Wednesday, January 1, 2014

My Family Tree

by Brad Dunagan

The name Dunagan is both a royal and noble surname. Recorded in several spelling forms including O'Donegan, Donegan, Dunican, Dungan, and Doonican, this small Irish clan, divided into four branches or sept, originates from the 10th century kings of a region called Fernmhagh, in what is now County Westmeath in Ireland. As befits a "royal" family, their numbers, are quite small. In the 20th century only some two hundred families are recorded in the whole of Ireland. This was not so in the seventeenth century and earlier, when the O'Donegans held the manor of Kildrought.

Thomas Donegan, from this family being earl of Limerick, and creator of the 1686 Don(e)gan Charter, whereby the city of New York was passed by the Dutch to Britain. In the barony of Rathconrath, County Westmeath, over forty families called O'Donegan were recorded in the 1659 "Petty's" census of Ireland and there was also an appreciable number of nameholders in both County Cork and County Sligo. The County Cork sept were once a powerful clan in their own right, the area around the baronies of Orrery and Duhallow in North West Cork being known as "O'Donegans country". The Donegans were firm supporters of the Stewart monarchs. In 1691 the earl of Limerick supported the exiled James 11, the last king of Ireland, and paid for his support with the loss of his lands. Thereafter the clan seems to have gone into decline, and many holders of this name left for America, France and other destinations.This is where my family tree begins, or at least as far as I have been able to trace my roots back to this time in history.

William Dunagan was born in 1670 in Limerick, Ireland, and we believe that this is the beginning of our American connection to Ireland and the family branch by which my family today descended from.William Dunagan is my 7th great grandfather. He was born in Limerick, Ireland, and would have been a young man about the time of the siege of Limerick in 1691. After the Irish defeat in Limerick, the Dunagan family lost everything and many left for the colonies in America soon thereafter.

We do not know William Dunagan’s wife’s name but we know that he had the following children:

William Dunagan born 10 January 1702 in Limerick, Ireland
Thomas Dunagan born 16 June 1706 in Limerick, Ireland, died AFT 1782 in Surry County, NC
Timothy Dunagan born 1715 in Essex County, VA, died 1752 in NC

William Dunagan’s son Thomas is my 6th great grandfather and so begins our Dunagan family line in America.Two theories exist pertaining to Thomas Dunagan’s immigration to America. One source states he immigrated to VA in 1738, while another suggests he came to GA in 1732. However, the latter is obviously incorrect, in as much as GA was not settled until 1733, and at that time only by British subjects. He is believed to have moved to Orange County, NC, after 1740 or 1750, and then to Surry County, NC before 1767. He may have died as late as 1782.

Thomas married an Irish girl from Limerick named Sarah around 1726 and unfortunately this is all we know of Sarah. Thomas and Sarah had the following children:

Charles Dunagan born ? , died ABT 1813 in Orange County, NC
Thomas Dunagan born ABT 1727 in Ireland, died 1810 in Surry County, NC
John Dunagan born BEF 1730 in ? , died AFT 1780 in Surry County, NC
Joshua Dunagan born ABT 1737 in VA or NC, died ABT 1798 in GA
William Dunagan born 1738 in VA, died 15 Nov 1798 in Orange County, NC
Joseph Dunagan born 1740 in VA or NC, died 1810

My 5th great grandfather is Joseph Dunagan, (Sr)who married also a girl named Sarah. That is all we know about his spouse. They had the following children:

Joseph Dunagan born ABT 1760 in NC
Isaiah Dunagan born ABT 1770 in NC, died ABT 1813 in Madison County, IL
Ezekiel Dunagan born 16 May 1771 in Pendleton, SC, died 10 Mar 1836 in Gainesville, Hall County, GA
Abner Dunagan born 1773 in Orange County, NC, died 22 Sept 1852 in Habersham County, GA
Andrew Dunagan born 7 Aug 1775 in NC, died 21 Aug 1848 in Greene, IL
Patrick Dunagan born ABT 1783 in NC, died 1 Oct 1819 in GA
Tyre Dunagan born 1787 in Surry County, NC, died 4 Dec 1864 in Surry County, NC
Joshua Dunagan born ABT 1798 in Franklin County, GA, died 2 Dec 1844 in Lumpkin County, GA

My 4th great grandfather is Ezekiel Dunagan and he married Lydia Ann Brown in 1792.
Ezekiel had 19 children.*13 WITH LYDIA BROWN*

