A.W. Dunn papers, Inclusive: 1907-1966; Bulk: 1907-1966
This small collection of Civil War-related pension information about Aaron Dunn provides an example of the many families who benefited from state-provided pensions for service in the American Civil War. In the late 1800s, Dunn donated much of his wealth to Baptist causes in Texas, and served on various boards overseeing Baylor University’s move from Independence to Waco, and from Independence to Belton.
Aaron Washington Dunn, born in Macon, Georgia, in 1845 April 12, came to Texas with his family in 1854 and settled close to Belton. With family and friends still in Georgia, Dunn moved back and forth between Georgia and Texas several times. It seems he enlisted in Company B, 15th Texas Infantry, under Colonel James Edward Harrison. The 15th Infantry had originally been the 1st Texas Infantry Battalion under Joseph W. Speight, but was reorganized as a regiment in 1862, when Dunn enlisted. Though it is not mentioned in the legally binding pension papers, Aaron seems to have enlisted as a musician. Dunn served with the 15th Texas for the rest of the war in Indian Territory, Louisiana, and Arkansas as part of Walker’s Texas Division, Trans-Mississippi Department. His time in the army was marked by many small skirmishes, with probably his only big battle coming in 1864 at Mansfield, Louisiana, as part of the Red River Campaign. The regiment disbanded on 1865 May 26. It is said he served also in a Georgia unit during the Civil War, but there is no mention of Georgia service in the pension papers.
After Aaron left the army, he went back to his native Georgia for a time, but soon returned to Texas, this time settling in Coryell County. In 1871 March 23, A.W. married Caledonia Elizabeth Pruitt Walker Dunn, who was from Coryell County. During this time Dunn was very involved with Texas Baptist groups and was a trustee of Baylor University in Independence in 1885. At the Baptist state convention that year, he offered the resolution for removing Baylor University from Independence and merging Waco and Baylor Universities together to form present-day Baylor University. Dunn later served on the committee to move Baylor Female College to Belton, Texas, which became the University of Mary Hardin-Baylor. Aaron and Caledonia were also major financial contributors to Texas Baptist programs in the late 1800s. Aaron’s first wife Caledonia died in 1899.
In 1901, Aaron married Margaret “Maggie” Bishop Dunn. Dunn had moved to West Texas in 1880, founding Colorado City, and was involved in mercantile, banking, and ranching activities in the area. At the age of eighty-seven, Aaron Washington Dunn died in 1933 January 28. Maggie lived on, close to her son who lived in Odessa, until 1966 July 31. Maggie received a pension for her husband’s service in the Civil War until her death, as documented in this collection
The A.W. Dunn Papers were acquired by gift in one transaction from Frank Kocher in 1981 March.
The collection begins in 1907 and ends in 1966. Records include correspondence and literary productions, though most of the manuscripts are pension papers from Dunn’s service in the American Civil War. A.W. Dunn was a trustee of Baylor University in Independence, Texas, and also served on the committee to move Baylor Female College to Belton, Texas. All documents are copies.
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The collection is open for research.
General condition: Unknown.
A.W. Dunn Papers, Accession #2228, Box #, Folder #, The Texas Collection, Baylor University.
Accession No. 2228. Acquired 1981-03-00
Described by Paul T. Fisher. Released on 2013-06-17.
Detailed Description of the Collection