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W. S, Dunham, senior member of the firm of W. S. Dunham & Son, Atlanta, is a son of William W. and Mary G. Dunham, his father being for many years editor of the Providence, Rhode Island , "Journal", in the early infancy of that paper. His parents came from Rhode Island to Ohio, and were among the first settlers of Washington County, where the subject of this sketch was born, September 28, 1827. In the spring of 1831 his parents removed to Waynesville, De Witt County, Illinois, where his father died, his mother surviving his death for many years. He received but a limited common-school education, attending school during his spare time during the winter months, he being obliged to assist with the work of the farm during the summer. He left home at the age of sixteen years, and for the two years following he was employed in the various departments of farming. When eighteen he entered the mercantile establishment of A. B. Lewis, at Waynesville, Illinois as a clerk, with whom he remained three years and four months, beginning on a salary of $60 per year, which was gradually increased to $200 at the beginning of his third year's service. In 1848 he engaged in the mercantile business at Waynesville with C. H. Ormsby, which was conducted one year under the firm name of Ormsby & Dunham, when a third partner was admitted to the firm, the business then being carried on for twenty-two months under the firm name of Ormsby, Dunham & Lowrey. Mr. Dunham then formed a partnership with his brothers, Jeremiah P. and Thomas E. Dunham, which firm continued under the name of J. P. Dunham & Co. till 1864, when our subject retired from the firm. In June, 1856, he began a general mercantile business at Atlanta in company with Harrison Maltby, the firm of Dunham & Maltby existing until 1859, being associated with various parties, the present firm existing since 1879. Although having met with reverses he has been in the main very successful, being a man of more than average business management. During part of the years 1862 and 1863 he, in partnership with Levi Shores and J. M. Parkinson, engaged in the wholesale grocery trade at Chicago, Illinois, the firm being known as Shores, Dunham & Co. He is one the charter members of what is now known as the Illinois Midland Railway. He, in company with A. N. Dills, built twenty-six miles of that road, and from 1869 to 1875 he served as one to the directors. He served as trustee of Atlanta while a village, and in various ways was instrumental in the growth and advancement of this place. He has been twice married, his first wife being Adeline Branson. He was subsequently married to Martha E. Harrison, of Waynesville, Illinois, and to this union have been born five children, of whom four survive - Adeline B., Katie F., William S. and Minetta E.

Source: 1886 History of Logan County

Submitted by Franklin Dunham

This page is "W. S. Dunham Biography" on the Logan County, Illinois, ILGenWeb site. The address of this page is

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