My Family, by Cora Watts

Joseph Albert & Nancy Green Dunavan

[The following was written by Cora Watts for presentation to the Dayton Cemetery Association]

On envelope:   This contains some information about my paternal grandparents, Albert Dunavan and his wife Nancy Green Dunavan. Also my great grand parents Colonel Samuel Dunavan and Elizabeth Lair Dunavan

March 1964                                                     Cora Belle Dunavan Watts

My father, son of a pioneer farmer of the “middle west” was born and grew up east of Wedron; his father was Albert Dunavan and his mother was Nancy Green Dunavan, a daughter of John Green and Barbara Grove who came from Licking County Ohio in 1829. They (Albert & Nancy) lived in Rutland before my father was born. It is surprising how little I know about my grandparents.

I was a little girl when they left this part of the country, and moved to a farm in Missouri near Hamilton, with their son, uncle Dave, and daughter, aunt Alice, who never married. Aunt Alice lived only a few years after they moved there.

They wrote that their neighbors were very friendly and always came to celebrate their birthdays. I remember a gold headed cane that my father had after his father Albert’s death, and he said it was presented to his father by his neighbors on a birthday and he was very proud of it. Other members of the Dunavan family moved to Hamilton Mo., too; Aunt Jane Dunavan married Aaron Howe and they moved to Hamilton, and uncle Lewis and aunt Jennie Dunavan moved to a farm near there, I don’t know who went first, or why, but suppose farm land was cheaper out there.

My grandparents’ home near Wedron was a large square white house, with green blinds or shutters, and it had a fireplace with andirons. Some stranger came one evening years ago, and claimed to be a relative, and the tenant farmer let him take the old andirons he asked for.

I remember hearing that my grandfather Albert Dunavan was a forty niner, but can not tell any thing about the trip to California at that time. Lately I have received from Hope Dunavan some information from a first cousin D_____ Dunavan in Clemson S. Carolina whom I have not seen since we both were little children, as his family, the Isaac Dunavans, left this part of the country then.  I don’t know where uncle Isaac went at that time, but his son writes that he died in 1914 in Crichton Saak, Canada.

The following is from his son’s research work –
“Joseph Albert Dunavan 1812 – 1892  Born Mar. 31 – 1812 about 8 miles from Newark, Licking County Ohio. His father Col. Samuel Dunavan and his wife (my great grandparents) Elizabeth Lair were natives of the famous and beautiful Shenandoah Valley Virginia. Joseph or Albert and his brothers William and George and their mother Elizabeth Lair were left when their father died in 1816 from effects of the war of 1812. The mother later married David Letts and in 1830 moved with him to Cedar Point Ill, a mile south of Peru, where Mr. Letts set up a saw mill. Joseph Albert is believed to have learned the cooper’s trade before he went to Illinois. He spent some time in volunteer militia, fighting indians at Fort Welburn. Went to Dayton Ill. where he met Nancy Green and married her January 26, 1834. His two brothers married sisters of Nancy Green. George married Katherine and William married Eliza.

In 1849 or about then, he went to California in the “gold rush”. While he was gone, it has come down to us that one of his children was born and another died. These I surmise were Cynthia Jane and John A. respectively.

He left Dayton Ill. in 1889 where he had owned a large farm and went to Sterling Colorado to farm, with his sons Dave and Lewis; returned from Colorado to Hamilton Missouri to live with son Dave, where both Joseph Albert and Nancy died and were buried.

[Typed on a card in the same envelope:]

Cora Dunavan Watts (Mrs. Harry), b June 20, 1879, d May 22, 1964
Lived in Leland and Ottawa, Illinois
Buried Earlville Precinct Cemetery

May Dunavan Humm (Mrs. Herbert, b December 22, 1877,  d Nov. 21, 1964
Lived in Glendale, Calif.

Both daughters of Samuel and Amanda Munson Dunavan, born near Baker, La Salle County, Ill.

 

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