Some notes on the whereabouts
Jesse Louis Dunn during his lifetime
My grandfather, Jesse Louis Dunn (shown above on his wedding day in 1908), has long been something of a challenge to the family historian. I will continue to research his life as my Dunn history progresses.
For the moment, however, I am putting up some general background notes.
These are outline notes showing Jesse Louis Dunn's whereabouts in each federal census and oterh information we have about his movements during his lifetime, including all the listings found in Springfield, MO city directories during a 1999 visit to the Springfield Public Library, deed information from the Christian County deedbooks, etc.
1867: Jesse Louis Dunn was almost
certainly born on October 3, 1867, though in his later life he himself
and others regularly listed his birthdate as the same day in 1868. His
tombstone says 1868. However, his father, John Henry Dunn, in his own hand,
listed his children in his Civil War pension application, and lists J.L.
Dunn first, born October 3, 1867, followed by James G. Dunn, born
March 1, 1869. This latter date is the same as the one preserved by living
descendants of James Gazaway Dunn, the second son. If James was born in
March of 1869, then J.L. cannot have been born in October of 1868 of the
same mother, only five months apart. In the 1870 census, J.L. is listed
as two and James G. as one; the census was taken in the early part of 1870.
In addition to Rev. J.H. Dunn's own testimony on the date being 1867, when
J.L. Dunn enlisted in the Army May 23, 1892, his age was given as 24 years
and eight months, which would give October 1867. When discharged August
22, 1895, his age was given as 27½ would give a date in late 1867
or early 1868 depending on how precise one assumes that "one-half" to be.
But by the 1900 census, J.L. Dunn was telling the censustaker that he was
born in October 1868, and most later references to age indicate
that he continued to use that as his birthdate. Whether he was unsure of
the year of his birth or decided to shave a year off his age is not known,
but I believe that 1867 must be the correct date because of James G. Dunn's
birth in May of 1869, a date verified by all the sources I know of.
1870: Listed as age two in Gilmer
County Georgia. His father was blacksmithing at the time, and was only
admitted "on trial" to preach in 1872. They were either in the Ellijay
or Cartecay areas of the county.
1880: Shown in the census with his
parents and family in Walker County, Georgia. His father was preaching
in Lafayette, Georgia from 1880-82.
1867-1892: Other than the two census
records just mentioned, we know almost nothing about J.L. Dunn's first
25 years, and he was well into adulthood when he enlisted in the Army and
began to leave records. A few clues and hints:
He must have moved around frequently with his father, who as a Methodist
preacher was moving every two or three years.
J.L. Dunn's younger brother Will is apparently the Willie Dunn who attended
Ellijay seminary, which served as Ellijay's main school; J.L. may have
as well, at least when the family was near Ellijay. The seminary was run
by the Northern Methodists, and his father had helped start it.
My Uncle John L. Dunn believed that his father had been sent away to
school and then continued westward, and speculated that as the eldest son
of a minister, he might have been intended for the ministry. His father's
colleague, R.H. Robb, was closely connected with Tennessee Wesleyan College
(now Tennessee Wesleyan University), a Northern Methodist institution;
if J.L. Dunn was to study for the ministry he might have been sent there
or somewhere else. A search of the records might be useful.
Before we began to learn more in the 1960s, both my father and my Uncle
John told me their father came from "around Rome, Georgia". Rome is not,
in fact, very close to the places most associated with the Dunns, though
it is in northwest Georgia. It is possible that J.L. Dunn spent some of
his young adulthood in or around Rome, and that this was the reason the
name of the town was remembered. I have never found any evidence that Rev.
J.H. Dunn ever had a pulpit in Rome.
1892-1895: The Army. Jesse Louis Dunn enlisted in the United States Army on May 23, 1892. For years, knowing that he had been stationed in Fort Riley, Kansas in the Army, I assumed that he first came to the Midwest in the Army. But in fact, he enlisted in Springfield, Missouri! How long he had been in Missouri or why and how he came there we do not know. I have found no record of him, at least so far, in Springfield or other nearby areas, prior to about 1907, but he was in Springfield in 1892 according to his enlistment records.
He served in Light Battery F of the Second Regiment of Artillery, enlisting
for five years but being honorably discharged after a bit more than three.
This was the peacetime army, and of his tour was spent at Fort Riley, Kansas,
but according to both family tradition and unit records his unit was sent
to Chicago with the troops used to put down the Pullman Strike in July
1895-? When J.L. Dunn was discharged,
at Fort Riley in August of 1895, that is the last we hear of him for five
years, until the 1900 US Census. If he was in southwest Missouri, he didn't
leave many traces. His earliest purchase of land in Christian County, MO
is not until 1907; while I have not searched all the Springfield records
those I have have shown no indications of his presence. As the next entry
shows, he may have been just about anywhere.
