Dunlap, Matthias L.
Born: 1814-09-21 New York
Died: 1875-02-14 Urbana, Illinois
Born in Cherry Valley, New York, Matthias L. Dunlap was a clerk, bookkeeper, farmer, surveyor, horticulturalist, writer, newspaper editor, state representative, Democrat turned Republican, and active participant in the Underground Railroad . He moved West with his family in 1836, but set out on his own to Chicago the next year. He worked first in the dry goods business and as a clerk, then as a bookkeeper for a firm contracted to complete work on the Illinois and Michigan Canal. While living in Chicago, he married Emeline Pierce, with whom he had at least nine children. After saving up money for some time, he purchased land twelve miles west of Chicago and began farming it while also conducting survey work. He developed an interest in horticulture about 1845 and, after relocating to Champaign County sometime between 1855 and 1857, he established a large nursery. In 1853, he became the chief agricultural writer for the Republican and Free Soil paper, the
Portrait and Biographical Album of Champaign County, Ill. (Chicago: Chapman Brothers, 1887), 222-23; Franklin William Scott, Newspapers and Periodicals of Illinois, 1814-1879, vol. 6 of Collections of the Illinois State Historical Library (Springfield: Illinois State Historical Library, 1910), 324; Illinois Daily Journal (Springfield), 2 January 1855, 2:3; U.S. Census Office, Eighth Census of the United States (1860), Champaign County, IL, 89; Gravestone, Mount Hope Cemetery and Mausoleum, Urbana, IL; The Prairie Farmer (Chicago), 20 February 1875, 4:2.