Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Anderson Dunavan and Elizabeth Beauchamp

The Dunivans/Dunavans came to Vermillion County, Indiana, from Virginia. The spelling varies between the "i" and "a" and records are found under both spellings. Most of the family eventually settled on Dunavan. Anderson, the great-great grandfather who donated the land for Niccum Cemetery, was the eldest child of John and Frances (Hughes) Dunavan. They are buried a few miles away in the Hughes Cemetery, another pleasant and secluded country cemetery.

The Beauchamps moved to Ohio from Delaware and it was in Pike County, Ohio, that Elizabeth was born to Rev. David and Dorothy (Juvinal) Beauchamp. David was a minister with the Methodist Episcopal Church. The family moved to Vermillion County, Indiana, when Elizabeth was just a baby. David and Dorothy Beauchamp are also buried in the Hughes Cemetery, in an adjoining plot to Anderson Dunavan's parents.

Anderson Dunavan married Elizabeth Beauchamp in May of 1844 and the couple had eleven children, the youngest of which, Matilda Ellen, would marry Tilman Wilcoxen and move a branch of the Dunavan family to Texas.

Anderson and Elizabeth Dunavan
(photo obtained from Carolyn Wilcoxen)

Around the turn of the century, many counties published histories that included biographical sketches of prominent citizens. Anderson's life was commemorated in one of these county histories, Portrait and Biographical Album of Vermilion County, Illinois:

ANDERSON DUNAVAN. The labors of this honest, upright and well-to-do citizen have resulted in the possession of a well-regulated farm of 170 acres, on sections 1 and 6, in Georgetown Township. The greater part of this the proprietor cleared from the forest, and labored early and late for many years in order to bring it to its present condition. By the exercise of great industry, frugality and good management, he has accumulated sufficient means to protect him against want in his declining years, while his career as a citizen has been such as to establish him in the esteem and confidence of his neighbors.

The native place of our subject was in Mason County, now West Virginia, eight miles above Point Pleasant, on the Kanawha River. His parents were John and Frances (Hughes) Dunavan, the former a native of Culpeper County, Va., and the latter of the same place. The mother's people were of English stock, and early residents of Pennsylvania. Her grandfather served in the Revolutionary War, and was shot through the breast. He recovered, however, and lived to be nearly one hundred years old. He was provided for during his old age by a pension from the Government. He traced his ancestry to Ireland, where his forefathers were mostly linen weavers by trade.

The father of our subject, with the exception of the time spent as a soldier in the War of 1812, occupied himself in agricultural pursuits. He and his wife spent their last years in Indiana. They were the parents of eight children, seven of whom grew to mature years--three sons and four daughters. Anderson, our subject, was the eldest, and was born March 22, 1820. He lived in the Old Dominion until a lad of thirteen years, then emigrated with his parents to Indiana, they settling near the State line in Vermillion County, Ind. He remembers the time when there were but five houses between Eugene, Ind., and Danville, Ill. As soon as old enough, he was required to make himself useful about the new farm, following the breaking plow, learning to cut wheat with the cradle, and laboring in the primitive style, both in sowing and reaping the harvest. Upon reaching man's estate he was married, May 29, 1844, to Miss Elizabeth Beauchamp.

Mrs. Dunavan was born in Ohio, and removed with her parents to Perryville, Ind., in 1830. The newly wedded pair settled on a farm in Vermillion County, Ind., and Mr. Dunavan in due time purchased 166 acres of land. Later he sold this, and crossed the State line into Illinois, purchasing, in 1855, the farm which he now owns and occupies. Much of this was covered with timber, and he has cleared all but fifteen acres.

The eleven children born to Mr. and Mrs. Dunavan are recorded as follows: James H, died when a promising youth of eighteen years; John A. married Miss Rebecca Mossberger, is the father of four children, and resides in Douglas County; Mary J. married Samuel Hines, and died leaving three children; Harriet J. died at the age of two years; Charles W., who remains at the homestead, married Miss Anna J. Howard, and is the father of one child; David A., also at home, married Miss Mary Williams, and has three children; Anderson J. married Miss Caroline Cravens, and is the father of three children; Edward H. married Miss Holder, and lives at the homestead; Edmund H. died when three months old; Lottie married Frank Breesley, and is the mother of two children, they live in this township; Tilder E. is the wife of Tillman Wilcox (sic).

James H. Dunavan during the Civil War enlisted in an Indiana Regiment, and died of the measles at home. Mrs. Dunavan is a member in good standing of the Christian Church, and a lady greatly respected in her community. Mr. Dunavan votes the straight Democratic ticket, and has served as School Director in this district several years. He may properly be classed as a representative citizen of Georgetown Township--one who has assisted materially in maintaining its reputation as a community of law-abiding and intelligent people.

In addition to providing the land for the Niccum Cemetery, Anderson and Elizabeth helped create Lowe's Chapel Methodist Church on a parcel of their farmland, as well as the Butternut School to the north of their home. Elizabeth died in 1898 and Anderson in 1907. They are buried in Niccum Cemetery at the highest point of the little cemetery. Many of their descendants remain in the area.


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