Jackson County

Biography - Samuel W. Dunaway

SAMUEL WASHINGTON DUNAWAY, of Virginia parentage, and connected by blood with the Washington family of the Old Dominion to which "The Father of His Country" belonged, the late Samuel W. Dunaway, of Carbondale, had many incentives in the history of his ancestors to indomitable energy, the full use of all his resources, the neglect of no opportunity and unswerving fidelity to duty in working toward the object of his pursuit. He had from the same source inspiration to elevated manhood, devotion to the general welfare, strong love of country and veneration for the loftiest ideals of citizenship. And, although the years and energies of his life were devoted to business, the universal esteem which the people of his community bestowed upon him, the warm encomiums passed upon his character, manhood and public usefulness while his life was in full flower, the general sorrow of all classes at his death, and the high tributes paid to his worth after that sad event, prove that he lived up to the influences emanating from the deeds and examples of his forefathers.

Mr. Dunaway was born at Bainbridge, Williamson county, Illinois, on August 2, 1841, and was a son of Samuel Dunaway, Sr., the pioneer merchant of that county. In the earlier history of the county the father conducted a business at Bainbridge which is said to have been at the time the most extensive in Southern Illinois. After the son grew to manhood he became associated with his father in the same business at Marion, the firm name being Dunaway & Son. Some time afterward he became a member of the firm of Goodall, Campbell & Dunaway, of the same city.

Mr. Dunaway was the junior member of the firm in each case, but he had business capacity of a high order, and soon demonstrated the possession of a master spirit for mercantile life and all the lines of trade and industry connected with or kindred to it. He had been reared in an atmosphere of business enterprise, and the elements of barter and traffic, bargain and sale, the conversion of raw materials into useful commodities, the rise and fall of markets and their controlling forces, financial agencies and their workings, with methods and means of transportation, and all other factors in the mighty enginery of trade, had been made his familiars and become parts of his permanent and impelling knowledge. He was therefore at home in every condition, and knew how to make the most of it. He was also prepared for every emergency, and knew just how to deal with it.

About the year 1885 Mr. Dunaway located in Carbondale, and here he was actively engaged in business until the death of his son Ed in February, 1896, when he retired, and from then until his own death devoted his time and attention to the care of his numerous properties in Carbondale and elsewhere. Throughout his manhood he was frugal as well as industrious, prudent as well as progressive, and in the many years of his connection with business these habits, together with his superior ability, enabled him to accumulate considerable property and become one of the wealthiest men in this part of the state.

It is not to be supposed, however, that Mr. Dunaway gave up the whole of his time and energy to his own affairs. On the contrary he took an earnest and intelligent interest in matters of public import, and although never an active political partisan, except in so far as the duties of good citizenship required him to be, always manifested the liveliest and most productive concern for the welfare of his city and county, and did his full share of the work of promoting it. During the administration of Governor Altgeld, from 1893 to 1897, he served as a resident trustee of the Southern Illinois Normal University, averse as he always was to the cares and responsibilities of public life.

In 1863 he was married to Miss Virginia Thorne. They had two children: Their daughter Ada L., who is the wife of Judge Andrew S. Caldwell of Carbondale; and their son Ed, who died on February 12, 1896, at the age of twenty-six. The father's death occurred on October 15, 1905, after several recurrences of a serious rheumatic trouble, but an illness of only two weeks at the time, and suffused the whole community with grief. His remains were laid to rest in Oakland cemetery amid testimonials of respect from all classes of the people, the services being conducted according to the ritual of the Methodist Episcopal church, of which he had long been a devout and attentive member.

Extracted 16 Jan 2018 by Norma Hass from 1912 A History of Southern Illinois, volume 2, pages 1069-1070.

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