Judge Dennis Joseph Slavin, learned in the law, his legal career recognized by continuous progress, has made an excellent record in the courts and as a jurist. He was born March 10, 1872, in Waterbury, being a representative of the family, in the third generation residents of this city. The Slavins are of Irish lineage. The grandfather and the father of Judge Slavin, both of whom bore the name of James, were born in Ireland. The latter came to the new world in 1853 and was followed by his parents in 1855. James Slavin, Sr., was at that time a man of fifty-seven years, his birth having occurred in Queens county, Ireland. in 1798, and throughout his remaining days, covering a decade and a half, lived retired. enjoying a well earned rest. He was a devout Catholic, faithful to all the duties of the church, and in that faith passed away at the age of seventy-two years. He had many attractive qualities, including a genial disposition and kindly manner, and in his new home he made friends of all with whom he came in contact. He wedded Mary Brennan, who was also born in Queens county, Ireland, and was seventy years of age when she passed away in Waterbury in 1871. Their children were Sarah, John, William, James, Mary, Margaret, Joseph and Dennis, all of whom have departed this life.
Of this family, James Slavin, Jr., was born at Balnakill. Queens county, Ireland, in 1832, and while still a youth became imbued with the desire to come to the new world. As won as he had attained his majority, he therefore, perfected his plan to leave Ireland and emigrate to the United States, where he arrived on the 13th of April, 1853. He at once established his home in Waterbury, where he took up the contracting business in connection with the firm of Rogers & Brother. He built up a good trade with that firm with which he was associated until his demise. Like his forbears he adhered to the faith of the Catholic church, which he ever loyally and generously supported. His political allegiance was given to the democratic party. In 1866 he was united in marriage to Miss Mary Duggan, who was born in Abbeyleigh, Queens county, Ireland, in 1847, a daughter of Dennis and Mary (Fitzpatrick) Duggan, who about 1847 crossed the Atlantic to the new world, the father becoming one of the pioneer workers in the East Mill Brass Works. He was sixty-five years of age when called to his final rest, while his wife, long surviving him, reached the advanced age of eighty~eight years. Their children were: Mary, Michael and Andrew, all deceased; Catherine; Julia; and John. The first named became the wife of James Slavin, Jr., and they were separated by death when on the 13th of April, 1893, the wife was called to the home beyond. The death of Mr. Slavin occurred at Waterbury. January 26, 1896. They were parents of eight children: Andrew, who died in Waterbury; Dennis J.; James, who passed away in Waterbury; John, a pressman of Waterbury; Michael F., who is filling the office of assistant registrar in Waterbury; Frances, a Sister of Charity now in Jersey City, New Jersey; Edward Joseph, physician and surgeon of New York city: and William, who is engaged in electrical engineering in the metropolis.
The eldest living son of the family, Judge Dennis Joseph Slavin, was a pupil in the public schools of Waterbury until he completed the high school course when a youth of but sixteen years. He had displayed special aptitude in his studies and he naturally turned to the "learned professions" in choosing his life work. Entering upon the study of law in the office and under the direction of the law firm of Burpee & Carmody he thus prepared for the bar and successfully passed the required examinations in 1901. Judge Slavin at once opened a law office in Waterbury and successfully practiced until 1911, when he was elected judge of the probate court. However, he had had some business experience in early manhood, for before his admission to the bar he had served as cashier of the American Pin company. He was also clerk of the common council of Waterbury until the office was discontinued. He filled the position of probate judge for two terms following the election of 1911, and in 1916 was again chosen to that position. He is splendidly equipped for the work and his rulings have been widely satisfactory. He is, moreover, a wise counselor and learned lawyer, who in bar practice is resourceful, while his reasoning is clear and convincing.
On the 26th of November, 1896, in Waterbury, Judge Slavin was united in marriage to Miss Mary Agnes Dwyer, a native of Hartford, Connecticut. and a daughter of John and Mary (Gorman) Dwyer. The latter died during the infancy of her little daughter but Mr. Dwyer is still a resident of Waterbury. Judge and Mrs. Slavin have become parents of five children: Helen Marie, who was born October 14, 1897, and was graduated in 1916 from Notre Dame Convent; James, born June 20, 1905; Edward Joseph, born December 23, 1907: Maureen, born February 14. 1909; and Frances Barbara, born July 20, 1914.
Judge Slavin votes with the democratic party and in religion as in politics holds to the faith of his fathers, being an active and influential member of the Church of the Sacred Heart, with which he has been identified since the organization of the parish. He is a fourth degree member of the Knights of Columbus and also belongs to the Holy Name Society. He has membership in the Independent Order of Foresters and the nature of his interests is further indicated in his connection with the Concordia Singing Society, the Ancient Order of Hibernians, the Sarsfield Club and the Vorwaerts. He is social by nature. genial in disposition, strong in purpose and nurturing in support of any cause which he espouses.
History of Waterbury and the Naugatuck Valley, Connecticut, Volume III
by W.J. Pape, S.J. Clarke Publishing Company, Chicago and New York, 1918.
