Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Dunagan Cousins

submitted by Frankie Dunagan Kinsey - posted by Willi B. Dunagan

Frankie it does look like we are cousins! Your 3rd great grandfather "Abner Dunagan" and my 3rd great grandfather "Joseph Ellis" were brothers. Everything matches what cousin Jimmy Dunagan gave you to help with your documentation of the family history. Here is information about your 3rd great grandfather Abner Dunagan.

Abner Dunagan married Amanda Rowe

James Madison (1838-1925)
Abner Benson (1840-)

Children with Mozilda Welborn(never married)
Iassus Welborn
Amanda Welborn

2nd great grandfather James Madison (1838-1925) married Sarah Askew

Nora Amanda 1865-?
Masildia G 1868-?
Augusta Ann 1870-?
Infant- not named
Abner Madison 1872-1919 (My great grandfather)
John Monroe 1875-?
Fannie Russel 1878-1901
Sallie Gray 1880-?
James Ezekiel 1882-?
Joseph Edward 1889-?
Benijman Luther 1884-1885

After Sarah died James Madison married Velonia E Smith Bass, they had no children.

Below are two photos of James Madison Dunagan, one as a young man and the second one as an elderly gentleman.

Abner Madison, your great grandfather, married Mary Simmons. Mary Simmons is pictured below standing on the left and Abner is shown in picture by himself.

(Close up)

Nora Vienna (1898-1976)
Benjiman Morgon (1900-1933)
Richard Jay (1902-1972) My grandfather

Mary Simmons dies and Abner Madison marries Mary Jane Martin (1882-1963)
Child: James William (1913-

Richard Jay marries Estalla Mae Darby
James Hulan (1926-
John Thomas ? dies as an infant
Richard Monroe (? -1975) Frankie's Dad
Sara Louse (1941-
Connie Dale (1947-

Richard Monroe marries E. Marie Whittington
Mary Jean (1950-
Richard "Pete" (1951-
Patrica Luanne (1952-
Lawanna Marie (1953-
Cathy Gail (1954-
Frankie Lee (1955- ME!
Phillip L (1954-
Vicki Lynn (1960-

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

The Moonshiner

When you start looking into your family history you should not be surprised at what you may discover. The human drama that unfolds through the generations can reveal some very colorful characters. In my own research into the Dunagan family history I have yet to discover any real scoundrels, horse thiefs, bank robbers, serial killers, or mass murderers. However, my father, George Jeter Dunagan, often told me the story about a particular Ezekiel Dunagan who was his great uncle and was known to make moonshine.

Ezekiel Dunagan was the son of Joseph Ellis Dunagan, my 3rd great grandfather, and Lucinda Beall. He was the grandson of Ezekiel and Lydia Ann Brown Dunagan. He was born 15 January 1829 in Hall County, three miles north of Gainesville, Georgia. Ezekiel was born on a large farm, approximately 1000 acres, that Joseph Ellis owned along the Chattahoochee River, which is now called Holly Park and covered by the waters of Lake Lanier. The old home place was a nice two story colonial home.

On February 26, 1850 he married Delilah Trotter born 1830, the daughter of Robert and Delilah Trotter of Habersham County, Georgia. He and Delia, as she was called, first lived with his bachelor uncle, Benjamin Dunagan. In the fall of 1850 they moved to Habersham County, Georgia and lived there until 1861 when Delilah died. She was probably buried in a family cemetery in Habersham County. They had five boys as follows:

1. Joseph Daniel Dunagan born 14 December 1850, died 23 June 1933 in Sherman, Texas.
2. Benjamin Dunagan born ca 1854 in Habersham County, Georgia.
3. Edwin Dunagan born ca 1856 in Habersham County, Georgia.
4. Malcolm Dunagan born ca 1860 in Habersham County, Georgia.
5. Ezekiel died when he was a baby.

After Delilah died in 1861 Ezekiel moved back to Hall County, Georgia. The four sons all went west after 1870.

