|Dunn Family Crest|
ORIGIN OF THE NAME
"While a few DUNN and DUNNE families in Ireland could be descendants of settlers from England, where this surname is common, the vast majority of those of the name in Ireland, where it ranks among the fifty commonest surnames, is native Irish stock, being descendants of the sept O'DUINN or O'DOINN whose territory was in the barony of Tinnahinch, County Leix, Brittas in that Barony being their stronghold.
The heaviest distribution by far of the name has always been in Leinster where it is about five times as numerous as in Ulster or Munster.
The family is still represented in its ancient ancestral territory by DUNNE's living in the neighbourhood of Rosenallis, County Leix."
As with much of my family history research, the DUNN story has taken a long time to piece together and is still far from finished. Along the way I have made sporadic contact with several distant relations who have kindly provided me with some of the information which is here presented.
One of these persons was George W.ANDERSON, Pleasanton, California, 94566, a DUNN descendant whose branch appears to have split from mine somewhere in the 17th or 18th Century. Amongst the documents that he provided was one titled A Complete Family Record by Benjamin J. GUNN. In it GUNN writes -
For a knowledge of the early history of this family I am indebted to a manuscript written by the late James DUNN, of Marietta, Ohio, April 23, 1870, and I quote from it quite freely.
The protestants of the province of Ulster, Ireland, were massacred by the Catholics in 1641; and about 1650 Oliver CROMWELL, having subdued and killed nearly all the Catholics, with O'NEIL, their king, settled the province with a colony of Scotch immigrants, among whom were two brothers by the name of DUNN. One of these brothers settled in Dublin and married a Catholic wife, and his family held to the Catholic faith.
The other brother, whose descendants I am about to trace, settled in Londonderry, and married a Scotch Presbyterian. One of their sons, William Dunn, was born about 1685.
When the city of Londonderry was besieged by the armies of King James the Second, in 1689, the DUNNs were present, arrayed with their countrymen in opposition to the tyrannical usurpations of the English despot; and it was through the efforts of the captain, on whose ship George DUNN, brother to William, was a sailor, that the siege was raised and relief brought to that brave and almost famished people.
William Dunn married a Scotch girl by the name of Jane WALLACE, who is doubtless a direct descendant of Sir William WALLACE, who was executed in the fourteenth century. Their family consisted of fifteen children, nine sons and six daughters. Robert DUNN, who was probably the eldest son, was a man of extraordinary intellectual powers, of whom it is said that a crowd of men would gather around him whenever he would appear upon the streets of the city, eager to hear him discuss questions of general interest and great importance. Of the nine sons, one had a bleach green, one was a physician, two were captains of East India vessels, four were farmers, and one was a Presbyterian minister. Three of the daughters married WILSON, MCFARLAND, and LONG. Two of Martha LONG's sons - James and William - were surgeons in the British fleet, under Admiral RODNEY, during the Revolutionary war.
Norma WUNSCH has in her possession a number of letters written to John by several members of his family. From these it is possible to piece together a chronology of events in John's life and to a lesser extent in Andrew's life as well. This is set out in the following narrative and includes my own assessment of attitudes and decisions made by inference drawn from comments in the letters.
 DE BREFNY, Brian; Irish Family Names, Arms, Origins and Locations, Gill and MacMillan, 1982 p.95
John DUNN. Born, before 1830. Died, Jul 1879, in Creevedonnel, Co Londonderry, IRL.
He married Margaret HANNA, before 1842, in Co Londonderry, Irl. Born,
before 1830, in Irl. Children:
ii. Andrew Thomas. Born, circa 1843, in Co Londonderry, Irl. Died, 7
Feb 1928, in Vancouver, British Colombia, Canada.
On 7th May, 1877, Andrew and John left home and travelled to Australia where they were to live for about two years. What their intentions were we cannot say but it would appear that both settled in South Australia and it seems they were both employed in some capacity by other people. Initially at least, their attempts to settle in South Australia were not successful and early in January, 1879, they received information from their cousin in London, also named Andrew DUNN, who suggested that they seek their fortune in Texas.
This information was enough to convince Andrew to return home and he arrived in London on Friday, 2 May, 1879. Once there he met with his cousin Andrew and spent the next four days with him continuing his journey to Ireland on Tuesday, 6th May, 1879. That day cousin Andrew wrote to John care of Thames, Oladdin [sic], South Australia.
Price Dunn and Co.
Iron and Hardware Merchants
Crown Iron Yard
38 & 40 Southwark St.,
Borough London, S.E.
6 May, 1879
Dear Cousin John
Your Brother Andrew arrived here some four days ago and went off today by train from Euston Station for Derry where I hope he will arrive tomorrow evening just on the same date the 7th May upon which you and he left home 2 years ago.
He has written you himself by this same mail, but as he and I had a very important task this morning with the gentleman who gave me the information about Texas last December I think it right to send you this letter to tell you that Andrew was greatly pleased and encouraged by what he heard today about Texas from Mr. KINGSBURY, the man I saw some months ago. Mr. KINGSBURY is an old farmer who has sons farmers now in Texas and where he himself farmed land for 33 years and has made a fortune at it. He gave Andrew today another set of the printed books and maps which I sent you on 1 January last and therefore you need not return the maps nor the printed matter but Andrew wants you to return my letters and also Mr. THORNLOES.
But the principal reason why I write you now is to tell you that the last words Andrew said to me today just before going off on the train were that he thought he would write to you to come away home with a view of you both going out again to settle in Texas. I will not take it upon me to bid you come but certainly my opinion is that it will be far better for you to do so than to wear yourself out in Australia working for others without any hope of getting land of your own at once without waiting a month - the best land in the world at 12/- per acre. If you would like to come home as soon as possibly you can after you get this letter I think you will do well but if you prefer waiting until you get another letter from Andrew by all means do so, but in my opinion every week you spend in Australia is a week wasted and the sooner you come home and go to Texas the better,
I remain, dear John your very truly,
It seems that John was reluctant to leave South Australia, possibly because it would have meant that he was once again going into the unknown. I think that from the letters in Norma WUNSCH's possession that it is unlikely that John DUNN senior financed the trip to South Australia for John and Andrew.
John senior had apparently decided that upon his death the farm at Creevedonnell would pass to his eldest son James and perhaps there may have been a little jealousy displayed by Andrew and John because of this. John senior was certainly in favour of both of them going to Texas and may have shown some anger at my great-Grandfather's reluctance to leave South Australia.
On Tuesday, 24 June, 1879 Andrew wrote to John -
June 24th, 1879
Long ere this I expected to have had a letter from you, but the fact is I have not heard from you since I came home, though I anticipated receiving a letter from you by the last mail.
After you receive this letter it will be useless for you to write me here, as by the time it reaches you, I shall be left home for London on my way to Texas, as I intend leaving here about the first of August. It is Mr. DUNNs wish that you should go to Texas along with me, I wrote to you before to that effect, but whether you will adopt that suggestion or not, it is for you to decide, but I would not advise you to displease him unless you have far better prospects in view, for your future advantages than you had when I left.
I do not for one moment entertain the idea that Texas will prove a better place than South Australia for that all remains to be tried, but I say that it is much better to embrace the opportunity which is offered to us than for me to remain here and not receive a single shilling in the end. My father says he has nothing to give to anyone. That is all very true, as he has given it all away already, therefore he has nothing to give away to neither me nor you. I had a letter from Mr. DUNN a few days ago he desires me not be offended at my father for the apparently cool manner in which he acted by giving everything to James without once mentioning you or me. But he considers the prospects which he has in view for you and me are far superior to anything which James possibly can have at home. I thoroughly recovered my health again. I am now as well as I ever was.
James, my father and Maggie are all in good health. James WILSON, Eliza and family at Cannafern are well, except Catherine Ann she is confined to bed with scarlet fever but she is now recovering.
