BENJAMIN DUNNUCK & SARAH MITCHELL
Benjamin DUNNUCK b. Jan 26, 1841 Palestine, Kosciusko County, IN.
d. Jan. 14, 1931 Mentone, Kosciusko Co. IN
Nancy m. #1 Nancy M. Messersmith (Apr 18, 1867)
b. Apr. 23, 1849 d. May 1871
Children of Benjamin Dunnuck and Nancy
1-1) Flora (Mrs. J. A. Ball) b. Nov. 22, 1868
d. Feb 24,1898, childbirth, age 29
1st child / no issue.
1-2) William M b. April 6, 1871
d. Mar 17, 1893
d. of T.B., age 21. never married.
Sarah m. #2 Sarah Mitchell, June 17, 1877
b. May 11, 1857, Kosciusko Co. IN d/o Amos and Elvira (nee: SELF) Mitchell.
d. February 18, 1944. while visiting her daughter in Peru, IN.
Children of Benjamin Dunnuck and Sarah
2-1) Omer Earl b. June 1880 d. Dec. 1, 1880 -5 mos., 17 days
2-2) Alma PEARL b. Mar. 18,1883 d.. Sept. 29, 1955
2-3) unnamed infant b.d. Oct 1, 1885
2-4) Ruby Glendola b. June 21, 1888 d. August 8, 1962
Benjamin Hinton (or Henton) was born January 26, 1841 at Palestine, (Kosciusko Co.) Indiana, to John W. and Henrietta
Dunnuck. (See history on John W. Dunnuck) Until the age of 21, Benjamin listed his occupation as a farmer. He was
5’8-1/2” tall, had brown eyes, a dark complexion, and light hair. Later in life, his hair turned dark brown. Although
his mustache turned grey when he was about 80, he, like his daughter Ruby, never had gray hair.
On August 18, 1862, during the Civil War, Benjamin enlisted in the Union Army agreeing to serve three years. He
was assigned, as a private, to the 74th Indiana Infantry, Company K which organized at Fort Wayne on August 21,
1882. The 74th was captured at Mudsville, KY on September 17 and exchanged on Nov 17. His company engaged in the
Tullahoma and Chickamauga Campaigns and was involved in the battle of Jonesboro. They went to Atlanta right after
it was burned and marched all the way to Savannah. He was in Savannah when the south surrendered. From there the
74th went on to Washington D.C. Benjamin climbed to the dome of the “old” capitol and wrote his name on the gold
leaf. On June 9, 1865, near Washington, D.C., Benjamin received his discharge, paper #7731.
Two of Sarah Ehret’s brothers, John and Jacob also served in the 74th regiment.
On April 18, 1867, Benjamin married Nancy M. Messersmith. He was 27 and she was almost 18. Nancy died a short four
years later, (Born. April 23, 1849, Died. May, 1871 ) several weeks after the birth of their second child, leaving
Benjamin with one month old William (“Will”) and 2 1/2-year-old Flora. Flora was born Nov. 22, 1868; William was
born on April 6, 1871.
Following his return from the Civil War, Benjamin acquired the B.H.Dunnuck Sawmill and Lumber company on Center
Street which was listed in the 1879 Business Directory for the City of Warsaw. Gesturing, no doubt an occupational
hazard, cost Benjamin two of his fingers.
His appreciation for beautiful wood and skilled craftsmanship was evident in the beautiful home he build in 1877
for his bride-to-be Sarah Frances Mitchell. Sarah was the daughter of Amos and Elvira (SELF) MITCHELL, natives
Benjamin married Sarah on June 17, 1877, and they moved into their lovely, new, spacious home. Sarah was always
jealous that he had been previously married, and she removed the record of that marriage from the family Bible.
This record was not found until years later. (This was told to me by their daughter, Ruby).
Flora was 8 1/2, and Will was almost 6 at the time Benjamin and Sarah were married.
Benjamin and Sarah had four children of their own. Omer Earl, Elma Pearl, an unnamed infant, and Ruby Glendola.
Only “Pearl” and Ruby survived infancy.
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The following account was provided by Frances E. Nusbaum Peacock, a granddaughter to Benjamin and Sarah, and daughter
of Ruby. (I transcribed and edited our taped conversation. - Sue)
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“Their house was a brick structure located on a corner. The address was 602 South Street which was later renamed
Winona Avenue. At the time the house was built, one hitching post was located on each street, and it was level
with the streets. Through the years the streets became lower giving the house a raised or terraced look with cement
steps leading up the terrace to a brick walk about 20 feet long to the front porch. There were five porches, two
of them wrapping around and covering part of another side of the house.
“The wood in the house was elegant with contrasting woods overlaying each other and fancy patterns cut into the
top layers. The doors had a picture frame appearance with their beveled corners and scallops.
