Ralph Waldo Emerson Dunham

Is your surname Dunham?

Research the Dunham family

Ralph Waldo Emerson Dunham's Geni Profile

Share your family tree and photos with the people you know and love

  • Build your family tree online
  • Share photos and videos
  • Smart Matching™ technology
  • Free!


Ralph Waldo Emerson Dunham, Sr.

Birthdate: (79)
Birthplace: Argonia, KS, United States
Death: October 4, 1974 (79)
Wichita, KS, United States
Immediate Family:

Son of Jacob William Dunham, III and Mary Ann (Kearney) Dunham
Husband of Ruth Lucille Dunham and Martha Mae Dunham
Father of Stanley Armour Dunham; Mr Dunham; Ralph Dunham, Jr.; Stanley Armour Dunham; Virginia Mae Goeldner and 1 other
Brother of Rolla Dunham; Hattie Zoe Dunham; Mabel Cleo Dunham; Frank Dunham; Pearl Dunham and 2 others

Occupation: Mechanic
Managed by: Private User
Last Updated:

About Ralph Waldo Emerson Dunham

Ralph Waldo Emerson DUNHAM

Ruth Lucille ARMOUR

Husband: Ralph Waldo Emerson DUNHAM

Birth: 25 Dec 1894, Argonia, Dixon Twp., Sumner Co., KS

Death: 4 Oct 1970, Wichita, Sedgwick Co., KS

Occupation: cafe owner; auto mechanic; tooling dept. of Boeing Aircraft

Father: Jacob William DUNHAM

Mother: Mary Ann KEARNEY

Marriage: 3 Oct 1915, Wichita, Sedgwick Co., KS

Wife: Ruth Lucille ARMOUR

Birth: 1 Sep 1900, IL

Death: 25 Nov 1926, Wichita, Sedgwick Co., KS

Occupation: homemaker

Father: Harry Ellington ARMOUR

Mother: Gabriella CLARK

Children — born in Wichita, Sedgwick Co., KS:

1. Ralph Waldo Emerson DUNHAM, Jr., b. Aug 1916

2. Stanley Armour DUNHAM, b. 23 Mar 1918

Keywords for search engines: USA, US, United States, Illinois, Kansas


1. Marriage Record:

2. 1920 Census Every-Name-Index/Images (online at Ancestry.com, Image #20 of 25): 226 Walnut, Wichita (Ward 5), Sedgwick Co., KS, Roll T625_550, p. 179B, SN 10B, SD 8, ED 150, enumeraed 10 Jan 1920, official enumeration date 1 Jan 1920 (extracted by Diana Gale Matthiesen):°



'If you love your kids, they feel it'

September 9, 2007

BY SCOTT FORNEK Political Editor

He was named for one of America's greatest poets and essayists, but Barack Obama's great-grandfather Ralph Waldo Emerson Dunham never cared for his name.

"He really didn't like it that much," said Virginia Goeldner, 72, one of Dunham's daughters. "It embarrassed him."

Dunham was an outdoorsman who liked to fish and hunt. He raised German shepherds for shows. But he had a tender side.

"He was a very soft and gentle person, a very soft, sensitive type fellow," Goeldner said. "He told me once: If a dad has to tell their kids whether he loves them or not, he's not doing his job right.

"He said, 'If you love your kids, they feel it.' "

Goeldner's mother was Dunham's second wife. His first wife -- Obama's great-grandmother -- took her own life in 1926. Obama's grandfather, then just 8, found her body. After his wife's suicide, Dunham sent his two sons to live with his mother- and father-in-law.

Dunham was born in Kansas on Christmas Day, 1894.

"I can remember Daddy talking about going hunting with his brothers, and Grandma would cook it," Goeldner said. "She would cook rabbits or the stuff they shot."

LIke most of his family, Dunham worked in the aircraft industry in Wichita, Kansas, which touted itself as "The Air Capital of the World" in the early 20th century.

Dunham worked in the tooling department of Boeing Aircraft Co.

"He never laid a hand on any of his kids," said Goeldner. "It wasn't like he would tell you what you should do. You did what you knew he wanted you to do just to make him pleased."

view all

Ralph Waldo Emerson Dunham's Timeline

December 25, 1894
Argonia, KS, United States
Age 21
Kansas, United States
Age 21
Indiana, United States
July 20, 1917
Age 22
Kansas, United States
March 23, 1918
Age 23
Wichita, Sedgwick, Kansas, United States
Age 23
June 28, 1932
Age 37
Kansas, United States
October 4, 1974
Age 79
Wichita, KS, United States