Stories From The Grave
Warren Hirom Dennis
Final Resting Place Row 6, Plot 217
Warren Hirom Dennis was born in April, 1851 in a small town on the east coast called Moscow, Maine. The town was named after the Russian city that was burned by its citizens in 1812 to dislodge the French soldiers. When Warren was 17 years of age he traveled to California and settled in Lincoln, Placer County. He remained there for about a year and then traveled to other points in the state, finally settling in Bodie where he embraced the big mining boom. Tucked away in the eastern slopes of the Sierra, close to the Nevada border, Bodie was a bustling gold mining town that boomed from late 1877 through mid– to late 1880. At its peak, 65 saloons lined Main Street, which was a mile long. Murders, shootouts, barroom brawls, and stagecoach holdups were regular occurrences.
While living in Bodie, Warren made friends with several men from Tuolumne County and in 1884 he packed up his belongings and moved to Sonora. For a few years he was in charge of the ox team logging operations at the Empire and Hale mills. Then he became engaged in the livery stable business until he assumed the duties of the Marshal’s Office.
Warren Dennis stood 5’ 6”, with blue eyes and light hair. In 1894 Warren married Margaret Peters. Margaret was born in California on July 19, 1861. Her father, William Peters, was born in England and her mother in Germany. William Peters was born in 1823 and immigrated to the United States in 1849. After Margaret’s mother passed her father, William Peters, would live with Warren and Margaret until his passing in 1911.
Warren and Margaret purchased a home on 11 Snell Street in Sonora, where their 4 children were raised, Warren W. born in 1895, Francis J. born in 1896, Amelia (Millie) S. born in 1901, and Charlotte E. in 1905. It was a small farmhouse with a formal parlor, several bedrooms, and a small attached kitchen.
Warren was a city Marshal of Sonora for over a quarter of a century. Prior to the changing of the law in 1914 requiring the office of Marshal to be filled by appointment, Warren Dennis succeeded himself in the position at each biennial election, each time his majority vote increasing. When the office became an appointed one he was selected unanimously by the Board of Trustees. Warren was known as a courageous officer. He was devoted to preventing crimes rather than waiting for them to happen and apprehending the violators. As a Marshal his responsibilities also included collecting of property and license taxes. He was known to be efficient and thoroughly honest.
Warren Hirom Dennis passed away at the Sierra hospital at 5 o’clock in the morning on December 19, 1916 at the age of 65. Several months prior to his death the doctors had diagnosed him as having gall stones. They performed an operation; which was deemed necessary to prevent a fatal termination. His condition after the operation inspired hope for his recovery, but when indications were the brightest he seemed to grow weaker and weaker until his eyes closed in death. Margaret Dennis and her four children were left in sorrow at the loss of a kind husband and father.
President Scott, of the Board of Trustees, says that Warren Dennis was invaluable and that he doubted seriously that an equal could be found. Regret was expressed by all members of the Board of Trustees who were familiar with the good work done day in and day out for many years by the deceased Marshal. The funeral was conducted on Thursday December 21st, under the auspices of the Sonora Lodge #10 IOOF.
Margaret Dennis lived in the house at 11 Snell Street, with her daughter Amelia Kimball and Amelia’s husband Loyal Kimball, until she passed away in 1947. The home stayed in the family for at least another 35 years, when Roswald Green, Margaret’s son-in-law, sold it.
Since I live near Sonora, my desire was to find the old house on Snell Street. Maybe then I could introduce myself to the current owners, get a look inside, and share some of its history. Easier said than done! It would take much appreciated help from Vicky Hockett, at the Tuolumne County Assessor’s office, to find the old farm house. Sometime after Margaret passed, the house number had changed from 11 Snell Street to 99 Snell Street. With the correct address in hand I was off. The house looked quite small at first glance and it sat right on the road. The next thing I noticed was a “For Sale” sign on the porch. Unable to reach the Realtor, I settled for viewing 30 pictures of the house, inside and out, online. It looks like there have been a few additions since the house was originally built in the early 1900s and sadly the charm I was hoping to find was gone, but I am happy to have found the Dennis Home.
Written By Denine Urquhart
99 Snell Street in Sonora, California
Buried in the Dennis Plot in Row 6, Plot 217.
Warren Hirom Dennis April 1851 - 12/19/1916
Margaret Peters Dennis Wife 07/19/1861 – 09/12/1947
Charlotte “Toddy” Green Daughter 01/14/1905 – 12/10/1978
Roswald “Ros” A. Green Son-in-Law 1902 – 1990
Margaret May Peters Sister-in-Law 1866 – 1938 (Wife of Henry G. Peters)
Henry G. Peters Brother-in-Law 1857 – 1930
William Peters Father-in-Law 1822 – 1911
Frank Peters Brother-in-law 1859 - 08/31/1943
Edna Baker Unknown 1889 – 1918
Lila M. Russell Unknown 1915 – 1972
Helen W. Russel l Unknown 1894 – 1986
My Fair Point