Thursday, January 06, 2011


Brigadier General Henry Dunham's family seems to have suffered a
reversal of fortune in the latter half of the 19th century. The General had
commanded forty companies and five regiments at the celebrations
marking the completion of the Bunker Hill Monument (Dunham
Genealogy p167) and his son Henry had been a successful shoe
manufacturer and inventor. The rest of the General's were not quite so
prominent in Abington society.
After the younger Henry's death, his widow Ella became embroiled in
lawsuits against shoe manufacturers who'd copied her husband's inventions.
She and daughter Ida appear on the 1910 Federal Census for Holden
in Worcester County, Massachusetts as renting their home but neither
was employed. Perhaps son Harry B. Dunham paid their rent. According
to the Dunham Genealogy he was a doctor in nearby Rutland, Ma.
Younger son Arthur moved to New York and pursued a career as an
electrical engineer. He married and had two sons.

Brackley Cushing Dunham married  Elizabeth Hunt. There was a Hunt
family that were leading shoe manufacturers in Abington but as of yet I
don't know if she was from that line. I do know that Brackley stayed in
the shoe business but it wasn't in management from what I've been able
to find in the Federal Censuses up to 1910. The couple was childless.
Brackley and Emma are not buried in the Henry Dunham family plot.

Emma Annett Dunham  married Richard L Hunt. I've yet to establish any
ties to either the Hunts of Abington or Brackley's wife Elizabeth Hunt.
Emma and her husband lived in Weymouth, Ma. and they too died
without children.

This brings us to Andrew Jackson Dunham. Andrew followed his father
in serving in the military and the inscription on his gravestone tells us he
served "Civil War Three Years 1st Mass Cav, Also Minute Men T
hree Mos."  In other words, Andrew was in the Massachusetts State
Militia , then enlisted in the regular Union Army. I found his record
over at in U.S. Civil War Soldiers and Profiles, and
with it, this picture:

Andrew J Dunham enlisted on 15April 1862. He'd been married for
seven years  to Mercie Florence Holcomb and their second daughter
was born the week after he enlisted. Upon his return from the war he
went back to work in the shoe business but then something changed.
Although he was listed as still married on the 1880 Federal Census,
Andrew was living alone except for his housekeeper  Amelia Peterson.
He and his wife may have been in the process of getting a divorce
already because his marital status was given as divorced in the
subsequent Censuses up to 1910. In his final years, Andrew turned to
poultry farming and was an officer in a local association of poultry

Andrew's gravestone intrigues me. It gives his year of death as 1917
but The Dunham Genealogy says it was 1910. And although he and
Mercie were divorced they are buried together. Was this the triumph
of a determined woman or the decision of their daughters?

But I found something even more interesting about Andrew Jackson
Dunham and I'll discuss that next!

No comments: