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Delaware County, Iowa


 Biography Directory

Abner Dunham




     Abner Dunham was for many years prominent in financial circles in Delaware county and his death, which occurred December 30, 1910, was a distinct loss to the community. He was born in Laporte, Indiana, August 20, 1841, a son of Ferdinand and Angeline (McCullom) Dunham, who brought their family to Delaware county in 1855 and settled on a farm east of Manchester, which the father cultivated for many years. Later he removed to the city of Manchester, where his death occurred. The Dunham family traces its ancestry to Deacon John Dunham, who came to America on the Mayflower and was one of that worthy band of pilgrims whose courage and devotion to truth as they saw it bore such splendid fruit in this country. Still farther back the family is of mixed English and Welsh extraction. Abner Dunham, the grandfather of our subject, was a lieutenant colonel in the One Hundred and Twelfth New York Infantry during the War of 1812.
    The subject of this review was reared to agricultural pursuits and was a student in the Doggett private school when he enlisted on the 24th of September, 1861, in Company E. Twelfth Iowa Volunteer Infantry, for service in the Civil war. On the 25th of November, 1861, he was mustered into the United States service as corporal of that company and remained with his regiment until hostilities ceased, being mustered out on the 20th of January, 1866. He was endowed with an unusual degree of patriotism and love of country. During his term of service his thoughts were continually upon the idea, "The Union must and shall be preserved.'" He participated in the campaign against Fort Henry and in the capture of Fort Donelson, Tennessee, during the month of February, 1862. At the battle of Shiloh he was taken prisoner and sent to Montgomery. Alabama, later to Macon, Georgia, and Richmond, Virginia, where he was confined in Libby prison until exchanged on the 1st of December, 1862. His regiment was reorganized in January, 1863, and was assigned to General Grant's army before Vicksburg in April of that year. They were stationed in the rear of Vicksburg and participated in the engagement at Jackson. They were connected with the siege of Vicksburg until the 22d of June and were then transferred to Bear Creek to watch General Johnson. Later they went on the Brownsville expedition and were in action at the mouth of White river, Arkansas; the campaign against Price; and the battle of Nashville. Mr. Dunham with his command also participated in the siege and capture of Spanish Fort and Fort Blakely, resulting in the surrender of Mobile. His regiment was in Montgomery, Alabama, when the announcement was made that the Confederate army had surrendered. For a few months in the latter part of 1865 he was assistant acting quartermaster of the Blue Mountain district of Alabama. He had been promoted to sergeant of his company on the 5th of January, 1864, and was commissioned first lieutenant April 20, 1865. At the close of the war he returned to his home in Delaware county and engaged in farming for many years.
     On the 15th of September, 1869, Mr. Dunham was united in marriage with Miss Sophronia E. Boynton, who was born December 3, 1845, in Jo Daviess county, Illinois. Her parents, Noah and Lucinda (Vinton) Boynton, were natives of Vermont but after their marriage resided in Canada for a time and then removed to Jo Daviess county, Illinois. To Mr. and Mrs. Dunham were born five children, namely: Florence, who died at the age of sixteen years; Edith, at home; Elva, the wife of Dr. H. C. Parsons of Watertown, South Dakota; Ralph A., an attorney of Clark, South Dakota; and Daisy, the wife of Dr. P. G. Ingersoll of Dunlap, Iowa.
     Mr. Dunham was a prominent representative of the republican party and was called upon to fill a number of county offices, serving as sheriff from 1866 to 1870 and as county recorder from 1894 to 1903. His religious affiliation was with the Congregational church. He was a prominent member of the Grand Army of the Republic and was especially active in the affairs of W. A. Morse Post, No. 190, serving as its commander several times. He was also a companion in the Iowa Commandery of the Military Order of the Loyal Legion and belonged to the Modern Woodmen of America. He was essentially a home man, however, and found his greatest joy in his domestic life, which nearly approached the ideal. He took a great interest in local affairs and was highly respected by all who knew him. Those who were admitted to the close circle of his friendship held him in the warmest regard as they found him a man of the highest integrity and of unswerving loyalty. He had also a keen sense of civic responsibility and whether in office or as a private citizen invariably sought the greatest good of the community.


~ source: History of Delaware County, Iowa and its People, Illustrated, Volume II. The S. J. Clarke Publishing Company, 1914, Chicago. Page 145-146.  Call Number 977.7385 H2m; LDS microfilm #934937.

~transcribed and contributed by Constance Diamond for Delaware County IAGenWeb


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