October 8, 1866, Lebanon, Missouri.
November 5, 1945, Erick, Oklahoma.
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.
Dennis began composing shortly thereafter, with one of his first songs being Saved to Serve in 1901. 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.
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.
where to get a better photo of Dennis