Lee County Biography

Viola Twp.

Granville S. Dunton holds an important place among the principal farmers and stock-raisers of Viola Township, where he has valuable farming interests, and is successfully engaged in agricultural pursuits. He was born in Perry Township, Allen County IN, November 20, 1837. His father was Horace F. Dunton, who was a native of St. Lawrence County NY. He, in turn, was a son of Ephraim Dunton, a pioneer of that county, who is supposed to have been born in Vermont. In 1833 he removed to Indiana, and in Allen County, that State, his life was brought to a close at a ripe old age. His wife, Abigail Ball in her maiden days, was likewise of New England birth.

The father of our subject was reared on a farm in his native county. He went to Indiana from New York when a young man, and was employed to assist in building the canal leading from Fort Wayne to Toledo. With the money thus earned he entered Government land in Perry Township and became one of the pioneers of Allen County. He erected a log cabin for a dwelling and in that humble abode his son, of whom we write, was born. The father devoted his time to clearing a farm and tilling the soil, and resided on that place an umber of years. He then sold that at a good advance on the original price, and bought a farm of 240 acres one mile distant, and advantageously located ten miles north of Fort Wayne, where he is passing his declining years surrounding by all the comforts of a good home, the fruit of his early labors.

Like many of his countrymen, Mr. Dunton Sr. had an experience of frontier life in California during the period of the excitement over the discovery of gold. He set out on the long and memorable journey to that distant State on the 20th of March 1850 and arrived at his destination on the 4th of the following August, having made the trip across the plains and mountains without any serious misadventure. At that time the only whites living between the Missouri River and California, were the soldiers stationed at one or two military posts, Indian and fur traders and the Mormons at Salt Lake. Buffalo, deer and antelopes were to be encountered in large numbers. Mr. Dunton engaged in mining until 1852, and then pocketed his gains and started for his home in Indiana, by the way of the Isthmus of Panama.

The maiden name of his wife, the mother of our subject, was Almena Timmerman. She was a native of the State of New york and a daughter of Henry and Abbie Timmerman. She died in 1890 thus closing a wedded life of many years, wherein ten children had been born to her and her husband - nine sons and one daughter.

Granville Dunton grew to a stalwart manhood under the pioneer influences that prevailed in Indiana during his early years, and he obtained his education in the primitive schools of the time, that were taught in log houses, and furnished with rude slab seats that stood on wooden legs. Holes were bored on either side of the buildings and a slab laid on the wooden pins inserted therein served as writing desks for the larger scholars. Young Dunton resided with his father and helped him in the management of his farm until 1859, and since that year has made his home in Illinois. He began life here by renting land in Willow Creek Township and two years later bought a tract of wild prairie, now included in his present farm in Viola Township, which was without tree or shrub and had no improvements on it whatever. He has worked hard to bring about the great change that makes it a very desirable farm in point of tillage, productiveness and equipment. He has erected a good set of frame buildings, has planted fruit and shade trees, and has the greater part of 200 acres of his realty under fine cultivation.

Mr. Dunton was married in 1861 to Miss Caroline Parker, who was born near Rockville, Park County IN. Their marriage, which has been one of mutual happiness, has brought them six children; Charles F., Ida May, Edgar, Lillie B., Wilbert and Harry.

Our subject takes an intelligent interest in politics and is a loyal supporter of the Republican party. He has filled various offices of trust, as his fellow-citizens early recognized his qualifications for such positions, and have always placed reliance upon his inherent honesty and integrity of purpose and act. He h as been School Trustee and Director, Highway Commissioner and Justice of the Peace, and has represented Viola Township on the County Board of Supervisors. He was a member of Company I, 15th IL Infantry, having enlisted February 13, 1865 at Dixon and being mustered out October 1, 1865 at Ft. Leavenworth, KS.

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