My Aunt CUNNINGHAM and family are all well the new Minister of Magheramason is staying with the CUNNINGHAMs he was ordained on June 19th there was a large soiree in the evening it was well attended.
I have not been in Carrowkeel sinc I came home but I saw James STEELE in Derry he said my Aunt and family are all well, I was staying three days with Robert HANNA and my Aunt at Tulberslane they are quite well. Thomas WILSON and Eliza are well. William wife and family and the Old man are all in good health at present. The WATSONS SMITHS and WILSONS of Glenderowen are well. The KENNEDIES are well and there is a girl has a child to James William she came to him for money and he struck her. When she summoned him to Donemara Bench she fined him in 3 pounds and he appealed the case to the sessions. The BUCHANANS ANDERSONS BREDINS are all well. Andy DUNN wife and family are all in good health.
Old Thomas GORMLEY of Killymallagh has got married to Hanna BUCHANAN, a daughter of Andy's of Lisglass. I wrote to you before that James was going to be married it was to have taken place a short time after I arrived but somehow it is unaccountably put back so that I do not know now when it is to take place, and if my father or James know they do not tell me. By my last letter I sent you five photographs two of mine two of yours and one of John ROBINSONS.
I hope Mr. and Mrs. THOMAS are in enjoyment of good health. I trust that Sophie is quite well. Ask her if the old man is still alive. I hope Bertie Eda Mary Elsa and Bertha are quite well. This is about as hot a summer here as I have seen but still the crops looks pretty well up to the present time. I sent you two newspapers by the last mail and I will send you by this also.
With kind regards I remain your affectionate Brother
Andrew T. DUNN
In July of 1879 John Senior died, the farm passed into the hands of James and Andrew continued his preparations for Texas. Cousin Andrew wrote to John -
British & Foreign Charcoal Iron Co.
Dial Iron Works, Stourbridge.
38 & 40 Southwark St.,
1 August, 1879
Dear Cousin John,
I believe that I wrote once on your Brothers arrival home early in May last but I have not written since and indeed I hope you are now on your way home to join Andrew in Texas. Your father died last month and James has got the farm and is going to be married. I am glad to believe that your Brother's health keeps good and I expect him here next week to make all preparations to go out to Texas in about a fortnight from this date.
I have this day bought for him and you from the Land Agent here in London one square mile, 640 acres of land at 12/- per acre and have laid down 60 pounds for a nice wooden house of 4 large good rooms for you both to live in - the order for the house to be built will go out to Texas by this days post and it will be ready to inhabit by the time he gets there.
The house is 30' x 15' with two rooms above the same size, 2 good windows in the ground floor and 3 windows above, just the same appearance in front as my house in Guildford Road only of course not so tall.
I hope that if this should be in time to catch you that you will hurry home as fast as you can because Andrew will want you very much at your new house
Yours very sincerely
P.S. I have seen drawings of the house and I like it very much AD
So what was the journey to America from Ireland like? In August of 1879, Robert Louis STEVENSON boarded a ship anchored in the Clyde River in Glasgow. He wrote -
"I was not, in truth, a steerage passenger. Although anxious to see the worst of emigrant life, I had some work to finish on the voyage, and was advised to go to the second cabin, where at least I should have a table at command. The advice was excellent; but to understand the choice, and what I gained, some outline of the internal disposition of the ship will first be necessary. In her very nose is Steerage No. 1, down two pairs of stairs. A little abaft, another companion, labelled Steerage No.2 and 3, gives admission to three galleries, two running forward towards Steerage No.1, and the third aft towards the engines. The starboard forward gallery is the second cabin. Away abaft the engines and below the officers' cabins, to complete our survey of the vessel, there is yet a third nest of steerages, labelled 4 and 5. The second cabin, to return, is thus a modified oasis in the very heart of the steerages. Through the thin partition you can hear the steerage passengers being sick, the rattle of tin dishes as they sit at meals, the varied accents in which they converse, the crying of their children terrified by this new experience, or the clean flat smack of the parental hand in chastisement.
There are, however, many advantages for the inhabitant of this strip. He does not require to bring his own bedding or dishes, but finds berths and a table completely if somewhat roughly furnished. He enjoys a distinct superiority in diet; but this, strange to say, differs not only on different ships, but on the same ship according as her head is to the east or west. In my own experience, the principal difference between our table and that of the true steerage passenger was the table itself, and the crockery plates from which we ate. But lest I should show myself ungrateful, let me recapitulate every advantage. At breakfast, we had a choice between tea and coffee for beverage; a choice not easy to make, the two were so surprisingly alike. I found that I could sleep after coffee and lay awake after tea, which is proof conclusive of some chemical disparity; and even by the palate I could distinguish a smack of snuff in the former from a flavour of boiling dishcloths in the second. As a matter of fact I have seen passengers after many sips, still doubting which had been supplied them. In the way of eatables at the same meal we were gloriously favoured; for in addition to porridge, which was common to all, we had Irish stew, sometimes a bit of fish, and sometimes rissoles. The dinner of soup, roast fresh beef, boiled salt junk, and potatoes, was, I believe, exactly common to the steerage and second cabin; only I have heard it rumoured that our potatoes were of superior brand; and twice a week, on pudding days, instead of duff, we had a saddle-bag filled with currants under the name of plum pudding. At tea we were served with some broken meat from the saloon; sometimes in the comparatively elegant form of spare patties or rissoles; but as a general thing, mere chicken-bones and flakes of fish neither hot nor cold. If these were not the scrapings of plates their looks belied them sorely; yet we were all too hungry to be proud, and fell to these leavings greedily. These, the bread, which was excellent, and the soup and porridge which were both good, formed my whole diet throughout the voyage; so that except for broken meat and the convenience of a table I might as well have been in the steerage outright. Had they given me porridge again in the evening, I should have been perfectly contented with the fare. As it was, with a few biscuits and some whiskey and water before turning in, I kept my body going and my spirits up to the mark."
The passengers consisted of a mixture from all the nations of Europe. After a short trip across the Irish Sea the vessel collected a final lot of emigrants at Lough Foyle in Ireland and then headed out into the Atlantic. STEVENSON wrote -
"...The wind sang shrill in the rigging; the rain fell small and thick; the whole group, linked together as it was, was shaken and swung to and fro as the swift steamer shore into the waves. It was a general embrace, both friendly and helpful, like what one imagines of old Christian Agapes. I turned many times to look behind me on the moving desert of seas, now cloud-canopied and lit with but a low nocturnal glimmer along the line of the horizon. It hemmed us in and cut us off on our swift travelling oasis. And yet this waste was part of a playground for the stormy petrel; and on the least tooth of reef, outcropping in a thousand miles of unfathomable ocean, the gull makes its home and dwells in a busy polity. And small as was our iron world, it made yet a large and habitable place in the Atlantic, compared with our globe upon the seas of space.
All Sunday the weather remained wild and cloudy; and many were prostrated by sickness; only five sat down to tea in the second cabin, and two of these departed abruptly ere the meal was at an end. The Sabbath was observed strictly by the majority of the emigrants. I heard an old woman express her surprise that 'the ship didna gae doon', as she saw someone pass her with a chessboard on the holy day. Some sang Scottish psalms. Many went to service, and in true Scottish fashion came back ill pleased with their divine. 'I didna think he was an experienced preacher', said one girl to me.
It was a bleak, uncomfortable day; but at night, by six bells, although the wind had not yet moderated, the clouds were all wrecked and blown away behind the rim of the horizon, and the stars came out thickly overhead. I saw Venus burning as steadily and sweetly across this hurly-burly of the winds and waters as ever at home upon the summer woods. The engine pounded, the screw tossed out of the water with a roar, and shook the ship from end to end; the bows battled with loud reports against the billows; and as I stood in the lee-scuppers and looked up to where the funnel leaned out over my head, vomiting smoke, and the black and monstrous topsails blotted, at each lurch, a different crop of stars, it seemed as if all this trouble were a thing of small account, and that just above the mast reigned peace unbroken and eternal."