On April 13, 1862, Ezekiel married Sarah Bryant, born ca 1834, the daughter of Jeter and Sarah Frost Bryant. She was the sister of Frances Samanthra Bryant Dunagan, the wife of John Franklin(John F.)Dunagan, Ezekiel's brother and my second great grandfather. As a side note here, Sarah, Frances Samanthra's sister gave a deposition in 1908 stating that her mother's grandmother was full blooded Eastern Cherokee Indian but during the time of the removal of the Cherokees from North Georgia (1835 - 1850)her mother would not allow her children to tell anyone of the relationship.

After Ezekiel and Sarah married they had the following children:

1. Mecilla Dunagan born ca 1864 and died shortly after birth.
2. Ella Dunagan born ca 1865, married John A. Martin 9 April 1882. She died in 1958.
3. Sophronia Dunagan born ca 1867, married Jasper Carter 10 October 1897.
4. Chester Dunagan born March 1871, married Jessie Farr 14 July 1895.
5. Charlie U. Dunagan born 8 May 1873, married Oma Skinner 12 October 1902, and died September 1954.
6. Ezekiel(Zeke)Dunagan born June 1876, married Mattie Jane Bales 13 December 1896.
7. Alexander Dunagan born September 1878, married Ida Jenkins 20 February 1902.
8. Octavia Dunagan born August 1882, married James J. Satterfield 5 August 1900.

Ezekiel Dunagan died in February 1906 at his home, one and one-fourth miles north from Antioch Methodist Church, on the Sardis Bark Camp Road. He was buried at Sardis Baptist Church Cemetery. Sarah died July 1911 and is buried along side of Ezekiel in the same cemetery.

After Ezekiel and Sarah married he acquired property on the Sardis-Bark Camp Road and began to farm. He planted an apple orchard, the type of tree he planted being good for making apple cider. His family was large enough to help him farm and grow a lot of corn and grain. He started a distillery operation and began manufacturing whiskey and brandy. He was licensed by the Federal Government and sold his whiskey and brandy wholesale, never retail.

After a few years had passed he was denied a license to manufacture whiskey. However, this did not deter "Uncle Ezekiel", according to my dad telling the story. There was a bold spring at the bottom of the hill about one hundred yards from his house. He dug out a very large pit and covered it with huge logs and dirt. Then he planted sprouts on top of it. He dug and covered an underground passage to the spring from his house. He then built a flint rock flue underground from the distillery to the top of the hill and fixed it where the smoke would come out of his chimney where his wife, Sarah, kept a fire all the time to do cooking. She cooked on the fire because there were no cook stoves at that time.

Ezekiel had taken his operation underground law officers searched his farm many times but could never find anything. He made whiskey for thirty years. The last twenty years he made whiskey he had a man hired to help him. His last name was Cotton. At the end of twenty years Cotton quit him and told the Revenue Officers where to find the distillery, so they came and destroyed it.

Sarah's brother John Bryant did not like it because Cotton had told on his brother-in-law, so one day John and Cotton went down behind High Hill School House, a one teacher school, to a distillery and got a gallon of whiskey. He and Cotton were coming up through the woods, Cotton carrying the whiskey, when John picked up a pine knot and hit Cotton in the back of the head and killed him. He dragged his body and laid him by the side of a log, then covered him with leaves. He then picked up the whiskey and went home. People wondered, but never knew what happened to Cotton. when John was on his death bed he told it. They checked and found Cotton's skeleton at the place John told them he left him.

When my dad was a teenage boy John A. Martin, Ezekiel's son-in-law told him that Ezekiel at one time considered running for Congress. He said Ezekiel would get up on a stump in the woods and practice his speeches as if he was running at that time. He said that his oratory was such that it would stir the emotions and make you feel like the hair was standing up on the back of your head.

Ezekiel was my great great grandfather's brother. He would be my great great great Uncle. Uncle Ezekiel was a very capable and a very smart man. He just got into the wrong occupation, according to my dad. All who knew him, considered him a good man.

My dad's father William Andrew Dunagan went to see Uncle Ezekiel when he was on his death bed. He told William Andrew, my grandfather, never to fool with whiskey. He said, "I could have been worth a great deal to my God and my country, but I have wasted my opportunities fooling with whiskey." He also stated, "I am going to heaven when I die, but as by fire, because I have not been a Christian long enough to lay up any treasures in heaven."

