The Robert Commander Dunnam, Sr. and Jr. Families

of Baldwin & Wilcox Counties, Alabama

by Rev. James T. Dunnam

Robert Commander Dunnam, Jr. first came to Wilcox County about 1830. He had migrated from South Carolina along with his father, brothers and sisters, cousins, and in-laws. In order to tell the full story I must give a bit about his ancestors and their migration Southward.

Dunnam Ancestors

The earliest of the Dunnams I have been able to document is John Dunnam, who married Hannah Singletary about 1713, and lived in St .Thomas St. Dennis Parish, South Carolina. This Parish had a large population of Huguenots. They had three children listed in the Parish Register: John, born May 26, 1714, who married a Huguenot, Elizabeth Cuttino, Hannah, born June 17, 1717 who married Joseph Singletary; and Sarah, January 29, 1720. In his Will, John names another son, Ebenezer, born after 1722, who married Frances Commander. Still another son, I feel, was born after the Will was written and before it was probated. This son was Robert Dunnam, born November 1726, and married Susan Burn(e) about 1746.

Robert Dunnam and Susan Burn(e) migrated to Georgetown then up the Great Pee Dee River to Marion District where he developed a Plantation on the Pee Dee River, near Snow Island, at a place known to this day as Dunham's Bluff. During the American Revolution, Robert, John, and Ebenezer Dunnam, along with his brother in law, Andrew Burn(e), brother to Susan, gathered supplies for General Francis Marion, who quartered his troops during the Winter, on Snow Island. There are many Indents, dated around 1780-85, a form of receipt in the South Carolina Archives, giving evidence of their work. There are Indents for hogs, sheep beef, corn and other supplies.

Robert Dunnam is said to have lost his life trying to fly with a large pair of wings he had constructed. He jumped from a tall tree on his plantation at Dunham's Bluff into "Nigger Lake" and drowned. He was buried at the family plot on his plantation, the location is not known.

Robert Commander Dunnam, Sr.

Robert Commander Dunnam, Sr., the son of Robert Dunnam and Susan Burn(e) migrated through Georgia, with his wife Mary ann (Davis) where he settled in Baldwin District, Mississippi Territory, with his family. He probably made more than one trip from South Carolina to Baldwin County, for there are several land transactions in which he sold his property in Marion District, South Carolina.

His son, Robert Commander Dunnam, Jr., married Sarah Lewis March 22, 1910, in Randolph County, Georgia. He came on to Baldwin County, Mississippi Territory (now Baldwin County, AL.). Then to Monroe and Wilcox County, Alabama.

Along with Robert Commander Dunnam, Jr., came Rev. John Jenkins and Rev. James Jenkins. They married two of his sisters. Also some of the Lewises, related to Sarah Lewis, came and all settled in Wilcox County, Alabama, many are buried in the Jenkins Family Cemetery near Oak Hill, Wilcox County, Alabama.

In Baldwin County, Robert Commander Dunnam, Sr. wrote his will in which he lists all his children and names his "Trusty Friend", Samuel Ervin, as one of his Executors, along with his wife Ann; son, Robert Commander Dunnam, Jr.; and William Godfrey.

Some of Robert Commander Dunnam, Sr. children settled in Monroe County, Alabama. Others migrated to Shelby County, and one to Tippah County, Mississippi, and on to Texas. Some, however, settled in Wilcox County, and their descendants remain in the area to this day.

The children of Robert Commander Dunnam, Sr. are:

1. Frances P. Dunnam, born February 3, 1784, South Carolina, married Rev. John Jenkins.

2. Robert Commander Dunnam, Jr., born 1786, S. C., married Sarah Lewis.

3. Infant Son, born 1786.

4. Margaret Ann Dunnam, born January 22, 1791 S. C. , married Rev. James Jenkins.

5 Hannah Dunnam, born 1794, married John Ford.

6. Ebenezer James Dunnam, married Agatha James.

7. Andrew Johnson Dunnam, Sr., married Martha Watson.

8. Collins Woodberry Dunnam, I, married Sarah Pritchett.

9. Elizabeth Mary Dunnam, born April 18, 1806, married Dr. Joseph Locke.

10. William Davis Dunnam, born 1807, married Elizabeth-.

Rev. Robert Commander Dunnam, Jr.

Robert Commander Dunnam, Jr., born about 1786, and his wife, Sarah Lewis, settled in the area around Oak Hill. Other relatives lived in McWilliams, Nadawa, Lower Peach Tree, and Rehobath. Rev. Robert Commander Dunnam, Jr. was a Methodist Protestant Clergyman. On December 15, 1834, he was granted the right, by the Orphans Court of Wilcox County, to Solemnize the Rites of Matrimony. Before 1844, Robert Commander Dunnam, Jr. died and his oldest son, Samuel Jenkins Dunnam, and Enoch Hooper Cook, are bonded as administrators for the his infant children, and heirs to his estate. Samuel Jenkins Dunnam married Letitia Birding Cook, the daughter of Enoch Hooper Cook. Three of their children are buried in an abandoned family plot, in a wooded area on land owned by the Cooks, North East of Camden, near the home of a Mr. Mendenhall.

Robert Commander Dunnam, Jr., along with his brothers-in-law, James and John Jenkins, became a part of the Methodist Protestant movement, which separated from the Methodist Episcopal Church in that area about that time. Rev. James Jenkins, married Margaret Ann Dunnam, and Rev. John Jenkins married Frances P. Dunnam. They were sisters of Robert Commander Dunnam, Jr.

The children of Robert Commander Dunnam, Jr. and Sarah Lewis who lived beyond infancy, are:

1. Susan E. Dunnam,

2. Green Lewis Dunnam, born August 27, 1823, married Mary Elizabeth Dale. They are both buried in Hamburg Cemetery, Wilcox County, Alabama.

3. Samuel Jenkins Dunnam, born about 1825.

Their children are:

1. William Robert Dunnam, born February 27, 1858.

2. Sarah Lewis Dunnam, born March 26, 1860.

3. Samuel Jenkins Dunnam married, Letitia Birding Cook, December 27, 1841, in Wilcox County.

The children of Samuel Jenkins Dunnam, who survived infancy, are:

Thomas F. Dunnam,

Susan E. Dunnam born, October 22, 1842;

Robert Dunnam, born 1845;

Enoch Dunnam, born 1847; and

Brunetta Dunnam, born 1849.

Three of these sons died in the Civil War.


15 Oct 1999 | 15 Apr 2000
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