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Important News

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Frank P. Dunwell, the present efficient postmaster of the thriving little lake-port city of Ludington, judicial center of Mason county, is one of the sterling citizens given to northern Michigan by the old Buckeye state, and in Ludington he stands exponent of civic loyalty and progressiveness, the while he has been an influential factor in public affairs in this section of the state.

Frank Pearce Dunwell was born in Solon township, Cuyahoga county, Ohio, on the 8th of June, 1852, and is a son of George W. and Electa P. (Tinker) Dunwell, the former of whom was born in the state of New York and the latter in Ohio, where her father, Hiram J. Tinker was an early settler. The Dunwell family became identified with the annals of the fine old Western Reserve in Ohio in the pioneer days, as is evident when it is stated that George W. Dunwell, father of him whose name prefaces this conspectus, was a boy at the time of the family removal from New York to Cuyahoga county, Ohio. His father, Samuel A. Dunwell, was born on Long Island, and the family, of English lineage, was founded in America in the colonial days. George W. Dunwell was reared to manhood in the Buckeye state, where he continued to be identified with agricultural pursuits, in Cuyahoga county, until 1861, when he came to Michigan and purchased a tract of land in Hopkins township, Allegan county, where he reclaimed a productive farm and where he continued to maintain his home until the time of his death, at the age of sixty-nine years. His cherished and devoted wife was but thirty-eight years of age at the time of her death. They became the parents of two sons and two daughters, all of whom attained to years of maturity and of whom-the subject of this review is the eldest.

Frank P. Dun well is indebted to the district schools of his native county for his rudimentary educational discipline, and he was twelve years of age at the time of the family removal to Allegan county, Michigan, where he was reared to adult age and where he duly availed himself of the advantages of the public schools of the period. This training was supplemented by attendance in Hiram College, at Hiram, Ohio, an institution of which General James A. Garfield was at one time president.

As a young man Mr. Dunwell identified himself with the interests of northern Michigan, whose principal industry at that time was lumbering. He passed three years at Pentwater, Oceana county, and on New Year's day of the year 1874 he took up his residence in the little village of Ludington, where he became a clerk in the general store of Donohue & Melendy Company. On the 1st of the following March he became a clerk in this establishment where he continued for some time as a clerk, after which he was associated in the work of the bank established by Mr. Stray.

He was thus identified with the banking business in Ludington for a period of about thirteen years, and as he has been identified with local business and civic interests for more than thirty-five years he may properly be designated as one of the pioneer citizens of Ludington, in whose advancement to its present position as one of the prosperous and attractive cities of the state he has contributed loyally of his influence and tangible co-operation. While interested in the banking business Mr. Dunwell became associated with Eugene C. Rohn in the insurance business, and later he formed a partnership with his former employer, Mr. Stray, in the same line of enterprise, with which he is still actively and successfully identified, under the firm name of Dunwell & Stray.

Many years ago Mr. Dunwell identified himself in an active way with public affairs of local order, and he has ever given his aid and influence in the support of measures and enterprises that have tended to advance the best interests of the community. He has been unwavering in his allegiance to the cause of the Republican party and has been influential in its councils and in the manoeuvering of its forces in this part of the state. In 1896 he was elected treasurer of Mason county, and prior to this he had served six years as city clerk and for an equal period as supervisor of the second ward of Ludington. He gave a most careful administration of the fiscal affairs of the county and continued incumbent of the office of treasurer for four years.

He was soon afterward appointed state salt inspector, and he served in this capacity for two years. In 1906, after most gratifying endorsement on the part of the people of Ludington, he was appointed postmaster of this city, his commission having been dated April 12th of that year. He has since given the major portion of his time and attention to the duties of this important office and has done much to systematize and otherwise improve the service. The local postoffiee is a model in appointments and facilities and is the center from which are supplied five rural free-delivery routes.

Mr. Dunwell has been a resident of Ludington for nearly two score years, and no citizen has shown more loyal interest and enthusiasm in promoting its social and material progress, as well as that of the county. He served eight years as chairman of the Republican county committee, and in 1896 he was a delegate from Michigan to the Republican national convention, at St. Louis, that nominated the lamented President McKinley for the first term. He also represented Michigan in the national convention of his party, at Chicago, in 1900, when McKinley was renominated as its standard-bearer. For nine years Mr. Dunwell served as a member of the Ludington board of education, and during virtually this entire period he was secretary of the board.

He was the prime factor in the movement that resulted in the erection of the present magnificent court house of Mason county, and was secretary of the commission that secured the site for and had charge of the erection of the building. The Poster school building was erected while he was a member of the board of education, and he was a zealous worker also for this noteworthy improvement. He was one of the promoters of the county road system, by which the improvement and maintenance of the roads are under the direct supervision of the county board of supervisors. In all other enterprises that have been advanced for the general good of the city and county his co-operation and personal service have been given with all of zeal and earnestness, and he may well be acclaimed one of the builders of the beautiful little city that has so long been his home and in which his interests are centered.

In the Masonic fraternity Mr. Dunwell has compassed the circle of both the York and Scottish Rites, in which latter he has attained to the thirty-second degree. He has passed various official chairs in the timehonored fraternity and is deeply appreciative of its history and noble teachings. He also holds membership in the local lodges of the Independent Order of Odd Fellows and the Knights of Pythias. No citizen of Mason county is better known and it may consistently be said that none is held in more uniform confidence and esteem.

In February, 1877, Mr. Dunwell was united in marriage to Miss Grace S. Lewis, whose death occurred March 21 of the same year. The only child of this union, Grace S., is now the wife of George Asby. On the 21st of October, 1886, was solemnized the marriage of Mr. Dunwell to Miss Mabel L. DeHart, and she was summoned to the life eternal in May, 1902, leaving no children

A history of northern Michigan and its people, Volume 2 By Perry Francis Powers, Harry Gardner Cutler


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Note to researchers, I do not maintain information on families outside of my own at this time, Your best chance to contact other family researchers and find information is going to be in posting some of your family information on the Mason County Boards. Volunteers and lookup materials can be found in the "lookups" category. -I routinely check the postings if I have information or can steer you in another direction I will contact you. I do not provide research services. Historic White Pine Village can help you in that area.

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