52 Ancestors – #1 Jacob Dunn

Even though I’m a few weeks behind I have decided to participate in the “52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks” challenge issued by genealogist Amy Johnson Crow. Basically I just chose an ancestor a week, and write about them. I chose to participate in the challenge for a few reasons. The first is just to start honing my family history writing. The second, it’s about time I shared some of this information with my family in a way that isn’t the same old boring black and white charts and census records (although there will be some of those I’m sure). It could even lead to some “cousin bait” or that crucial “aha” moment as I look through the records with fresh eyes.

My first ancestor is Jacob Dunn. Jacob is my 4th Great Grandfather through my father’s mother, Wilma Dunn. According to the Dunn family bible, Jacob was born on the 6th of May, 1800.  Unfortunately the bible does not list who his parents were. He married Rhoda McMillin on the 4th of July, 1823. Together, Jacob and Rhoda had at least eight children, two of whom were veterans of the Civil War, including my 3rd Great Grandfather, Thomas Erwin Dunn. Jacob died the 18th of February, 1850, and is buried in the North Plains Cemetery in Ionia County, Michigan.

dunn, jacob - gravestone
Jacob Dunn’s Tombstone from findagrave.com

That was the set up. Here comes the fun part (at least I think it’s fun). Who are the parents of Jacob Dunn?

The evidence:

What we know for sure:

  1. Death Certificate of John W. (son) says he was born in Bradford County, Pennsylvania in 1824.
  2. Obituary of Thomas (son) says he was born in Bradford County in 1839
  3. Jacob Dunn shows up in the 1840 census in Albany, Bradford County, Pennsylvania.
  4. Jacob Dunn shows up in the 1850 Death Census in North Plains, Ionia County, Michigan. His birthplace is listed as New York.

Circumstantial Evidence:

  1. A Jacob Dunn is listed in the 1830 census in Harford, Susquehanna County, Pennsylvania with one male 20-30 years old. Susquehanna County neighbors Bradford County, where Jacob shows up in 1840. A few houses down is “Jacob P. Dunn” with a male 50-60 years old.
  2. A Jacob Dunn was baptized in 1802 in Ballston, Saratoga County, New York. His father is listed as Jacob Dunn.
  3. In 1810, 3 more Dunn children were baptized in Ballston. They are transcribed as Mary Dunn, Bareley Dunn, and Peter Van Tyle Dunn. Their father is not listed, but their mother is shown as Rebecca Dunn.
  4. The 1810 census lists a Rebecca Dunn as the head of household living in Ballston, Saratoga County, New York.
  5. A Peter V. Dunn shows up in the 1840 census in Harford, Susquehanna County, Pennsylvania. Tracking him through subsequent censuses and then tombstone in Harford places his birth in New York in 1808.
  6. A Bartley Dunn show up in the 1850 census in North Plains, Ionia County, Michigan. Remember, this is where Jacob’s family is living in 1850.
  7. Jacob P. Dunn shows up in Harford in both the 1820 and 1830 censuses. In 1820 he is listed as having males the right age to be Peter, Bartley, and Jacob.
  8. In 1800 a Jacob Dunn can be found in Middleburgh, Schoharie County, New York. He is living next to an Isaac Van Tyle.
  9. Tracking Isaac Van Tyle through the census records we see that he stays in Middleburgh, and is listed in the 1850 mortality schedule. He was born in 1767. Online family trees show Isaac had a son named Jacob D. Van Tuyl.
Dunn, Jacob P. - 1830 Census
Jacob P. Dunn and Jacob Dunn living near one another in the 1830 census in Harford, Susquehanna County, Pennsylvania

I propose that, at the very least, the Jacob Dunn listed in the 1800 census next to Isaac Van Tyle is the same that is the father of Jacob baptized in Ballston. Also that Rebecca Dunn listed in the 1810 census, and as the mother of the 3 other Dunn children baptized in Ballston is the mother of the younger Jacob, and wife of the elder Jacob Dunn.

The question is…is that Jacob Dunn, the same as the Jacob P. Dunn who shows up in Harford in 1820, and in turn, he the father of Jacob Dunn who died in Ionia County Michigan. Let’s look at the facts:

A Jacob Dunn and Bartley (Bareley) Dunn both born in New York, show up nearby each other in North Plains, Ionia County, Michigan in 1850. They are of the right age to be the children baptized in Ballston, Saratoga County, New York. A Jacob Dunn and Peter V. Dunn both show up in Harford, Susquehanna County, Pennsylvania. Both are of the right age to be the children baptized in Ballston. A Jacob P. Dunn of the right age to be their father also shows up in Harford, even living a few houses away from the younger Jacob.

The first missing link is that of the younger Jacob Dunn. Is the same Jacob who died in Ionia County, Michigan in 1850 the same Jacob who was living in Harford in 1830? There is no concrete evidence to make this assumption. However…based on his children’s death records showing their birth in Bradford County, Pennsylvania, I’m fairly certain the Jacob Dunn listed in the 1840 census in Bradford is the same as Jacob who died in Michigan. Now…circumstantially…I could not find another Jacob Dunn in 1840 living in either Susquehanna County, Pennsylvania, or in Ionia County, Michigan. Neither could I find a Jacob Dunn in Bradford County, Pennsylvania in 1830. This doesn’t mean that the 1830 Jacob in Susquehanna, and the 1840 Jacob in Bradford are the same Jacob, but it does mean we can’t rule it out. (Also keep in mind that they are neighboring counties).

The second missing link is that of the elder Jacob P. Dunn. Is the Jacob P. Dunn living In Harford, Susquehanna, Pennsylvania the same as the Jacob who is in Schoharie County, New York in 1800 and also the father of Jacob baptized in Ballston in 1802? Based on Jacob and Peter V. Dunn showing up in Harford, I am postulating that it is. But why wasn’t he around in 1810, either for the census or his children’s baptism?

My theoretical family tree based on this evidence and assumptions is thus:

Jacob Dunn (b. 1800, m. Rhoda McMillin 1823, d. 1850)

Mary Dunn (b. 1802, d. 1842)

Bartley Dunn (b. abt 1805, d. 1850)

Peter Van Tyle Dunn (b. 1808, d. 1888)

All the children of:

Jacob P. Dunn (b. abt 1775, d bef 1830)

and

Rebecca Van Tyle (b. abt 1780, d. aft 1810)

brother of

Isaac Van Tyle (b abt 1767, d. 1849)

 

So…are Jacob P. Dunn and Rebecca Van Tyle the parents of Jacob Dunn? I think so. What do you think?