Coincidentally, the very month that Robert Louis STEVENSON left for America, Andrew DUNN also left Ireland on his way to Texas. It is not possible to say whether or not they were on the same ship but the experiences recorded by STEVENSON mirrored Andrews as much as they did any of the other thousands of Emigrants who preceded them and who followed in their footsteps.
The DUNN's were obviously not poor and it may be that Andrew travelled as a Cabin passenger but to save money he may have found it more prudent to travel in steerage. STEVENSON described the conditions in steerage one stormy night -
"The wind hauled ahead with a head sea. By ten at night heavy sprays were flying and drumming over the forecastle; the companion of Steerage No.1 had to be closed, and the door of communication through the second cabin thrown open. Either from the convenience of the opportunity, or because we had already a number of acquaintances in that part of the ship, Mr. Jones and I paid it a late visit. Steerage No.1 is shaped like an isosceles triangle, the sides opposite the equal angles bulging outward with the contour of the ship. It is lined with eight pens of sixteen bunks apiece, four bunks below and four above on either side. The companion lands about the middle of the greater length, and thus cuts the open space between the pens into two unequal apartments, as a drawing-room and boudoir. Each of these is furnished with a table and fixed benches; that in the forward space being shaped to a point, a triangle within a triangle, to fit the inclination of the ship's timbers. At night the place is lit with two lanterns, one to each table. As the steamer beat on her way among the rough billows, the light passed through violent phases of change, and was thrown to and fro and up and down with startling swiftness. You were tempted to wonder, as you looked, how so thin a glimmer could control and disperse such total blackness. Even by day much of the steerage enjoyed but a groping twilight. I presume (for I never saw it) that some cleansing process was carried on each morning; but there was never light enough to be particular; and in a place so full of corners and so much broken up by fixtures and partitions, dirt might lie for years without disturbance. The pens, stalls, pews - I know not what to call them - were besides, by their very design, beyond the reach of bucket and swab. Each broad shelf with its four deep divisions, formed a fourfold asylum for all manner of uncleanliness. When the pen was fully occupied, with sixteen live human animals, more or less unwashed, lying immersed together in the same close air all night, and their litter of meat, dirty dishes and rank bedding tumbled all day together in foul disorder, the merest possibilities of health or cleanliness were absent.
If it was impossible to clean the steerage, it was no less impossible to clean the steerage passenger. All ablution below was rigorously forbidden. A man might give his hands a scour at the pump beside the galley, but that was exactly all. One fellow used to strip to his waist every morning and freshen his chest and shoulders; but I need not tell you he was no true steerage passenger. To wash outside in the sharp sea air of the morning is a step entirely foreign to the frowsy, herding, over-warm traditions of the working class; and a human body must apparently have been nurtured in some luxury, before it courts these rude shocks and surprises of temperature in which many men find health and vigour. Thus, even if the majority of passengers came clean aboard at Greenock, long ere the ten days were out or the shores of America in sight, all were reduced to a common level, all, who stewed together in their own exhalations, were uncompromisingly unclean. A writer of the school of M. Zola would here find inspiration for many pages; but without entering farther into detail, let me mention the name of sea sickness, and leave its added horrors to the imagination of the reader."
Family rumour has it that the land purchased for Andrew and John was in Houston and it was in that town that Andrew was residing in February of 1880. Cousin Andrew wrote to John -
18 February, 1880
Dear Cousin John,
I should have written you many days ago only further worry of the election and I have lost after all. I will not stand again for Smithwick - the Priests and Roman Catholics and Home Rulers defeated me along with all the Publicans.
I am very glad to have received the enclosed letter today from Andrew just in time for you and I enclose 4 letters of introduction from Rev Mr. COUCH to his friends in Texas.
You will I suppose be ready to go on the 27 just as you intended - with all my heart I wish you good voyage to New York and then I suppose you will go by steamer to Galveston and then by rail to Houston to meet Andrew.
When you arrive at Galveston you must write him immediately to meet you at the railway station at such time as you find out the train will arrive at Houston. Write me when you receive this and tell me all your news - with kind regards to all, I remain your affectionate cousin,
Robert Louis Stevenson had arrived in New York in about August 1879 and wrote -
"Monday - It was, if I remember rightly, five o'clock when we were all signalled to be present at the Ferry Depot of the railroad. An emigrant ship had arrived at New York on the Saturday night, another on the Sunday morning, our own on Sunday afternoon, a fourth early on Monday; and as there is no emigrant train on Sunday, a great part of the passengers from these four ships was concentrated on the train by which I was to travel. There was a Babel of bewildered men, women, and children. The wretched little booking-office, and the baggage-room, which was not much larger, were crowded thick with emigrants, and were heavy and rank with the atmosphere of dripping clothes. Open carts full of bedding stood by the half-hour in the rain. The officials loaded each other with recriminations. A bearded, mildewed little man, whom I take to have been an emigrant agent, was all over the place, his mouth full of brimstone, blustering and interfering. It was plain that the whole system, if system there was, had utterly broken down under the strain of so many passengers.
My own ticket was given me at once, and an oldish man, who preserved his head in the midst of this turmoil, got my baggage registered, and counselled me to stay quietly where I was till he should give me the word to move. I had taken along with me a small valise, a knapsack, which I carried on my shoulders, and in the bag of my railway rug the whole of Bancroft's History of the United States, in six fat volumes. It was as much as I could carry with convenience even for short distances, but it ensured me plenty of clothing, and the valise was at the moment, and often after, useful for a stool. I am sure I sat for an hour in the baggage room, and wretched enough it was; yet, when at last the word was passed to me, and I picked up my bundles and got under way, it was only to exchange discomfort for downright misery and danger.
I followed the porters into a long shed reaching downhill from West Street to the river. It was dark, the wind blew clean through it from end to end; and here I found a great block of passengers and baggage, hundreds of one and tons of the other. I feel I shall have a difficulty to make myself believed; and certainly the scene must have been exceptional, for it was too dangerous for daily repetition. It was a tight jam; there was no fair way through the mingled mass of brute and living obstruction. Into the upper skirts of the crowd, porters, infuriated by hurry and overwork, clove their way with shouts. I may say that we stood like sheep, and that the porters charged among us like so many maddened sheepdogs; and I believe these men were no longer answerable for their acts. It mattered not what they were carrying, they drove straight into the press, and when they could get no farther, blindly discharged their barrowful. With my own hand, for instance, I saved the life of a child as it sat upon its mother's knee, she sitting on a box; and since I heard of no accident, I must suppose that there were many similar interpositions in the course of the evening.
The Hudson River docks after the arrival of the emigrant ships were a seething mass of humanity where the frenetic activities of the porters were hardly slowed by the crush of the new arrivals. From the sheds on the docks STEVENSON and the others were funnelled into the boats on the Jersey River.
You may imagine how slowly this filtering proceeded through the dense, choking crush, everyone overladen with packages or children, and yet under the necessity of fishing out his ticket by the way; but it ended at length for me, and I found myself on deck, under a flimsy awning and with a trifle of elbow room to stretch and breathe in. In vain the seamen shouted to them to move on, under a spell of stupor and did not stir a foot...The standing at Jersey City was done in a stampede. I had a fixed sense of calamity, and, to judge by conduct, the same persuasion was common to us all. A panic selfishness, like that produced by fear, presided over the disorder of our landing. People pushed, and elbowed and ran, their families following how they could. Children fell, and were picked up, to be rewarded by a blow. One child, who had lost her parents, screamed steadily and with increasing shrillness, as though verging towards a fit; an official kept her by him, but no one else seemed so much as to remark her distress; and I am ashamed to say that I ran among the rest.
