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Thomas H. Dunn
Born October 25, 1834


T. H. DUNN, farmer, Wayne Twp., Sec. 19; P.O. Anamosa; owns 210 acres; born in Philadelphia in 1834; came to Jones Co. in 1859, where he has since resided. Wife's maiden name was Farnum, a native of Massachusetts (Andover); they were married in 1835; have had seven children, five of whom are now living; names as follows : Wilford E., Clara A., T. H., John E., Grace E.; those dead were named Willie and Mary E., in politics, Mr. Dunn is a Republican.

Source: History of Jones County, Iowa, Western Historical Company, Chicago, 1879, page 623.

Thomas H. Dunn, who was called to his final rest on the 7th of May, 1906, was for almost a half century actively and successfully identified with the agricultural interests of Tones county and was well known within its borders as a most respected and worthy citizen. He was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, on the 25th of October, 1834, being the only child of Thomas and Catherine Dunn. The father, who was a stone cutter by trade, having been employed on Girard College, worked in that capacity until the fall of 1836, when he contracted lung fever and passed away. Shortly afterward his widow removed with her little son to the vicinity of Boston, where she had relatives.
In early life Thomas H. Dunn learned the wheelwright's trade, working at that occupation in factory and shop and caring for his mother until she, too, was called to her final rest. She passed away in the summer of 1848, dying suddenly of heart disease. Mr. Dunn continued a resident of Massachusetts until the spring of 1853, when he went to Providence, Rhode Island, securing employment in the machine shop of the Providence Steam and Gas Pipe Company, where he remained until the fall of 1855. He had been married in the meantime and on leaving Providence brought his young wife to the state of Minnesota, where he took up a claim among the Indians, the survey not having been accepted by the government. The year following his arrival in Minnesota he worked at the carpenter's trade at Zumbrota, helping to cut the logs for the first house that was there erected. Zumbrota was about twelve miles distant from his claim and his wife would stay alone from Monday morning until Saturday night, nothing daunted by the fact that there were two or three hundred hostile Indians in camp less than a mile from her little home. The panic of 1857 came the next year and times were very hard. Shortly afterward there began to be rumors of rich mines being discovered at Pike's Peak and every one who could get away left for the gold fields. In 1859, in company with others, Mr. Dunn and his family started for Pike's Peak, but they were late in getting started and it was the middle of June before they reached the California trail in Iowa. Seeing so many teams returning, they believed it best to go no farther but wait until the next year when they could start with the California train, as the Indians were very troublesome. Having ox teams they were prepared to break prairie, which they did during the summer, intending to go on to California or Pike's Peak the following spring. Before that time, however, they had become favorably impressed with this portion of the country and continued to remain residents of Rome township, Jones county, until the spring of 1877. Mr. Dunn then disposed of his place to H. L. Smith and purchased the Hutchins farm of two hundred and four acres on section 19, Wayne township, which remained his home until he passed away. As the years passed by he placed many substantial improvements on the property and brought the land under a high state of cultivation, the fields annually yielding bounteous harvests as a reward for the care and labor which he bestowed upon them. The oldest house in Wayne township still stands on this farm, it having been erected in 1843 by Aaron Spencer, who utilized it as a tavern and residence. Mr. Dunn made his home therein until he erected the dwelling in which his widow now resides.
On the 19th of April, 1855, in Providence, Rhode Island, Mr. Dunn was joined in wedlock to Miss Mary A. Farnham, whose birth occurred in North Andover, Massachusetts, on the 9th of September, 1835, her parents being John and Almyra (Ames) Farnham. The father, who was a farmer by occupation, spent his entire life in the old Bay state. When seven or eight years of age Mrs. Dunn was brought by her parents to Lowell, where she was reared to young womanhood and then went to Providence and was married. Mr. and Mrs. Farnham reared a family of five children, namely: William, whose demise occurred in 1907; Henry, a resident of Boston; Sarah, who became the wife of Thomas Hall and passed away in Oregon; Mrs. Dunn; and Hiram, living in Morley, Iowa. Unto Mr. and Mrs. Dunn were born eight children, as follows: William, who died in infancy; W. E., who makes his home at Plankinton, South Dakota; Mary Estella, who likewise died in infancy; Henry, living in West Bend, Iowa; John E., of Coggon, Iowa; Mrs. Grace Wallace, a resident of Cass Center, Iowa; Clara M., who married G. L. Grete of South Dakota; and Leslie, who is still at home with his mother.
Mr. Dunn gave his political allegiance to the men and measures of the republican party and his fellow townsmen, recognizing his worth and ability, called him to various positions of public trust. In the fall of 1894, he was elected to the office of county supervisor and was twice re-elected, remaining the incumbent in that position for nine years. He was called to his final rest on the 7th of May, 1906, at the age of seventy-one years, six months and twelve days, and as the circle of his friends was almost coextensive with the circle of his acquaintances, his death was the occasion of deep and sincere regret throughout the community.
The following is an extract from an obituary written by B. H. Miller and published in the Anamosa Journal: "At all times Mr. Dunn was of a cheerful disposition and kindliness of soul that made him friends wherever he was known. He was brave and courageous in defense of the right and the truth, strong in its support, and mild and determined in his resistance to the wrong. His was not a disposition to use policy as an art, but to be politic in all things. When reproving anyone for an immoral act, it was in that kindly spirit that won and held the friendship of those he so advised. In every position we have known him in life, whether it were private or public, the same honorable manhood characterized him . * * * As a neighbor and friend he held and deserved to hold the respect and affections of all who knew him. In public life he was held in the same confidence and respect. In fact, so far as our knowledge and acquaintance of and with him, he was a model man when and wherever found. He was a devoted friend and always held his friendships sacred; spoke ill of no man; devoted to his wife and children and did all within his power to make life pleasurable for them." Mrs. Dunn, who still survives her husband, has now made her home within the borders of Jones county for fifty years. She is a gentle, kindly woman, charitable in her estimate of every one and her many excellent traits of heart and mind have won for her the esteem and admiration of a host of warm friends.

Source: History of Jones County, Iowa, Past and Present, R. M. Corbitt, S. J. Clarke Publishing Co., Chicago, 1910, p. 44.

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