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Judge Dennistoun, of the County Court of Peterborough County, was born at Camis Eskan, Dumbarton, Scotland, January 18, 1815. His father, James Dennistoun, of Dennistoun, was a country gentleman, commander of Dumbartonshire Yeomanry, and Deputy-Lieutenant of the county, and the maiden name of his mother was Mary Oswald. The history of the Dennistoun family is found in Andeison’s”The Scottish Nation,” and shows it to be very ancient. Sir Hugh Dennistoun founded the branch known as “colgrain,” 1296, in which branch we find the name of Judge Dennistoun, of Peterborough, who is the sixteenth generation from Sir Hugh. James Wallis Dennistoun, nephew of the Judge, is the present representative of the family, being in the seventeenth generation.
The subject of this biographical notice was educated principally in his native county; came to Upper Canada in 1834; settled in the Township. of Fenelon, County of Victoria; farmed there until 1844, then commenced the study of law; was called to the Bar at Osgoode Hall, Toronto, Easter Term, 1849, and practiced in Peterborough, nearly twenty years, being created a Queen’s Counsel meanwhile in 1867. The next year he was appointed to the Bench, as already mentioned. When practicing at the Bar he was regarded as sound and perfectly honest, and on the Bench he maintains his character for uprightness and integrity, and in his judgment is clear and impartial.
While a resident of Fenelon, Judge Dennistoun was connected with the militia, and held the commission of Captain, and subsequently was Lieutenant-Colonel 5th Peterborough battalion. He has been elder in the Presbyterian Church since 1858, and is much respected for the high tone of his Christian character.
In 1839, Maxwell, daughter of Major Robert Hamilton of the 79th regiment, became the
wife of Judge Dennistoun; and of six children, the result of this union, five are living, James Frederic Dennistoun, Q.C., and Robert Hamilton Dennistoun, barrister-at-law, are in practice together in Peterborough; George Alexander, the other son, is in the hardware business, Peterborough; Margaret is the wife of Professor McKerras, of Queen’s College, Kingston, and the younger daughter is securing her education.
“Inverlea,” the home of Judge Dennistoun, a thirteen acre lot, lying in the northern out skirts of the town, on the banks of the dashing Otonabee, is one of the most delightful spots in the County of Peterborough, and is fitted up with a great deal of neatness. We understand Inverlea” is a Gaelic word, meaning the sheltered valley. This is just such a home as a poet would be likely to choose, were he able to own it.