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Dennis Marion Cason

By Spessard Stone

Dennis M. Cason, a pioneer settler of Wauchula, was a veteran of the Third Seminole War, Confederate soldier, farmer, carpenter, educator, and justice of the peace.

Dennis Marion Cason was born June 6, 1837 in Madison County, Florida. He was the fourth of eight children of Silas and Abigail (Langford) Cason. The Cason family was living in Escambia, Florida in 1840 and Madison Township in the 1850 census.

During the Third Seminole War, Dennis served as a corporal from February 23, 1858 to May 17, 1858 in Capt. Leroy G. Lesley's Independent Company of Florida Mounted Volunteers and was discharged at Fort Brooke. He was described as being: 6 feet 1 inch, with light complexion, gray eyes, sandy hair and a farmer by occupation.

In Madison County, Florida on December 20, 1860, Dennis married Mytelda Rosewell Lee, born August 23, 1845, daughter of Elam Zadock and Anna (Dill) Lee.

During the Civil War, Dennis M. Cason enlisted in May 1862 at Midway, Fla. in Company E, 3rd Florida Infantry, C. S. A. At the time of his surrender at Greensboro, North Carolina in May 1865, Dennis later related that only eight men were left in his company.

Dennis returned to Madison County where the 1870 census recorded the family outside the town of Madison, postoffice Moseley Hall, but, in 1874, he moved to South Florida and lived one year at Fort Green, twelve miles northwest of Wauchula. He then purchased property one mile north of English, which in 1887 became Wauchula.

Dennis was a farmer, carpenter, and an educator. Jean Plowden in his History of Hardee County noted that there few schools in what is now Hardee County as late as 1895. An entry in the records, dated June 4, 1895, showed four new schools established: Brushy Creek, Popash, Wauchula, and Florence on Payne's Creek. D. M. Cason was supervisor of the Wauchula district. Margaret Stringer in Watch Wauchula Win remarked of Mr. Cason: "He had helped to build the school. He had always been interested in the education of the children and encouraged parents to enroll their children in the new school, since education was not compulsory."

Dennis for years was a justice of the peace for the Wauchula district and had been re-elected just prior to his death.

Dennis and Mytelda were of the Baptist faith. Along with Albert Carlton, Lewis Carlton, Edward F. Bostick, Zachariah F. McEwen, and Lodusky McEwen, they were charter members of Fort Hartsuff Baptist Church, founded 1876. Dennis and Lewis Carlton were the church's first deacons. The church later became the First Baptist Church of Wauchula. He was a member until death.

Mytelda Lee Cason died December 1, 1885 and was buried in the Wauchula Cemetery.

On April 13, 1886, Dennis married (2) Mrs. Martha Elizabeth Burnett Brown, born May 18, 1859, daughter of Payton Burnett. She was the widow of a Mr. Brown, by whom she had two children, Roscoe and Walter Brown.

On September 3, 1907 Dennis applied for a Confederate pension from his service in the 3rd Fla. J. H. Murphy of Lily and Humphrey Keen of Arcadia gave supporting affidavits. His claim was approved December 28, 1907, with pay from September 9, 1907, at the rate of $120 per annum, certificate no. 5423. Reapplying under the Act of 1909, Dennis listed his property to consist of: 40 acres of land, located at Wauchula, valued at $2,500; personal property of $50; a note for $25; a bank account of $143.89. He reported a disability "rupture on right side and left side at lower part of abdomen." His pension was continued at $120 per annum. Dennis was a member of Camp 1403 of the United Confederate Veterans, DeSoto County, Florida. One of his greatest pleasures was attending meetings of the veterans. After his death, Martha Cason, his widow received a $120 per annum pension from his service.

Dennis Marion Cason died of septic poisoning on November 10, 1910 and was buried in Wauchula Cemetery.

By his first wife, Mytelda (Lee) Cason, Dennis had children 1 to 8, while he and his second wife, Martha (Burnett) Cason, he had children 9 to 11, as follows:

1. Thomas Bradford Cason, born January 17, 1862; died January 4, 1936; married on August 9, 1888 Rosa Burnett.
2. John Lisbon Cason, born February 19, 1866; died in childhood.
3. Margaret Delila Cason, born Sept. 15, 1867; died Jan. 5, 1958; married on April 17, 1884 Thomas Jefferson Durrance.
4. Benjamin Plato Cason, born July 25, 1872; married Lelia Brantley, July 15, 1896.
5. Annie Jane Cason, born August 25, 1874; married E. M. Barton, June 9, 1892.
6. Ruby Pauline Cason, born January 31, 1879; married Ira L. Bryan.
7. George Tompkies Cason, born December 10, 1880; married Astella Sarah Rowley.
8. Theodocia Vandillia Cason, born February 3, 1885; married George D. Rhodes.
9. Vera Frances Cason, born July 14, 1888; married T. J. Miller.
10. Lorenzo Dow Cason, born April 27, 1891; died in childhood (not listed as a survivor in his father's obituary).
11. Philip York Cason, born June 8, 1894.

References: Ruby Cason Iliff, The Life and Times of Dennis Marion Cason; South Florida Pioneers 43/44 (Jan./Apr. 1985) 22-24; Confederate pension application file of Dennis M. Cason, Florida Archives, Tallahassee; The Tampa Morning Tribune, January 10, 1909; Albert and Parke DeVane, DeVane’s Early Florida History, Volume 2.; Jean Plowden, History of Hardee County, 1929; Margaret Stringer, Watch Wauchula Win. This article is adapted from the author’s profile of Cason in The Herald-Advocate of July 16, 1987.

September 30, 2001 & June 27, 2004, photo from Margaret Stringer's Watch Wauchula Win Facts, Figures and Fun - 1886-1930, 1979, p. 71.