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 Richard Simpson Dunlap

Richard Simpson Dunlap

Birth
Laurens County, South Carolina, USA
Death 28 Feb 1879 (aged 48)
Laurens County, South Carolina, USA
Burial Clinton, Laurens County, South Carolina, USA
Memorial ID 49862073 · View Source
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Richard Simpson Dunlap was born in Laurens County, South Carolina, on May 10, 1830, and was the son of John Dunlap (1795-1833) and Mary Boswell Gordon Dunlap (1797-1886). At the age of three Richard's father died and his mother married Gilbert Coffey who was said to be the overseer for the family property. The family consisting of Richard's three brothers, three sisters and two step-brothers moved to Choctaw County, Mississippi, between 1838 and 1840. At the age of 15 or 16, Richard decided he wished to attend college so he left Mississippi on horseback and rode alone to Laurens County, SC. During the trip he fell ill in Alabama and was taken in by local residents for a month until he recovered. His mother, it is said, did not know of his whereabouts. In 1850, he was living with his grandmother, Margaret Hunter Dunlap, in Laurens County, SC, and his brothers, Robert Charles Dunlap and James H. Dunlap were in Laurens by that time, also. Richard's brother, Captain James H. Dunlap, was a member of the Fourteenth South Carolina Volunteer Infantry Battalion. The report of Brig. Gen. Samuel McGowen states "...among the killed being the brave, generous, and efficient Capt. James H. Dunlap, of Laurens, S.C., who was blown to pieces by a shell" at Botelers Ford (Shephardstown), Virginia. Richard's paternal grandfather was Major William Dunlap of Laurens County who was one of the few men to survive the Hayes' Station massacre during the Revolutionary War. Richard's maternal grandfather was Major Charles Gordon who served in the Revolutionary War and his maternal great-grandfather was General William Lenoir of Revolutionary War fame; both from Wilkes County, North Carolina.

There is record of R. S. Dunlap (Clinton, South Carolina) in the class of 1855 at Erskine College in Due West, S.C. He was a member of the Philomathian Literary Society as well as the editorial board of The Erskine Collegiate Recorder (under the patronage of the senior class) and he was listed as a physician at the school. Various biographies state that he attended the Jefferson Medical College of Philadelphia, PA, but after checking with the alumni office of the college record of Richard S. Dunlap has not been found. The alumni office said it is possible that he studied but did not graduate from Jefferson.

On November 26, 1860, in Laurens County, S.C., Richard Simpson Dunlap married Sarah Ewell Black who was his first cousin and the daughter of William Ewell Black and Nancy Hunter Dunlap Black, whose grandfather was Major William Dunlap. Richard purchased the old Gary house which was located approximately four miles from Clinton on the Greenwood highway near the Young's Crossroads, and paid for the house with Confederate money. Sarah Ewell Black Dunlap was the first female school teacher in Laurens County and began teaching out of their home while her husband was gone during the War. R. S. Dunlap practiced medicine in the Laurens County area until volunteering for Confederate service on December 5, 1861, in Columbia, South Carolina, with the South Carolina Militia during the War Between The States. Robert Charles Dunlap enlisted the same day in Columbia as his brother, Richard, but was discharged on January 4, 1862, due to a broken leg.

Richard went to training at Camp Hampton in Columbia as a Private in Company B, Third South Carolina Volunteer Infantry Battalion (also known as the Laurens and/or the James Battalion), was on detached duty January 8, 1861 to January 14, 1861, was made Corporal in January, 1862, furloughed March 31, 1862, for fourteen days, was promoted to 1st Lieutenant on May 20, 1862, was appointed Acting Quartermaster, passed the exam for position of Assistant Surgeon on April 2, 1863 and appointed an Assistant Surgeon on June 11, 1863. His unit was assigned to General Thomas F. Drayton's Brigade from August to September, 1862, and then shifted to Longstreet's Division, Kershaw's Brigade after the battle at Sharpsburg in September, 1862. He was transferred to the eighth South Carolina Regiment and assigned to a hospital at Bristol, Tennessee, July 8, 1864. After serving there he rejoined the third battalion. R. S. Dunlap served in many of the Army of Northern Virginia and Western Theatre battles, including Second Bull Run, VA, South Mountain and Antietam, MD, Fredricksburg and Chancellorsville, VA, Gettysburg, PA, Chickamauga, GA, Wilderness, Cold Harbor, and Petersburg, VA.

R. S. Dunlap was slightly wounded at Petersburg, VA, on June 15, 1862. After the battle at South Mountain and on the way to cross the Potomac River for entry back into Virginia, Federal horsemen attacked the wagon train, destroyed about forty wagons, and captured some of the guards. Lieutenant Richard S. Dunlap, acting quartermaster, of the battalion which was then part of Drayton's Brigade at the time rode forward to ascertain the meaning of the commotion: "…and the first salutation I had, was a pistol ball whistling past my head. I immediately turned and left, with the Yankees in close pursuit. I reached the wagons and ordered the teamsters to unhitch and fly, but it was too late, as the Yankees were around us. It was here that Andrew Davis was taken. I only escaped by the fleetness of my little black [horse]." His name appears on a Register of the Inspector of Hospitals Office, Richmond VA, showing quarterly reports of sick and wounded received from Medical Officers on July 8 and August 16, 1864. Near Winchester, VA, he was with a group of men who were under attack and all were captured except R. S. Dunlap who climbed a mulberry tree to escape notice. Dr. Dunlap did not carry arms during the war and had a black man who rode with him. It is said that this man remained with the family after the war and would saddle Dr. Dunlap's horse when he made a medical call. The Confederate forces opposed General Sherman as they marched through the Carolinas and Captain Joseph E. Johnston surrendered to General William T. Sherman, commanding United States Army, at Greensboro, NC, on April 26, 1865. Dr. Dunlap was paroled in Greensboro on May 2, 1865, with $11.29 cash and two days of rations to return to his home. Family tradition tells that wife Sarah Dunlap recalled that when he rode on horseback up to his house she was at a spring located in back of and slightly down a hill from the house washing clothes and saw him ride up on his horse.

To Richard Simpson Dunlap and Sarah Ewell Black Dunlap were born daughter Lelia Petrell Dunlap (1861-1862) who only lived seven months and died while her father was in Culpepper, Virginia, on his way with Longstreet's Division, Kershaw's Brigade, to defend Richmond and son Rufus Thornwell Dunlap (1867-1919). After the war, Dr. Dunlap gave his attention to the practice of his profession and to farming until his death on February 28, 1879. After getting up in the middle of a rainy night to help someone who was sick he fell ill and died of pneumonia. Dr. Dunlap was a very successful physician, a highly esteemed citizen and was noted for his genial hospitality. At the time of his death, Dr. Dunlap owned thousands of acres of land between Clinton and Mountville, which were handed down to him by his father and grandfather, as well as some property from his wife's family. He did not have a will but his wife administered his estate, the land was eventually left to his son, and a portion remains in the family today. Dr. Dunlap and his infant daughter are buried in the Dunlap Family Cemetery near Clinton, Laurens County, South Carolina.


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  • Created by: Bonner Dunlap Sasser
  • Added: 17 Mar 2010
  • Find A Grave Memorial 49862073
  • Find A Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com : accessed ), memorial page for Richard Simpson Dunlap (20 May 1830–28 Feb 1879), Find A Grave Memorial no. 49862073, citing Dunlap Family Cemetery, Clinton, Laurens County, South Carolina, USA ; Maintained by Bonner Dunlap Sasser (contributor 47256442) .