Joseph Ellis Dunagan (1793-1861)
Benjamin Dunagan (1795-1884)
Susannah Dunagan (1797- )
John D. Dunagan (1799-1857)
Abner Dunagan (1802-1851)
Anna Dunagan (1804-1857)
Delilah B. Dunagan (1806-1888)
Isaiah Dunagan (1808- )
Ezekiel Jackson Dunagan (1811-1881)
Andrew Foster Dunagan (1813- )
Elizabeth Caroline (Betsy) Dunagan (1816-1881)
Louisa B. Dunagan (1818- )
James Reid Dunagan (1821-1900)
Sophie Elizabeth Dunagan
Stephen Reid Dunagan
Daniel C. Dunagan (1829- )
Levi Jefferson Dunagan
George Washington Dunagan
Mary Jane Dunagan

The progenitor of most Hall County, Georgia residents with this surname was Ezekiel Dunagan, who in 1804 was living in and near the Wofford Settlement on the frontier of Georgia and the Cherokee Nation. The settlement was known as Joshua Darnigan's original settlers and Darnigan's new settlers. Listed in the group were: Joshua Darnigan, deceased; Joseph Dunagon, Ezekial Dunagan and Isiah Dunagan - more than likely father and sons.As a soldier in the War of 1812, Ezekiel Dunegin was listed in 1814 on the muster role as a spy for Fort Early, located in Jackson County, GA. The 1796 payroll of a detachment of militia infantry and US spies garrisoned at Fort Irwin at War Hill gives Andrew Dunningham, Joseph Dunagin (Spy) and Joseph Dunagin. William Stewart wrote in Gone to Georgia that Andrew, Ezekiel, Joseph and Isaiah Dunnigan (or those listed by the various spellings) were probably located in Orange County, North Carolina.

I also found this petition filed by Joseph Dunagan(probably Ezekiel's father but could be Ezekiel's brother, also named Joseph), Andrew Dunagan & Ezekiel Dunagan, spelled Dunnegane:

A PETITION FROM JOSEPH DUNAGAN, ET AL., TO GA GOV. JAMES JACKSON:Joseph, Ande and E. Dunnegane [sic] signed a letter addressed to "His Excellency James Jackson Govr., of Georgia, 13th September 1798," as follows: "We are induced from the peculiarity of our situation as Frontier citizens of Jackson and Franklin Counties to address your Excellency and implore your interposition in our favor. We beg leave to represent that we hold titles derived from Grants issued by the State of Georgia for lands which have proven to lie beyond the temporary boundary line, lately extended under the Superintendent of Col. Hawkins, Agent of Indian affairs for the United States - the lands we hold were granted between the years of 1783 and 1788. If your Excellency has the power of affording us relief we count with great confidence on receiving it."

Joseph Ellis Dunagan is my 3rd great grandfather and was the first child born to Ezekiel and Lydia Ann Dunagan. He married Lucinda “Lucy” Beall 15 Feb 1820 in Gainesville, Hall County, GA. They had the following children:

Fredrick Dunagan born 2 Nov 1824 in Hall County, GA, married Lanesa Kirbow, 22 Oct 1846.
Lydia Dunagan born 17 Feb 1826 in Hall County, GA, died 7 Apr 1891, married James Miller.
Ezekiel Dunagan born 15 Jan 1829 in Hall County, GA, died Feb 1906 in Hall County, GA, married Delilah Trotter, 26 Feb 1850. 2nd wife was Sarah Bryant(sister to F. Samanthra Bryant)
Martha Dunagan born 12 Dec 1830 in Hall County, GA, married John Highfield.
John Franklin Dunagan born 15 Oct 1832 in Hall County, GA, died 13 Aug 1890 in Hall County, GA, married Frances Samanthra Bryant.
Alphus Benton Dunagan born 17 Feb 1835 in Hall County, GA, married Nancy Beall on 29 Oct 1876
Mary Dunagan born 2 Jun 1837 in Hall County, GA, married John Short.
Elizabeth Dunagan born 1 Apr 1845 in Hall County, GA.

