IRVIN DUNLAP (deceased), merchant, farmer and former Sheriff of Morgan County, was born in Champaign County, Ohio, March 12, 1835, a son of Stephen and Dicy (Runkle) Dunlap. The family of which he was a representative was founded in America by Prof. John Dunlap, Professor of Greek in the University of Glasgow, Scotland, who in 1730 sailed for Virginia. His remains are buried at Augusta, W. Va. His son, William Dunlap, was born in Virginia in August, 1744, and died in Kentucky, March t, 1816. He served in the Revolutionary War until the surrender of Lord Cornwallis. The musket which he carried in that struggle is still in possession of the family. There is a tradition authenticated by letters in the possession of an archeologist of Kentucky, that William Dunlap was on the street with Edward Payne when, in an altercation with George Washington, who was then a Colonel, the latter was struck by Payne. Lossing, in his "Field Notes", refers to this dispute, stating that Washington subsequently acknowledged himself to have been in the wrong and apologized handsomely to Payne. In 1772 William Dunlap was united in marriage with Rebecca Robertson, who was born in Augusta County, Va., July 23, 1751, the daughter of James and Elizabeth (Crawford) Robertson. Her father came to America from the North of Ireland about 1735, settled about one mile from Staunton, Va., where Rebecca, his sixth child, was born. William Dunlap and his wife afterward settled near the present site of Lexington, Ky., where the death of the latter occurred November 7, 1849. Of the children born to them, Major Alexander Dunlap served in the War of 1812 and in the Mexican War. During the former he was taken prisoner by Indians. He removed to Jacksonville, Ill., where his death occurred November 10, 1853; Col. John Dunlap served in the Black Hawk War, and died near Lexington, Ky.; Rev. James Dunlap, who was born in 1773, died February 28, 1866.
Rev. James Dunlap accompanied his father's family to Kentucky in childhood. On August 29, 1794, he married Emily Johnson, who was born in Virginia October 15, 1777, and died in Jacksonville, Ill., March 13, 1848. After his marriage he continued to reside in Kentucky for several years, when he emigrated to Champaign County, Ohio, where he remained until 1845. Several of his sons having removed to Illinois, in the latter year he also came to this State, locating in Jacksonville, where the remainder of his life was passed with most of the members of his family. For more than half a century he was a minister in the Baptist Church. He was the father of thirteen children who attained maturity, namely: William, who was born in Fayette County, Ky., August 2, 1795. Rebecca, born in Mason County, Ky., February 26, 1797; John, born in Fleming County, Ky., November 26, 1798; Mary, also born in that county, October 26, 1800; James, born in the same county, October 30, 1802; Elizabeth and Nancy (twins), also natives of Fleming County, born July 2, 1804; Edward Johnson, born in the county named, May 14, 1806; Jeptha and Stephen, both natives of Fleming County, born respectively April 9, 1808, and February 10, 1811; George Alexander, who was born in Champaign County, Ohio, January 31, 1813; and Samuel and Minerva, both born in Champaign County, February 13, 1815, and June 3, 1818, respectively. All these children excepting the last named, Mrs. Minerva Ross, of Chicago, are deceased. It is worthy of note in this connection to state that Rev. James Dunlap was blessed with numerous and highly-favored posterity, consisting of 13 children, six of whom were living at the time of his death; 83 grandchildren, 49 of whom were living at the time of his death; 106 great-grandchildren, 83 of whom mourned his death; and 7 great-great-grandchildren - a total of 209 descendants in the four generations, of whom 144 survived him.
In the collateral branch of the family, Rev. James Dunlap had one sister, Patsy Dunlap, who was born June 13, 1796, married Archibald Henderson in Kentucky, moved to Illinois in the early days of its settlement, reared a family, and died July 3, 1834, leaving several children. All were daughters except one - William Henderson, who died several years ago. All of his descendants are also deceased. Descendants of Rev. James Dunlap now reside in Champaign County, Ohio, Fayette and Bourbon Counties, Ky., and Morgan County, Ill. In other branches the family is also numerously represented in various States of the Union.
