From the 1900 federal census:
The family was living in Garfield, Washington. Leo was age 5, Peter was 42 (recorded as born in England) and Ellen was age 45 (born in Illinois). Leo’s year of birth is shown as 1894, which differs from other records showing it as 1893.
This census shows Peter’s father [Michael] as being born in Scotland and his mother [Bridget] being born in Ireland. However, other records show both parents being born in Ireland. Ellen’s parents are both shown as being born in Ireland.
Peter’s occupation is not shown in this census, but the neighbors are all farmers, which suggests that he was as well. It records Peter as having emigrated in 1859, but his parents emigrated in 1858, and we believe he was with them at that time. Ellen is recorded as being the mother of eight children, with only four still living.
From Leo’s 1917 WW I Draft Registration:
■ Name: age 23;
■ Address: RR 1, Culver, Kansas;
■ Date of birth: October 24th, 1893;
■ Born in Garfield, Washington;
■ Occupation: Farm hand;
■ Employer: Walter Selleck, RR 1, Culver, Kansas;
■ He claimed an exemption from the draft because he had a wife;
■ Previous military service: 2 years as a private in the Coast Artillery, Massachusetts.
(See the footnote at the bottom of this page for information about the Coast Artillery)
From the 1920 federal census:
The family was living in Richland, Labette County, Kansas.
■ Leo's mother, Ellen, age 64, was the head of the household;
■ Leo was listed as Peter L Dunn, age 26, son. (It appears this
is a reversal of his first and middle names in this record);
■ His occupation was shown as auto repairman at a garage;
■ Ruth, Leo’s wife, age 22, was listed as Ellen's daughter-in-law;
■ Peter F was listed as grandson.
His great granddaughter Jeanne Means posted this on Ancestry.com with this caption: "Leo was a Deputy Sheriff in 1923 for Parsons, Kansas"
From the 1925 Kansas census:
The family was living in Parsons, Labette County, Kansas.
■ Leo P, age 31, was the head of the household;
■ His occupation was listed as auto salesman;
■ Ruth I, wife, was age 27;
■ Children listed were Peter F, age 7, and Frank L, age 3.
From the California Death Index:
■ It shows Leo’s mother’s maiden name as Lyons, which is inconsistent with other information showing her maiden name as Morris;
■ It shows his Social Security number as 530-03-5058;
■ His date of birth: 23 Oct, 1893;
■ His date of death: 4 Dec, 1942, in Los Angeles.
From his granddaughter, Carla Myers Busby:Leo Peter had two sons.
■ Peter Frederick – born Dec. 10,1917
Peter had four children. Evelyn, Donald, Ruth Irene, Ronald Eugene.
■ Franklin Leonard Dunn (Myers) – born April 25,1922
Frank had three children. Larry Franklin, Leonard Blaine, and Carla Gail.
As noted elsewhere in this blog, I was able to connect with this branch of our family after posting an inquiry on a genealogy message board - which led to my becoming acquainted with a very helpful gal by the name of Kate. I was looking for information about Michael and Bridget Grace Dunn, and Kate knew of someone else who was also looking for them.
That person was Carla, and Kate linked us up. It turned out that Carla is my generation's long-lost second cousin, and she has been working on her family history for many years. She provided most of the information we have on this branch of the family tree.
Early in my dialogue with her I related to Carla the story of my search for my generation’s grandfather, Eugene Michael Dunn. I also told her that he seemed to have disappeared after abandoning his wife, Hazel Nolan Dunn, and two small children, William Edward (Bill) and Rita Jane Dunn, sometime after Rita was born in 1928.
In response, I received the following from her:
We must be related! My grandfather, Leo Peter Dunn, also abandoned his wife and 2 small sons in 1924. My father had no use for the man, and Dad always said, 'I wouldn't recognize him if I saw him and I sure wouldn't walk across the street to shake his hand.'
