BIOGREV. JOHN DUNBARRAPHEE

REV. JOHN DUNBAR was a missionary to the Pawnee Indians of the West for a period of more than twenty years before he became a resident of Kansas. He spent a little over a year in the territory and, as its first treasurer, assisted in the organization of Brown County. Mr. Dunbar was a native of Palmer, Massachusetts, born March 3, 1804. In 1832 he was graduated at Williams College, and later at the Auburn Theological Seminary. While a student at the latter institution he received an appointment as missionary to the western Indians; was ordained at Ithaca, New York, May l, 1834, and on the 5th left there, with instructions to cross the Rocky Mountains to the Nez Perces. Upon arriving at St. Louis on the 23d, he learned that the party of traders with whom he was to travel had already left for the West, but was informed at the same time that the Pawnee tribe needed missionaries, and he decided to go there. As soon as possible he reported at the agency at Bellevue, nine miles above the mouth of the Platte River, on the west bank of the Missouri, and began his work as missionary. In September, 1836, he returned to Massachusetts, and while there superintended the printing of a book of seventy-four pages in the Pawnee language. On January 12, 1837, he married Miss Esther Smith, and the following spring returned to Bellevue, where he and his wife began housekeeping in an old trading house. Later he went to Holt County, Missouri, but preferring a residence in a free state, and confident that Kansas was to be admitted as such, he moved to Brown County, Kansas, in 1856, and located on the Wolf River, about two miles west of the Town of Robinson. On March 16, 1857, he was appointed the first treasurer to the Board of County Commissioners. But neither Mr. Dunbar nor his wife lived long after their removal to Kansas. She died on November 4, 1856, and his death occurred on November 3d of the following year.


A Standard History of Kansas and Kansans, written and compiled by William E. Connelley, Secretary of the Kansas State Historical Society, Topeka. Chicago: Lewis Publishing Company, copyright 1918; transcribed October, 1997.
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