Stephen Dunlap, the tenth child and sixth son of Rev. James Dunlap, and the father of Irvin Dunlap, was married to Dicy Runkle in Champaign County, Ohio, by Rev. John Pierson, May 29, 1834, and died near Jacksonville, Ill., February 9, 1877. His wife is still living on the old homestead, at the age of ninety-four years. He emigrated from Ohio to Morgan County in 1840, and here became a man of great influence. A stanch Democrat, in 1876 he cast his last presidential vote for Samuel J. Tilden, and for eight years served as Associate Judge of Morgan County. For many years he filled the office of Elder in the Old School Baptist Church. Over six feet tall, he was always a commanding figure, and was regarded as one of the handsomest men in Morgan County. He was a man of decided opinions and great determination, and never abandoned a policy, in public or private life, when he had once mapped it out in the belief that he was advocating a righteous principle. He was the father of five sons and one daughter: Irvin, James M., William R., Stephen, Samuel W. and Mrs. Mary Jane Farrell.
Irvin Dunlap, his eldest son, was born in Champaign County, Ohio, March 12, 1835, and in 1840 was brought by his parents to Morgan County, Ill. Reared on his father's farm, he attended the common schools of his neighborhood, after which he pursued a two years' course in Illinois College. Remaining upon the farm and assisting his father in its management until 1857, he then entered into a partnership with the late Felix G. Farrell, who was then engaged in the dry goods business in jacksonville. When Mr. Farrell organized the First National Bank of Jacksonville the mercantile firm was dissolved, and Mr. Dunlap returned to the farm, which he operated for several years. When the firm of N. & N. Milburn, grocers, of Jacksonville, was dissolved, Mr. Dunlap purchased its stock of goods and removing again to the city, conducted that business for a few years. Subsequently entering into partnership with Thomas Turley, under the style of Turley & Dunlap, he again engaged in the dry goods business. In 1870, owing to the failing health of Mr. Turley, the firm retired from business, and Mr. Dunlap once more removed to the country, where he remained until he permanently located at Jacksonville, four years later, to assume the duties of Sheriff of Morgan County, to which he had been elected in the fall of 1874.
A stanch and consistent advocate of the principles of Democracy, he was actively identified with the operations of that party, taking a keen interest in public affairs. In 1869 he was chosen Alderman from the First Ward of Jacksonville, and reelected the following year. His first term as Sheriff of Morgan County met the unequivocal approval of the citizens of the county, who reelected him in 1876 and 1878. During his incumbency in the office he appointed William H. Hinrichsen, afterward a member of Congress, as his Chief Deputy. When he retired from the office in 1880, Mr. Hinrichsen was elected to succeed him, and he at once appointed Mr. Dunlap as his Chief Deputy, in which capacity he served for two years. In 1882 he was elected County Assessor and Treasurer, serving four years, and at the expiration of his term of office he rendered valuable assistance to his successor. Fraternally, mr. Dunlap at the time of his death was the oldest member of Urania Lodge, No. 243, Independent Order of Odd Fellows, into which he was initiated in 1857. He was also a member of Ridgely Encampment, No. 9, Patriarchs Militant.
On December 18, 1856, he was untied in marriage with Mary F. Layton, who was born in Morgan County, Ill., September 4, 1883, a daughter of William K. and Elizabeth M. Layton. Mrs. Dunlap continues to make her home in jacksonville. They were the parents of one son - Millard F. Dunlap, senior member of the banking firm of dunlap, Russel & Company, of Jacksonville.
The death of Mr. Dunlap, which occurred at his home in Jacksonville, November
9, 1903, as the result of an attack of typhoid fever contracted at Eureka
Springs, Ark., whither he had gone for the benefit of his health, was deeply
deplored by thousands of residents of Morgan County, who regarded it is a
distinct loss to the community. Though slightly advanced in years, he continued
to exhibit a deep interest in the progress of municipal and county affairs, and
his judgment was constantly sought by those who had been chosen to safe guard
the community's interests. Careful, sagacious and far-sighted, and, withal, a
man of unimpeachable integrity, with the welfare of the people close to his
heart, much of his time for more than a quarter of a century was devoted to
official public affairs without a taint of dishonor attaching to his fair name.
Probably he was personally known to more citizens of Morgan County than any of
his contemporaries, and to all who knew him, regardless of their political
faith, he was the same cheerful, optimistic and kind-hearted man of affairs. His
strength as a public man and his eminent position as a public spirited and
enterprising citizen, doubtless were attributable more to these personal
characteristics than to any others. By reason of these qualities and numerous
other fine traits of character, he endeared himself to a multitude of people;
and his name and the record of his life are entitled to a permanent and
conspicuous position in the annals of Morgan County.