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Mary Ann Sheffield Dunn

  • Birth 17 Dec 1759 Moore County, North Carolina, USA
  • Death 11 May 1862 Anson County, North Carolina, USA
  • Burial Wadesboro, Anson County, North Carolina, USA
  • Plot Bennett Family
  • Memorial ID 33993930

wife of Isaac Dunn

This Marker is attached to the Large Bolder's North side
The Grave of William Bennett is on the East side --The Memorial was attached there by the Anson Co DAR

Mary was Anson Counties most noted woman. She was highly skilled in the use of herbs and roots for their medicinal qualities, for which her services were much sought after and she was known as Dr. Mary Dunn, She lived to the age of 103. she is recognized for her patriotic service in the Revolution and her descendants are elgible for membership in the NSDAR and SAR and may refer to National Society Daughters of the American Revolution Supplemental Papers of Martha Anna Young Clark - National Number 357294. Also refer to DAR Patriot Index, 1966, Page 207. Mary died 11 May 1862 at the home of her youngest grandaughter, Mrs. Nancy Jane (Bennett) Ingram. Mary and Isaac are buried at the Bennett Cemetery southeast of Highway 74, Wadesboro, North Carolina. A large granite boulder on which has been placed a bronze plaque marks her grave.
Mary Dunn, Famed Revolutionary Doctor, Patriot:
By Mary Medley
How many people when turning right off Highway 74 at Alen Floral Gardens and driving a short distance beyond have noticed the sign Bennett Cemetery, an the huge granite boulder in the center of the burying spot? Well any number of people in this county could be looking at the unique grave of their ancestor, Mary Sheffield Dunn, noted Revolutionary patriot and doctor of that period.
Mary and her husband Isaac, a hewer by trade, came into the county during the early part of the Revolution, and settled on land which was a part of the Neville Bennett place, near the cemetery. Their home was a large log house. They came from what is now Moore County.
The Dunns took the patriot cause to heart and were in constant battles with the Tories of this part of the state during the internecine struggle in the last part of the war.
Stories are told that Isaac and Mary, both of whom were excellent in horsemanship, were being chased by the Tories one day. Isaac had their only child, Susannah, a baby daughter in his saddle. Fearing capture, they picked up speed to outrun the enemy Isaac reflected that he would be surer to meet death if overtaken, an signalled his wife that he would toss the child into her arms. In a lightning move, the baby went through the air from father's horse to mother, holding steady in her saddle. She caught the child, who lived to become the wife of William Bennett and the mother of 13 children. From them countless Anson Citizens and others in the statle have descended.
On another occasion tory scouting parties came to the home of Mary and Isaac Dunn, a mile or so east of Wadesboro. They were seeking Isaac's whereabouts, but Mary met them at the door, and refused to tell. A tory saber grazed her forehead, leaving a lifetime scar. Had it not been for the hickory splints in her bonnet, she would have died from the attack. The splints broke the force of the blow.
Old accounts describe this famous woman as small and childlike. She wore white in the summer and indigo in the winter. She never said anything bad about anyone, and one day some wag challenged her to say something good about the devil. her quick retort was, "Well, he always minds his own business."
Her great love of people and children, mingled with her fine knowledge of mixing herbs for medicinal purposes, stand out as highlights in the life of Mary Dunn. The little woman weighing around a hundred pounds, and of fair complexion, was seen riding about the country to doctor the ill an dto deliver babies. There were few, if any trained doctors in the county in those days.
Fame Spreads
Her fame as a doctor spread to Rowan County, and she was asked to go to Salisbury to treat a man who was not reponing to other physicians' treatment. The 60 miles trip and return was made on horseback, old stories reveal.
An exellent took Mrs. Dunn's ideas on the preparation of food and sanitation were said to have contributed greatly toward the well being of her patients.
She mixed her herbs and lotions in her own kitchen. She extracted juices from all the various herbs and roots grown in her garden and gathered in the woods far an wide. She made from these tonics, antidotes for poison, antiseptic washes, soothing syrups, medicines to allay fever and cure stomach disturbances. She also made salves for wounds and sores.
Her best known remedy was Grandmother Dunn's Salve. She was country as "Grandmother Dunn." The salve was used in the county for many years, and may still be by rural people.
It was made of heart leaves sweet gum and mutton suet, all stewed together.
She not only mixed healing herbs, but mindful of her feninine sisters, she brewed mixtures and lotions for cosmetics and various beauty treatments. Mary was said to be adept at evtracting and combining delicate odors of the rose, lilac, rosemary, and sweet spice into perfumery; at making cosmetics to soften the skin and dyes and tonics to hide the gray hairs and promote growth.
After the death of Isaac Dunn in 1836, Mary had her house moved and annexed to her daughter's Mrs. William Bennett. Her first will left her property and Negroes to her son-in-law and daughter, but strang to say, they died 20 years before she did. Grandmother Dunn then went to live at the home of her youngest granddaughter, Mrs. Benjamin Ingram, whose home was near the Pee Dee River and site of Anson's first courthouse.
At the Ingram home this remarkable woman lived to be over 100 years old. She died on May 11, 1862 as the tide of Civil War was moving in. If her birthdate as given on the tomb, 1759, is correct she saw five generations rise, and lived through the Revolution, the War of 1812, Mexican War, and saw the approach of the Civil War.
A bronze tablet wa erected to her memory on the giant boulder by the Thomas Wade DAR Chapter in 1931. A fitting unveiling ceremony was held and was participated in by numbers of her descendants and interested citizens.
Forth years before the death of this famous woman patriot she had had her burial clothe prepared during a serious illness. She kept these garments which were yelllowed with age in 1862. But nevertheless, she was laid out in them at the final call, according to her request.




-Died: Recently in this county, Mrs. Mary DUNN, aged 104 years. The mother of but one child – she the wife of the late William BENNETT and long since deceased – the descendants of Mrs. DUNN, to the fifth or sixth generation, might now be counted by hundreds, and embrace many families of the highest standing and respectability not only in this but in probably half the States of our Confederacy.

Family Members



This Marker is dedicated to Mary Sheffield Dunn
Whose Patriotic Services and kindly ministries
to the sick and unfortunate during the Revolutionary War. Merits the Homage of Countless Descendants and Deserves the Grateful
Recognition of Suceeding Generations.
Thomas Wade Chapter DAR 1931





  • Maintained by: Bill R Sheffield
  • Originally Created by: Bill Foster (W.L.Foster )
  • Added: 19 Feb 2009
  • Find A Grave Memorial 33993930
  • Find A Grave, database and images ( : accessed ), memorial page for Mary Ann Sheffield Dunn (17 Dec 1759–11 May 1862), Find A Grave Memorial no. 33993930, citing Bennett Cemetery, Wadesboro, Anson County, North Carolina, USA ; Maintained by Bill R Sheffield (contributor 46606536) .