Thomas Dunn

Thomas Dunn, many years of whose life have been devoted to railroad work, is the owner of an excellent one hundred and fifteen acre farm in Wilson township, upon which he is prosperously engaged at general farming. He was born in Holland township, Sheboygan county, January 5, 1857, a son of James Dunn, a native of Kings county, Ireland. The father was born in 1830 and when a boy emigrated to the new world with his parents, who settled immediately in Holland township, where the remainder of their years were passed.

James Dunn received a good common-school education before leaving his native land and on coming to Wisconsin secured employment on the Shugart farm, formerly known as the A. P. Lyman farm, on the Sheboygan river and now included within the limits of Sheboygan. After remaining thus employed for a considerable period he engaged in business for himself, operating a freight line by wagon between Sheboygan and Fond du Lac, there being no railroad between those cities at that time. He continued in the freighting business until after the railroad was completed between the two points and then returned to Holland township and purchased a farm of eighty acres on section 18, where he lived until 1895, when he sold that place and retired from active life, thereafter making his home with his son Thomas. His death occurred January 24, 1905.

While working in Sheboygan on the A. P. Lyman farm he met Helen Martin, who shortly afterward became his wife. Their marriage was celebrated in Sheboygan in 1855, when he was twenty-five years of age. She was a native of County Wicklow, Ireland, and emigrated to the new world with friends during her girlhood. After their arrival here she entered the employ of Mrs. A. P. Lyman. She is now in her seventy-eighth year and enjoys fine health for one of her age, making her home with her daughter, Mrs. Crowley, of Milwaukee. In her family were seven children, namely: Thomas, of this review; Mary, the wife of William Crowley, of Milwaukee; John, a farmer of Ross, Texas; James, engaged in the railroad business; William, residing in Milwaukee; Peter, a farm hand of Holland township; and Ellen, the wife of john McLaughlin, of Milwaukee.

Thomas Dunn received a common-school education in Holland township, pursuing his studies at what is known as the Green schoolhouse. He assisted his father in the work of the farm, at those times when he was not in school, until he attained the age of eighteen years, and then took up railroad work in the capacity of a brakeman for the Milwaukee, Lake Shore & Western, now a part of the Northwestern system. Owing to the intelligent interest which he took in his work, at the expiration of two years' service as brakeman he was given the position of conductor by the same company, in which capacity he served for seven years. After spending nine years in railroad work he removed to Waldo, Alachua county, Florida, where he purchased an orange grove which he operated for three years. During the third year of his residence in that state a severe frost killed his entire grove, the trees all being young and not sufficiently hardened to withstand the unusually cold season. He then sold his property there and returned to Holland township, where for one year he cultivated his father's farm. As the latter then sold his place Mr. Dunn returned to his old occupation of railroading and for two years held a position as conductor in the employ of the Great Western, his "run" being from Chicago to Dubuque, Iowa. He later served in a like capacity for the Rock Island company between Council Bluffs and Phillipsburg, Kansas. He again returned to Wisconsin and worked in the railroad yards in Milwaukee for two years, after which he came to Wilson township and bought the farm of one hundred and fifteen acres on section 2 upon which he now lives.

Mr. Dunn was married in Sheboygan, November, 10, 1882, to Miss Mary Graff, a daughter of Nicholas Graff, more extended mention of whom is made elsewhere in this work. Unto Mr. and Mrs. Dunn three children were born, namely: Lillian, the wife of Edwin Gill, of Omaha, Nebraska; Agnes, also living in that city; and Herbert, at home.

In his political affiliation Mr. Dunn is a democrat. He belongs to the Knights of Pythias lodge and is actively interested in that order. He is a member of the Catholic church of Sheboygan, his life conforming to the profession which he makes. He is among the prosperous, enterprising and substantial men of his township, has an extended acquaintance and is highly esteemed by his friends and the neighbors with whom he mingles.


Information gathered and adapted from History of Sheboygan County, Wisconsin, Past and Present
Carl Zillier, Editor
Pubished by The S.J. Clarke Publishing Company, 1912, Chicago, IL