Although Jewell Simmons wasn't born yet when her grandfather, John James Dunn, died she's very proud of his service to his country. Simmons said that her grandfather was married 3 times and that he outlived two previous wives. His 3rd wife, Nellie T Darnall a Trigg County native, was the mother of Jewell's father and his brother Hugh.
However - through family history - Simmons knows that John James Dunn, her grandfather, served honorably and was badly wounded while serving in the Union Army during the Civil War.
About 50 years later, Her father was also called to military duty by the U.S. Army to fight German aggression in World War I.
Simmons, a South Road resident and a lifelong resident of Trigg County, has only an old ornate walking cane and a couple of old photos by which to remember her grandfather. Most of the rest of her family who know anything at all about him are all gone.
Dunn, who owned many acres of land south Trigg County including large areas of what is now Fort Campbell, was stationed at Fort Donaldson, Tenn., and also served the "stars and stripes" around Murfreesboro, Tennessee during the bloody "War Between the States."
He suffered a severe hip wound and had to walk with a cane until he died in 1918 at the age of 75. The cane - and others like it - were especially made for Civil War veterans that were wounded in battle.
"He served throughout the Civil War and he was wounded quite badly," Simmons said. "I was told that the (rattle) snakes around the bottom represented the North and the South and they also meant that he was wounded in battle. He died of "flint balls, " I think they're called. He died with those inside of his body." He died December 06, 1918 in Trigg County, KY.
The cane was passed to his son, Richard A. Dunn -- Simmons' father - and then on to the rest of the family.
Simmons said Dunn, who also lived in Trigg County all of his life, was reputed to be a very good man despite "looking somewhat like Jesse James" in an old photo. Dunn is buried at Darnell Cemetery at Roaring Springs. The Dunn girls have taken it upon themselves to take care of their grandfather's grave.
"Out of respect for our parents and our father, we keep it mowed and taken care of. We've got a chain link fence around it," Simmons said.
Richard Aubrey Dunn (right) and his brother, Hugh Darnell Dunn, were called to service in World War 1 to fight German aggression in Europe. Richard Aubrey is the father of Trigg County resident Jewell Simmons. Both men served at a US Army post near St. Augustine, Fla.
Although her father, Richard A. Dunn, never fought in Europe or ever saw battle, Simmons said he was lucky to escape the military service with his life. Simmons' uncle, Hugh Darnell Dunn, served alongside his brother.
Dunn did his basic training at Camp Taylor, Kentucky near Louisville and was later was stationed at a US Army post near St. Augustine, Florida with an Army cavalry division. While training, Dunn contracted the flu, which killed millions around the world and the US during the early 1900's. He also suffered from tuberculosis and was hospitalized in St Louis before being discharged from the Army. After returning home from service he married Dorothy Myrtle Choate, daughter of Gideon Choate and Emmie Jackson, on August 01, 1920. All were natives to Trigg County.
Dunn was also a lifelong Trigg County native and owned and operated the R. A. Dunn grocery Store on South Road for 55 years. The store was popular place for many years and served as a meeting place for many of the locals. They would come and talk about the price of crops, the weather, politics, and the local gossip. It was built when he returned home from service with the help of long time family friend and neighbor, John "Bud" Sholar. Sometimes some of the men folks would spend an entire afternoon whittling on pieces of wood to pass the time. Jewell's father kept a pile of wood handy on the side of the store just for "whittlin'".
Aubrey Dunn , Sheri Sholar and Mr. Darnall.
"My father was so proud of being a veteran. He was a member of the American Legion and never reportedly missed a meeting," Simmons said. "He had an outstanding personality and people just loved him. At his funeral I think he had about 200 or 300 floral arrangements. He died September 13, 1974 in Trigg County, KY. His wife, "Misses Dunn" passed away February 13, 1885 in Trigg County.
Simmons and her husband W. J. still live on land that belonged to both men. The land was once sold to Camp Campbell and troops used to train in the area. However, the Dunn family was allowed to repurchase some and not all of the land later.
"This whole area was covered with foxholes," Simmons said. "My father loved the soldiers and they would come up to the store in their tanks and we would take a ride in tanks. They would also come in their airplane and they would stop out here on the road." Jewel said, '" Momma would make large pots of coffee for the soldiers to drink."
Simmons said information about her grandfather, father and other members of the family who served in World War II and Vietnam will be added to the new Trigg County Veterans History Book, which will be published next year. The book will feature the veterans that make up Trigg County distinguished military history.
Dunn's other living descendents include Simmons' three sisters: Ethelene Wallace, of Cadiz; Eunice Carr, of Memphis and Dorothy Darnell, of Beaumont, Texas. She also has a cousin, Ruth Nunn, of Sellersburg, Indiana.
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