C. B. Dennison General Merchant

Born at Penrith, England about 1799, John Dennison held a commission in the British army serving in the Peninsular war and in India under a commanding officer named Sir Charles Stapleton Cotton, Viscount of Combermere Abbey in Cheshire, England. John was a senior officer in the wars mentioned. In 1821, Captain Dennison married Anne Sanderson of Edinburgh, Scotland.

In 1833 the Dennison family, including children Mary, Elizabeth and John Jr. emigrated to Canada and settled in Quebec City. Here the couple had two more children, Henry and Anne.

Some time in 1852, Captain Dennison and his family moved to Ottawa, Ontario where for four years he operated a distillery. Then, upon leaving Ottawa the family made its way up the Ottawa River to what is now Renfrew County (formed in 1861) where steady immigration was expanding the country. In recognition of his military service, Dennison received a free land grant. The family settled on a narrow section of the Madawaska River where he constructed and operated an Inn, around which grew a sizable settlement bearing the name “Dennison’s Bridge”.

About 1910, Charles Bertram or “C. B.” Dennison, son of John Jr. and grandson of Captain John Dennison built and operated a general store along with his wife, called “C. B. Dennison General Merchant” at this location. C.B. was a Township Reeve and later became County Warden. The business sold all kinds of merchandise as well as selling gasoline and oils. On the porch of the store there was a metal tank with a hand crank that dispensed kerosene to customers. Also there was a wooden barrel that dispensed vinegar. The store operated until C. B.’s death in 1941. The Dennisons lived in a large two-storey house on Mill Street beside the Hudson House property.

The building next to the store was a residence occupied by Roy Dennison and then William Parcher who was the younger brother to Aaron Parcher (Mayflower pilot). In 1959, all of these buildings were demolished to make way for the construction and approach to Ontario’s first curved, sloped concrete bridge completed in 1960.

COMBERMERE HERITAGE WALK, A PROJECT BY THE COMBERMERE HERITAGE SOCIETY INC. – 2013