Adam Dunlap, a retired farmer of Phenix Township, resident on section 28, settled in Henry County in 1854. He was born Dec. 18, 1833, in Wayne Co., Ohio, and is the second son of William and Nancy (Finley) Dunlap. His parents were pioneers of the part of the Buckeye State where the son was born, and there the father bought a timber farm and cleared it. He was its owner and proprietor until his death, which took place Feb. 14, 1852. His wife died nine days earlier, on the fifth of the same month, and they were both buried in the same grave.
   Mr. Dunlap passed the years of his minority on the farm where he was born, and he received his education in the district schools. His home was with his parents until he became wholly orphaned by their deaths. He spent two years subsequent in his native county, and in the year already mentioned he came to Henry County. He was at first employed as a farm assistant and followed that means of obtaining a livelihood until the winter of 1862. In August of that year he entered the military service of the United States. He enlisted in Co., K. 112th Ill. Reg. Vol. Inf., and he continued in the service until the end of the war. He received his discharge in July, 1865, and returned to Henry County.
   He was married Aug. 10, 1865, to Mrs. Melinda (Bartlett) Merriman, widow of Edward Merriman. She was born in Onondaga Co., N. Y., May 25, 1813. After their marriage they settled on the place which has since been their home, and which they own. The farm includes 140 acres, situated on sections 27 and 28 and sections 21 and 22. The estate is in the finest condition for profitable agriculture, and for the past few years has been rented by its proprietor.
   Mr. Dunlap has been prominent in the public affairs of the township, and has discharged the duties of his citizenship in official positions. He has been Assessor nine years, acted as Supervisor one year, and has been Justice of the Peace three years. He has also officiated as Commissioner of Highways two terms—six years. Politically he is a Democrat.
   The parents of Mrs. Dunlap removed from the State of New York, when she was 19 years of age, to Michigan. She was married in that State to Edward Merriman, who was also a native of the Empire State. Their marriage took place March 4, 1832. Mr. Merriman bought a farm in Wayne County, and they were there engaged in farming until 1838, when they removed to Henry County, driving through with their teams, and bringing with them their household belongings. Ten days were consumed in the journey, and on arrival Mr. Merriman entered land on sections 27 and 28 and also on section 25 in Phenix Township. He built a log house on the section last named, which his family occupied two years. He then built another log house on section 27, in which he passed the remaining years of his life, and devoted his energies to the improvement of his fine estate. He died Feb. 14, 1858, leaving a widow and six children. William, the oldest, lives in Phenix Township. Louisa is the wife of Jay Stafford. Charles is a citizen of Blairstown, Bento Co., Iowa. Minerva lives in Geneseo. Catharine L. died in her second year. Hortense B. is the wife of Abraham Phelps of Green Co., Iowa. Gilbert lives in the township of Phenix.
   Mrs. Dunlap, who, with her husband and family, came into the county at a very early day, very graphically describes her arrival, and relates some interesting early history. She also gives some glimpse of the hardships endured by these early pioneers and especially by the women. We prefer to give the narrative in her own language. At that time she was Mrs. Merriman, the wife of Edward Merriman: “In 1838 my husband and myself,” she says,  “thought we would leave Michigan and go into Illinois, and see that wonderful river we had heard so much about, known as Green River. It was talked about a great deal at that time, and was really twice as large in ink, or to read about it, as it really was. We had two small children when we set out for Illinois. On the 13th of October we arrived at the residence of the late Liberty Stimpson. Here we received a cordial welcome, and stopped for three weeks. We then removed to the new residence  of R. Cherry in Hanna Township. The next spring we moved back to Phenix Township, and settled on the bank of a big slough in the eastern part of the township, in a house with another family. My husband had built the body of a poor log house, and when we moved up there we set our beds in that part of the house. When the storm came from the West the rain poured down on us in bed, and we didn’t get up, for it was of no use. There were no gable ends, no floors, no fireplace, no doors, no chimney, and I had no stove, and a serious question confronted me, Where was I do to my work?  At the north side of the house I built a little room about five feet wide and eight feet long. I built it just high enough so that my husband could walk in and not bump his head. I built a nice little fireplace in it. I put it up with sod, and I prepared the sod myself. I did my work in that small room until cold weather set in. By that time my husband had a pretty large field fenced, and a crop of corn raised, the gables of the cabin in, and the floor laid, and a sod chimney built, but no doors or windows. When corn-gathering time came he had no place to put his crop so he stored it in that house, and left me out about four feet from the hearth across the room to set my bed in and do my work.
   About that time, the late William P. Cullen, of Geneseo, with another gentleman, got lost one night, while traveling in a one-horse buggy. They came to my house and stayed over night, and were well pleased to see five little children sleeping together all in one bed. It reminded him, he said, of so many “little pigs!”. Some of these children were mine and part of them my neighbors. I enjoyed myself during that period as well as I ever did before. I had one near neighbor, and I was satisfied. I constructed two one-legged bedsteads and a table out of what was called “shakes” and had no others for about five years.
   “The fall referred to above, there were plenty of blackberries two miles away. When my neighbor and I wanted some berries, we would take our water pails after dinner and walk to that grove and fill them. I had a child eight months old, and I would fill my bucket with my baby in my arms and walk home; and I counted that no hardship. I was then 25 years of age, stout and hearty; and work was no dread to me.

Pg. 686   1885 Portrait & Biographical Album of Henry Co., Illinois


Transcribed by Jan Roggy

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Illinois Ancestors