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My first visit to Dickson Co, Tennessee
Posted by: Dick Dunagan Date: November 03, 2001 at 20:39:21
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Hi everyone - this posting is a sample page of the Oct. 31, 2001 DUNNAGANS OF ALL SPELLINGS [DOAS] newsletter. The article has two sketch maps to show two historical patterns for the county. Note the reference to DONEGAN. As a retired history teacher in the 6th year of editing the newsletter, my starting position is that life is complex - - - but I think it makes sense to share our insights about the DONEGANS AND DUNAGANS and others. Dick D. in Wisconsin

Some Dickson County TN Impressions

        The earliest DOAS settlers to Tennessee tended to concentrate west of the Harpeth River in the valley of the smaller Piney River. The Harpeth River flows generally North to the Cumberland River. The Piney River flows south and south-west to the Tennessee River. Early settlers often looked for land with springs feeding into creeks and rivers. This would not only provide drinking water, but also a place for a “spring house.”
It appears that these DOAS settlers around 1800 came directly from the Eno River and Little River valleys of Old Orange County, North Carolina and did not live in SC or GA [or did not live there very long]. “Little John” Dunagan is still remembered as one of the first teachers of the early one room schools.
       The hundreds of descendents who have lived in this area have used and still use both the DUNAGAN and the DONEGAN spellings. It is a common name and casual questions to the librarian or the cafe waitress have a good chance of getting the reply, “I’ve have some in my family.” Although local neighbors are not always sure that the people of the two spellings are related, to my ear there was absolutely no difference in how the two spellings were pronounced [“Done - eh - gan”]. The villages of Eno and Bon Aqua are both on the Piney River and are now in two different counties.
        These impressions are the result of the kind invitation of distant cousin Carter Baker of Nashville to tour the area with him. his wife, Emily, and his sister, Georgia. Carter and Emily own several of the old family buildings and several of the old fields in the general area of Eno. There was a community breakfast being served in the old school building in Eno, but we unfortunately did not know about it ahead of time and did not stop since we had just finished a Cracker Barrel breakfast.
        It is my opinion that future DOAS research in Tennessee will provide a vital link between the eastern researchers who have charts saying “gone to TN” and the western researchers who have charts saying “came from TN.”

•by Dick Dunagan, 1969 Pioneer Drive, Beloit, WI 53522       Email:
•Carter Baker’s email address is
[Maps from the Tennesse Historical Magazine VIII 91924-25), pp. 77-78]

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