Usually listed as Dunagan, the 1850 Census shows Joseph Ellis as Dunegan. He was a wealthy farmer, his assets totaling over $10,000 in 1850.A HISTORY OF THE HIGHLY VENERATED JOSEPH ELLIS DUNAGUN, PROVIDED BY MS. SYBIL WOOD McRAE:"Joseph Dunagan, the first born of Ezekiel Dunagan, represented Hall County in the Georgia state senate for 23 years. An unknown friend of Joseph's penned the following tribute:March 16, 1888. THE LATE JOSEPH DUNNEGAN: "There are few men living in Hall County today that were here 60 years ago. Many who were here then have died, while others have moved away and have left their places to be filled by others. Among those who have gone, none were more highly respected than Joseph Dunnegan, an honorable, high-minded Christian gentleman who enjoyed the love and confidence of the people of his county to the day of his death. Mr. Dunnegan served his county in the State Senate for 23 years in succession; and was known by the members of both branches of the general assembly for all parts of the state, and was called by his friends the 'Old Constitution' from the vigilance with which he guarded the sacredness of the fundamental law of the state. He was a class eader and Exhorter in the Methodist Church, and when at the close of the sermon he rose to deliver an exhortation, he was sure to command the strictest attention. Mr. Dunnegan had a bright and pleasant smile, and everyone had a good word for him. When not engaged on his farm, Mr. Dunnegan would spend a portion of his time in mining. He would conduct his mining operations through the week, but on the Sabbath hold religious meetings among miners. Sometime after the opening up of the mines in California Mr. Dunnegan went to that land of gold. After some three years absence, he returned to his home with a snug sum in gold dust which he then had coined at the mint at Dahlonega. After remaining at home for a year or two he went to the Rocky Mountain gold region in quest of more gold. After the breaking out of the war in 1861 Mr. Dunnegan started for his home in Georgia, which he was destined never to reach for he was taken sick on the way and stopped some place in the state of Illinois. He died away from home among strangers who cared well for him and there they buried him. Thus lived and died one of Hall County's great and good men whose greatness consisted of his goodness."

John Franklin Dunagan is my 2nd great grandfather and married Frances Samantha Bryant on 22 Jan 1854 in Hall County, GA. They had the following children:

Alfred Benton Dunagan born Oct 1855, died 7 Sep 1931 in Jackson County, GA
Jeter Andrew Dunagan born 26 Aug 1856, died 3 May 1923 in Barrow County, GA
Joseph Alexander Dunagan born 8 Apr 1862, died 25 Dec 1949 in Barrow County, GA
John Marion Dunagan born 22 Mar 1869, died 14 Nov 1920 in Hall County, GA
Eveline Dunagan born ABT 1871, died ?
Amanda Dunagan born 22 Aug 1871, died 6 Dec 1943 in Hall County, GA
Lucinda “Lady” Dunagan born ABT 1874, died ?
Sarah Jane Dunagan born ABT 1867, died ?

John Franklin Dunagan enlisted as a private on 4 September 1862 in Company F, 43rd Infantry Regiment of Georgia. The Georgia 43rd Infantry Regiment, organized at Big Shanty, Georgia, in April, 1862, contained men from Cherokee, Pickens, Cobb, Hall, Forsyth, Jefferson, and Jackson counties. The unit moved to Tennessee, then Mississippi where they were placed under the command of General Barton in the Department of Mississippi and East Louisiana. It took an active part in the conflicts at Chickasaw Bayou and Champion's Hill, and was captured when Vicksburg fell. After being exchanged, the 43rd was assigned to General Stovall's Brigade, Army of Tennessee. It was prominent in the numerous campaigns of the army from Missionary Ridge to Nashville, and ended the war in North Carolina. In December, 1863, it totalled 283 men and 251 arms, and in November, 1864, there were 130 fit for duty. On April 26, 1865, the unit surrendered.

Below are the sons of John Franklin: (top l-r) Alfred Benton, Joseph Alexander and (bottom row l-r) Jeter Andrew and John Marion

My great grandfather is Jeter Andrew Dunagan and he married Mary Jane Yancey 26 Aug 1876 in Hall County, GA. They had the following children:

Elizabeth Anna “Lizbeth” Dunagan born 16 Nov 1879, died April 1882 in Hall County, GA
William Andrew Dunagan born Jun 1880, died 22 May 1939 in Gainesville, GA
Mary Jane Dunagan born 28 Oct 1881, died April 1882 in Gainesville, GA

After Mary Jane Yancy died, Jeter Andrew Dunagan married Mary Elizabeth Smith (1857 – 1911) and they had the follow children:

Lee Castleberry Dunagan
1883 –
Eula Jane Dunagan
1884 – 1958
Samantha Ola "Mattie' Dunagan
1886 – 1974
John Talmedge Dunagan
1889 –
Thursa Lavenica "Thursey" Dunagan
1892 – 1967
Gordon Richard "Dutch" Dunagan
1894 – 1969
Estha E "Estie" Dunagan
1896 – 1946
Charles Henry "Charlie" Dunagan
1898 – 1964

