Blakeslee, Dennis Albert Hon.


Hon. Dennis Albert Blakeslee is conducting business as a general contractor, specializing largely in railroad building. At the same time he has ever recognized the duties and obligations of citizenship and has rendered adequate return for the advantages of citizenship through service in office. Indeed, his name is written large on the pages of Connecticut's history, for he has been a member of its state senate, has been lieutenant governor and has also figured prominently in military circles.

He was born in New Haven. March 11, 1856, and in the paternal line comes from English ancestors, while in the maternal line he is of Scotch descent. His parents were Charles Wells and Martha Jane Blakeslee. The former was a well known contractor and was born near Westfield, Massachusetts. August 11, 1824, a son of Mathew Gilbert Blakeslee. He was ten years of age when his parents returned to Connecticut, after which he resided for a time in Hamden. Later he worked on a farm through the summer months, while in the winter seasons he attended school and while still quite young he began taking small contracts in New Haven. In 1844 he purchased his home property on George street and there engaged in farming on the land now occupied by Grace Hospital. In 1872 he began taking contracts for street paving and his business grew year by year until it reached mammoth proportions. In later years he admitted his sons to a partnership and finally they took over the responsibilities of the business, thus relieving the father of all care. He gave his political allegiance to the republican party from the time of its organization and his religious faith was that of the Methodist church, to the teachings of which he gave loyal support. Mr. Blakeslee was married twice. He first wedded Eliza Clark, a native of Milford, who passed away in New Haven. For his second wife he chose Martha Jane (Waters) Blair, the widow of Basil Blair, of New Haven. By her former marriage she had two children, William II. Blair and Mrs. Jasper Copley. The children born of the second marriage are Dennis A., Dwight Welsh, Phebe, Clarence. Mrs. Martha Lyman Law and Theodore R. The last named married Miss Addie Hawley and their children are Vera M., Gladys, Dwight W. and Frank.

From early youth Dennis A. Blakeslee had plenty of farm work to do, such as milking the cows, delivering milk and caring for the horses. He has never regretted the early training he received, however, and believes that all boys should have some regular work to do, as it inculcates habits of industry, thrift and perseverance. When he was sixteen years of age he started upon his life work as a timekeeper for his father on a contract at Bridgeport. He quickly learned the contracting business in principle and detail and has spent his entire life as a general contractor. In this undertaking he is associated with his brother and the firm has had many large and important contracts and has been most successful. They have largely specialized in railroad building and in this connection are widely known. Their interests are conducted under the firm style of C. W. Blakeslee & Sons.

On the 4th of December, 1878, Dennis Blakeslee was united in marriage to Miss Lizzie, Law and their children are Hattie K., Martha. Albert D., Harold L., Miles Grant and Dorothy. The parents are members of the Congregational church and fraternally Mr. Blakeslee is connected with the Masons. His political support is given to the republican party and in 1880 and 1881 he was a member of the New Haven common council. From 1884 until 1890 he served as fire commissioner of New Haven and later was called upon for more important public service. In 1906 he was elected a member of the state senate for a two years' term and in 1908 was reelected to that office, so that he remained a member of the upper house of the state legislature for five years. His position upon any vital question is never an equivocal one. He thoroughly studies the questions and issues of the day, carefully considers each public problem from every possible standpoint and when once he has determined upon a course never falters in his advocacy thereof. He has also been lieutenant governor of Connecticut and for twenty-five years has been numbered among the most loyal and influential republicans of the state. For eight years he was a member of the Second Company of the Governor's Horse Guard and for part of that time was major in command of the organization. His life work has brought him prominently before the public and among the leading men of Connecticut the record of none has perhaps been more faultless in honor, fearless in conduct or stainless in reputation.

Modern History of New Haven
Eastern New Haven County


Volume II

New York Chicago
The S. J. Clarke Publishing Company 

pg 177 - 178

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pages / text are copyrighted by
Elaine Kidd O'Leary & 
Anne Taylor-Czaplewski
May 2002