One of the quilts at the Civil War quilt exhibition at the Illinois State Museum in Springfield has an Effingham County connection.
An oak leaf quilt made by Sarah Elliott Dunn (1812-92) around 1860 is included in the “Civil War Quilters: Loyal Hearts of Illinois” exhibition that is scheduled to run at the museum through Sept. 8.
Dunn’s family moved from Bracken County, Ky., to the Elliottstown area around 1852. An ardent Union supporter, Mrs. Dunn sent her husband and son off to fight for the Yankee cause. Soon after war broke out between North and South, husband Andrew (1813-71) enlisted in Company I of the 54th Illinois Infantry at age 49. Later in what was then known as the War Between The States, Andrew and Sarah’s youngest son Thomas turned 18 and promptly joined the Union Army.
Thomas (1845-1932) later became a doctor who served the Elliottstown area for decades. Despite the family’s prominence in their day, they might be almost forgotten if not for genealogical records compiled by Thomas’ daughter, Eva Louisa Dunn, one of two daughters from the doctor’s second marriage.
Eva Dunn, who never married, recorded her lineage late in life. Her work is part of the genealogical collection at Helen Matthes Library in Effingham.
Included in the collection is a 1972 article by the late Peggy Pulliam that outlined Dr. Dunn’s life for readers of the Effingham Daily News.
Pulliam wrote that Dr. Dunn was an “old time country doctor” who practiced in the Elliottstown and Dieterich areas for 50 years. But first, she said, he was a little boy from Kentucky who moved with his family to Lucas Township, where the remnants of Elliottstown are located, when he was 8 years old.
Pulliam recorded that the future doctor attended Lucas Township schools and helped his father farm until joining Company H of the 154th Illinois Volunteers in 1863. At war’s end, he was a second lieutenant.