DUNLAP, MILARD F., banker and Democratic politician, Jacksonville, Ill., was born in that city December 9, 1857, the only son of Irvin and Mary F. (Layton) Dunlap. (For detailed ancestral record, see sketch of Irvin Dunlap, immediately preceding in this volume.) He was educated in the public schools of Jacksonville, and having decided, early in life, to enter upon a business career, at the age of nineteen years secured a position as clerk in the First National Bank of Jacksonville. A few years later he was promoted to the post of Assistant Cashier in the same institution. His identification with this bank continued until the year 1890, when, in partnership with Andrew Russel and William Russel, he founded the banking house of Dunlap, Russel & Company, of which he has since been the head. Under his management this bank has taken rank among the leading financial institutions of the State.
Mr. Dunlap has exhibited a lively interest in the welfare and progress of his home community and its various institutions. In 1893 he was appointed Treasurer of the Illinois Central Hospital for the Insane, located at Jacksonville, filling the office for four years. His interest in the advancement of purely local movements organized to promote the welfare of the city is illustrated by his intimate identification with the Jacksonville Business Men's Association, of which he served as President from 1897 to 1901. It is worthy of note in this connection to state that his reelections to this office were made by acclamation, a fact which demonstrates in a measure the confidence and esteem accorded him by the commercial and industrial factors in Jacksonville's municipal life. A member of Jacksonville Lodge, No. 152, Knights of Pythias, he has always been devoted to the advancement of that order. He has taken an active part in the workings of the Grand Lodge of the State of Illinois. At the annual meeting of that body in October, 1898, he was elected its Treasurer, and has since been continuously reelected to the office. He is also identified with the Benevolent Protective Order of Elks.
It is perhaps as an active and zealous exponent of the principles of the Democracy that Mr. Dunlap is best known outside of his native county. Since his first vote was cast for Democratic men and measures, he has been recognized as one of the most devoted and active adherents of his party in Illinois. He has never sought local office, his best efforts having been expended in the operations of the Democracy in State and national affairs. In 1897 he was elected Treasurer of the Democratic State Central Committee, and was reelected in 1899. As Treasurer of the State organization he became ex-officio a member of the Executive Committee of the State Committee, and in this capacity actively participated in the work of that body during the campaigns conducted by it. In 1898, his fidelity to the cause he had espoused so long and his eminent fitness for the high office, were recognized by his party in his nomination for the post of State Treasurer. As an evidence of his strength among the voters of the State, it may be stated that, in the face of a majority of 141,000 cast for McKinley for President in 1896, he was defeated by the comparatively small plurality of 43,000, running about 26,000 ahead of the balance of his ticket. At the convention of 1900 he was again nominated for the office, running more than 20,000 votes ahead of his ticket. On each occasion he carried the city of Chicago by more than 5,000 majority. This record is one of the most gratifying ever made by a candidate of the Democracy in Illinois.
In April, 1900, he was appointed Treasurer of the Democratic National Committee, was duly elected to the office at the national convention at Kansas City, Mo., in July following, and filled the office for four years. In this capacity he took an important part in the work of the memorable campaign of that year, laboring assiduously for the election of William J. Bryan, his personal friend, to the Presidency.
On May 21, 1879, Mr. Dunlap was united in marriage with Jennie R. Marsh, of Watseka, Ill., a daughter of L. C. Marsh, who removed from New York State to Illinois about 1865. They are the parents of two children-Ralph I. And Carrie.
In the line of political influence bearing upon the direction of public affairs in the State and the nation, and the assertion of principles of honesty and toleration, Mr. Dunlap is one of the foremost of the younger generation of men in the country. He possesses an intuitive perception of character, and is intolerant of those lacking in personal and political integrity. His career has been one of great activity and unusual success, due to the exercise of good judgment and the exhibition of high and honorable motives in all his transactions.