“As one entered the front door the first sight was a unique ‘C’ curved staircase. It had a curve at both the top
and the bottom, and at the base a large newel post.” Frances recalls the fun they had sliding down this banister.
She likened it to a roll-a-coaster.
“The stair ‘carpet runner’ was held in place by gold colored rods or half rounds at the back of each step. The
rods were fastened down by little matching ‘baby hands’ that were screwed into the steps.
“The main floor consisted of a parlor which was used only for special occasions, a sitting room, a kitchen, a bedroom
with a very tiny closet, and a commode room.
“In the sitting room was a large bay window area with three lovely windows. In addition to the lace curtains that
were starched stiff as a board, were beautiful wooden shutters that Benjamin had made in his mill. Benjamin would
shave sitting by this window in his favorite chair with a silver mirror stand sitting on the table. The stand was
a lovely lady holding a mirror above her head. He used a straight razor and wiped the soap on a piece of paper
(no wash basin).
“There was a second staircase leading to the second story. It was called the back stairs and came down over the
main floor bedroom into the dining room. Under this staircase existed the only bedroom closet in the house. The
only other closet, which was more like a small room, was located at the top of the front curved stairway. A smelly
old buffalo robe that was used in the winter for buggy rides was kept in this closet.
“Three large bedrooms were upstairs, and above them was an attic with a ceiling high enough one could stand erect.
The slate roof was flat, and the attic ceiling had a hatch door which could be reached by climbing a ladder. Sarah
often opened this door for light.
“Adjoining the main floor bedroom and dining room was a very tiny room called the commode room which in early years
housed a wash stand. Due to the small size of this room, later, when water was piped into the house,the stool was
the only fixture installed. Grandfather however did not give up his out house for many years.
“The ceilings were 14 feet high, and the house was heated with three heat stoves, a hard coal stove located in
the sitting room, and wood stoves in the dining room and upstairs. They were of course removed during the summer
months. The wood range in the kitchen provided the heat for that room. Located between the back porch and the outhouse
was a wood pile. Everyone visiting the outhouse returned with an arm load of wood.
“The lighting system was gas jets. There were drop fixtures in both the dining room and sitting room. The rest
of the rooms had fixtures that hung on the walls and swung out from the side. They were all quite pretty. Later
when electricity was added, only the main floor was wired.
“An old crank telephone hung on the wall. All the lines were party lines, and the calls were placed through a ‘central’
switchboard. These phones rang in all the 10 to 25 houses on the line with a coded ring,” ie. two longs and a short
etc. No doubt an extra ear or two found its way to the phone from time to time. Just think of the gossip potential.
By the same token in an emergency all of the neighbors could be alerted at once.
“There were two ‘right pretty’ exterior doors. The long panes of glass in these doors were patterned ruby overlay.
“In the kitchen Sarah had a long work table with water basins on either end. The pump was on the back porch. She
had two cook stoves in the house. One was a larger wood range; the other was gas. In the summer kitchen, she had
still another range.
“When Ralph and Ruby were first married, they rented the house next door and raised a few chickens. When they moved,
the chicken house was moved to the Dunnuck property and converted into a summer kitchen.
“Sarah had a big typical garden with many many flower beds and the traditional beans, beets, rhubarb and horseradish.
She made quite a bit of horseradish sauce each year. It was made with a hand grater in the kitchen. Teams took
turns grating until they could take it no longer.” (Horseradish, like onions, brings tears to the eyes...only its
smell is much worse.)
“On the back porch, outside the kitchen was, in addition to the pump mentioned earlier, was an ice box, the root
cellar entrance, and the “washing machine.” Sarah sharpened her knives on the stone doorstep. Underneath the porch
was the cistern.
“The barn housed the horses, buggies, and heat stoves. When horses became a thing of the past,
the barn became Benjamin’s workshop and hide-away.
“As a young woman, Sarah had her own riding horse, and Benjamin had his own. One time when the family was taking
a buggy ride to visit Benjamin’s parents, John W. and Henrietta Dunnuck, south of Warsaw near Mentone, a robber
jumped out of a stand of trees and grabbed the harness on the horse. Grandfather grabbed the whip and whipped both
the horses and the robber and took off.
“Benjamin was a prosperous, man who was able to take his family south to Mobile, Alabama every winter. He always
wore fine looking clothes,” and, Frances said she never saw him dressed casually. “He always wore nice, dress suits
with white starched shirts and detachable starched collars which were fastened with a collar button.
“When Benjamin and Sarah were young, they had a big circle of friends, and their entertainment was to have parties
in their homes similar to what we do today, and THEY DANCED! In order to protect the carpeting, Benjamin had canvases
made to fit both the parlor and sitting room. They would move all the furniture out of the way, and would hire
a combo of some sort to play the music.