Justin Lawhon, Deborah Dunagan's son, found this article below concerning Ezekiel Dunagan, the distiller, and James Bryant his brother-in-law. This article was published in The Daily Constitution (Atlanta) on June 4, 1879. Here is a link to the paper as found on (thanks to Darline Dunagan Scruggs) and the article is on the sixth column from the left towards the middle of the page.

I have transcribed the text of the article below:

Inquesting a Skeleton

Greenville [sic] (should read Gainesville?), June 3--

During the summer of 1877, Benton Whitecotton, a revenue spy employed by the deputy United States marshals, operating in this section, "got lost." Nobody ever knew how, when or where. Information says he had only a short time prior to his demise piloted John C. Hendricks, and other revenue officials, to a secret distillery run by Ezekiel Dunegan [sic], at his residence in Hall county, underground and almost under the front gate, the flue from the same running into the kitchen chimney. Report has it that Whitecotton had engaged himself to Dunegan as a distiller; found out all the "ropes," and then betrayed his employer. A few months ago a man well known about Gainesville named James Bryant, "while in his cups," told certain parties that he had murdered Whitecotton, shortly after his exploit at Dunegan's. He told enough to induce James A. Findley, Harrison Martin and James B. Gaston, present deputy U.S. marshal for this division, to proceed, on April 25th, to a place six miles south of Gainesville, near the Lawrenceville road, in quest of the body. They found a dark dismal ravine in two hundred yards of the road, and in it an old distillery place where James Tumlin manufactured the "buckeye" in all its purity immediately after the late war. Here Bryant had also extracted the juice from thousands of bushels of corn at a late, evading all the attempt of the authorities to find his hiding place. People who habitually travel the road near what is known as the Blackshire place, would be surprised to know how near they were to so deep, dark and dangerous a place as the one where this distillery was situated. Here Bryant stated he had decoyed his man, telling him that they could find a distillery in full blast. He said further that he had with him a bottle of poisoned whisky that he endeavored to induce Whitecotton to drink. Failing in this and thinking he had his victim at the proper place, he took a stick and deliberately struck him, mashing in his skull bone. In the search by Findley, Martin and Gaston, the bones of the unfortunate man were found with the skull mashed as his murderer had stated, and this bottle of poisoned whisky was found where he said it was, in the old furnace of the distillery. The parties who made the discovery kept their counsel to themselves, watching the condition of Bryant, who was in the last stages of consumption.
But a few days ago the facts "leaked out," and Marshal Hanie, of Gainesville, D.M. Stringer, and W.G. Henderson on Friday last visited the "dark grounds" and found the bones that were being closely watched by the parties above named. They were covered up with bark and trash, some sixty yards below the old site of the distillery in the branch, just as they were left no doubt, by James Bryant. A hat and pieces of old garments were found by these gentlemen in the old furnace, that had been placed there by the parties who first discovered the skeleton. They are identified as being Whitecotton's, indeed everything goes to show the truth of Bryant's statement. Since he made the confession, however, death has removed him from the scene of his dark deed and clue has yet been discovered implicating other parties in the crime, although it is surmised that Bryant had accomplices. Bryant was a brother-in-law to Dunegan, and rumor has it that a connecting link might be forged implicating him, but the coroner's jury which investigated the case to-day failed to find anything of the kind. The case has created considerable excitement, and many wild rumors are afloat.
Bryant has been suspicioned of crime before. Bullock offered a large reward for him during his reign as governor, when was charged with horse-stealing. Last winter he served a term in the city chain-gang, and while he was not suspicioned as the murderer of Whitcotton, still no one is surprised at his confession and the discovery that has resulted from it.

Monday, March 2, 2009

Conde Sully Dunagan

By Martha G. Gujda
Eighteen Sixty-one was the year the Civil War began and Military forces were everywhere in Montevallo Township, Missouri. The State of Missouri was very divided in its loyalties. Many people who settled there came from northern states and sided with the Union. However, both Conde and his wife Margaret’s families had come from Southern States and their sympathy was with the confederacy. Conde made his decision to join the Confederate Army. Both Conde and Jesse N. Bellew, Margaret’s brother, enlisted in Col. Sidney D. Jackman’s Missouri Cavalry, and they were assigned to Company A.

