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Thomas Henry Dunn and Andrew Dunn

Thomas Henry Dunn, my great-grandfather, was born on 14 Oct (1855 or 1856) to William and Magdalena Dunn.  Thomas H. first appears in St. Mary’s Catholic Church, of Hollidaysburg, records as being baptized there  on 22 Oct with sponsors Patrick McKenna and Mary Walsh.  In {1860 US} five year old Thomas is listed with his parents; plus James (18) and Lucretia (14) from Wm’s first marriage, plus Magda’s 2 children Roman(15) and Robert (13) from her early marriage, or marriages;  plus his full brothers William (10), John (8), and Andrew (2).  The {1870 US} lists Wm and his third wife Louisa Allwine; with Thomas and his 3 living brothers, plus the four, of six daughters of this third union.

Thomas is listed in 1867 Hollidaysburg tax records as a laborer.  I guess he wasn’t too happy about spending his youth working manual labor.  I had wondered about a sentence in J. W. Jordan’s 1914 Personal and Genealogical History of Beaver County, regarding the Dunn Family: Thomas was referred to as having left Hollidaysburg to become a professional athlete.  My late Aunt Betty, who had known her grandfather Thomas H. Dunn, told me that when he was a boy he ran away with a circus, and became an acrobat and gymnast.  She said that even in his eigthies he would still amuse the grand children with his somersaults.

I guess Thomas got tired of life on the road, and in  {1880 US}- Shaler Township, Allegheny Co. , he is listed as married to Sarah Davis Dunn, and living with her family.  I’ll not go into their marriage, children, lives, and deaths, because I already have.

{If you the reader have found your way to this essay, just go back into the index for The Dunn Saga – Part 3 which I wrote on 30 January 2009.  That essay is based on archival research, and the only updates I have for the Dunn’s experiences in Allegheny and Beaver Counties are those that Aunt Betty told me in our discussions. }

Thomas’ last years, after losing Sarah, were hard on him.  Even though he was well cared for by his Ambridge family, he began to decline in his 80’s.  When Thomas John died in March, 1942, and then Allen B. died in December 1942, Clara Dunn could no longer care for Thomas Henry Dunn, who was in decline.  He died in the Beaver Falls Hospital in the summer of 1943, having outlived his wife and all four of their sons.  Most of the Dunns are buried at Mt. Royal Cemetery, in Glenshaw, Pa.  My grandfather, Thomas John, is buried in Sylvania Hills near Rochester, Pa.

Andrew A. Dunn

Thomas Henry Dunn’s youngest surviving full brother was born 16 October 1858, and baptised on 7 Nov 1858 with Jacob Craig and Catharine Moran as sponsors.  In the {1860US} Andrew was 2 years old, and in {1870 US} was 12.  By {1880US} Andy is listed as boarding with David and Mary Sweeney in Altoona;  Andrew was a laborer in the rolling mill.

On 19 Dec 1880 the Altoona Mirror announced that Andrew was marrying Fannie O’Donnell at the bride’s home.  They had two daughters; Gertrude (b. 1883) and Laura aka “Lulu” Dunn/Griffith (b. 1887).  Altoona City Directories report the family’s residences from 1882 to 1897.  Of interest is his being a laborer in the PRR foundry.

In {1900 US} Andrew is ‘double counted’.  In early June he is listed with his family as living at their home at 1030 Third Avenue, Altoona.  But on 21 Jun he is listed as a patient at the Blair County Insane Asylum.  Andrew lingered for a couple years, suffering from ‘paralysis of the brain’, ie. cerebral palsy.  Many foundry workers came down with heavy metal poisoning that affected the nervous system.

Andrew lingered until 19 Oct 1902.  His obituary in the Altoona Mirror stated that he had been ill for four years.  In the obituary Lulu is listed as Mrs. Laura H. Griffith.  She married Cameron Griffith, a railroad clerk who became an assistant rail yard master, and they had five children, Agnes, Gertrude, Margaret, Cameron V., and Thomas G.

I have not yet found many records for Lulu’s sister Gertrude, beyond some social column mentions in The Mirror in 1902-19o4.

My next essay will be about the death of William and Magda’s last born son, and about her death, and about William going a-courting, yet again.

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