From there they moved to the railway station where the weary immigrants had to sit and wait either for the train to arrive or for the doors on the carriages already there to be unlocked. There were no refreshments, apart from a young boy selling oranges. STEVENSON bought several, but finding them unappetising, threw the remainder on the railway tracks and was surprised to see his fellow passengers, children amongst them, scramble like seagulls for the morsels.
The train journey passed through a number of towns, Philadelphia included, until the next morning it paused in a nameless place between towns -
A green, open, undulating country stretched away upon all sides. Locust trees and a single field of Indian corn gave it a foreign grace and interest; but the contours of the land were soft and English. It was not quite England, neither was it quite France; yet like enough to either to seem natural in my eyes. And it was in the sky and not upon the earth, that I was surprised to find a change. Explain it how you may, and for my part I cannot explain i at all, the sun rises with a different splendour in America and Europe. There is more clear gold and scarlet in our old-country mornings; more purple, brown and smoky orange in those of the new. It may be from habit, but to me the coming of day is less fresh and inspiriting in the latter; it has a duskier glory, and more nearly resembles sunset; it seems to fit some subsequential, evening epoch of the world, as though America were in fact, and not merely in fancy, further from the orient of the Aurora and springs of day. I thought so then, by the railroad-side in Pennsylvania, and I have thought so a dozen times in far distant parts of the continent.
The plains soon gave way the rolling hills and woods and rural settings as the train passed on to Pittsburg and then Ohio -
But Ohio was not at all as I had pictured it. We were now on those great plains which stretch unbroken to the Rocky Mountains. The country was flat like Holland, but far from being dull. All through Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, and Iowa, or for as much as I saw of them from the train and in my waking moments, it was rich and various, and breathed an elegance peculiar to itself. The tall corn pleased the eye; the trees were graceful in themselves, and framed the plain into long, aerial vistas; and the clean, bright gardened townships spoke of country fare and pleasant summer evenings on the stoop...
By the evening of the third day after leaving New York, the emigrants had arrived in Chicago. From there it was south to Burlington on the Mississippi. At 8:40 p.m. on the fourth night "...we were deposited at the Pacific Transfer Station near Council Bluffs, on the eastern bank of the Missouri river."
Prior to 1869 the immigrant traffic to the west either went overland by wagon or proceeded south to the Gulf of Mexico and then by steamer to one of the Latin American countries where they would cross the isthmus and then take another passage by sea to one of the ports on the West Coast. A long and arduous journey which the DUNN brothers had planned to take but we do not know if they did. It was far more convenient to choose the route taken by STEVENSON who boarded the Union Pacific Railroad to continue his western journey.
STEVENSON continued his journey in a train pulling three passenger carriages, the first of which was reserved for women and children, the second for the men and the third for Chinese.
I suppose the reader has some notion of an American railroad-car, that long narrow wooden box, like a flat roofed Noah's Ark, with a stove and a convenience , one at either end, a passage down the middle, and transverse benches upon either hand. Those destined for emigrants on the Union Pacific are only remarkable for their extreme plainness, nothing but wood entering into any part of their constitution, and for the usual inefficacy of the lamps which often went out and shed but a dying glimmer even while they burned. The benches are too short for anything but a young child. Where there is scarce elbow-room for two to sit, there will not be enough for one to lie. Hence the company, or rather, as it appears from certain bills about the Transfer Station, the company's servants have conceived a plan for the better accommodation of travellers. They prevail on every two to chum together. To each of the chums they sell a board and three square cushions stuffed with straw and covered with thin cotton. The benches can be made to face each other in pairs, for the backs are reversible. On the approach of night the boards are laid from bench to bench, making a couch wide enough for a man of middle height; and the chums lie down side by side upon the cushions with the head to the conductor's van and the feet to the engine.
John followed his brother some time between February 1880 and early June 1882. We know from the last letter he planned to leave Australia on 27 February, 1880. By the time Thursday, 8 June, 1882 arrived he was resident at 554 Harvard Street, San Francisco, the home of his cousin Thomas KENNEDY. His strict Presbyterian upbringing had not prepared him for the wantonness of the "Wild Wild West" which gave him cause to complain to his cousin Andrew in a letter on that day. John entertained some thoughts then of returning to Australia or perhaps to New Zealand. Cousin Andrew, although sympathetic, was not impressed with these plans. He wrote -
28 June, 1882
My Dear Cousin,
Your letter of 8 June from San Francisco only reached me yesterday - 19 days coming - glad to hear you are well and strong, but must confess I am sorry to hear such a bad account of the morals of the people and of their disregard for Christian worship. At the same time I would not have you run away again to New Zealand or any other far off colony but find employment of some kind either in British Columbia or in California until you have time to study and learn where a good opening may turn up for a permanent settlement. It is a matter for such thankfulness that you had not laid out your money in Adelaide on worthless land and I hope Andrew will soon come to you. When he arrives with Mr. THORNELOES letter I think he will give you real honest and friendly advice. Tell him that his Brother George and I were together at a luncheon at Old Surrey Chapel in Blackfriars Road on Saturday last and both of us made little speeches. We often meet at various places on Temperance business and are always great friends. Please do show Mr. THORNELOE this when you see him and give him my kindest compliments - hoping to have good news for you often I remain your very truly,
In Andrew's eyes at least, California or the British Territories of Canada were preferable to life in Australia and he again mentioned this in a letter dated 3 July, 1882 -
My dear Cousin,
I have today received your letter of 11 June giving me another number for your address viz 564 Howard St. instead of 554 but I wrote you on the 29 June - only 4 days ago - to No. 554 and I hope you will get it either there or at the Post Office, if you ask there for it. I have no more word from Andrew and I only hope that you wrote to him to follow you and to bring Mr. THORNELOES letter with him. The letter I got from you today has taken 22 days to come whereas the other one took only 19 days which is a great deal better than the Australia ones.
I should have told you in my last that I was over in Ireland last month and spent a fortnight one place and another. I was 4 days in Belfast at the General Assembly then went to Derry - then to Strabane - Killeter, above Castlederg where one of my old schoolfellows Rev Joseph LIVE is minister, then on by Omagh and Duggannan to Belfast again - then by steamer to Fleetwood and home by rail on Friday the 23 June.
My principal business over this time was to make friends in the County Tyrone with the view of being Candidate for M.P. at the next election along with Mr. DICKSON M.P. and I am glad to say that the proposal was received with much favour wherever I went.
I think you should write me now at least once a month - my hope is that you will now find some work until you find time to think and learn and find out by consultation and experience what is the best and wisest way to settle. If you are not afraid of the cold of the climate perhaps you will think of going north into British territory where I hear there are some splendid tracts of land offered to actual farmers for nothing - only agreement to settle. But as you say these stories don't stand investigation most of them. At the same time when Andrew joins you I think you should write to some of the British Land Agents in Canada and see what they can offer you but I hope you will see Mr. THORMELOE and you will hear what he says. I could not recommend you to run any risk in going amongst the Indians. i do not hear of their having any Indians to deal with in the British possessions.
Perhaps I will one day call at the Dominion office here in London and get some good information for you.