My grandmother, Ruth Irene Dunn, remarried and my father took his stepfather's last name. I never met the Dunn side of the family, I heard bits and pieces growing up and I should mention that what information I did hear was not flattering.
During a visit with a Great-Aunt, she showed me a picture of my grandfather, a wedding certificate and an excerpt from my grandmother's diary. That started my search, from just those few items.
I was told my grandfather died in a car wreck in Colorado during WWII. I spent at least 10 years looking for that man!
Surfing the Web one evening, I came across his name in the California Death Index. Thru an 'Act of Genealogical Kindness' I received a copy of his Death Certificate. He died of TB in Los Angeles, in 1942.
He claimed no family, and no family claimed him. Instead of a simple burial, his body was used for medical research. Over the past 5 years, information about him has trickled in. I've discovered he was a 'Con Man.' He married one woman, told her he had never been married, never had children and his parents were dead. Then he stole her car, sold it and disappeared. The general family consensus is - being used for medical research, he may possibly have contributed something positive - finally...."
From his great granddaughter, Jeane Means:
My name is Loretta J. Means [she goes by Jeane], I am Peter Fredrick Dunn‘s (1917/1980) granddaughter. I am looking up family names and typed in Leo Peter Dunn and found your site. We have people in common. We have always wondered where Leo went after his abandoning grandpa Dunn and Frank, and to find this out is a blessing.
Frank took [the] Myers name but his mother’s maiden name is Gray, from Culver, Salina Co. Kansas. I have all of her information. Her parents are buried in Culver Cemetery, Fred and Daisy (Herrington) Gray. She, Ruth Irene (Gray) Myers is buried around Parsons, Kansas and I have some of that information. She died in 1979.
You can reach me at [phone number snipped] here in Kansas anytime; this is a cell phone which is glued to my hip, lol.
Thank you for posting this.
Loretta J. Means"
Jeane is my generation’s 4th cousin.
Footnote about the Massachusetts Coast Artillery:
Never having heard of the Coast Artillery, I did a bit of research and found the info below. Bottom line: The Massachusetts Coast Artillery was a volunteer militia dating back to 1784, and was a precursor to what we now know as the National Guard.
From a book titled, "The Old First Massachusetts Coast Artillery in War and Peace" comes this excerpt:
"...Who was then sufficiently far-sighted to foresee that on June 30, 1916, the same company would take the Federal oath as the '1st Company, Coast Artillery Corps, National Guard of Massachusetts' ? A company in those days was commanded by a captain with the rank of Major; and this office was promptly conferred upon John Jones Spooner. Jonathan Warner became the 'Captain-lieutenant,' and Joseph Pierpont and John Swift were elected the other two lieutenants, as at that time authorized.
Warrants were issued to four sergeants; four musicians were appointed, twenty-four men were detailed as cannoneers, eight as pioneers, three as drivers and when two brass four-pounder cannon had been issued to them, the Roxbury Artillery were ready for any kind of a fight or frolic. It was not to be until Aug. 30, 1849, that Gen. H. A. S. Dearborn would suggest the famous motto now borne by the Company, 'In time of peace prepare for war.' No one can question however but that the sentiment of the motto has always controlled 1st Company activities."
The book says the Coast Artillery became largely ceremonial at some point - called upon for parades and such - but was reactivated as a military force in 1916, as cited above. The timing was undoubtedly a result of the fact that what became known as World War I was underway in Europe. In 1916 the U.S. was not yet involved in the war, but the looming possibility of U.S. involvement - which occurred in 1917 - must have triggered the reactivation.
The book from which the above excerpt comes can be read online by clicking here. To turn the pages forward or back, click on the right or left page of the book as it appears on the monitor. Clicking on the "+" sign at the top of the page enlarges the print and allows for scrolling the pages.
So there you have it. Both Leo Peter and Eugene Michael Dunn - grandsons of Michael and Bridget Grace Dunn - abandoned their wives and small children in the 1920s. We'll bever know why, but it seems very strange to me.