Summary Outline of the Family History

Brief notes on the Dunn, Kell, Wikle, and Page lines, and intermarried lines.

This is intended to be a very brief introduction  and overview to the Dunn ancestry. As time permits, additional material on each of the lines will be put up in greater detail, as will photos and other material.

So far only one line on the Dunn side can be traced back to immigration, and this is our "Pennsylvania Dutch" (actually German) line, the Wikles. (Susan Wikle married James Dunn.) Peter Wikle came to Pennsylvania from Germany in 1770 or 1771 according to the tradition recorded in later Wikle family Bibles and there is no reason to doubt it. The intermarried Bandys may be French Huguenot in origin, but all our other lines are either English (Page most likely) or Scotch-Irish (Dunn and Kell). This is a very typical mix for the upland south, and probably almost all the descendants thought of themselves as Scotch-Irish.


Jesse Louis Dunn, James G. Dunn, Sam Dunn, William A. Dunn and Maggie Dunn McKinney (photos of all but Sam appear in the Album) were all children of Rev. John Henry Dunn (1848-1914), whose biography is included elsewhere in this package. John Henry Dunn married Trissie Ann Page (1848-1904), and the Pages are dealt with briefly below. John Henry Dunn's uncle, John Dunn, married another Page (I believe her name was Sarah Jane Page), and one of their daughters, I believe Letty, married James G. Dunn, son of John Henry Dunn, so the descendants of James Dunn have Dunn and Page ancestors each on two different lines.

John Henry Dunn was the son of James Dunn (1824 or 1827-1887), who married Susan Wikle in 1846. The Wikles are discussed below. (His tombstone gives the birth date of 1824 but appears to be a 20th century stone. Census records tend to point to a little later birthdate, around 1827.) James Dunn was probably born in Rabun County, Georgia, came with his father to Gilmer County, Georgia, in 1833, and farmed in the Cartecay, Georgia area, also for a while owning land around what is now Copperhill, Tennessee, where his father had a ferry for a time. He later lived in Pickens County, Georgia. The John Dunn who married Sarah Jane Page was a younger brother (quite a bit younger) of James Dunn.

James Dunn's father was John Dunn. He was born about 1797, apparently in South Carolina, though once North Carolina is listed. Although he appears to have been of Irish or Scotch-Irish ancestry and to have had connections with several other Dunn families in the southwestern North Carolina/Northwestern South Carolina/northeastern Georgia area, I am still not certain who his father was. This John Dunn, often called "Old Uncle John" or "Johnny" in Gilmer County, was both an early settler and a fervent Methodist. Although the Gilmer County history says he died "about 1883", his wife is shown as a widow as early as 1870. I still do not know the correct year of his death. Since he was active in Methodism during reconstruction he must have died very late in the 1860s.

The John Dunn just mentioned is the earliest ancestor on the Dunn line itself (as opposed to intermarried lines) about whom I know anything certain, but he was part of a broader extended family of in-laws who moved together in the early years. This provides most of the clues we have so far to his origins. He married Elizabeth Kell in Hall County, Georgia, in 1819 and is shown in the Hall County census for 1820. Her father, James Kell, and her brother, Alexander Kell, were living in Rabun County and Alexander at least had been there well before the Cherokee cession of 1817: he had a Cherokee wife, apparently. John Dunn appears in the 1820 Hall County, Georgia census right alongside Robert Smith Senior and Robert Smith Junior, the latter of which was his brother-in-law, having married Cynthia Kell. Comparison of known property of neighbors suggests that the 1820 Hall County census puts John Dunn somewhere east of Flowery Branch, Georgia. This is quite a bit south of Rabun County. By the 1820s, though, he seems to have been living in the western part of Rabun County. Land he sold in 1834, after moving to Gilmer, was about 12 miles west of where the Kells were living.

