eliz­a­beth Low­rance (mar­ried 1886).

He be­came in­ter­est­ed in mu­sic ear­ly in life, and had his first les­sons at a sing­ing school in White Oak Pond, Mis­sou­ri, taught by J. E. Fra­zier in Ju­ly 1884.

By 1887, he was teach­ing his first sing­ing school in Com­pe­ti­tion, Mis­sou­ri, and con­tin­ued to teach for two years in Mis­sou­ri and Kan­sas. An­th­ony Sho­wal­ter is quot­ed as say­ing of him, He is the lead­ing teach­er in the Great South­west. He has no su­per­i­ors, and few eq­uals.

In 1895, Den­nis and his fa­mi­ly moved to De­ca­tur, Tex­as, and the same year he at­tend­ed a ses­sion of An­tho­ny Sho­wal­ter’s Sou­thern Nor­mal Mu­sic In­st­itute (SNMI) in near­by Al­vord, Texas.

Dennis gra­du­ated from the SNMI in Child­ress, Texas, in 1900, then took a post-gra­du­ate course the same year in Al­vord.

Dennis be­gan com­pos­ing short­ly there­af­ter, one of his first songs be­ing Saved to Serve in 1901.

He con­tin­ued his mu­sic­al work, as­so­ci­ated with Ho­ra­tio Pal­mer, An­tho­ny Sho­wal­ter, G. H. Sho­wal­ter and Ru­fus Cor­ne­li­us.

He was in­volv­ed in pub­lish­ing a num­ber of song books, in­clud­ing Home Gos­pel Songs No. I and No. II, the pro­ceeds from which went to sup­port an or­phan­age in Tip­ton, Ok­la­ho­ma.

In 1905, Den­nis and his fa­mi­ly moved to the Del­hi Com­mun­i­ty in In­di­an Ter­ri­to­ry, near Sayre, Ok­la­ho­ma, where he bought 80 acres and re­sumed farm­ing.




Help Needed

If you know where to get a bet­ter photo of Den­nis,