Crawford County, Iowa, IAGenWeb


John B. Dunbar

Although thirteen years have passed since John B. Dunbar, of Denison, was called from earthly scenes, his memory survives in the hearts of many to whom he was endeared by acts of courtesy and kindness.

He was a native of Swanton, Franklin county, Vermont, born November 9, 1842, and was a son of Almon C. and Fannie (Crawford) Dunbar, both of whom were born in Vermont. The father was a miller at Swanton and died after he had passed the age of seventy years, his wife departing this life five years later. They were both members of the Methodist church. There were seven children in their family: John B., the subject of this review; George B. and Almon C,. deceased; Elisha B., now living at West Danville, Vermont; Sidney, of Richford, Vermont; Sarah, who married Stephen Jones; and Alice, the wife of George Jones, who, although of the same name, was not related to Stephen Jones.

John B. Dunbar was reared in his native town and attended the public schools, graduating from the high school. After laying aside his books he assisted his father in the mill, continuing in Vermont until he was thirty-one years of age. In 1873 he came west and located in Denison, Iowa, where he engaged in the milling business and later became interested in insurance and real estate in company with Charles Bullock. He was for twenty-five years a resident of Denison and became recognized as one of its most respected citizens.

On the 8th of December, 1861, Mr. Dunbar was united in marriage to Miss Mercy M. Phelps, who was born at Stanbridge, Quebec, Canada, February 7, 1846, a daughter of Elnathan and Phoebe (Blakely) Phelps, both of whom were natives of Connecticut and went with their parents to Canada. Elnathan Phelps died in Canada at the age of sixty years and his wife passed away five years later, being then sixty-three years of age. They were the parents of the following children: Eliza, John B., Zaccheus Lock, Zaccheus Aylmer, William E., Albert T., Anna J. and Mercy M.

The father comes of Revolutionary stock, the greatgrandfather having been a soldier under General Washington. The maternal grandfather, Zaccheus Blakely, was a farmer of Connecticut.

Four daughters were born to Mr. and Mrs. Dunbar: Emma Eliza, who died at the age of seventeen and one-half months; Ella Eunice, who passed away at the age of three years and seven months; Ada Julia, who died at the age of eleven years; and Lena Phelps, whose death occurred at the age of nine years.

Mr. Dunbar died August 9, 1898, having reached the age of fifty-six years and being then in the midst of an active and useful career. He was identified with the Baptist church, of which Mrs. Dunbar is also a member. Fraternally he was connected with the Masonic lodge at Richford, Vermont, in which he retained membership after coming west, and politically he gave his adherence to the republican party. During the Civil war he served as cavalryman, guarding the frontier against the rebels, and he bravely performed his duty in war as well as in times of peace, when he set an example of industry, application and helpfulness to others well worthy of imitation.

Although Mrs. Dunbar has been sorely afflicted by the loss of those she held most dear, she has been sustained by an unfaltering trust in a Divine hand that guides all things aright, and her faith in the assurance of holy writ has never been shaken. She has many friends in Denison whom she has attracted by qualities of mind and heart that are recognized the world over as the foundation of a beautiful character. She will make her home in Lafayette, Indiana.

Source: History of Crawford County, Iowa. Vol. II. Chicago: The S. J. Clarke Publishing Co., 1911.