DUNKEL, DAVID ALBERT, who owns a pleasant home at Pleasant Plains, Ill., is a native of Sangamon County, descended from old and honored American families. He was born near his present home, a little east of the village, in Cartwright Township, April 6, 1857, a son of George and Margaret (Hankison) Dunkel, of Circleville, Pickaway County, Ohio, where they were born, reared and married. They were early settlers of Menard County, Ill., where they purchased land, developed a good farm and erected a comfortable home. The grandfather, John Dunkel, was a native of Pennsylvania, but the family came originally from Germany and the name was then spelled Dunckel. John Dunkel came to Sangamon County in an early day and settled on the farm now owned by J. T. Ferry, in Cartwright Township, where he spent the remainder of his life, passing away about 1867, his widow surviving until about 1872. They were people of true Christian faith and active workers in the Baptist Church, being highly respected by all who knew them for their good deeds and public spirit. They were parents of fourteen children, two fo whom died in infancy, but twelve reached maturity. Of these but one now survives, Mrs. W. H. Dorand, of Pleasant Plains.
George Dunkel was one of the most prominent men of Cartwright Township, always interested in every public measure and taking part in the development and advancement of his township and county. He was a true pioneer, reclaiming wild land, brining his farm to a high state of cultivation and preparing for the comfort and welfare of those to follow him. To such men the present generation owes a large debt of gratitude and respect. In politics he was a Democrat and he and his wife were devout members of the Baptist Church, being found each Sabbath in the house of worship. He was highly respected in his community and spent his last days on his farm, dying October 29, 1897. His widow survived him until 1907, passing away when seventy-two years of age, while he was sixty-eight years old at the time of his death. They had four children, namely: Kate, wife of Samuel Farmer, a farmer of Morgan County; Sarah, wife of Charles Smith, of Pleasant Plains, has two children, Lee and Jesse; David Albert, subject of this sketch; John T., a sketch of whom appears in this work. The oldest daughter, Mrs. Farmer has three children, namely: Frances, at home; Edna, Mrs. George Flinn, has one child, Lloyd; Pearl, wife of Charles Brown, of Roodhouse, Ill., has one child, Colleta.
David A. Dunkel was reared on his father's farm and educated in the school nearby, remaining with his parents until he was twenty years of age. About 1877 he rented a farm and operated it on his own account. Later he purchased forty acres of land southeast of Pleasant Plains and in 1880 sold it, then purchased sixty acres near what is known as the Franklin School, remaining there until 1883. He was married October 11, 1876, to Miss Evelyn Valentine, being then not quite twenty years of age. She was born in Cartwright Township, February 16, 1858, daughter of Samuel Valentine, a pioneer settler of Sangamon County, who lived on the farm now owned by Mrs. Green W. Martin. Mr. Valentine was a man of high character and was greatly esteemed wherever known. He and his wife, Sophia (Young) Valentine, were born near Circleville, Ohio, and reared on farms there. He was a son of John Valentine, a Pennsylvanian by birth, who located in Pickaway County, Ohio, as a young man. The grandparents came to Sangamon County with Mrs. Dunkel's parents, making the journey with wagons. Samuel Valentine's parents both died in the year 1853. He bought 160 acres of land in Cartwright Township, where John H. Campbell now lives, which he later sold and purchased the farm above mentioned as the home of Mrs. Martin, where he and his wife both passed away. He died in 1885 and his wife in 1880. They were reared in the Lutheran faith and were devout and earnest Christians. He was one of Nature's true noblemen, and while he and his wife did not unite with any church after coming to Sangamon County, they attended the Presbyterian Church and gave freely of their time and money towards building up both the church and school in their neighborhood. He was kind and charitable in spirit and manner and always ready to help anyone in trouble or need. He paid good wages for the people he employed and always treated them well, being very tender hearted and sympathetic toward all his fellows. No one had more warm friends in Cartwright Township than he and he was known as a man of public spirit in all ways. He was a Democrat in politics. He and his wife were parents of three sons and seven daughters, of whom four daughters and two sons are now surviving: Sylvester, a farmer of Schuyler County; Ella W., wife of Phillip A. Williams, of Cumberland Furnace, Tenn.; Sophia, widow of Samuel Campbell, residing at St. Joseph, Mo.; Mrs. Dunkel; Idia Isabel, wife of John Kirby, when last heard from was living near St. Louis, Mo.; Samuel, a blacksmith of Pleasant Plains. Those deceased are: Mary, wife of W. V. Campbell, a sketch of whom appears in this work; Cordelia, who married James E. Campbell, and both are now deceased; Clara Emma Rosetta died at the age of twenty three years, a lady of beautiful Christian character, loved by all; Israel, deceased. Mrs. Dunkel was reared in a good Christian home.
To Mr. and Mrs. Dunkel children were born as follows: William T., born May 14, 1877, living in Pleasant Plains, married Maggie McGraw and they have six children - David Lamont, Everett P., William Floyd, Viola May, Leonard E. and Mary Fay; Samuel Andrew, born February 7, 1880, married Maud Lewis and they have three children - Richard Harold, Lester Lee and Lelia Pearl; George Boynton, born December 2, 1887, living at home and working in the rural delivery mail service out of Pleasant Plains; Cora Viola, born April 20, 1891, wife of Oliver D. Smith, a farmer living near Rochester. The parents have given their children educations to fit them for their part in life and the latter have been an honor to the good name and character of their ancestors. Mrs. Dunkel's maternal grandparents were David and Betsy Elizabeth (Mires) Young, both natives of Pickaway County. Jonathan Mires settled in Schuyler County, Ill., where he and his wife died. David Young had three children: Ella Young married Dennis Barks and both he and his wife died in Circleville, leaving three daughters and one son, the daughters still being on the old home farm in Pickaway County.
In 1883 Mr. Dunkel sold his farm and moved to Tallula, Ill., where he conducted a butcher business one year, then returned to Pleasant Plains and for a time conducted a meat market there. In 1892 he again engaged in farming and followed that occupation until 1903, when he received an appointment from the Government for work in the rural delivery work, having a route out from Pleasant Plains, which village has since been his home. His commission was received in February, 1904, and he has since been a faithful servant of the Government and of the people of the section where he resides, continuing his work during bad weather and having missed but two trips, these being on account of the delay of the trains. He is a lover of fine horses and owns a high bred stallion named Rattler Hal, Jr. He is the owner of a pleasant home and he and his son have five good horses which they use in the service of the Government. Politically he is a Democrat and he and his wife are active members of the Presbyterian Church. He is a member of the Independent Order of Odd Fellows, the Modern Woodmen of America and the Court of Honor, and his wife is also a member of the last named organization. Mr. Dunkel and wife are highly respected and have many friends.