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Champaign County, Illinois

Biography - Menzo Dunlap

SOURCE: "Portrait and Biographical Album of Champaign County, Illinois," Chapman Brothers, Chicago, 1887


MENZO DUNLAP, proprietor of the well-known Evergreen Home Farm in Champaign Township, is one of the early pioneers of this and Cook County, and is pleasantly located on Section 36, Champaign Township, of which he took possession in 1855. At the time of its purchase by our subject the farm was wild land, which he has now brought to a fine state of cultivation, enclosed it with good fences, and erected upon it a substantial and convenient set of frame buildings. Mr. Dunlap is a native of Otsego County, N. Y., and was born Dec. 19, 1816. His father, William J. Dunlap, was a native of Montgomery County, N. Y., and the son of John Dunlap, whose father, a native of Ireland and of Scotch ancestry, emigrated to America when a young man. John Dunlap was reared to farming pursuits and spent the greater part of his life in Cherry Valley, N.Y., of which State he was one of the earliest pioneers and served in the War of 1812. During that struggle his family, in common with many others in that section of country, suffered greatly from the depredations of Indians and for a long period lived in fear of their lives. Amid these thrilling scenes William J. Dunlap, the father of our subject, was reared to principles of honesty and the courage required by the men of those times to successfully cope with the difficulties that surrounded them. Young Dunlap followed farming during the earlier years of his life, some of the time kept hotel and also operated a flouring-mill. In 1836 he emigrated to the Prairie State, and was one of the earliest pioneers of La Salle County. After a brief residence there he removed to Cook county, of which he remained a resident until 1857. Thence he came to Champaign county, soon afterward retiring from the active labors of life, his decease occurring in Champaign Township. The mother of our subject, who before her marriage was Miss Margaret Lane, was a native of Cherry Valley, N. Y. Of her marriage with William J. Dunlap there were born ten children, all of whom lived to become men and women. Of these, Menzo was the fifth child. He was fifteen years old when his parents became residents of Lewis County, N.Y., where they lived two years, and thence removed to Jefferson County, spending two years there also. In 1836 the parents with their eight children, started with four horses and two wagons for Illinois, making the entire journey overland, and being seven weeks on the road. The father purchased a farm in La Salle County, where they lived a brief time, then took up their abode on a tract of wild land in Cook County. Their location was fifteen miles from Chicago, then a humble hamlet. Here our subject in due time purchased forty acres of Government land, upon which he built a frame house, and placed the whole under a good state of cultivation. He occupied this until 1856, then selling out came to this county and purchased the tract of land which he now owns and which he has converted into a valuable farm. It was at that time a wild, uncultivated prairie, no part of which had been turned by the plowshare. Mr. Dunlap, after years of industry, has placed it under a good state of cultivation and erected all needful farm buildings. Upon a part of his original purchase now stands the flourishing town of Savoy. The marriage of our subject with Miss Isabella Pierce took place in Du Page County, this State, the day before Christmas, 1841. Mrs. D. was a native of Oswego County, N.Y., and was born april 3, 1825. Her parents were Smith D. and Polly (Dunlap) Pierce, both natives of the Empire State. The father, now eighty years of age, makes his home in Belmont, Iowa. Of the children born to Mr. and Mrs. Dunlap, nine in number, seven are now living: Isabelle became the wife of Jackson Burt, and is a resident of Urbana, Ill.; Maggie married Willoughby Condit, and lives in Scott County, Kan.; Burleigh is practicing law in De Smet, Dak.; J. Hammil married Miss Ella Coon, and lives at Savoy; Mary, Mrs. J. C. Jordan, is a resident of Champaign Township; R. Livingston married Miss Lettie Jutkins and they live on the home farm; Lillian, the wife of J. C. Cline, lives in Monticello, Minn. The mother of these children departed this life at her home in Champaign Township on the 13th of May, 1880. Mr. Dunlap, who was formerly Democratic in politics, has since the organization of the Republican party, identified himself with it, and uniformly casts his vote in support of its principles. He has been a stirring business man and a skillful farmer, keeping full pace with the march of progress in the great and rapidly developed West. In 1886 he added a new feature to his farming operations, in the shape of a steam engine and other necessary apparatus for the manufacture of apple jelly and pure cider vinegar. This he carries on in partnership with his son, R. Livingston.

[Note: Corrections submitted by Laura Audrey: J. C. Cline should be John O'Neil Cline and Menzo Dunlap's wife should be Arabella Pierce, not Isabella. Please remember that biographies printed in county histories are secondary sources and should be used accordingly. Please double-check any secondary source materials.]

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