Meantime - praying that God may guide you in all your ways and save you form evil that it may not grieve you
I remain ever truly yours,
John remained in San Francisco and searched for land to buy in California. Andrew seems to have remained in Texas but entertained the idea of joining John in California should he find some worthwhile land. Cousin Andrew wrote -
On the 14 October I received your letter of 24 Sept and I much regret being so long replying. Whilst sorry to hear that you had not been able to find any land to your mind. I feel thankful to know that you have not laid out your money in a bad way and that you are keeping your health. I had a letter from your brother on the 18 Sept last which I now enclose to your satisfaction. You will see that he is or was waiting to hear from you and if your report was favourable he was willing to go and join you. I am glad of this because I think you should stick to each other and help each other. I wrote Andrew a few days after I got his letter which I now send you and I told him I got a letter from [you] written soon after your arrival and that I could not write to you because you did not give me any address in the first letter. I sent Andrew some printed papers with maps containing grand accounts of the lands in Manitoba and other parts which are said to be capable of growing all manner of crops same as grow in England and Ireland and I would have written you two weeks ago only I put off from day to day waiting to get from a friend some printed matter to send to you, but I could not get any the same as I sent to Andrew. The papers I sent to him came to me from Chicago from Mr. MATTHEWSONS son John who went there some year or more ago and he sent me the papers to see if I would help him leave Chicago and go to buy and settle upon the lands which the papers point out. I think the lands which he spoke of so highly are in the northern part of the United States not far from the Lakes and MATTHEWSON told me that Mr. THOMPSON, brother-in-law of Mr. CAMPBELL of Derry who has a large house of business in the Provisions Trade in Chicago had just gone away to survey and buy a large tract of the said lands in a new state there for himself. The papers and maps which I send you today are about land in Canada but I fear you will consider it too far north. I don't know however whether on the whole it would be safer and better for you to settle somewhere west of Chicago on those lands mentioned in the papers I sent to Andrew rather than in California where the country is so unhealthy when the heat is good. I wonder at you and Andrew expressing yourselves as so frightened of the cold. You had a good deal of cold in Ireland sometimes and I think it is better to put up with the cold than have the fever and ague -
I hope you will get this in good time and now that a letter comes in less than three weeks you must please write me oftener and always tell me where to address you.
My health thank God is very good and all business going on as usual. The Derry people are also all well, With kind regards, Yours truly,
By April 1883, John was still prevaricating. The lure of cheaper land in Canada was balanced against the thought of long snowbound winters and bitter cold that had characterised the winters in Ireland. I don't know how Andrew and John lived, perhaps getting odd jobs here and there or perhaps living off their inheritance, but I think it more likely that it was a combination of both. Cousin Andrew wrote to John care of San Francisco again on 6 April, 1883 -
I wrote you some weeks ago care of your cousin Mr. KENNEDY and I hope you got it, but I have not yet had any reply. Since then I got a letter from your brother which I have enclosed by which you will see that he is very much vexed and surprised that he has [not] heard from you. I have written him this day giving him your cousin's address so that he may write as soon as he gets it but at the best I suppose it will take three months or more before you can have a letter from him which is a weary long time. I do so much wish you had those letters of introduction to Mr. THORNLOE because I believe you cannot do much better than settle in some part of California.
I am thankful to say that I still have very good health and I hope you are the same. It appears that Andrew had a narrow escape with his life by a fall from his horse or rather, the horse fell with him on it.
Please write me as soon as you receive this and tell me what your prospects and plans are. I am extremely sorry that you and your Brother have been so much tossed about without any grounds for the soles of your feet - next thing to Noah's dove, but surely you have got plenty of experience by this time and you must make up your mind if you have not already done so. I could not recommend you to go too far North - the cold must be distressful to both man and beast and although you may not and probably will not get so much land for your money in the milder climate you will have less trouble and less risk.
With best wishes and kind regards to yourself and best respects to your cousin KENNEDY
I remain sincerely yours,
Around August, 1883, John had left San Francisco apparently because work was scarce. I do not know where he went but in late August he received two letters; one from cousin Andrew and one from Thomas KENNEDY.
564 Howard St., San Francisco
I received two letters from your cousin in London which [I] enclose to you. The first was enclosed in my Mother's letter and the other was directed to me and I opened it as I suppose there was no harm for there would be too long of getting your length and he thought you were here. Dear John I am sorry that you left here for there were a good many openings for you here since you left. There were 3 or 4 men left the store then went to the Boss when he started business for himself and our boss got new men and Charley BROWN said the porter in his office left and he could get you in there. Dear John I am in good health and all send their best wishes to you. I will write you a letter in the next steamer and send a letter of your Brother Andrew's that came in Mr. DUNN's letter for I have not room in this one. Tell Cameron that I will send him the pictures soon. Please write on return of the steamer and let me know how you are getting along. I will give you all the news in my next. I had nearly forgot to say that I got your letter and Cameron's. No more at present but remain your affectionate cousin
I expect you will be back in San Francisco yet for it is the best place yet for making money. I wish you would come.
I believe that this next letter is the one mentioned by Thomas in the letter above and which he enclosed and forwarded on to John.
15 July, 1883
It is now a long time since I have had a letter from you but Mrs. KENNEDY wrote me some weeks ago that you were well and near her son in San Francisco.
You will see by this letter which I enclose that your brother Andrew has met with a serious accident and that he is anxious about you. Please write him soon as you get this and also write to me and give me all your news. I am of course anxious to know what prospect you have of settling down to a farm of your own or what you have made up your mind to do. So far as I know your friends in Ireland are all well and I am going to send this to Mrs. KENNEDY to ask her to send it to (you) care of her son because I do not remember your address and cannot find your last letter. I think I sent it to Andrew.
With kind regards
It is almost two years before we have any more knowledge of John and Andrew's whereabouts. Their Brother-in-law James WILSON died early in 1885 and John was able to send some money to his sister Eliza. From the letters it seems that John and Andrew had still not met up with each other, they certainly had not purchased any land nor had they begun to farm for themselves. By 6 April, 1885, John had in fact returned to Adelaide where he somehow lost his money. Whether the money he brought to Australia was the proceeds from the sale of the land purchased for him and Andrew in Texas is not known although family rumour has it that the Texas land was not sold. It is believed that he lost the money in some bad land deals.
On Tuesday, 2 June, 1885 cousin Andrew wrote what was to be his last letter to John care of the Bushman's Club in Adelaide -
My dear Cousin,
Your letter of 6 April reached me a few days ago and I am glad to know that you are well and able to earn a living. I am greatly pleased that you have sent 10 pound to your sister Mrs. WILSON. I have promised 2 pound 10 shillings every quarter as long as I live. It was a bad job her husbands death. So far as I know all your relatives in Ireland are well but you will be sorry to hear that my good old friend Mr. John MATTHEWSON departed this life last Saturday and was buried this morning in the cemetery at Derry. I had a letter from your Brother from Maitland some weeks ago. He was well and still working on at the old place where he and you landed years ago - I forget how many years it is, but I suppose it must be six years or more since you left home. I sincerely wish you had both settled somewhere in the United [States] and had your own land to work upon long long ago. You might have had a splendid property by this time but I hope neither Andrew nor you will ever think of buying land in Australia. It seems to me the last place in the world for farming.
I got married last August and we still live in the same house as when you were here. I am sorry to say that Mrs. DUNN has been ill for some weeks past but the Dr. gives us good hopes of her gradual recovery. She had some internal hurt or strain years ago which has never fully mended and latterly it has been giving trouble. My own health is very good thank God and I am now in my 70th year and a very hard iron worker all my life long it is a wonder I am so well but being a Teetotaller for so many years (48 last Christmas) has been useful to my bodily health, and I can honestly recommend total abstinence to all men as a good thing for both body and soul because it keeps people often out of evil company.
If you are not a teetotaller I would hereby advise you to become one at once if you do it on my advice you will never live to rue it. Pin on the enclosed piece of blue ribbon on your coat breast at once and vow in the name of God that you will henceforth live and die a teetotaller, depending always on his help to keep you from evil.
I need not say anything to you about the loss of your money. No doubt it has vexed you much and I will not vex you more. All you can do is to be more careful for the future and I pray to God to forgive you for whatever was wrong and to grant you wisdom and grace to guide you right for the future.
I will always be pleased to hear from you, and with very kind regards I remain,
I send you a newspaper today containing Mr. MATTHEWSONS death.
Cousin Andrew's long life and good health was not to last much longer. On November 2nd, 1885, his wife Caroline sat at a desk in her home at 35 Guildford Road, South Lambeth, London, and penned the following letter to John at the Bushman's Club -
It is with the greatest grief I write to tell you of the death of my beloved husband Mr. Andrew DUNN, your cousin, which took place on Oct 4th. Your letter dated Aug 24th reached me after his death. You gave no address, but thinking you are a member of the Club I write there, will you send me your address of your brother Mr. Andrew Thomas DUNN if he is not with you. I will write him also the particulars of my husbands death.
Caroline L. DUNN
On 16 November, 1885, another cousin sat down and wrote to John from Carrowkeel House, Campsie Post Office, County Derry -
My dear John DUNN,
You will be both surprised and astonished to get a letter from me well although I never write you. We often talk of Andrew Tom and you and wonder what you are doing and if you are married or unmarried. So you can see you are not forgotten by us in mind. What changes have taken place amongst our friends and in our own circle since you left this country. I daresay you heard of dear Mother's death. She was just a year dead on the 6th of this month. I could not express in words to you how much we miss her and every day we live we feel our loss more and more.
I have not been up the glen since last year. I saw in Saturdays paper the marriage of Robert STRAWBRIDGE to Miss Isabella BUCHANAN both of Lisglass. Wasn't it funny of Margaret BREDIN thinking of marrying after putting so many through her hands. We spent an evening in her new home. Robert seems to be passionately fond of her. I think it was good for her the day she left Drumearn. I haven't seen your James for an age and never saw the wife but once. William John WATSON I see sometimes in Derry. Sammy and he were down one day in the Summer. Now Sammy is a curiosity. William John is very attentive to widow Mrs. CORKELL. I don't know if it ever will come to anything more or not. She is very convenient for him now on a Wednesday as she is living in a house on Carlisle Road.
Have you seen Robert HANNA since he went out to Australia? He would like to get home again by the tone of some of his letters. They will not be so quick in sending for him again. Do you ever see David HANNA or hear of him? Robert wrote William James and told him David was married and had a family of four children. David has never said so himself. Do you know if it is true? Do you ever hear from Willie? We have not had a letter from him since January. We cannot account for his not writing. David is out in your country, at least in Melbourne. He is in the engineering trade. How he will succeed at it is not known. I never dreamt he would go abroad. Still nothing would dissuade him against it. I might finish my days there myself yet for all I know. How far is Andrew Tom from you? When you are writing him will you tell him to write me a long letter about how he is getting along and about the country. Tell him I'll answer it and will appreciate it as well, now don't forget. He never sent me the brooch he promised me nor you the Locket. I suppose you forget but I have not. Things live a long time in my memory. I fancy I hear you say after reading this 'Indeed", though if Andrew and you send them I will wear them for your sakes. Won't that be good of me. You will be saying there is not much change in me (Indeed there is not, not in my movements) since I saw you. I am still single. You will see that by my signature. Lizzie and Sarah are in Derry at business. Johnny, Cassie and Alexander are at school, there are only Jim and I still at home. At one time our family was very large, but it has been cut down considerably. We have had very uncertain weather since September, rain almost every day and very cold winds. Such weather makes one feel miserable. Now John you are to be sure and write me as soon as this reaches you. I want you to send me your picture and I'll enclose you one of mine next time I write. So now don't forget that and the locket, be sure and tell Andrew T. also. Monday will be the day of the Election in the city, some rows are expected. Politics causes great stir now-a-days. I'll wind up by saying this may not be a very interesting letter to you. It will be a surprise, and with fond love to you in which James and all the rest join and wishing you a very joyous Christmas and a Happy New Year,
Believe me, dear John
Your affectionate Cousin
Be sure and write me immediately. Tell Andrew T. to write me all about the country, its people, customs and manners, let him not be angry at me writing you first,
The next two letters are from Caroline DUNN. The first dated February 4th, 1886 states -
Dear Mr. DUNN,
I have just written to your brother and sent him a photo and card. I thought you would like one also. I was afraid to send it when I first wrote you, not being sure of your address. I will try and give you a few particulars of my beloved husbands death. He has been dead four months today - He was strong and well until Sept 26th when he appeared to have taken a chill and he never left his bed afterwards. He had attended a crowded political meeting on the Thursday before and we think he may have taken cold then. The Doctor was called the next morning and did not think there was any cause for alarm. The disease (inflammation of the lungs) was scarcely pronounced before it was considered hopeless. A bad symptom having set in on Wednesday morning. The physician we had for consultation said it was a complication peculiar to elderly persons. My dear husband always said from the first that he suffered no pain, only restlessness. He was delirious 24 hours but even then he always understood what I said and always knew me. He always smiled and even tried to sing. His speech failed very soon but even then he smiled and moved his head evidently to show me he knew me and was in no pain. He tried to speak to me two hours before his death. He passed away without even a struggle. Once he was heard to say "Precious Jesus". When I saw him die it fell upon me most unexpectedly. Doctors, Nurses and all told me it was hopeless but I could not believe it. I thought he would have lived for years and it has broken my heart. He was so good I cannot contemplate my life without him.
I wish I had sent you papers with the account of the funeral, but please excuse the omission for I was and am so bewildered that I forgot to write to many. I hope you are well and prospering so far away from home. Please accept my kind regards and believe me I remain
The second letter was dated May 25th, 1886 -
Dear Mr. DUNN,
I received your letter asking for information respecting my dear husbands will, and now send you a few lines in reply to your questions.
There is a great deal left in legacies to friends, people Mr. DUNN assisted during his life, old servants, employees, and institutions, amounting to some thousands. A few are for as much as 1,000 pounds but mostly about 250 pounds each. Some are only for 50 pounds. Your brother and yourself have a legacy of 250 pounds each.
You tell me that Mr. DUNN mentioned to you that he had left some property to his wife and son. This must have referred to the Glasgow freehold property which is so arranged to pay Mrs. DUNN's Annuity entered into by deed of separation 9 years ago. This annuity is to last her life and afterwards it goes to Mr. Thomas DUNN their son. As he has already one daughter it will be hers after his death. Mr. Thomas DUNN has also a life policy the premiums having been paid by his father.
I dare say you will wonder at the long delay, but no one has yet received anything from the estate. Mr. Thomas DUNN has caused great trouble and expense by announcing his intention to dispute the will. He has now withdrawn all opposition and I hope that the Executors will be able to make progress but you will understand that under any circumstances everything has been at a stand still. I am quite unable to assist you respecting the photograph you ask for. My dear husband had not seen his son for nine years and I only saw him for a few minutes the day of the funeral and should not recognise him again if I saw him. I cannot send you my photograph as I have given them all away and do not think I shall ever be taken again. I am hardly able to attend to anything now as the sorrow I have passed through seems heavier and heavier to bear and the additional anxiety respecting the business affairs has upset me.
Hoping you are well and with kind regards believe me,
P.S. The date of the Will is August 6th, 1884
In 1886, John's uncle James HANNA also died and left him a legacy as evidenced by a letter dated December 30, 1886, White House -
Dear Cousin John,
I enclose your draft for 50 pounds which is 25 per cent of a legacy to you from Uncle James HANNA. I expect to send you 50 pounds more in April or May next - and the balance may be a year in collecting as I had to go to Lexington and enter suit against the parties who owe the money to make them pay up - we are all well here at present and are your friends in the Glen - times are very bad with farmers. Let me know how you are getting along when you write,
An believe me
Your affectionate Cousin
Wm J. HANNA
Sign enclosed receipt and return same to me - WJH
True to his word on April 28, 1889, he sent the second 50 pounds and on January 27, 1891 he sent the final payment of 167 pounds 7 shillings and ten pence. Obviously a man of few words or one who disliked writing letters the only piece of news he wrote from home came in the final letter where he wrote -
We are all well here but this has been a very severe winter.
