Lee County Biography


Henry W. Dunning, an early settler of Illinois who is now living retired at No. 34 Walnut Street, Chicago, was born in Newburg, Orange County, N. Y., February 23, 1828. His father, Gabriel Dunning, was also a native of that city and being left an orphan at the age of seven years, from that time on made his own way in the world. He learned the trade of a cooper, which business he*" followed in Newburg, until 1830, when he removed to Tompkins County, and purchased a farm in Newfield Township, where he engaged in farming and resided until 1843, at which time he traded his land for property near Rockford, Winnebago County. May 15, of the above named year, our subject, accompanied by his wife and family of nine children, started for their future home, making the entire journey overland and arriving in Rockford on the 15th of June. At that time Chicago was a city of about seventy five hundred inhabitants, and most of the land in the northern part of this State was owned by the Government. Mr. Dunning resided on that farm until 1861, when he sold out, and removing to Rockford, made his home in that city for the succeeding six years, then purchased a farm fourteen miles northwest of that place and there continued to reside until his death. The maiden name of his wife was Keziah Case. She was also born in Orange County, N. Y., and died in Tompkins County. He was married a second time, his wife surviving him many years. Henry W. Dunning of this sketch received his education in the public schools of Tompkins County, accompanying his parents on their removal to Illinois in 1843, and can relate many an interesting event of pioneer life. He has often teamed wheat to Chicago with two yoke of oxen, and when the weather was pleasant camped and cooked by the wayside and in bad weather stopped at the taverns which were located at uneven distances, the charges for which were very moderate. Our subject resided with his parents until reaching his majority, then began life for himself by working out on farms by the month. After being thus employed for two years, he purchased eighty acres of unimproved land, five miles east of Rockford, for which he paid $4 per acre. He erected thereon a log cabin and resided there, cultivating his land until 1861, when he traded his property for one hundred and sixty acres of land on section 10, Ash ton Township. Later, however, he purchased another forty acres and continued to-make that place his home until 1880, when, renting his farm, he removed into the village of Preston. In 1887 he went to Chicago, where he has since lived retired from active business. He still owns his farm of two hundred acres in Ashton Township, his home in the village of Preston, and a seventy-acre farm near that village.

In 1856, Mr. Dunning was married to Emma Morse, who was born in Waukesha, Wis., and was the daughter of William and Sarah (Chapman) Morse. To them have been born two children, Irvin and Hattie. The former married Ida Rice and is the father of three children: Blanche, Elmer and an infant unnamed. The daughter married Benjamin Rice and has become the mother of two children, Walter and Carl. Mrs. Emma Dunning departed this life in 1870, and in February, 1880, our subject was married to Louisa Bennett, who was born in Sodus, Wayne County, N. Y. She is a devoted member of the Methodist Episcopal Church. Mr. Dunning is connected with Preston Lodge, No. 515, A. F. & A. M.; is a member of the Independent Order of Odd Fellows, of the United Order of Deputies, and of the American Mechanics.

Portraits and Biographical Lee County IL 1892

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