Tombstone Tuesday: John Dunn

My great-grandfather John DUNN was born on 14 March 1843 in Shelby, Cleveland County, North Carolina. He was the fourth of eleven children of Samuel Marion DUNN and Julia Ann BLANTON.

John married Sarah Jane SWATZEL 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 were:

  • 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 (my grandmother), 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 12 July 1862, until 5 June 1865. He was captured in Newman, Georgia, on 31 July 1864, and held at Andersonville Prison. Fortunately, he was one of the lucky survivors who made it out alive.

On 15 September 1915, John died in Afton, Greene County, Tennessee. He is buried in Union Temple Cemetery in Greene County, Tennessee.


Photos of John and Sarah Dunn’s headstone by Elizabeth O’Neal, May 1994.

For additional sources and information about this family, please contact me.

Copyright © by Elizabeth O’Neal

Elizabeth is a genealogy and family history researcher, writer, and consultant. Adores good grammar and spelling, and believes the Oxford Comma is just misunderstood. Thrives on large quantities of coffee. One daughter, two rescued hounds, and a plethora of missing ancestors keep her on her toes.


  1. What a great headstone!!!

  2. My John Dunn was born in PA in December, 1855. He married Catharine Hunt in about 1877. They lived in Philadelphia, where John was listed in City Directories as a huckster, dealer, driver, or laborer, depending on the year. They had eight children, among them my great-grandmother, Nellie V. Dunn, who married H. Bart McHugh.

    John and Catharine (Hunt) Dunn were buried in Holy Cross Cemetery, Yeadon, PA, John in 1824, Catharine in 1915.

    Do you know where your DUNNS emigrated from?

    Thanks for an interesting post — too bad we aren’t related (as far as we know…)


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