It is obvious from some of the letters, particularly that from Maggie HANNA that several other members of the DUNN and HANNA clans came to Australia. When Maggie asked after so many of them she was probably showing her ignorance of the breadth of this land. Many relatives of some Irish families seem to have congregated in the one area as witnessed by the DURACK clan in the Coopers Creek Basin and later in the Kimberley's, as described in that classic family history Kings in Grass Castles by Patsy DURACK. But this doesn't seem to have been the case with the DUNN's and HANNA's. From the few letters which have survived it is not really possible to say whether or not John ever saw his Australian cousins but he certainly made some attempts to contact them. In 1892, he received a letter from his cousin William James HANNA.
My Dear Cousin,
I received your ever welcome letter last night and I am very much pleased to see that you are married and settled down in life and I hope you may have a good partner as it is what makes a man happy.
I don't know as you are aware that I was married but my wife died two years ago so I am a widower and very sorry for it as it was the making of me. I was the happy man I knew it that is more than some people in the Colony do.
What I can see in this Colony the(y) are no sooner married than the(y) desert their wife and family. It is very strange David never writes to you.
John I got my money from home but thank God I never had to fall back on it. I don't wish to boast. I have always had good luck since I joint the police. I am 8 years in the service and I have been my own boss this last six years. When you are properly settled I will send you a photo of myself and my mate taken together in plain clothes he is a young fellow I am breaking into police duties. John I have had to do a little batching before, you have to be Jack of all trades in the police or you are no use, from slinging[?] ink to pick and shovel, I have to do that when I find a stiff one in the bush.
John when you write home you can tell all my cousins, Uncles and Aunts that I am in the top of health and I hope the[?] are all the same. I will very likely be writing home myself to James or to Cousin Kate of White House.
My people have very nearly forgotten me all together. I very seldom hear from home. What is Cousin Andrew doing in San Francisco.
James and me have never been on good terms since I left home as I could never forgive him for he treated me very bad but he tries to deny it. My father told me often that he would will all to me before his death but it was owing to the way he met his death that I was done out of it so as James and I could not agree. I proposed to go to New Zealand and got the sum of ten pounds when leaving and I never troubled any one from that day to this so when the will was sent out to me after my Mother[s] death I would not sign it until my claim was satisfied. I offered to take 90 pounds but James has not replied yet and I think when you look at it in the right light I am entitled to it as I never had the education of any [of] my brothers or sisters and I put off to do for myself and the[y] never spent a shilling after my fathers death and James or the ones who drew up the will wanted to put me off without a shilling so I had to sign the will but I never will until he gives me something. Thinking I have told you all I now conclude by hoping you my cousin and family are in the top of health as this leaves here,
I remain your affectionate Cousin
On February 10, 1901, Andrew wrote to John from San Francisco -
I received your welcome letter sometime past. I was very glad to hear from you and to learn that you were all in good health when you wrote. I am quite well at present. Tom KENNEDY wife and family are in good health at present. Joseph SAYERS is well.
I cannot give you any news about Bob PATRICK as he and Mrs PATRICK left yesterday on their way to Ireland I suppose never to come back again. His uncle James STEVENSON of Altrest died about a year ago. Bob was over in Ireland last summer the(y) wanted him to stay at that time but he came back here only four months ago, and his uncle Joseph dies and has left him Altrest, stock, crop and everything on the farm. The farm is a deed so he has got a good thing of it.
Old Mrs James KENNEDY of Tyloe is dead. The farm is left to Mrs. M. KIMMON of Donemanagh. Willie gets twenty pounds a year to support him. William John WATSON of Bogagh is dead. The farm was sold and the proceeds divided amongst them. Matilda Margaret went home from America and bought it. Maggie DUNN of Creevedonnell is married to David HYNDHAM of Greerstown, I understand they are living somewhere about Belfast. Dr HOLMES wife formerly Miss Charlotte HAMILTON of Curryfree is married to Joseph MCINTOSH Desertone. When I heard from Maggie H WILSON she said they had got a letter from you so that I suppose you have heard all this news already.
I am getting along very well here myself. I am still working for the Southern Pacific Railway Company where I commenced work eleven years ago. I don't think I have any more news to give you just now.
Write me soon, I remain Your affectionate Brother, A.T.DUNN.
All her life John's daughter, Alice was a great letter writer. It was her who lovingly kept the letters written to her father John DUNN from his family in Ireland and the United States (for details on Alice's family see Part 1, The JOYCE Family). On August 5th, 1920 one of those Cousins wrote to her from Rock Roane, Irvington, New York -
My Dear Cousin Alice,
Just a few lines in answer to your kind and welcome letter. Was glad to see by it you were all well as this leaves me and my sister in good health. You will be surprised to hear I did not go to Ireland as I intended to do in the first place. I could not get second class passage and I would not go steerage and I am glad I did not go as it is unsettled over there. We had Bishop MANNIX here the Sinn Feiners gave him a great time. He sailed for Ireland on Saturday. I here he will not get landing over there. I hope he does not as he is only a trouble maker. You will be surprised (to) hear Maggie DUNN is out in Vancouver with Bob and Annie but when she got up there Annie was married. I think by his name he must be Russian. I had a letter from home and the(y) told me that John KENNEDY had been telling them that my Uncle Andrew and Tom KENNEDY was going home. I do not know if it is true or not. I would like to see my Uncle Andrew but I suppose I will not get my wish gratified. Has your sister got married yet? How is Jack, I have never got that long letter he promised me. I am also waiting for those pictures of the family you promised to send me. Have you seen William CUNNINGHAM lately. Remember me to him, also tell him that my cousin Andy J. DUNN of Tullyard has bought MCCLEMENT's farm in Tully. He had a ploughing, the(re) were forty plough and two flatcars so the(y) are doing well. The farmers in Ireland are making money by the wholesale and the(y) are not satisfied the(y) must be fighting and killing one another. When did you see the STRAWBRIDGE girls? Remember me to them.
Send my letters to 533 East 88th St., New York City.
On 21 August, 1922, Alice's uncle Andrew Thomas DUNN, who had left Ireland with her father John in about 1879, wrote to her from 63 Alpine Terrace, San Francisco, California -
My Dear Niece,
I received your welcome letter sometime ago. Was pleased to hear from you once more and to learn that you were all well. Ireland my native country is in a deplorable condition at the present time. The Irish Roman Catholics are fighting every day amongst themselves to see whether the Free State or the Republic will gain the ascendancy. The Republicans seem to be losing at the present time. I don't know why Bob DUNN does not write. As soon as I got his address I sent him yours, but then he has not wrote to me but once since he got out of the army. I don't know if I told you that Annie was married. She is married over a year and has a baby boy. Her husband has a rather strange name, it is Alexander DOURASOFF, he is a native of Switzerland.
I never heard any word from the STRAWBRIDGE girls. I saw their Uncle Edward STRAWBRIDGE here some time ago, he was going to Los Angeles and stopped here for a few days on his way back to Seattle. Dr. MANNIX talks about the injustice done to the...(Page missing - LJJ)...I had a letter from my sister in Carnafern lately she says they are all well but they are having awful times, nothing but people killing each other. We are having splendid weather now. We have a Railway strike here at the present time, the fruitmen will be at a great loss as the(y) cannot get their fruit sent to the market and a great deal of it will be a total loss.
Hoping you are all quite well,
I remain your affectionate Uncle, A.T. DUNN
P.S. Write again soon.
That is the last surviving letter that came from Andrew DUNN. In a letter dated February 19, 1928, Alice received a letter from her cousin Bob DUNN of 1732 Albert Street, (Suite 1), Vancouver, British Columbia -
Dear Cousin Alice,
No doubt you will be surprised to hear from me, it is so long since I wrote to you, but I hope you will forgive me for the delay.
Uncle Andy "who has been living with me for some time" died last week. He fell in the kitchen and broke his leg. I sent him to the hospital but he was so feeble there was no hope of him recovering. He did not suffer any pain. He slept about eighteen hours a day and passed off in his sleep.
He left his friend David HYNDMAN and myself executors of his estate. I do not know the exact value of it yet, but I figure it will be around $20,000. It consists of Bonds and stock in Industrial Company's in the United states.
