Biography of Matison F. Dunn

Matison F. Dunn has spent a long and productive career as an agriculturist in St. Joseph Township, and for the last two years has lived retired from farming in the village of St. Joseph, and has conducted a very successful real estate enterprise.

Mr. Dunn is a native of Champaign County, having been born on a farm in St. Joseph Township, February 9, 1868, a son of Zephaniah M. and Elizabeth (Mapes) Dunn. His father was a native of Kentucky and his mother of Maryland. Zephaniah Dunn, who was born in 1831, was only two years of age when his parents migrated to Illinois and settled near Urbana among the ‘few families then resident there in 1833. Thus the Dunns shared in the experiences typical of the country and described as pertaining to the early decade of the ’30s. Zephaniah grew up in these pioneer conditions, and during his youth he worked for Mr. Busey, one of the prominent farmers of the day, for wages of only 25 cents per day. Zephaniah Dunn had a family of eight children, six sons and two daughters, all of whom were educated in the district school known as the Patterson School.

Matison Dunn after reaching his majority married Laura M. Berkshire, daughter of Jesse B. and Ida (Hawley) Berkshire. His marriage was the signal for the beginning of an industrious and active career as a farmer. For some years he rented eighty acres of land, but was not destined to remain long in that condition of semi-dependence. Prosperity has continued to smile upon him and his labors as an agriculturist had their due reward. A number of years ago Mr. Dunn bought 120 acres in Paulding County, Ohio, 240 acres in Minnesota, and at the death of his father became heir to 100 acres in St. Joseph Township.

By his first marriage Mr. Dunn had three children, Grace E., Ida M. and Arley O. These children, except Ida, who died at the age of three years and eight months, were educated in the St. Joseph High School. Grace married Carl E. Murphy, who lives at Richmond, Indiana, and is employed as interlocking tower man with the Pennsylvania Railway Company. Mr. and Mrs. Murphy have four daughters, Mildred, Gertrude, Louise and Esther. Arley O. Dunn is a locomotive fireman with the Chicago & Eastern Illinois, living at Danville. He married Hazel Davidson, and they have a daughter, Lavone, aged four years.

This little family household endured a heavy loss in the death of the good wife and mother on January 6, 1896. Later Mr. Dunn married Nora (Stewart) McCormick, widow of John McCormick. By her first marriage she had two children, Ollie M. and Mabel F. McCormick. Ollie is the wife of Banks Lambdin of Fisher, Illinois, and has, a son and daughter named Fred and Marie. Mabel married Paul M. Freeman, an employe in the Big Four Railway shops at Urbana, and their family consists of two small boys, Donald M. and Stanley F.

By their marriage Mr. and Mrs. Dunn have a son and daughter, Lowell M. and Thelma Lavone. These children have been educated in the St. Joseph High School.

Throughout all these years Mr. Dunn has been successfully engaged in farming and stock growing, but in 1913 he left the active supervision of the farm and moved to the village of St. Joseph, where he erected a fine residence on Sixth Street and has done much to improve and beautify the home and grounds. While living in the country Mr. Dunn was noted as one of the men who could get the most out of a given acreage and with a given capital, and the same success has followed him to St. Joseph as a real estate man. He is engaged in that business as partner of his cousin, John B. Dunn.

In politics Mr. Dunn is a Republican and he and his wife are active members and liberal supporters of the St. Joseph Christian Church. He is one of the trustees of the church. Fraternally he is affiliated with the Knights of Pythias and the Woodmen order, and Mrs. Dunn is a Pythian Sister.

Such are the principal facts in the history of one of the fine families of Champaign County. Mrs. Dunn is a most excellent wife and home maker and has encouraged her husband and performed a worthy part by her children.



Champaign County,

Stewart, J. R. A Standard History of Champaign County Illinois. The Lewis Publishing Company, Chicago and New York. 1918.

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