Ms. Eliza C. Dunson was born on Christmas Day in 1844. She may have been enslaved, near New Windsor in Carroll County, Maryland. Her parents, and therefore her original/maiden name, are not yet known.
Mrs. Dunson married Mr. William H. Dunson sometime before 1860, and they were both free by the 1860 Census. They lived in the small farming community of New Windsor. Next door lived William’s parents, Mr. Thomas and Mrs. Delia Dunson, and five of William’s brothers and sisters. The couple was still living in New Windsor in 1863, when Mr. Dunson registered for the draft. He appears to not have served, although his brother, Benjamin Dunson did enlist in the USCT.
By 1870, the couple had moved to Westminster, where Mrs. Dunson kept house while Mr. Dunson worked as a farm laborer. Their daughter, Anna, worked and lived with the Vice Principal of the Western Maryland College (now McDaniel College). Although she was only nine years old, she was listed as being a “nurse.” Miss Anna Dunson was most likely acting as a nanny or babysitter to Mr. Zimmerman’s two children, who were not much younger than she was.
During the next decade, Mr. Dunson became a minister. His vocation took the small family to Virginia. In the town of Bridgewater in the Shenandoah Valley, they lived next to the Bundy family. Miss Anna Dunson married the boy next door, Mr. John Algernon Bundy in November of 1881. They all returned to Westminster, including Mr. Bundy, sometime before 1891.
The Reverend William H. Dunson died in late 1897, leaving his wife their home at 29 Union Street. She lived another 10 years, bequeathing that same home to her daughter, Mrs. Anna Bundy. In Mrs. Dunson’s will, she refers to Mrs. Bundy as “my dearly beloved adopted daughter.”
Most oddly, Rev. Dunson’s headstone traveled to Pennsylvania, surfacing 70 years after his death. The stone was left on the steps of Delone Catholic High School in October of 1967. The school is just across the state line in Adams County, Pennsylvania about 20 miles from Westminster. No further traces of his headstone have been reported in the press. Perhaps someone in the McSherrystown Borough Police Department recalls the incident and knows where the stone ended up, now 50 years later.
Mrs. Dunson’s headstone is securely at her gravesite, in historic Ellsworth Cemetery, in Westminster, Maryland.