We have a solicitor working on it at the present so we will distribute it as soon as possible.
His estate is to be divided into four equal parts, these parts to be sub-divided among the families of his Brothers and Sister, one part to each family.
I would like to ask your Brother and Sisters to write to me giving their names and addresses as I will have to send a cheque to each of them. Your Mother is not included in the will.
I was looking at your family picture a few days ago and I never realised I had such a charming Cousin as your sister Lily. If I had only known sooner I would never have let her change her name.
I will now close, hoping you are all well, I remain, Your affectionate Cousin,
On 28 May, 1928, coincidentally on the day Alice and Bill's son Alan was born, Bob DUNN wrote again -
Dear Cousin Alice,
I received your letter some time ago and was pleased to hear you were all well. I also had a letter from your brother and Sisters. I thought I would be sending you a cheque in this letter but I will have to put it off for some time yet. We are meeting with a great many delays in settling up Uncles estate. He had all his money invested in the United States and they want their share before parting with it. We had a letter from the state of New Jersey asking for proof that Uncle had paid his income tax on money which he had invested in that state. We were not able to furnish proof but we offered to pay income tax, we have not received an answer yet. In the meantime they will not permit the stock to be transferred until the tax is paid.
I had a letter from my Cousin Mrs. James DUNN of Calgary (Maggie WILSON) a short time ago and it was sure a surprise to me. Well to use plain English she called me a crook and gave me hell. She evidently saw an account in the paper about the probate of Uncle(s) will. This account was incorrect, as it gave your family considerably more than others. Well I wrote and told her that I was not responsible for mistakes that the newspapers made. Well I can assure you that my letter was wrote in such a tone that she could feel the sting without reading it twice.
Well Dear Alice it is to(o) bad we are living far apart, I sure would like to meet you all. I hope you will write to me frequently now that you have my address. The enclosed snapshot is Uncle Andy, myself and my half sister. I will send a photo of my sister Margaret and I later. Remember me to your Brother and Sisters. Uncle died at 5.00 a.m. 7th February, in his 86th year. He is buried in Ocean View Cemetery, Vancouver, B.C.. I will now close hoping you are all well,
I remain your affectionate cousin, Bob
The estate was settled and the monies distributed in about 1929.
On 17 January, 1935, Minnie DUNN wrote to Alice from Tully, Newbuildings, Londonderry, Northern Ireland -
I am sure you will wonder when you get this , who is writing to you. I was turning up a number of Jane's letters and found your address and I thought I should write you and let you know about Jane.
She was called to her higher home on 27th October 1933. She fell and broke her leg (her haunch bone) and she just lasted 3 weeks. My Brothers gave her choice, whether she would go to the infirmary or stay at home and they would get her nurses and all she needed, but she decided she would go to the infirmary and we had no fear for her as she was so healthy and strong. But she had high blood pressure for sometime and she didn't know it, nor any of us and then complications set in and she could not be saved. There were 3 Dr.s with her and Dr. DUNN (our nephew Willie) crossed from England to see her and when he came he had good hopes she would live, but that she couldn't walk much again. But if she had only been spared to sit in the chair we wouldn't have minded, as we would have attended her gladly, as she was one of the best sisters any one ever had. She had nursed mother like a child for a long time, even when she was going about, she had such care over her. She was far more than a sister to us, she was like a second Mother to us, we looked up to her for everything and we miss her so much. She was with John (my brother that I am with) and me for a few days, and was just at home about 10 days, when she got the accident. She nursed Andy (that is my brother she lived with) and he feels it greatly and misses her so much, although he is married and has three children, 2 girls and a boy. Indeed I am always thinking of seeing her coming in yet. I expect Maggie DUNN, would write and let you know, but she never writes to us, we don't know why. Bella (that is another sister) had a letter from her after Jane's death and she wrote her, but Maggie never wrote again. Jane was always pleased, when she had a letter from any of you. She often gave them to me to read.
You will know how we feel, the loss of Jane, as your letter that I turned up tells of all your losses of your dear ones gone before.
She often talked of Jack, after he had been to see us. He was such a big sturdy young man, I always thought by what he talked about his Mother he thought a lot of her. I don't feel, when I see your letter that I am writing to a stranger. I'll be very pleased to hear from you and see you if ever you can get across to Ireland to see us all. From where we live we can almost see Crevedonnell, the old home of our Fathers. I suppose it is about 4 miles from us on the hill. We hear it is going to be sold again and Sam WILSON of Carnafern, has some thoughts of buying it (your cousin and ours).
I hope you are all well as we are all well at present.
Kindest regards to all, from your cousin, Minnie DUNN.
Bob DUNN wrote to Alice on 3rd December, 1936, from 4197 West 13th Avenue, Vancouver, B.C. -
Dear Cousin Alice,
I received your letter a short time ago and was pleased to hear from you again. I am sorry I have been so long in writing but the thrill of a honeymoon and the worry of raising a small family have evidently made me neglectful. I was surprised to hear you speak of cold weather in Australia, I always thought Australia was a land of sunshine and flowers. I often wish I had went there instead of coming to Canada. British Columbia is not so cold as other parts of Canada. Vancouver has a moist climate with lots of rain instead of snow. Our annual rainfall is 64 inches, that is enough to make a person web footed. We had a lovely summer here, no heat like what was experienced in the middle west, we had four months ideal weather.
We had a lovely time on our vacation. I get three weeks leave with full pay every year, so we usually go on an auto tour. All through Canada and U.S.A. there are semi furnished auto camps so a person packs up their bed clothes and a few cooking utensils and away they go, when night overtakes them they stop at the nearest auto camp.
The Mexican border is about 1500 or 1600 miles from Vancouver so we had quite a long trip. The Mexican people are very poor and backward race. They belong to the Roman Catholic Church so I suspect that accounts for their poverty. Bull fighting is their principal sport, most of their customers are from U.S.A. It is very exciting but cruel form of amusement.
Bobby is 4 1/2 years he is quite a big boy; he goes to Sunday School and kindergarten. He is very fond of drawing and is a real good boy. Santa Claus is going to give him a tricycle for Christmas...(the rest of this letter is missing - LJJ).
He wrote again in December, 1938 -
Dear Cousin Alice,
I hope you will pardon me for delaying so long in answering your letter which I received last Christmas. Alice wishes to thank you for the book and snaps. Bill evidently made a hit with her, so she is sending him a snap she had taken. I guess it is all right to let them carry on a harmless flirtation with so many miles between them.
I did not realise your sister Maggie's family had grown up. I hope her daughter has got a good man. I think marriage is the most important step in a persons life, a mistake at that time usually means an unhappy life afterwards. I was surprised to know that you had frost in Melbourne, I always thought it was a land of sunshine and roses.
We have a fairly good climate here. Last summer was lovely, the best I have seen since I came here 27 years ago. We get a little snow and frost occasionally. Our climate would compare with the south of England, no extremes of heat or cold. The interior of Canada is quite different. The thermometer often drops to 40 and sometimes 60 degrees below zero in winter. You can scarcely realise how cold that is but it makes me shiver to think of it. Alice's sister Margaret MOORE who is a missioner in Uganda, Africa, was home on a holiday last year. Her home is in the north of Ireland, but she has two brothers "who are Presbyterian Ministers" in U.S.A. so she paid a visit to us all. I think she liked Vancouver best, she stopped here seven months. I am enclosing some stamps for the boys. I hope they will be different from what they have. I suppose Keith has made up his mind to be an engineer, well I think it best to let them decide for themselves. The European situation does not look any too bright at present. I suppose Australia is worrying about Japan. We in Vancouver are also worrying. We have started to build up our Air Force in Vancouver. Our Headquarters for sea planes is only 10 blocks from where I live. The airdrome for land planes is about 7 miles inland. I hope we will not have to use them but it is best to be prepared. I will now wish you all a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year,
From Cousin Bob and Alice