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Dunham, Daniel
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Dunham, Daniel
Contributed by Barbara
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Source: Past and Present of Pike County, Page 646-648


Daniel Dunham, the owner of valuable farming property comprising four hundred acres near New Salem, is a native of Martinsburg township, Pike county, born July 15, 1856, and is a son of Nathaniel Dunham. The family is of English lineage, and was founded in America by the great-great-grandfather of our subject. His son, William Dunham, is supposed to have been a native of Maryland; and it is definitely known that his youth was spent upon a farm in that state, where he wedded Miss Mary Chaney, who was born in Maryland, while her parents, natives of England, came to the new world about the time of the Revolutionary war. William Dunham and his wife on leaving Maryland became residents of Ohio, where they remained until 1845, when in advanced years they came to Illinois, settling on a small farm in Griggsville township, Pike county, where William Dunham passed away at the age of seventy years. His wife survived him for a number of years, and also died in Griggsville township. They were loyal to the teachings of the United Brethren church, in which they held membership.

Of their large family of children Lewis Dunham, grandfather of our subject, was the eldest. His birth occurred in Maryland, September 12, 1802, and his early education was acquired in that state. It is believed, however, that he was married in Ohio; and at all events, he was engaged in farming and coopering there. In April, 1844, he arrived in Illinois and three years later took up his abode in New Salem township, where in the management of farming interests he worked his way upward from a humble financial position to one of affluence and improved a valuable farm of two hundred and sixty acres. In matters of citizenship he was also progressive and public spirited, and his co-operation could always be counted upon to further any movement for the public good. He voted with the democratic party, and held some local offices; and in political, business and social circles he was esteemed for those splendid traits of character which endear man to his fellowmen. He married Miss Sarah A. Nelson, also a native of Maryland and a daughter of Elisha and Mary (Stringer) Nelson, who were born in that state, and were supposed to be of Scotch lineage. They were farming people and after their marriage resided in Maryland and in Harrison county, Ohio, until 1842, when they came to Illinois, spending their remaining days on a farm in New Salem township, Pike county. They, too, belonged to the United Brethren church. Mrs. Lewis Dunham was reared in the state of her nativity, and with her husband came to Illinois. Both Mr. and Mrs. Dunham were devoted members of the United Brethren church. In their family were nineteen children. The father died in New Salem township, September 14, 1866, and the mother was more than eighty years of age at the time of her demise.

Nathaniel Dunham, son of Lewis Dunham, was born in Harrison county, Ohio, February 14, 1834, and was therefore a youth of ten years when brought by his parents to this state. He was reared upon the family homestead in New Salem township and gained a practical knowledge and experience of farm work that has enabled him to successfully carryon agricultural pursuits for himself. His business capacity, capable management and untiring industry have made him the owner of four hundred and twenty acres of valuable land in Griggsville township; and his homestead property was splendidly improved with modern buildings and all of the equipments necessary to model farming in the twentieth century. In addition to tilling the soil he has been extensively engaged in raising high grade horses. Nathaniel Dunham was married in Martinsburg, Pike county, to Miss Mary A. Kiser, who was born in Warren county, Indiana, May 3, 1838. Her parents were Daniel and Eliza J. (Foreman) Kiser, the former a native of Virginia, and the latter of Ohio, but their marriage was celebrated in Indiana; and they began their domestic life on a farm not far from Danville, that state. They removed to Pike county in 1844 and settled in Newburg township, afterward locating in Martinsburg, where Mr. Kiser died in the fall of 1860, when about seventy years of age. He, too, had prospered in his undertakings, and had secured a valuable farm of three hundred and fifty acres. Both he and his wife were members of the United Brethren church; and Mrs. Kiser spent her last days with her son John in Milton. Mrs. Dunham was the second of her mother's children, and by her marriage had the following children: Daniel, William H., Lewis O., Charles E. and Orpha J. Like their ancestors, Mr. and Mrs. Nathaniel Dunham are members of the United Brethren church; and he is a supporter of the democratic party.

Daniel Dunham of this review was educated in the common schools, and is an excellent mathematician. When nineteen years of age he entered business life on his own account, and for ten years rented land, when, with the capital he had acquired through his own labors, he purchased forty acres of land where he now resides in New Salem township, for which he gave thirty-five hundred dollars. It was without improvements, but he at once began its cultivation; and from time to time he has extended the boundaries of his place until it now comprises four hundred acres of very fine and valuable land supplied with the most modern improvements known to farming in the twentieth century. His place is pleasantly located two miles from New Salem; and he has successfully carried on general farming, and at the same time has engaged in buying and shipping stock. He feeds cattle and hogs, shipping from ten to twenty carloads per year, a fact which indicates that he is one of the most extensive stock-dealers of this part of the state. His business efforts have been attended with very gratifying success, and his splendid property is the visible evidence of his life of enterprise, thrift and capable management. He has recently purchased residence property in Pittsfield, where he expects to take up his abode on the 1st of March, 1906.

In 1874, Mr. Dunham was married to Miss Martha J. Woods, who was born in Steubenville, Ohio, in 1852, a daughter of Nathan and Martha (Simpson) Woods. Her parents were early settlers and came to Pike county in 1854; and in their family were six children, two sons and four daughters, who are yet living. Mr. and Mrs. Dunham have become the parents of six children, namely: Herbert, who is living in Reno, Nevada; Mrs. Anna Woods, of New Salem; Daisy, the wife of Ray Curless, of Pittsfield township; Lora, who married Gordon Dimmitt, and is living upon the home place; Villa, yet under the parental roof; and Kelly, who is attending college in Jacksonville, Illinois.

Mr. Dunham's study of the political issues and questions of the day has led him to give his support to the democracy; and he has served as road commissioner and as school director. He belongs to New Salem camp, No. 1110, M. W. A., and is also a member of the Methodist church. Mr. Dunham deserves much credit for what he has accomplished, as without financial assistance he has worked his way upward, his business qualifications being manifest in the very desirable success which has crowned his labors. His farm is one of the most valuable of the county, and in its management Mr. Dunham has displayed keen discernment, unfaltering energy and a capable utilization of opportunities.

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