My Great-Grandparents: John and Sarah Jane (Swatzel) Dunn

4 February 2008 would have been the 131st wedding anniversary of my great-grandparents, John Dunn and Sarah Jane Swatzel Dunn.

John, Reba, and Sarah Dunn

John was born on 14 March 1843 in Shelby, Cleveland County, North Carolina. He was the fourth child of eleven of Samuel Marion Dunn and Julia Ann Blanton Dunn.

Sarah was born on 16 December 1855 in Greeneville, Greene County, Tennessee. She was the sixth child of eleven of William H. Swatzel and Eliza Jane Thompson Swatzel.

John and Sarah were married on 4 February 1877, in Albany, Greene County, Tennessee. Sarah was John’s second wife; his first marriage was to Anna Babb on 15 January 1866. Anna died on 4 November 1876.

John and Sarah raised twelve children of their own, as well as three children from his marriage to Anna.

Children of John and Sarah Dunn:

  • Samuel Marion Dunn, born 21 November 1877, in Greene County, Tennessee; died 5 June 1955, Urbana, Illinois.
  • Julia Ann Dunn, born 11 August 1878, in Newmansville, Greene County, Tennessee; died 8 May 1957, Colton, San Bernardino, California
  • Georgie Florence Dunn, born 9 November 1880, in Greene County, Tennessee; died 1881, in Tennessee.
  • John Walter Dunn, born 3 May 1882, in Greene County, Tennessee; died 13 February 1952, Bristol, Virginia.
  • Charles Edy Dunn, born 9 October 1885, in Greene County, Tennessee; died 14 October 1887, in Greene County, Tennessee.
  • Nina Josephine Dunn, born 6 January 1888, in Tennessee; died 9 February 1936, in Riverside, California.
  • Bertie Charlotte Dunn, born 9 November 1891, in Greene County, Tennessee; died 27 March 1917, in Greene County, Tennessee.
  • Mary Barton Dunn, born 30 November 1889, in Tennessee; died 3 March 1891, in Tennessee.
  • Dolly Myrtle Dunn, born15 January 1894, in Greenville, Greene County, Tennessee; died 11 February 1979, in Loma Linda, California.
  • Jodie Lee Dunn, born 5 May 1896, in Newmansville, Greene County, Tennessee; died 13 May 1925, in Greene County, Tennessee.
  • Bonnie Lucille Dunn, born 30 April 1898, in Greene County, Tennessee; died 30 March 1979, in Tennessee.
  • Reba Clyde Dunn, born 17 May 1901, in Greene County, Tennessee; died 4 August 1987, in Pasco, Franklin County, Washington.

John fought for the Union in the Civil War. Enlisting at the age of 19, he served as a Private in Co. K, 1st Tennessee Cavalry, from July 12, 1862, until June 5, 1865. He was captured in Newnan, Georgia, on July 31, 1864, and held at Andersonville Prison. He was one of the lucky survivors who made it out alive.

John died on 15 September 1915 in Afton, Greene County, Tennessee, and is buried in Union Temple Cemetery in Greene County, Tennessee. Sarah died on 18 July 1921 in Newmansville, Tennessee, and is buried next to her husband.


Source: Dunn, John, Reba Clyde, and Sarah Jane. Photograph. c. 1906. Original photograph in possession of Elizabeth O’Neal, California, 2008.

Original cemetery headstone photographs of John, Sarah Jane, and Reba © 1994-2008 by Elizabeth O’Neal, California.

Other Sources include: Census records, marriage license, death certificates, military records including pension and Declaration of Widow.

Elizabeth is a professional genealogist, writer, and consultant. Likes: long walks in the cemetery, and the smell of old courthouse books. Dislikes: people who copy stuff off the internet without giving credit, and county clerks who can't tell the difference between Eastern and Pacific time zones. Secretly hopes her daughter will one day develop an interest in family history (but no luck so far).

Search Military Records - Fold3


  1. That’s why I love genealogy–it opens a window into the lives of the ones who made US possible! Amazing stories about the people who made this country so great. Your grandfather was very lucky, indeed, to survive Andersonville…it sounds like it was Hell On Earth.

    So, being a WA State native myself, how did your grandmother Reba come to live in Pasco, WA after being a Tennessee child? Was it the whole WW II thing that drew people out west? The maternal grandparents brought my mother out to WA state from Minnesota because of the War, and they settled up in Kitsap County, outside of Port Orchard (across Sinclair Inlet from the Bremerton Naval Shipyard, where my grandfather worked). I suppose the Great Depression also had a lot to do with so many families pulling up roots and settling somewhere they never thought they’d end up. I am guessing that your mother’s family had something to do out at Hanford? Or am I not even close? :-)

  2. Hello, I ran across this post while searching for the Union Temple cemetery. I have been searching for the exact location of the cemetery, but cannot seem to find it anywhere! I was wondering if you could tell me more about where it is located?

  3. Hi January,

    It’s been 15 years since I was there, but if I remember correctly, the cemetery is across from the Union Temple United Methodist Church. More about the location is here.


Say Something?

Translate »
%d bloggers like this: