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Dunn, Benton B.
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Dunn, Benton B.
Contributed by Barbara
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Source: Past and Present of Pike County, Page 691-692


Dr. Benton R. Dunn, successfully practicing medicine and surgery in Perry and Pike county, was born March 16, 1866, in the village where he yet makes his home; and his life record is in contradiction to the old adage that a prophet is never without honor save in his own country, for in the place of his birth he has so directed his efforts as to win prominence and success as a leading representative of the medical fraternity. His parents are Dr. Harvey and Abigail (Roberts) Dunn. The father was born in Geauga county, Ohio, April 1, 1834, and came of Irish lineage, although the family was established in America at an early day, Harvey Dunn, Sr., father of Dr. Harvey Dunn, being a native of New York. It was at a period antedating the Revolution that the first representatives of the name in the new world took up their abode in Providence, Rhode Island, and following the establishment of independence the family home was made in New York.

Harvey Dunn, Sr., however, was largely reared in Indiana, and after attaining his majority made his home in Ohio, where he followed carpentering. In 1837 he became a resident of Meredosia, Morgan county, Illinois, and while there took a contract to build the grade for what is now known as the Wabash Railroad, his work covering the distance between Meredosia and the bluffs. In 1840 he cast in his lot with the pioneer residents of Pike county, and embarked in general merchandising at Chambersburg, while later he sold his store and turned his attention to farming in Chambersburg township, giving his time and energies to agricultural pursuits until his death, which occurred when he was sixty-two years of age. He was a prominent and influential citizen, and was a member of the constitutional convention of 1847, to which he was elected on the democratic ticket. He belonged to the Methodist Episcopal church, as did his wife, who bore the maiden name of Angeline Milligan. She was born in Massachusetts, and was descended from Puritan ancestry. In early womanhood she went with her parents to Ohio, and there gave her hand in marriage to Harvey Dunn, Sr.

Dr. Harvey Dunn pursued his literary education in McKendree College, and while studying medicine also engaged in teaching. He pursued his preliminary reading under the direction of Dr. Carey, at one time a leading physician of Perry and entering Jefferson Medical College at Philadelphia, he was graduated in 1856. Subsequently he became a student in St. Louis Medical College, and is numbered among its alumni of 1867. For years he occupied a prominent position as a representative of the medical fraternity of Pike county, locating for practice in Perry in 1856. A liberal patronage was accorded him, and from 1860 until 1885 he also conducted a drug store. He is now in very poor health, having sacrificed his own health to that of his patients. He has done much charity work in his profession for the poor, never making a charge to those who could not afford to pay, and never hesitating to give his service to those who were in need of professional aid. Upon the request of the citizens of Pittsfield he removed to the county seat to become the successor of Dr. Ledlie, remaining there until 1891, when, because of failing health, he returned to Perry. In the early pioneer days he would frequently swim the creeks in order to visit a patient; and he underwent many personal hardships in order to alleviate the suffering of his fellowmen. He was made a member of Perry lodge, A. F. & A. M., on the 1st of September, 1855, and is still affiliated with the organization. He belongs to the Methodist Episcopal church, and is an honorary member of its official board. In politics he is a stalwart republican. Dr. Dunn was married January 12, 1859, to Miss Lucinda Matthews, who was a graduate of the Jacksonville Female College. She died, however, on the 2d of December of the same year, and on the 12th of December, 1861, Dr. Dunn was married to Miss Abigail Roberts, whose birth occurred in Barry, Pike county, April 8, 1838. By this marriage have been born seven children: Nellie, the wife of Frank D. Whitaker, of Perry; Frederick, who married Della Bringhurst and is living in Springville, Utah; Charles H., who married Annie Boers and is living in Peoria; Benton B.; Mary, the wife of R. Shoemaker, of Perry; Aileen, living at home; and Martha J., the wife of Gideon Armentrout.

Dr. Benton B. Dunn was a public-school student, and after acquiring a good education in that manner he devoted four years to the mastery of the principles of medicine and surgery as a student in Rush Medical College of Chicago. He was graduated there-from in the class of 1891, and practiced with his father until the latter's health failed, and for the last two years has been alone in business. He is well equipped for his chosen life work, having broad and comprehensive knowledge of the great underlying principles which tend to promote man's efficiency in alleviating human suffering. A liberal patronage is accorded him, and in addition he is medical examiner for various life insurance companies at Perry. He belongs to the Pike County Medical Society and the American Medical Association, and he is deeply interested in all that tends to bring to man the key to that complex mystery which we call life. His reading has been broad and varied, and he has ever maintained a high standard of professional ethics. Dr. Dunn was married, October 5, 1892, to Miss Bertha Clark, who was born August 2, 1869, and is a daughter of Job and Hester Clark. She is a member of the Presbyterian church. Dr. Dunn belongs to Perry lodge, No. 95, A. F. & A. M., and also to Perry chapter, R. A. M. He was a delegate to the grand chapter, which held its meeting in Chicago; and he likewise belongs to Principle lodge, No. 76, I. O. O. F., and to the Modern Woodmen camp. He is a worthy successor of his father, who for many years was classed with the leading and prominent physicians of the county. Ambitious, resolute and purposeful, he has thoroughly equipped himself for his chosen life work, and in his practice is continually demonstrating his ability to cope with the intricate problems that continually confront the physician.

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Submitted: 07/02/09

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