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Copy of The Dunn Family History (1797-2014)
Transcript of Copy of The Dunn Family History (1797-2014)
The first column of this ledger provides a key point of connection to our past. The second entry under the slave-owner's column introduces us to the man who claimed ownership of our fore-fathers. His name is James A. Dunn. He is believed to be the source from which we will lay claim to the Scottish surname.
The first record associated with our family emerges a half century later on a slave-schedule recorded on November 14, 1850.
A lot happens over the next two decades. A civil war is fought in America. Eventually the 13th Amendment (granting emancipation to blacks) and the 14th Amendment (bestowing citizenship) are passed.
By the turn of the century Henry is 41 years old. He is married to Fanny White. She was born in Louisiana in 1875 (the third youngest of eight siblings) to James H. and Hester White who come from South Carolina.
Despite the unfair practices of share-cropping (designed to keep ex-slaves in economic bondage), the "O" entry on the 1910 Census reveals that Henry owned a portion of the land that his father had worked as a slave.
By 1880 Jack and Mary have 5 more children -a total of 13. Henry is 10 years old.
Unfortunately the resolution of the portrait painted by this record is low. It is captured during a time in America's history where my ancestors were regarded as inventory.
By 1910 Henry and Fanny have nine children. Captain Dunn (the third oldest) was born on September 17, 1895.
Henry Dunn will live another five years and pass away on August 7, 1935 at the age of 66.
By 1930 Captain is 32 years old. His parents are 60 (Henry) and 58 (Fanny).
Eleven years later, Captain registers for a second draft. This time it is for WWII.
He is now 46 years old. He and Iona have been married 24 years.
At the age of 21, Captain registers with the selective service during World War I. By this time he is married to Iona Dunn.
Henry is buried in the St. Mark Cemetery in Holly, La.
Like many families of African-American descent, our lineage emerges from obscurity. Unlike other cultures that migrated to this country, there are no ship manifests that bare our name, no migration documents that name our place of origin -nor any other evidence that dates our arrival to America.
My family's narrative begins with an anonymous Patriarch who is believed to have been born in Virginia in 1797. He is a slave.
At the age of just a year old, Henry was the youngest of the seven. He was born May 10, 1869.
Though we never know his name, we will find the name of his wife some 80 years later from a census record. Her name is Dallie Pearson. She was born in Alabama between 1800-1801.
Together, our First-father and Mrs. Pearson will raise a family of several daughters and four sons.
In a generation where even the most trivial moments of life are captured on camera-phones or posted on timelines, it's hard to believe that just a couple of generations ago, many people -including most of my ancestors -left very little evidence from which to trace our heritage.
What started out as an attempt to research and record my family's genealogy on a timeline, has evolved into a desire to fill in the large gaps of this archive with the human narratives, family photos and historical context that relay a fuller story of the Dunn family.
An almost identical schedule produced just two months earlier in Georgia suggests that J.A. Dunn either moved to Northern Louisiana or sold these slaves to a plantation in the region between September and November of 1850.
This photo of slave-quarters was taken at a plantation in the Desoto Parish of Mansfield, Louisiana. Jack and Mary will continue to rent a space like this (approx. 150 sq ft.) to raise his large family until his death in 1896. He lives 76 years.
Captain follows in his father's footsteps as a farmer. This 1920 census provides these and other details about his life and family. His wife's name is Iona. It is believed that she was born in 1897.
That same year, L.C. (his only son) also registers for the World War II draft. He is 23 years old. A later census will reveal that L.C. never served in the military.
Louis C. Dunn was born in 1917, January 27. The 1930 census (10 years later) will also include a niece named Iona.
Mary is born on October 13, 1916. Her father's name is Charles Jefferson (1881) and her mother's name is Ethel Louise Jefferson (1884). According to a 1920 census she was from New Orleans. She is the middle child of seven siblings.
Louis' second oldest son, Kenneth was born on January 19, 1950. Nine years later he will meet a girl named Lois in 3rd grade.
Thirteen years from now, they will be husband and wife.
Lois Terry is the middle child from a family of six children. She was born on October 4, 1950 to Lewis Terry (b. 1913) and Adele Johnson (b. 1922).
Beneath his name is a list of 16 slaves. The date and location of this schedule, the proximity in ages among the four older slaves and testimonies past down in our family -all suggest that these men are the son's of our Patriarch. Their names are Jefferson, Esau, Sandy and Jack. And over the next 15 years they each will incorporate the Dunn name into their identity.
After the American Civil War, Jefferson will move to Dubach, Louisiana. Esau will settle in the neighboring town of Homer, Sandy will relocate to Arkansas and Jack will settle in the Desoto Parish of Mansfield, La.
For the first time since our ancestors were forcefully uprooted from their homeland, and after countless relocation to Virginia, Georgia Alabama and South Carolina they find a sense of permanence in Louisiana.
Typical for the period, Jack and Mary are share-croppers. What is unusual is that they they do not have children for 5 years.
He was born May 10, 1869.
Based on the age of their first-born son (Moses), Jack and Mary do not have children until 1865 -the year the Emancipation Proclamation is signed. Consequently all of their sons & daughters are born free.
By the mid 50's L.C. and Mary live in Houston Texas. They have a daughter and four sons.
A closer look at this particular ledger, however reveals details that are invaluable to our family's narrative.
Almost three years later Mary passes away on April 28, 1965 of a kidney disorder called Chronic Glomerulonephritis .
Six years later Kenneth will graduate from Kashmere Sr. High School -only the second son to have done so in our family line by this time.
Of the four brothers, we trace our heritage through Jack's lineage. He was born around 1820. At the time of this record he is 30 years old and possibly already married to Mary Murry. According to a later census, we discover that she was born in 1830 in South Carolina.
After more than three-quarters of a century in this country, the Federal Census of 1870 is the first time our family is recognized as citizens.
Our story continues through Henry, the youngest child at the time. He was born on May 10,1869.
Unlike his parents, Captain and Iona only have one child -a son named Louis Curtis (LC). He is two years old at the time.
She is buried in the Golden Gate Cemetery on May 2, 1965
Lois Terry will graduate the year before.
Four years later Kenneth and Lois are married on September 27,1972.
The Scotch-Irish surname is a derived from the Gaelic term that means dark (or brown) complexion.
Louis and May were married in Shreveport, Louisiana on June 22, 1944.
On November 27, 1982 I attended the funeral of Iona Dunn -my Great grand-mother.
Over the course of that weekend my father interviewed my great grand-father about his memory of our family line. Captain