My father’s father, my grandfather, is William Andrew Dunagan and for whom I was named after. His mother, Mary Yancey died during child birth when he was only 2 years old and my grandfather was raised by his grandfather, John Franklin Dunagan, who liked to call him Willie. William Andrew Dunagan married Martha Meldonia "Mellie" Cochran AFT 1900 in Gainesville, GA. They had four children:

George Jeter Dunagan born 2 July 1913, died 10 Jun 2006 in Gainesville, GA
William Melvin Dunagan born 21 Sep 1915, died 21 Nov 1996 in Tifton, GA
Lucille Dunagan born 5 Feb 1918, died 9 Jan 2003 in Gainesville, GA
John Dempsey Dunagan born 30 Nov 1925, died in 2012 in Gainesville, GA

My father is George J. Dunagan and he married Emily Ida Lou Waldrep in June 1939, in Hall County, GA. They had the following children:

Emilie Sandra Dunagan born 1 Feb 1942
Brenda Dianne Dunagan born 18 Oct 1944
George Olin Michael Dunagan born 17 Mar 1951
William Bradley Dunagan born 30 Apr 1953

(L-R) Michael Dunagan, Sandra Dunagan Deal, Willi Bradley Dunagan, Brenda Dunagan Rakes (2011)

Emilie Sandra Dunagan married J. Nathan Deal on 12 June 1967. Nathan Deal was born 25 Aug 1947 in Sandersville, GA. Nathan served as a State Senator and a U. S. Congressman from Georgia and was elected Governor of Georgia in 2010. They had the following children:

Jonathan Jason Deal born 30 Jan 1968. Married Denise Fallin (three children: Fallin, Noah & Dawson)
Mary Emily Deal born 11 Jun 1969. Married Greg O'Bradovich (two children: Rosemily & Cordelia)
Carrie Elizabeth Deal born 14 Dec 1976. Married Clint Wilder (one child: Ethan)
Katie Rebecca Deal born 9 Nov 1978. Married Chris Wright

Brenda Diane Dunagan married Roy O. Bonnell, Jr., of Sandersville, GA, in 1968 and they had the following children:

Lori Renee Bonnell born 15 May 1970, Germany. Married Paul Jackson Kern 26 May 1990.
(Six children: Daniel, Zachery, Emily, Andrew, Sarah, Elizabeth)
Benjamin Miguel Bonnell born 14 Feb 1976, Sparta, SC. Married Allison Erato on 1 Sep 2008.

George Olin Michael Dunagan married Sonia Hemphill 9 Sep 1976 in Gainesville, GA. She died 11 Dec 1976 from injuries received in an auto accident. He married Lori Sorsdahl 10 Dec 1982 in Gainesville, GA, and they had the following children:

Derek Dunagan born 11 Nov 1983. Married Tiffany Davis.

David Oliver Dunagan born 24 Apr 1986. Married Catherine Bankhead born 2 May 1985.
They have one child: Ellis Anne Dunagan born 20 Jan 2012.

I am William Bradley Dunagan and I am the youngest son of George Jeter and Ida Lou Dunagan. I married Mary Arlene Grant on 10 June 1978, in Roswell, Fulton County, GA.

We have three children:
Leah Maeve Dunagan born 13 Aug 1981, in Houston, TX
Lindsey Marie Dunagan born 31 Aug 1983, in Athens, GA
Tyler Grant Dunagan born 19 Mar 1986, in Gainesville, GA

Leah Maeve Dunagan married Brittain "Bull" Stephen Hulsey on 3 Apr 2004 in Gainesville, GA. They have two children:

Maeve Perry Hulsey born 15 Jun 2007 in Gainesville, GA
Martin Grant Hulsey born 26 Feb 2010 in Gainesville, GA

Lindsey Marie Dunagan married Steven Wayne McDowell, Jr., of Columbus, GA, on 9 May 2009 in Cleveland, GA. They have two children:

Lucy Pearl McDowell born 11March 2011 in Rome, GA
Lulah Grey McDowell born 18 March 2013 in Rome GA (at home)

Tyler Grant Dunagan married Amanda Susan Beekman of Oakdale, Long Island, NY, on 3 October 2009 at Sunken Meadows(Long Island), NY. They have one child:

Nathan Bradley Dunagan born 13 October 2014 in Jacksonville Beach, FL


  1. Thanks Bradley for sharing your family history online. We have pictures of James Reid (Reed) Dunagan (1821-1900) and his wife (my grandmother's grandparents) hanging on the wall at my parent's home. God bless,
    Franklin Royce Griffin III