“Benjamin loved music, and he was not disappointed! Two of his daughters, Pearl and Ruby, were musically talented,
Pearl through lessons, and Ruby through natural talent.[She played by ear.] Ruby played the piano in the silent
movie theaters, and Pearl was a church organist. Benjamin would have his girls play together on the piano and they
could really make it go! His favorite song was “Marching thru Georgia” which he and his fellow soldiers sang during
the Civil War. The girls played it often for him. The piano was made of rosewood with real ivory keys, and the
bench had claw feet; it was a beauty!
“Benjamin became a shopkeeper sometime before 1880. I don’t know if this was in conjunction with, in addition to,
or subsequent to the Lumber business. But, his shop was first named the Crystal Palace in the 1880’s and dealt
in groceries, provisions, fruit, vegetables, queensware, glassware, notions, etc.” (Ruby Nusbaum notes that queensware
was a trade name for fine china, glasses, pots and pans - not large clothing as we know the term today.) In the
1890’s the shop was called “B.H. Dunnuck Dealings.” Then, in his later years, Benjamin worked as a traveling salesman
for H.J. Heintz. “Grandfather (Benjamin) was a Republican and a Mason. His son-in-law, Ralph was also a Republican;
however, Ralph, a newspaper man, found it necessary to change his politics when he bought the Warsaw Daily Union
Newspaper in order to be competitive with the Republican Warsaw Times. Benjamin didn’t like this and never would
buy Ralph’s paper.
“After Benjamin retired, they turned an upstairs room into a work room. In those days, there was no such thing
as retirement income. Benjamin and Sarah loomed rag rugs to make ends meet and managed.
“Around 1924-1926, Ralph who was into a little politics, Democrat of course, pulled some strings, and instituted
some new legislation with the help of the local congressman. Until that time, pensions had not been paid to Civil
War veterans. Benjamin was one of the first. He received $90.00 per month, and they were much better off. Towards
the end, Benjamin got a little senile. When he would get his check, he would go down to the bank, cash his check,
bring the money home, and hide it. He would then forget where he had put it, and Sarah would have an awful time
trying to find it. One of his favorite places to hide it was under the carpeting on the big stairs.
“After the house was sold and Sarah was disposing of the furnishings, they had an auction. The antique dealers
flocked eager to bid on the many many beautiful antiques. The sale went very well because of the many beautiful
antiques. The dealers actually fought over the little gold colored baby hands that had been on the steps. They
even grabbed up all the lovely old clothes that had been in the trunks in the attic.
“The last few months of his life, Benjamin lived in the Old Soldiers Home in Lafayette, Indiana. When he died,
he still had a full head of black hair, only the mustache that he had worn almost his entire life had turned gray.”
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Benjamin died January 14, 1931, a few days before his 90th birthday.
Sarah, who was born May 11, 1857 in Kosciusko County, Indiana daughter of Elvira (Self) and Amos Mitchell, lived
her remaining years with her daughters Ruby and Pearl. She died while visiting Pearl in Peru, Indiana on February
18, 1944 at the age of 86.
Benjamin and Sarah Dunnuck are buried in Warsaw, Indiana at Oak Ridge Cemetery.
Flora and “Will” (William M.), Benjamin’s children by his first wife Nancy both died as young adults leaving no
children. Will died of “consumption” (T.B.) at the age of 21 on March 17, 1893 having never married. Flora, who
married J.A. Ball, worked in a Millinery Shop making hats. She died February 24, 1898 in childbirth along with
her first child. She was 29.
The four children of Benjamin and Sarah are as follows:
OMER EARL was born June 13, 1880 and died when he was 5-1/2 months old on December
ALMA PEARL was born March 18, 1883 and was known as Pearl. She and her first
husband, John S. Sloan (M. April 6, 1904,) had one daughter, Sara Catherine. Pearl died Sept. 29, 1955 at the home
of her daughter. She is buried in Lafayette, Indiana.
Sarah married Walter Blooser.
Three sons All
Robert [Bob] Mathew Blooser
b. Sept. 13 1928
John [Jack] Walter Blooser
b. Dec. 1, 1931
James [Jim] Joseph 3 Blooser
b. Mar 27, 1938.
A THIRD CHILD who was not named was born October 1, 1885 and presumably died the same
day. He is buried at Oakwood Cemetery, Warsaw. 3
RUBY GLENDOLA was born June 21, 1888 in Warsaw, Indiana. 3 On Jan. 28, 1911 3 she
married Ralph O Nusbaum. They had three children John, Frances, and Roger. Ruby died on August 8, 1962, of lung
cancer at Community Hospital in Geneva, Illinois where she had been a patient for only a few days. Her illness
was very brief, but she had had dizzy spells for about a year. Ruby and Ralph are buried at Oakwood Cemetery, Warsaw,
Indiana. They had been life long residents of Warsaw and Winona Lake, Indiana.