Conde did not want to leave his wife and child in Missouri as it was a very dangerous place to be. And so, before reporting to the company to which he was assigned, Conde took Margaret and his young son, James Thomas south to Independence County, Arkansas to live with his Aunt Susan, who had married Col. Morgan Magness. Aunt Susan Dunnigan was the sister of Matilda, Conde’s mother. The Magness family lived on a large plantation on the White River near Magness Arkansas. When Conde was sure of the safety of Margaret and James Thomas, he returned to Missouri and joined Col Jackman and Company A.

During the Civil War, “every acre of ground in Montevallo Township was the scene of some incident worthy of record. Every crossroad was the locality of a skirmish; every school house and prairie field was the mustering place or a drill ground. Someone kept count and at the close of the war it was reported that no fewer than 36 men had been killed in the vicinity of old Montevallo” (The History of Vernon Co. MO)

Wile Margaret was living with Conde’s Aunt Susan in Arkansas, she would meet Conde from time to time. They had a meeting place beside the White River, and when it was safe they would rendezvous. On one of these occasions, Margaret conceived her third daughter, who was born on the 3rd of Dec. 1864 and was named Missouri Cassandra Magness Dunagan. Missouri was named for the entire occasion. However, she was called Zuda. How she got this nickname remains a mystery.

Conde served as a private under Col. Jackman. His military service record did not list the battles he was in. We do know however, that near the end of the war on the 1st day of May, 1865, Conde was captured as was Jesse N. Bellew, his brother-in-law. They were sent to a prison camp in Arkansas together with the Confederate Army of Brigadier Gen. M. Jeff. Thompson CSA. General Thompson surrendered to Major Gen. G. M. Dodge, USA. Conde was released from Jacksonport, Arkansas on the 5th of June 1865 so he was only a prisoner for about one month. On Conde’s “muster and descriptive roll” he is described as: Age 37 yrs. Eyes-blue, Hair-black, Complexion-fair, Height 6 feet 0 inches. Where born—Tennessee, Remarks-none.”

At the end of the Civil War, Conde went to the Magness Plantation in Independence County, Arkansas and got his wife, son, and new-born daughter and returned to Vernon Co. Missouri. There was still much division among the people about the Civil War. Any confederate sympathizer or person who had served with the Confederacy was disenfranchised and generally discriminated against. In fact, it was not until the 1872 general election that anyone who had been in the Confederate Army could vote without taking a test of oath or a proof of loyalty to the Union. In the general election of 1870, B. Gratz Brown, a liberal Republican was elected Governor of Missouri. Ex-confederates were not allowed to vote in this election. In the year 1872 Conde S. Dunnagan filed to run for the office of the House of Representatives of the State Government. “The principal ground on which he based his appeal for votes was on the promise that if elected he would go to Jefferson City with a wagon and ox team, take his provisions and bring back his salary and spend it at home.” (History of Vernon Co. MO. P. 627) Conde was an honest, no nonsense man. The area was going through a post war recession and Conde wanted to “prop-up” the economy. He lost the election to H.P. Gray, the Democratic front-runner.

Later that same year, Conde sold his land in Vernon Co. MO and moved his family to Tarrant Co. Texas, where he stayed and became a Teamster. He hauled supplies into Indian Territory. While there he sighted his land where he eventually would live. When the “Run” of 1889 was allowed by the United States Government, Conde made the run and obtained his land in Pontitoc County Indian Territory which became Oklahoma. Conde began to farm the land he obtained in the “Run of 1889”, but he had great difficulty with it. You see, this black stuff kept coming up out of the ground and it was next to impossible to raise a good crop there. He traded the land for another more fertile 160 acres and raised cattle, and corn. Today there are oil wells on the land that Conde traded away. He lived there in Oklahoma the rest of his life and in 1913 died at the age of 85 years.

Conde Sully Dunagan was born 28 Oct 1828 in TN to Samuel Dunagan and Matilda Dunagan. Matilda's father was James Dunnigan born 1770 which meant that Matilda and Samuel were probably cousins.