1900 Census: In the US Census of
1900, J.L. Dunn, 31, born October 1868(!) in Georgia, father born in Tennessee
and mother born in Georgia (thus undoubtedly our J.L. Dunn) is listed
in Mokane, Calloway County, Missouri, in the Missouri River Valley east
of Jefferson City, an area of the state I don't think any of the family
ever knew he had been to. He was renting a house there, his employment
is listed as "Salesman Hardware", a pursuit he would follow elsewhere later,
and it is noted that during the previous year he had been unemployed for
one month. I have so far found no other records linking him with this area.
1900-1907? After the 1900 census,
the next formal, verifiable records I have found begin with his purchase
of land in and around Clever, Missouri in 1907. But there is some oral
tradition about his wherabouts during the intervening years. My father
and uncle remembered that he had lived at some time near Boaz, a tiny community
southeast of Clever; my father also remembered that he had worked in a
photography shop. An old-timer in Clever wrote me in the 1960s that J.L.
Dunn had "done photography" at Jumbo Mill, south of Boaz (it was located
right on the Christian/Stone County line), and also worked for a Mr. Plank
at Boaz. This apparently was prior to 1907 when he begins to leave traces
in Clever. I do not know how long a period may be embraced by the jobs
in and around Boaz, however. The 1912 Christian County plat book shows
no Mr. Plank living (or at any rate owning property) near Boaz, though
there are Planks elsewhere in the county.
1907: With 1907 we begin to get
a much more detailed account of J.L. Dunn, and from then on can follow
him with few gaps. He is said to have become a notary public in Clever
in that year. On December 10, 1907, he bought Lots 7 and 8 in Block 2 in
the town of Clever. These would have been a block west of the main street.
1908: Effie Lorena Collins was teaching school "three miles north of Clever", apparently referring to the school known as Sharon Hill or Tarrapin Hill (so spelled in the Christian County school records), on Terrell's creek north of Clever. It is no longer standing. Near the school much of the land was owned by a Cheatham, and an old-timer in Clever told me that "before he was married your grandfather worked for a Dr. Cheatham", so perhaps this connection has something to do with their meeting. J.L. Dunn and Effie L. Collins married on May 2, 1908. He was 40 (if born in 1867), and she was 28. Both were rather old for a first marriage at the time.
Perhaps because of his marriage, J.L. Dunn seems to have made a number of land transactions that year. On July 23, 1908, he sold the two lots he had acquired the previous year. On December 29, 1908, he bought property on the north end of Clever. I think this must be the property on which stood a home said to have been built by J.L. Dunn which a 1968 correspondent called "one of the prettiest in town", later owned by C.L. Brown. No house in that area today is old enough or pretty enough to fit the description, so I suspect it has been torn down since 1968.
Over the next few years, J.L. Dunn acquired land outside of Clever and
also engaged in business in the town. I am not listing all the land transactions
here as at least some of them must have been speculative, such as, for
example, lots one through six in Block six of Clever, which he bought in
September 1911 but sold to C.L. Brown in February of 1912, only some five
months later. He continued to acquire land both in and outside of Clever
through 1911; he seems to have sold much of it in 1911 and 1912. Both John
and Howard Dunn, the latter born May 1911, were born in Clever. The 1912
plat book Atlas of Christian County shows J.L. Dunn holding land southeast
of Clever, but the land shown was apparently actually sold in 1911, according
to the deed books. I have copies of the platbook pages and of a plat of
the town lots of Clever, and will in time produce maps showing each of
these purchases and sales.
1910 Census: "Jesy L Dunn" is shown
as living in "Clever Village" on "Market Street", age 41 "Clerk, Hardware",
with family. No Market Street is labeled as such in the 1912 plat of Clever,
but I think it is a major unlabeled street on the north end of town, where
J.L. Dunn had his house.
1912: That platbook/atlas also includes
a small advertisement for "Dunn, J.L., General Hardware & Implements.
Both Shelf & Heavy, together with harness & sadlery. Clever."
Some property in Clever may have remained later, as there is at least
one quit claim deed dated as late as 1918, but a quit claim deed
By 1914: Family tradition remembered
that at some point, J.L. Dunn and family moved for a short time to Arkadelphia,
Arkansas. They were still in Clever when Howard Dunn was born May 21, 1911,
and J.L. Dunn sold land in Clever in 1912, so the move was probably around
that time. The obituary of his father Rev. J.H. Dunn speaks of his son
Louis as being "of Arkansas", and that was in March 1914. (J.H. Dunn was
intending to travel to see all his children, including J.L., and died of
a heart attack in the Bank at Tallapoosa, Georgia while withdrawing money
for the trip.)