Just recently (in early May of 1996) I found a clue which may give us an opening towards finding John Dunn's ancestors. For some time I've been looking closely at the family surrounding one Joseph Dunn, who seems to have been living not far from the Kells in Pendleton County, South Carolina, in the early 1790s. He seems to be the same Joseph Dunn who, with a son or brother William Dunn, moved about 1797 or 1798 to the Gumlog Creek area of Franklin County, Georgia, near the present town of Livonia. Later Dunns mentioned in deeds include a James Dunn and a Thomas Dunn. Other than the fact that these Dunns were in South Carolina, seemingly, when our John Dunn was born there about 1797; and moved to a part of Georgia not far from where our John first turns up, there's another interesting connection: on Gumlog Creek in Franklin County, Georgia, the Dunns lived adjacent to and bought land from one John Stonecypher. This same John Stonecypher sold land in Rabun County to his son or other relative, James Stonecypher, and this land was only three or four miles from where our John Dunn later lived in Rabun County. This at a time when there were ony a few hundred families (I think about 325 non-Cherokee families) in all of Rabun County. And these were very close to each other. I'm increasingly convinced that we need to look closely at these Franklin County Dunns, and am collecting everything I can on them. But so far, I haven't got any proof of a relationship, just the clues just mentioned.  For more material on this possible link, see the essay "The Earliest Clues Found So Far on the Origin of Our Dunns".

John Dunn certainly lived in Rabun County prior to moving to Gilmer in 1833, and was closely associated with his father in law, James Kell, and Kell's extended family, which included another son-in-law, Robert Smith, and James Kell's son Alexander. Later in Gilmer County the Smiths and Kells were also intermarried with a family named Ralston, and one piece of land in the Cartecay area was owned at one time or another by John Dunn, David Ralston and Robert Smith -- all in-laws of each other. I don't think the Ralstons became linked until they got to Gilmer County, however. The Smith-Kell-Dunn link goes back much farther, and they traveled together to Gilmer in or about November, 1833. John Dunn sold his last land in Rabun the following year.

Several published sources and family tradition on my side all refer to the ferry John Dunn operated at what is now Copperhill, Tennessee. Records are sparse. A historian of the Copper Basin wrote me that James Dunn (son of John Dunn) owned land at the ferry until 1856. John Dunn sold land in the Cartecay area in 1846; his grandson John Henry Dunn was born on the Tennessee side in 1848; John Dunn was still in Tennessee in the 1850 census but his son James, father of John Henry, had moved back to Cartecay by 1849. Family tradition on my side says that the Dunns lost the ferry shortly before the copper boom, which began in earnest in the 1850s; had they still owned it when the copper boom started they'd have become rich. Apparently John Dunn signed a bond for a neighbor who defaulted and lost the ferry in the process. So the evidence I have points to Dunn being there in the late 1840s and early 1850s. George G. Ward's Gilmer County history says he owned the ferry when the Indians were still in the county (that is, before 1838), but I think he has confused two facts: the Dunns came when the Indians were still in the county (1833), and later John Dunn moved north to Copperhill, then returning later to their original area of settlement near Cartecay, southeast of Ellijay. The early deed books are fragmentary before about 1842, but we can definitely show a move north about 1846 and a return a few years later.


John Dunn's wife, Elizabeth Kell, was the daughter of James Kell (1760-1848), a much-traveled veteran of the American Revolution. "Captain" Kell -- as everyone called him in his old age -- was born in Pennsylvania, raised in eastern North Carolina, then lived in several counties of North Carolina (marrying his wife, Letitia Kneal or Neill, in Rowan County, NC) before moving to extreme western South Carolina. (It is Kneal on the marriage bond, but that name never appears otherwise in North Carolina records, while there are many Neills in Rowan County, and they used Letitia as a given name. A witness to the marriage was William Neill, and I believe he was her father. That line is still uncertain, however.) James Kell was the son of one of three or four brothers who moved from Pennsylvania to North Carolina, though it is still not clear which one.

James Kell served several tours of duty during the American Revolution, one of them as a captain of militia, and was addressed as Captain Kell for the rest of his life. His revolutionary service is well doucmented. James, a probable brother of his (John), and a cousin (Robert) all ended up in western South Carolina by the 1790s. Early in the 1800s James and his son Alexander, and perhaps some of the others, were in Cherokee country which later became Rabun County. An Alexander Kell married a Cherokee and there are still Cherokee Kells in Oklahoma; this Alexander seems to be the same man -- James Kell's son -- who later married a white woman named Elmira or Mira and had another family in the Ellijay area, the first child of which family was born after he was 40, allowing for the earlier, half-Cherokee family as well. I have dealt with these Cherokee links in an essay on "The Dunns' Cherokee Connections".

By the 1820s or so James Kell and his sons in law John Dunn and Robert Smith, not to mention various Kells, were living in Rabun County, Georgia, where Kell had been at least since Cherokee days. In 1833 they moved to what became Gilmer County, Georgia. Kell took the first census of Gilmer County in 1834 and lived in his old age with his son Alexander along what is still called Kell Creek north of Ellijay, Georgia. He died in 1848. As noted, his daughter Elizabeth had married John Dunn in 1819, and they thereafter usually lived fairly near James Kell.

