Denis was born in North Lawrence, New York, on March 27, 1871. As a youth, he was enrolled in public schools. He then attended Lawrenceville Academy and then State Teachers College in Potsdam, New York. Upon his college graduation, Denis accepted a position to teach school in Potsdam, where he worked from 1888-1889. He relocated to St. Marys, New York, where he taught from 1890-1891. Denis then served as the Principal of Public Schools in St. Marys, from 1892-1897.
In addition to teaching school, Denis studied law. He passed the bar in 1898. The same day, this patriotic educator enlisted as a private in the Sixteenth Regiment of the Pennsylvania National Guard. He then served in the Spanish American War. When his enlistment expired, Denis campaigned for Congress on the Democratic ticket, and was elected. He served there from 1935-1937. But this dedicated educator’s commitment to the field had not been forgotten. He served as President of the St. Marys School Board from 1911-1936.
Denis passed away on January 18, 1958, at the age of 86. He is interred in St. Marys Catholic Cemetery in St. Marys, New York.
To read more about this chalkboard champion, click on this link to the Biographical Directory of the U.S. Congress.