Oliver Denious, a resident of Erie, Kansas, since 1894, has lived a life full of activity. His experiences have been in the role of a farm laborer, soldier, farmer, business man, public official, and wherever and in whatever place destiny has put him he has given a good account of his ability and character.
He was only twelve years of age when he became self supporting. That was back in Stark County, Ohio. His first work was to hire out to neighboring farmers, and though extremely young, he often did a man’s work. Naturally enough he had limited advantages to obtain an education, and the public schools he attended were in Stark County. After four years working for others he returned to his father’s place and put in one year after the age of sixteen on the old homestead.
His birth occurred at Greensburg, Summit County, Ohio, July 8, 1844. Although the Denious family came from Germany to Pennsylvania in early days, their ancestry was principally Scotch. Judge Denious’ grandfather was Michael Denious, who was born in Pennsylvania in 1790 and became a pioneer settler in Summit County, Ohio. He was both a farmer and blacksmith. He saw some active service as a soldier during the War of 1812, and his death occurred at Greentown, Ohio, in 1863.
Levi Denious, father of Oliver, was born in Summit County, Ohio, July 9, 1818, and in 1846 he removed to Stark County and died at New Berlin in that county July 17, 1903. During most of his years he followed the trade of carpenter and joiner, and during the winter months he worked at cabinet making. He was a democrat, a member of the Methodist Episcopal Church, and in every sense a good citizen. His wife Nancy Raber, was born in Stark County, Ohio, in 1818, and died at Greentown in that state in 1899. Of their six children, the first, a son, died in infancy. Lovina, who died at Akron, Ohio, was the wife of Martin Stover, who is a retired blacksmith at Akron. The third in age is Mr. Oliver Denious. Catherine, who lives at Greentown, Ohio, is the widow of George Krieghbaum, who was a lumberman and farmer. Leonard is a real estate man at New Berlin, Ohio. Sadie died at Greentown, Ohio, unmarried.
Oliver Denious at the age of eighteen left the farm to become a soldier of the Union. He enlisted in 1862 in the One Hundred and Fourth Begiment of Ohio Volunteer Infantry, being mustered in August 8, 1862, and serving nearly three years, until his honorable discharge on June 12, 1865. He was both an efficient and brave soldier. He fought in some of the greatest campaigns of the war, including the advance upon Atlanta with Sherman, and he was afterwards sent back into Tennessee and participated in the bloody battles of Franklin and Nashville. From there he and his command were sent into North Carolina and were in the Carolinas when the war closed.
The first year out of the army he spent farming in Stark County. He bought a saw mill at Mogadore, Ohio, and after operating it for sawing lumber two years he converted the machinery into a clay mill, and for eight years was a manufacturer of pottery goods. His next experience was in the City of Cleveland, where he followed the carpenter’s trade, and also worked as an employe of the Street Railway Company.
Mr. Denious has lived in Neosho County, Kansas, since 1883. The first five years he spent as a practical farmer and helped to develop some of the fertile soil of this region. In 1888 he was appointed postmaster of Galosburg, Kansas, and held that office through the Harrison administration and until Cleveland was elected for the second term. The people of Neosho County then elected him to one of the most important offices in the county government, that of probate judge, and he remained the incumbent two years until the populistic landslide of 1896 defeated him for re-election.
At the beginning of his term as probate judge he came to Erie in 1894, and on leaving office he bought a furniture and undertaking business. He now confines his attention entirely to undertaking, and has a first-class equipment and is one of the leading men in that business in the county.
Among other interests Judge Denious is president of the Building and Loan Association of Erie. His offices are on Third Street and he owns his residence on Fourth Street. In politics he is a republican, and while living in Ladore Township of Neosho County served as a member of the school board. Fraternally his affiliations are with Erie Lodge No. 676, Ancient Free and Accepted Masons; Akron Chapter, Royal Arch Masons, Erie Lodge No. 175, Ancient Order United Workmen, and with the Fraternal Aid Union. He is a member of Erie Post No. 311, Grand Army of the Republic, and is a past commander.
In 1866 at Greentown, Ohio, he married Miss Martha Moore, daughter of Joseph and Elizabeth (White) Moore. Both her parents are now deceased and her father spent his life as a farmer in Stark County, Ohio. Judge Denious and his wife have been married half a century, and their children are all grown and established in homes of their own. Ada is the wife of Robert E. Miller, who has charge of the Rock Island Implement Company’s branch offices at Omaha, Nebraska, where he resides. Lillie lives in Oklahoma and married Robert Hamilton. Wilbur is a successful attorney at Denver, Colorado. Jesse is editor of a paper at Dodge City, Kansas.