Friday, November 10, 2017

Free Will Baptists in Rusk County: Hezekiah Dunn

Dunn, Hezekiah C. (1854-1931) was born in Georgia, the son of William J. Dunn and Charity Elizabeth Faircloth of Georgia. Hezekiah married Sabrina Frances Griffith and they lived at Colquitt in Miller County, Georgia. The Dunns moved to Texas by 1883, the census stating that his daughter Susan was born in Texas in February 1883.

Dunn may have been affiliated with the Free Will Baptists before moving to Texas. An obituary for his father appears in Chattahoochee United Free-Will Baptist Association minutes in 1885: “William Dunn, a native of Ireland, though for many years a citizen of Miller county, Ga., and for several years past a member of Bellview Church, died on the 15th of September, 1885. Bro. Dunn was an old man full of years, most of which had been spent in sin and dissipation. Notwithstanding, he was an eleventh hour hireling, we trust he will receive the reward, for ‘every man received a penny’.” (Report of Committee on Obituaries, 1885, p. 8)[i]

The 1912 minutes of the Southwestern Freewill Baptist General Convention list Dunn as one of 112 licensed or ordained ministers from Texas who attended the convention in Earlsboro, Oklahoma that year (From the Red to the Rio Grande, pp. 13-20, 261-262). This may, nevertheless, be in error. Extant minutes of the Texas Association (1913, 1914, 1918, 1926, 1929-1931) do not suggest Dunn was a minister. “The Committee on Obituaries made the following report: We find that God, in His wisdom, has seen fit to remove from our midst the following members: Bro. Henry Wilson, Sister Cordell Eldridge, Sister Leola Lunsford, Bro. H. C. Dunn, Bro. T. E. Williamson, Sister Joe Kuykendall, Bro. J. R. Koonce, Sister Bettie Lunsford and Bro. W. C. Morris…”[ii] (Texas Free Will Baptist Association, Minutes, 1931, p. 6)

The Dunn’s daughter Effie Jane married Thomas W. Smith, who was a Free Will Baptist minister.

[i] Find-A-Grave gives May 12th as his death date, rather than September 15th.
[ii] The minutes usually refer to ministers with the title “Rev.”


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