Biography of Alytte R. Dunn

Alytte R. Dunn, known as Ale, a farmer and stock-raiser of section 23, Logan township, Ida County, was born in Scott County, Iowa, in 1854, a son of A.R. and Margaret (Grace) Dunn, natives of Ohio and New York, respectively. When a young man the father located in Allen’s Grove, Scott Co., IA, and at that time Davenport contained only seven log houses.

He was married in that county, where he was engaged in farming until 1890, and in that year the parents went to California. They still reside in that State. The grandparents of our subject, John and Eleanor Dunn, were among the early pioneers of Scott Co., IA, where they afterward died. Grandfather Grace removed from New York to Scott County in the early settlement of that locality, where he spent the remainder of his life. Mr. and Mrs. A.R. Dunn were the parents of five children, viz.: Amzey, married, and resides in Cherokee Co., IA; Alice, wife of Alvin Fowles of Sac County; Jerry, who resides near Trenton, Hitchcock Co., NE; A..R. our subject; and John, married and also resides in Hitchcock County.

A.R. Dunn, the subject of this sketch was reared and educated in his native county, where he was early inured to farm labor. In 1877 he entered land in Silver Creek and Galva townships, Ida Co., IA, where he remained until 1881, and in that year purchased 100 acres of raw land in Logan township. His land is now well improved, and in the all of 1882 he erected a fine residence, and in 1890 a good barn, 28 x 23 feet. Mr. Dunn’s place is well watered with wells and creeks, and he is engaged in general farming and stock raising. In his political views he votes with the Republican party. In 1877, in Mahaska Co., IA, our subject married Miss Cora Andre, a native of Ohio, and daughter of Jonathan and Cecelia (Johns) Andre, natives also of that state. In the early days they removed to Scott County, IA, and thence to Mahaska Co. where the father now resides. Mr. and Mrs. Dunn have two children: Maggie and Verlin.

Mr. Dunn has witnessed many changes in Ida County. At the time of his settlement the nearest markets were Denison and Aurelia, was obliged to ford streams, and all he now owns has been made by his own efforts, as he had only $85 when he landed in Ida County.

Ale was killed when his buggy was hit by a passenger train near Ida Grove, Iowa, on 17 January 1907.

“Hit By the Train”
on way home from Dennis Cain’s sale.

Ale W. Dunn, one of the oldest, best known and most prominent of Ida County farmers, was struck and almost instantly killed by the westbound passenger train Thursday afternoon, January 17, 1907, and Joe Rice, another old time citizen who was riding in the buggy with him at the time, was severely injured. Train number 3 with Conductor Berry, engine 665, Engineer Joe Bancroft, was running a half hour late, and the accident occurred at the Dennis Cain crossing about a mile west of Arthur. Cain had a big public sale that afternoon and a big crowd of farmers from all parts of the county were driving home from that sale. Dunn and Joe Rice were in a buggy followed closely by four or five other rigs, and Bancroft says he whistled once but saw that the men in the rigs paid no attention to the whistle so he immediately slapped on the emergency brakes and tried to stop. The train was a half hour late, and by the time it was a mile out of Arthur was under full headway and running 50 miles an hour or better. Engineer Bancroft says the horse got across the track, and that the buggy was square on the track as could be when the engine struck it, the pilot going between the front and the back wheels. He said he looked out the window just as they struck and saw Dunn thrown higher than he ever saw a man thrown before, and he says he must have been thrown at least 70 feet in the air. Dunn was sitting on the side next to the engine and was struck first. Rice was thrown as far but not so high in the air. The train came to a stop, and Rice was able to walk to the baggage car with assistance. Dunn was placed in the baggage car also and died on the way to Ida Grove in a very short time. At Ida Grove the remains of Mr. Dunn were taken to the E.C. Mill Morgue, and Rice was taken to Heilman & Houlihan’s office. Rice was able to stand and to walk with assistance to the office but he was not conscious. He came to about an hour after the terrible accident and about 6 o’clock was taken to the home of Albert Putzier. Dunn was Venerable Council of the Camp 1142 Modern Woodmen at Ida Grove, and this carries $2,000 insurance with it. In the absence of Coroner Heilman, Justice Brannan impaneled a coroner’s jury composed of A.B. Bell, Ben Noble and Tom Anderson, and proceeded to hold an inquest. A number of witnesses were examined, who testified that the whistle was not blown. There was no testimony indicating that there was fast driving. The jury adjourned Thursday night till Friday noon. “At 1 o’clock Friday noon the jury met to hear the testimony of Conductor Berry, Engineer Joe Bancroft, Fireman Merrill and the brakeman. Bancroft testified he blew the whistle and did everything to avert the accident. The bell had been ringing continuously since the train left Tama as it was not working just right and they let it ring all the time. It is an automatic air bell ringer. Fireman Merrill testified that the rigs approaching the crossing were trotting at ordinary speed, and that he expected them to stop before they reached the track. He said the man on the right who was driving – Dunn had his face turned away from the train and was looking toward the west. The jury held its final meeting Monday at which time it rendered a verdict to the effect that Mr. Dunn came to his death by accident. The blame is not fixed in the verdict.


The funeral of Mr. Dunn was held Sunday afternoon at the Methodist Church and was attended by a great gathering of 500 people, who came to pay the last tribute to the good man who had died. The clergymen of the various churches united in conducting the service. The sermon was preached by Rev. W.M. Yates, D.D. upon the text “No man dieth to himself”. Rev. S.L. Chandler spoke briefly to friends upon the thought “Time may partly assuage grief but love abideth and increaseth forever”. The Male Quartette composed of Messrs, Jas. Reid, I.N. Shearer, I.B. Haymond, and R.S. Wasser sand “Savior Comfort Me”, “Art then Weary”, and “Tarry With Me”. The pall bearers were C.H. Cabbage, W.S. Young, C.C. Williams, J.I. Hess, J.H. Stough and H.W. Cheeney. At the interment which was in the Ida Grove Cemetery the Modern Woodsmen who had escorted the funeral party used their impressive ceremonies. Mr. Dunn was greatly esteemed as a kind and true friend, an upright citizen, an affectionate husband and father.



White, Judy. Ida County Iowa Genealogy. Web. © 2012.

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