Biography - Priulia Dunn

PRIULIA DUNN is worthy of the respect in which he is held as one of the pioneers of Johnson County who has borne an active part in the development of its agricultural resources, and in promoting its growth. He came here more than half a century ago in. the vigor of early manhood, and settling in the primeval forests of this section, bent all his energies to the hard task of hewing out a farm and building up a home in what is now Vienna Township, and amid the peaceful scenes of his former labors he is passing the declining years of a busy life in serenity and comfort.
Our subject was born in Robinson County, Tenn., June 12, 1817, the sixth child of Levi Dunn, a farmer and a tanner, who was also a native of that county. He was killed while yet in the prime of life by his team running away with him. He was a son of Azariah Dunn, who was an early settler of Robinson County, where he had a farm, and was a man of considerable influence. He helped to build the first hewed-log house erected in Nashville, Tenn. The parents of our subject had the following children: John, who died in Robinson County, Tenn.; Azariah, who died in Tennessee; Henry, a farmer in Vienna Township; Jane and Hannah, who died in Tennessee; Priulia; Alabutus, who died in Tennessee; Levi, a resident of Tennessee; Calantha V., deceased, wife of John Jones; and two who died in infancy.
Priulia Dunn had but very little chance to obtain an education, as there were either no schools in his native place when he was a boy, or they were irregular in session and the teachers incompetent. He, however, had an unlimited opportunity to learn farming on his father's farm, and he made the old homestead his home until he was twenty-one. That year he was married to Edna Draugou, a native of Tennessee, and he decided to avail himself of the advantages offered by the cheap lands and rich virgin soil of Illinois to make a home for himself and bride. The young couple journeyed to their destination in Johnson County in a wagon, and after his arrival Mr. Dunn selected his future dwelling-place in a dense forest, his land lying on section 25, township 13, range 3, and this he purchased of the Government. He lived with a brother for a time, and cleared some ground for a crop of corn, and when he had harvested it, built a log cabin, covered with clapboards, and moved into it. The trees upon his place were the growth of centuries, and many of them very large, and it required a great deal of hard labor to remove them, some of them having to be burned to get them out of the way. He had to saw his lumber with a whipsaw, and before that the floor of his cabin had been made of puncheon. He being one of the early settlers, he had no near neighbors, and he and his wife often felt lonesome in the great woods so far from their old friends, and often wished themselves back in Tennessee. But hard work and plenty of it kept them from repining too much. They courageously faced the dangers and hardships of life in the wilderness, with its accompanying privations and sacrifices, such as the young people of to-day cannot realize. There were no mills, no schools and no churches, except at a great distance, and, of course, no social advantages.
Mr. Dunn had the energy and ability to surmount the difficulties that lay in his pathway, and in time had his land, to which he had added forty acres by subsequent purchase, making eighty acres in all, the size of his present farm. This he has admirably tilled, and made many substantial improvements. In 1855 he built his present residence, which was the first good frame house ever erected in this section of the county, and his other buildings are of a good class. He is a man of sterling merit, upright in principle and in act, is well known in the county, and is greatly esteemed by the people among whom he has lived and labored so long. Age has touched him but lightly, for although he has passed the milestone that marks a long and useful life of seventy-live years, he is in good health, and retains his mental and physical activity in a remarkable degree. He still takes a deep interest in all that concerns the township, especially in educational matters, and is School Director. He has been a member of the Township Board of Trustees, and has always done his duty as a loyal citizen. Politically, he is a strong supporter of the Democratic party.
The wife of our subiect's early manhood died June 1, 1860, and was laid to rest in Reid Cemetery, in what is now Grantsburg Township. In 1862 he contracted a marriage with Elizabeth Meddows, a native of Kentucky. She died in 1878, and her mortal remains were placed in the same cemetery as those of his first wife. In 1880 Mr. Dunn was married a third time, Mrs. Nancy Slack, nee Wymore, becoming his wife. By his first marriage Mr. Dunn had nine children: William S., who was a soldier in the late war, and gave up his life for his country at Nashville, Tenn.; Miles R., a farmer in Johnson County; Martha Jane, wife of George Calhoun, of Tunnel Hill; Edna Elizabeth, who is deceased; James, a resident of Metropolis; Charles A., a farmer in Johnson County; Louisa, Mrs. Gage, a resident of Johnson County; and two who died in infancy. There was one child born of his second wife, Sarah Ann, wife of William Wymore, of this county.

Extracted 21 Sep 2016 by Norma Hass from 1893 Biographical Review of Johnson, Massac, Pope, and Hardin Counties, Illinois, pages 285-286

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