Old James Kell seems to have been a character; he was active in politics, a Jacksonian Democrat, and apparently something of a story-teller. (He also belonged to no church, in an area where his in-laws were all very active.) His Kell grandsons fought for the Confederacy while the Dunns, Pages, and Wikles were pro-Union during the war. My biogfaphy of James Kell, still being revised, is even longer than the one of John Henry Dunn, enclosed. I'll try to get it ready for sending soon.


Susan Wikle, who married James Dunn in 1846, was the daughter of Henry Wikle (1785-1844) and Anna Bandy Wikle (1795-1878). Henry Wikle was born in 1785 in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, the son of Peter Wikle, a "Pennsylvania German" who came from Germany in about 1770. Family tradition claims that Peter Wikle's wife was a noblewoman or royalty, but such traditions are common among early German immigrants and I have found no proof. Peter Wikle settled in Rutherford County, North Carolina. He probably died shortly after 1800. Other Wikle descendants believe he lived in what is now Haywood or Jackson County, North Carolina, but I believe that he died in what is now Rutherford and his sons moved to Haywood, based on land records. Henry Wikle married Anna Bandy in Haywood County, North Carolina in 1815. She was most likely the daughter of one David Bandy who lived nearby and is the right age, though she may have been the daughter of one Jesse Bandy. This is still being researched.

Henry Wikle moved to Gilmer County in 1836. He had numerous children who all survived to adulthood. None of the daughters married until after Henry died in 1844. Susan, who married James Dunn, remained in Gilmer or Pickens County; most of the others ended up in the Cartersville, Georgia, area or farther afield.

The Wikles, like the Dunns, were avid Methodists, and Henry Wikle and John Dunn were among the founders of the Cartecay Methodist church.


John Henry Dunn married Trissie Ann Page; his uncle, John Dunn, married her sister, I believe named Sarah Jane Page. Both were daughters of Gazaway Page, born about 1817 in Union County, South Carolina, died in Gilmer County, Georgia, in late 1883. His (first) wife, their mother, was named Nancy; I do not know her maiden name. Gazaway was also an ardent Methodist in the Cartecay, Georgia area, and also pro-Union (like the Dunns) during the Civil War. Another daughter married another Methodist minister, so he had two sons-in-law who were Dunns and two who were Ministers. Our ancestor, his wife, was named Nancy but we do not know her maiden name. After she died, Gazaway married Julia Sorrels and moved to Flat Mountain in remote northwestern Gilmer County, where he died on November 1, 1883.

Gazaway Page was the son of Richard Page (born about 1786 in Virginia; died in Georgia after 1870) and his wife Ann. I suspect her maiden name was Gazaway, because this was a prominent Methodist family living near the Pages in Union County, South Carolina, and would explain the name Gazaway Page for the eldest son. I cannot prove her maiden name at this time, however. Richard Page was born in Charlotte County, Virginia, moved as a boy to Union County, South Carolina, and moved some time in the 1840s to Gilmer County, Georgia, perhaps after a residence in Rabun County, Georgia. His parents were Richard Page, born in the 1750s in Virginia, who served in the Revolution (we have at least two Revolutionary veterans on the Dunn side, James Kell and Richard Page), married Elizabeth Jones in 1779 in Charlotte County, Virginia, and later moved to Union County, South Carolina. He lived there until his death in 1833; she died there in 1838. The elder Richard Page was almost certainly the son of Nathaniel Page, who seems to have lived in a couple of Virginia Counties before moving to South Carolina. His wife was probably Hannah, name unknown.There is some reason to suspect his parents were Robert and Wine Page, though this is not yet proven. They're shown so on the enclosed charts but the proof is not complete.

As for Elizabeth Jones, who married Richard Page in 1779, she was a daughter of Richard Jones of Caroline County, who may have been the son of another Richard Jones. They seem to be linked to a fairly widespread Jones family of central Virginia, ut these links are not yet complete.

As you can see, there is considerable information but the tree is far from complete. I am prepared to share all the details of my research with all my relatives, and hope to learn what they may know. If anyone knows that some of these facts are wrong, can add to them, or just wants to talk about them or know more (I have much more detail), please contact me.