1915?-1920: The first residence
in the Chadwick area of Christian County followed the Arkansas stay. The
earliest deed I have found dates from 1917, and there are several transactions
in 1917 and 1918. A photo from John L. Dunn (copy given to me by Jack Dunn
and/or Kathryn Neely) shows an "old Dunn house" from Chadwick where he
is said to have lived about 1915. Although the house in the photo (probably
1960s or 1970s photo?) is no longer standing, the barn is, and it can be
identified as a property that J.L. Dunn leased in 1917 for a three year
term to 1920. He also owned property in downtown Chadwick near the railway
terminal (apparently his place of business as a produce dealer and meat
shipper) and, at one point, north of town in the direction of Oldfield.
1920 census: Was still in Chadwick
for the US census, which lists Jesse L. Dunn on E. Flora Avenue in Chadwick
(this is the address in town, near the railroad). "Dealer in Produce, Chadwick
Produce Co.", age 51; wife Effie L., 40, sons John L., 11, and Howard C,
eight, both in school.
1920-21: The first move to Springfield.
According to a 1920-21 Springfield City Directory (Dunham's), he was residing
at 1453 Winkle, working in sales for McGregor-Noe Hardware Co.There is
no Winkle Street in Springfield today but the old directories say that
Winkle was the first street north of Grand Ave running from from Fremont
east to Delaware Ave.
1921: My father had remembered that
after the first move to Springfield, his mother gave birth to a baby girl
who lived only a brief time. The abstracted records of the Alma Lohmeyer
Funeral Home show that an "Infant of Jesse L. & Effie Dunn, 1501 Lombard
Street, b. 10 Sept and d. 12 Sept. 1921" was interned in Highlandville
It is worth noting that while the 1920-21 city directory gave the address
on Winkle Street, this gives an address on Lombard Street.
c. 1922-1924? J.L. Dunn returned
to Chadwick in the early 1920s and lived there for a few more years; my
Dad indicated that the moving back and forth caused him to have to graduate
late because Chadwick did not offer the same school years as Springfield.
The return to Chadwick does not seem to be documented in the deed books,
so he may have rented property there.
For the remainder of his life J.L. Dunn lived in Springfield, and he
appears in the city directories from 1925 on to his death in 1932, and
in some cases appears with a different address from year to year. His locations
and jobs according to the city directories:
1925: Dunham's Directory; 1043 N
1926: Polk's Directory, 244 W Webster,
wife Effie, "slsmn" (Salesman)
1927: Polk's, residence 737 N Jefferson,
Jessie L., "slsmn J.C. Dysart Mule Co."; Effie L. "waitress Davidson cafeteria".
J.C. Dysart Mule Co. was located at 325 W. Olive.
1928: Polk's Directory, Jessie L
and Effie at 865 N Jefferson, Jessie L. is "Office Mgr JC Dysart Mule Co.";
Effie "waitress Davidson's Cafeteria", Howard "student", John "clk Jos
1929: Polk's. Family at 934 N Robertson. Family head is mistakenly listed as "John L." Dunn with wife Effie. Father is "slsmn", place not given. Effie is "hlpr" (helper) at Davidson's Cafeteria, John L. "Jr." (so listed) is "clk" (clerk), and Howard C. is "student"
1930: Polk's Directory. Residence
of Jesse L. & family is 1354 Frisco Ave. (first mention of the Frisco
Ave. address). Jesse L. is "office mgr MCP Oil Co"; Effie is "with Davidson's
Cafeteria", John L is "driver Conways Quality Grocery & Market", and
Howard C is "with Davidson's Cafeteria".
1931: Polk's Directory. 701 ½
North Jefferson. (Notice this is the third address on N Jefferson.) Listing
is under J. Louis Dunn. The 1354 Frisco Ave. address is now listed under
John L. and Inez A. Dunn, with Louis, Effie and Howard listed under the
North Jefferson address. J. Louis Dunn listed as "lab" (laborer); Effie
as "salads Davidson's Cafeteria", Howard as "steam table Davidson's Cafeteria".
(In this year, Davidson's was located at 412-14 St. Louis.) In separate
listing, John L. and Inez A are listed at 1354 Frisco Ave., John as "Driver
Conway's Quality Gro Mkt".
25 January 1932: Date of death.
1932: Polk's Directory. Listing
is under "Effie Mrs", so directory was published after J.L. Dunn's death
on 25 January 1932. Family are now listed at "1359 Frisco Ave." though
this is obviously a mistake for 1354. John L is still with Conways and
Howard is a clerk with ---- Drug (cannot read my own notes).
A few addresses after J.L. Dunn's death from later directories or other
1939 Effie with John & Howard
at 806 S Grant
1940 Effie at 220 E Division, Howard
& Agnes 645 South Av
1943 A newspaperClipping gives Effie
at 900 University
1946 430 E Harrison (Effie)