  2. hi i think we are relatives... andrew newton dunagan was my grandfather, his brother was james.. we are descendants of ezekiel also... great research here... my aunt mary lives in roswell.....linda is my mom.... i live on cedar creek road, we attend dunagan chapel here in hall county.. we have homecoming every july (4th sunday) and we have a cousins party every year around christmas..i think you guys should all come ... kim southwick.. my mom was a dunagan

  3. Hi, I found your blog while searching for information on my 3rd great grandmother, Elizabeth Jane Dunagan born about 1834. She married Jeremiah Smith, but I have not been able to find out who her parents were. I have been told that her mother was a Cherokee Indian, but it may have been her grandmother. Elizabeth Jane and Jeremiah are on the Pickens County, SC census for 1860. Then, they are in Towns County, GA in 1870 and Murray County, GA in 1880. Their children's names match up with many of the Dunagan names you have here (ie., Jackson Dunagan, George Washington Dunagan, etc.), except, of course they were all "Smiths". Would you happen to have Elizabeth Jane Dunagan in your line? Thank you! Donna

  4. Hi, My 4th great grandfather Abner Dunagan was brothers with Ezekiel Dunagan . His son Andrew was my 3rd great, his son Riley(Bru) Dunagan was my 2nd, his son Riley C. Dunagan was my 1st, his son Ray Dunagan was my grandfather and my father is Ron Dunagan. Thank you so much for this blog.. Our family has such wonderful history.

  5. Hi Found your blog while looking for more info on my husbands ancestor Ezekial Dunnegan. My husband is descended from Louisa B. Dunnegan who married William Graham. She died 25 Oct. 1893. Thanks for the information on your blog.

  6. Hi Brad. I think we are not only related but friends on Facebook. I am descended from Ezekiel Jackson Dunagan but I am having problems finding any information on Joseph Dunagan (b 1740 I think). Do you have any information that can help me? Thanks Carol Dunagan Hall

  7. Levi Jefferson Dunagan was my grandfather. He is buried in Glendale, AZ.

  8. I just want to thank you for this history. We recently discovered that someone had done the genealogy for my gret-grandmother's family (she was named Wylssy Rose Dunagan) and traced it back to William Dunagan (b. 1670). My friend found your blog and it was a great pleasure to see the family's background and history in Ireland.

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  11. Thanks Brad for sharing in online of your family history. It is a great pleasure for me but I want to know more about Irish genealogy & Free Family Tree Template. Thank you!

  12. John C Dunagan, 1813 Co.NC -1881 Crockett Co. Tenn. Interested in anything that may be related to him. He was married to Mary Ann Buchanana

  13. Hi my name is Lisa Maureen Michael. I am related to William D Dunagan. He is my 9 times over grandfather through the Michael/Easley/Dunagan line. Please feel free to contact me at (

  14. Hi, my name is Sally Harland. I am related to Tomas Dunagan, married to Sarah. He is my ggggg grand father on my mothers side. My Grand father was Lysander Flynn Dunnegan from Missouri. We are traveling to Ireland this summer and are going to visit Limerick. Great info on your tree! ( California ). Please contact me if you please thanks

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  16. My son is doing an "ancestor" project for his second grade class, and we are very happy to have found your site. Thomas is my 7x grandfather, and we are from the group that moved to Winston Co Alabama after the Civil War (via Andrew Jackson Dunagan). We're now in Austin TX. Thanks for a great family resource.

  17. Hello, Thomas Dunagan is my 6th Great and Charles my 5th

  18. Hello, Thomas Dunagan is my 6th Great and Charles my 5th

  19. My 6th GreatGrandfather is Thomas 1706 and 5th is Charles Orange County

  20. My 6th GreatGrandfather is Thomas 1706 and 5th is Charles Orange County

  21. I think I've traced back to this - My maternal grandfather was a Petty. Thank you for the history.

  22. My father was the late enoch s dunagan sr. Of roanoke va. His father was elbert s dunagan of pulaski va. I did some research on anstery to find out more about my heritage , and I found out i was kin to donnie dunagan who was bambi. Kinda cool

  23. Hi, Stephen Ried Dunagan is my 3rd great geandfather. My mom and I’ve been trying to trace her family line through him for the longest time and we can’t seem to get past William D. Donegan. Do you have the names of his parents by any chance?

    1. Stephen Reid Dunagan's parents were Ezekiel Dunagan (1771-1836) and Margaret "Peggy" Wallace(Wallis) and he was born in Hall County, Georgia in 1827. After his father died in 1836, he along with his mother and siblings moved to Alabama to live with relatives

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