James Dunn (1793 - 1872)

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Birthplace: Sussex County, New Jersey
Death: Died
Managed by: Pam Wallis
Last Updated:

About James Dunn

James Dunn was born in Sussex County, New Jersey, June 28, 1793, to Samuel Dunn and Phebe Cokendal, their sixth child and fourth son. He spent his childhood in and around New Town (now Newton), New Jersey, and Lyons, Wayne County, New York, and Phelps Township, Ontario County, New York, where his father purchased a farm on the Sodus Road, now NY 14, the Genesee-Lyons Road. It was at this place he lived and worked that he met Sarah or Sally Barker, the sister of Permelia Barker, who had married his brother Daniel. About 1816, James and Sally were married and keeping house.

James and his brother Jesse bought the farm from his father in 1820, when Samuel and his second wife and new family decided to move to Arcadia, Wayne, New York, a few miles north of their farm near Lyons. James and Jesse had 185 acres of land and it must have kept them busy. At the time, the Erie canal was under construction and by 1825 it was completed and in use. It increased the value of the land in this area because of the proximity and the new markets it opened for all kinds of farm products. About five miles north of the farm was a canal barge terminal at Lyons.

New farm lands lose their plant nutrients fairly fast without renewal, so it was easy to listen to the merits of new lands being opened to the west, in Michigan. By 1835 many of the Dunn's moved to Wayne County, west of Detroit to new land. John Barker, Sally's father, had already moved to Plymouth and James and Sally soon followed, Brother Jesse had died that April of 1935.

Moving by water was easy. Just load the wagons, hitch up the horses and drive them onto a barge at Lyons, find a comfortable seat on the wagons of the barge, ride the barge up the canal to Buffalo, transfer to the steamer going to Detroit, then drive the team and wagons across the few miles remaining to Plymouth and Livonia. Now they were back in the wilderness again to begin a new life as pioneers.

In 1839 and 1840 James and Sally heard the Mormon gospel message from orson Pratt on his way to England. Then Elder M. Sirrine, who baptized Crandall (their first son) July 6, 1840. More of the family was baptized before June 15, 1841, when James and Sally with Thomas and his wife and children Thomas Jr., Lorin, Harvey, Permelia, John, Sarah and 13 others unnamed moved to LaHarpe, Illinois, about eight miles east of Nauvoo, the church headquarters.

LaHarpe is a modest little town, named after one of LaSalle's men, and early French Trapper, Bernard de LaHarpe, who was caught short of his destination by a winter storm, built a stockade and wintered near the town. Her James and Sally bought 80 acres of farmland and just south of town a half mile, and two lots now occupied by the fire station and library, the other by a bank. They also bought a lot in Nauvoo from Hyrum Smith, the brother of Joseph Smith, the founder of the Mormon church.

LaHarpe, the missionary town of La Harpe is located 24 miles east of Nauvoo and eight miles north of Ramus on State highway 9/97. The designation of La Harpe as a missionary town is appropriate because it had already been settled by others and remained mainly a Gentile town. The earliest Mormon settler there was Erastus Bingham, who came in 1839. Bingham and other Mormons began doing missionary work; apparently, the most successful missionary there was Zenos H. Gurley, who reported that he baptized 52 people in 6 days.

The combination of immigration and missionary work led to the creation of a branch at La Harpe on April 17, 1841. This branch was part of tthe Ramus Stake because Ramus was less than 10 miles south. La Harpe and other Mormon settlements in Hancock county served as way stations for missionaries and church leaders as they traveled. From "Iowa the Mormon Trail," page 23 and 24.

When James and Sally Dunn moved to La Harpe all but three of their children were under the age of 17, the youngest almost five years old. Perhaps the younger children were able to get some formal education there, since for the first time, they were living in a fairly well-established community. It was from La Harpe that son Thomas volunteered in the Mormon Battalion and Crandall was called, first for a one-year mission to Wayne County, MI, from February 1842 to February 1843 and later to England from 1843 to 1852.

James Dunn was also a missionary, spending three months in 1845, August-October, and February-May in 1846 on church assignments. The first was a proselyting mission to Central New York, the second a work mission with a crew of 15 to prepare and make easier the way for the saints on the road to Sugar Creek northwesterly to a large encampment. This crew while earning their keep along the way, built bridges, improved the roads, helped any travelers along the way who needed help, hunted game for food, got out timber for a barn in exchange for 38 bushes of corn priced at 87 cents a bushel, and did multitude of the chores that would be useful for those yet to come. James called his crew "the artillery," his writing, and spellings are good. One Sunday they heard the preaching of J.M. Grant and G.A. Grant, another of the Bros. Gillette and Sherwood.

With one son on duty in the Mormon Battalion and another on a five-year mission in England, James and Sally decided to wait for their return before leaving for Utah with the saints. Accordingly, they sold their lots and 80 acre farm at La Harpe in February and March of 1846 and made their way across the Mississippi Rover at Nauvoo, and then to Council Bluffs, Iowa, where they lived for the next six years, preparing for the trek across the plains.

While waiting in the southwest corner of Iowa, two events occurred, Parmelia married Ambrose Shaw on June 22, 1846, and left for the west and Lorin also married and was planning to leave for the west when he died on October 16, 1850. Both of thse events occurred at Mt. Pisgah, Union, Iowa. These were some of the children of James and Sally.

James Dunn and his family crossed the plains in the Captain Cradall Company, arriving in Salt Lake on October 9, 1852, moving to North Ogden, then Plain City, Weber, Utah, and finally to Providence, Cache, Utah, where they spent the remainder of their days together. James died in August, 1872, and is buried in Providnce. Sally survived him by 17 years, dying November 16, 1889, in Box Elder County where she was living with a daughter at the time of her death.

They left a fine group of children, all good pioneers, the first of the Dunn family to embrace the restored gospel of Jesus Christ and become missionaries to help in spreading that gospel. Their children were:

Crandall Dunn born August 11, 1817

Laura Dunn born September 22, 1819, died January, 1823

Thomas Dunn born January 2, 1822

Harvey Dunn born April 18, 1824

Lorin Dunn born April 10, 1827

Parmelia Dunn born July 28, 1830

John Barker Dunn born April 2, 1833

Sarah Elizabeth Dunn July 26, 1836

The above history of the Dunn ancestors was compiled by Cleo Griffin and the history was taken from a book, "A Memorial to Charles Henry and Priscilla Jane Lindsay Hauck," Volume II, Priscilla Jane's Ancestry, assembled and written by Forrest R. Hauck.

This material was discovered on the website shown below:

anderson bee.familytreeguide.com/accounts/andersonbee/histories/History of the our Dunn AncestorsCthe main oneompiled by Cleo GriffinSamuel.pdf?PHPSESSID=46d8e17ed2ad2f86220a233e9f9b7d4c

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James Dunn's Timeline

1793
June 28, 1793
Sussex County, New Jersey
1817
August 11, 1817
Age 24
1822
January 2, 1822
Age 28
Ontario, NY, USA
1832
April 2, 1832
Age 38
1836
July 26, 1836
Age 43
Wayne, Michigan
1872
August, 1872
Age 79
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