Three generations of Slavins have resided in Waterbury, Judge Dennis J. Slavin, his father; James (2) Slavin, and his grandfather, James (1) Slavin. James Slavin, father and son, were both of Irish birth as were their wives, and while both died and are buried in Waterbury they did not come here together, the coming of the son in 1853 antedating the coming of the father by two years. Dennis Duggan, maternal grandfather of Judge Slavin, was also of Irish birth, coming to Waterbury earlier than the Slavins and there died at the age of sixty-five years. He came to Waterbury about 1845 and was one of the pioneer workers in the East Mill Brass Works. Dennis Duggan married Mary Fitzpatrick, who died at the age of eighty-eight years. Their children were: Mary, married James Slavin; Michael, Andrew, all deceased; Catherine, Julia and John. Dennis Duggan died in Waterbury in 1858. aged about sixty-eight. Like the Slavins, he was born in Queens county, Ireland.
James Slavin was a man fifty-seven years of age when he joined his son James in Waterbury, and during his fifteen years of residence lived a quiet retired life, free from business cares, living to be seventy-two years of age. He was a devoted Catholic, faithful to all his duties. He rejoiced in the prosperity of his son in his adopted land, but he was transplanted to a new home too late in life to take root and was never reconciled to being compelled to go to final rest in a strange land and ever longed for the “ould sod." He was a genial, lovable old man and a favorite with all who knew him. He was born in Queens county, Ireland, in 1798, came to Waterbury, Connecticut, in 1855, and there died in 1870. His wife, Mary (Brennan) Slavin, born in Queens county, Ireland, died in Waterbury, Connecticut, in 1871, aged seventy years. Their children were: Sarah; John; William; James, of further mention; Mary, Margaret. Joseph and Dennis. None of this large family are now living and all are buried in Waterbury save Margaret, who is buried in New Haven, Connecticut.
James (2) Slavin, son of James (1) and Mary (Brennan) Slavin, was born at Balnakill, county of Queens, Ireland, in 1832, and died in Waterbury, Connecticut. January 26. 1896. He remained in his native land until he attained legal age, but as soon thereafter as possible carried out a long formed plan, and on April 13. 1853, arrived in the United States, locating at once in Waterbury. He was not long in Waterbury before he became a contractor for the firm of Rogers & Brother. He had built up a good trade and continued in the employ of the above firm until his death. He was industrious and resourceful, thoroughly understood his business and was held in high esteem. He was a devout Catholic and reared his family in that faith. Politically he was a Democrat and wielded a strong influence in his party. He was married in 1866 to Mary Duggan, born in Abbey-leigh. Queens county, Ireland, in 1847. died April 13, 1893. daughter of Dennis and Mary (Fitzpatrick) Duggan, her father the old brass mill worker previously mentioned. Eight children were born to James and Mary Slavin, six of whom are living: Andrew, died in Waterbury; Dennis Joseph, of further mention; James, died in Waterbury; John, a pressman of Waterbury; Michael F., assistant registrar of Waterbury; Frances, a Sister of Charity in Jersey City. New Jersey; Edward Joseph, a practicing physician of New York City; William, an electrical engineer of New York City.
Dennis Joseph Slavin, second son of James (2) and Mary (Duggan) Slavin, was born in Waterbury, Connecticut, March 10, 1872. He attended the public schools, completing full courses of grade study and finishing with graduation from the high school at sixteen years of age. He began the study of law in the office of Burpee & Carmody, passed the required examinations and was admitted to the bar in 1901. He at once began practice in Waterbury, continuing very successfully until 1911, when he was elected judge of the Probate Court. During the interval prior to being admitted to the bar, he was cashier of the American Pin Company and was also clerk of the Common Council of the city of Waterbury until that office was discontinued. He became probate judge in 1911 and held said office for two terms. In the election for 1916 he was reelected for another term. He is learned in the law and at the bar was uniformly successful in his cases. As probate judge he has shown a clearness of vision and a wide knowledge of the law of property and inheritance, has expedited the business of his court and given general satisfaction. In politics he is a Democrat, in religious faith a Catholic, and since the organization of the Church of the Sacred Heart has been an active and influential member of that parish. He is a fourth degree member of the Knights of Columbus, member of the Independent Order of Foresters, the Holy Name Society, the Concordia Singing Society, the Ancient Order of Hibernians, the Sarsfield Club and the Vorwaerts.
Judge Slavin married, in Waterbury, November 26, 1896, Mary Agnes Dwyer, born in Hartford, Connecticut, daughter of John Dwyer, now living in Waterbury, and his wife, Mary (Gorman) Dwyer, who died when her daughter was an infant. Five children have been born to Judge Dennis Joseph and Mary Agnes (Dwyer) Slavin: Helen Marie, born October 14, 1897, a graduate of Notre Dame Convent, class of 1916; James, born June 20, 1905; Edward Joseph, born December 23, 1907; Maureen, born February 14, 1909; and Frances Barbara, born July 20, 1914.
Encyclopedia of Connecticut Biography, American Historical Society, Inc., Boston, New York, and Chicago, 1917.