DUNLAP, ALEXANDER. - Since the days of the building of the pyramids of Egypt, the contractor and builder has been an important figure in the advancement of a community. To him is entrusted the material expression of the architect's skill and the artist's evolutions. The builder of today, however, has to meet problems which never came up to confront those who erected the stately piles of ancient Greece and Rome. Modern sanitation, electric wiring, and the many other complications of construction in this century, requires the services of thoroughly experienced men. One who has attained more than local celebrity along this line is Alexander Dunlap, of Springfield, whose work is to be found on a number of the Sangamon County public buildings, as well as the State Capitol Building. He was born in Knox County, Ky., July 17, 1836, a son of James and Margaret (Tinsley) Dunlap, natives of Virginia dn Kentucky, respectively. James Dunlap came to Morgan County, Ill., in 1847, being one of the pioneers of that locality. There he engaged in farming until 1854, when removal was made to Sangamon County, where a farm was secured and operated until the father died in 1881. The paternal grandparents of Alexander Dunlap came originally from Belfast, Ireland, and there is a strain of the open hearted genial Irish people in Mr. Dunlap's makeup.
The education of Mr. Dunlap was secured in the country schools of both Morgan and Sangamon Counties, and while attending school he was helping on the farm. After leaving school he worked for several years at farm labor, but in 1861 began learning the carpenter's trade, and has been engaged along this line ever since, eventually branching out into a contracting and building business. As long as the present public buildings of Springfield stand, his work will be remembered and its merit recognized. In 1856 Mr. Dunlap went to California, where he remained for two years, working in some of the large mines of that State, but, with the exception of that period, his life has been spent in Springfield and vicinity, since he came to Sangamon County.
Mr. Dunlap was married in Springfield, August 8, 1862, to Minerva McDaniels, born in Sangamon County, her parents having moved here before her birth, from the southern part of the State, to engage in farming and there continued the remainder of their lives. Two children have been born to Mr. and Mrs. Dunlap, Cassius, a resident of Springfield, also a contractor and carpenter, who controls a large business, and Carrie, wife of Walter McDale, now deceased. The Democratic party has always held Mr. Dunlap's loyalty and he has supported its candidates with the same fidelity which has characterized his actions in every walk of life. Shrewd, keen, enterprising, he has been able to control a large business and produce work that reflects credit on himself and the city at large.