THE VALLEY OF HEART's DELIGHT
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CAPTAIN FRANK DUNN.

 Bio - Pen Pictures

        Among the horticulturists of this section must be mentioned the subject of this sketch, who owns a very productive orchard and vineyard tract in the Braley
District. This tract is on the San Francisco road, at its junction with Reed Lane, about three-fourths of a mile west of Lawrence. Of the thirty acres which it
contains, six acres are set with cherry trees, one acre each with pears, peaches, prunes, and plums, and eighteen acres are devoted to the growing of vines, which furnish wine grapes of the Cabernet and Walbeck varieties. The remainder of the property is occupied by the fine residence, surrounded by a beautiful lawn and substantial out-buildings. As showing the care exercised by Captain Dunn over his fruit interests, mention may be made of the fact that one cherry tree of his orchard (age unknown) produced, in 1887, 330 pounds of marketable fruit, while in the same year several of his vines yielded 30 pounds each of fine grapes.

        Mr. Dunn was born in Nova Scotia in 1833. He is the son of Thomas and Mary (Dunn) Dunn, natives of Ireland, who emigrated to Nova Scotia with the historical Selkirk Colony, in 1812. He was reared to a farmer's life, receiving such education in his boyhood as was furnished in the traditional log school-house of that early day. In 1843 his father moved his family to Calais, Maine, and in that seaport the son contracted a love and desire for a seafaring life, which lasted for more than thirty-six years. When but twelve years of age, he commenced his life on the rolling deep, by making his first voyage as a sailor in the schooner Mary Chase, Capt. George Knight commanding. Two years later he enlisted in the United Stated Navy for service in the Mexican War, as a boy in the sloop-of-war Saratoga, and shortly afterward was transferred to the sloop-of-war Portsmouth, where he rapidly rose in his profession, being made Cox­swain of the Commodore's barge. He participated in the bombardment of Vera Cruz, and his bravery and conscientious discharge of every duty won for him much favorable comment. At the expiration of his service in the navy, he was highly complimented by Commodore Francis H. Gregory for his exemplary conduct throughout the term of his service. Later he entered the Merchant Marine Service, and, as before, was most successful, being, at the age of nineteen years, Chief Mate of a large clipper ship.

He was advanced rapidly, and, when he reached twenty-six years of age, occupied the proud position of Captain of one of the finest ships of the period. In 1861 the love of change led him to China, where he entered the employ of the old house of Russell & Co., of Shanghai. There he remained for two years, and then went into the employ of the Japanese Government, as commander of steamers in the transport service. He was also in charge of a Government dispatch boat during the Civil War in Japan, after which he commanded the Tokio Maru, the pioneer steamer of the "Three Diamond Line," connecting the Pacific Mail Steamship Company (mail line), with Shanghai, through the inland Sea of Japan, in which service he remained until the assassination of the Japanese Prime Minister, Okubo, who was the founder and promoter of this line. The death of Okubo caused a change in the administration of the company. This occurred in 1878, and was the cause of Captain Dunn's return to the United States. Landing at San Francisco, he visited Santa Clara County, and, struck with its beauty and fertility, he purchased the property upon which he now makes his home. But, having spent so many years in change and adventure, he was not satisfied with the quiet life on a farm, and after about a year's residence here returned to China, and entered into the employ of the China Merchants' Steam Navigation Company, engaging in the survey and sounding of the Hue River, the entrance to the capital of Anam. He was also sent to Scotland, to superintend the construction of a steamer suitable for the Anam trade, with which he returned to China. This steamer he commanded until the advent of the French in the Anamite War, which compelled the withdrawal of the steamers and the abandonment of the enterprise. The captain then returned to Santa Clara, and took up a permanent residence upon his estate. An intelligent, energetic, public-spirited citizen, he is one of the best and most favorably known men of the section in which he resides. A large experience of affairs, and a thorough knowledge of men and things gained in travel and residence at home and abroad, make him a valuable acquisition to the social and secret societies to which he belongs. He is one of the founders of the Lawrence Social Club, having served as its President during the first two years of its existence. He was also one of the promoters of the Horticultural Hall Association of San Jose, and since its organization has served continuously as its Secretary. He is connected with the Masonic Lodge, and also with the San Jose Grange, in which he has served one term as Master.

Pen Pictures From The Garden of the World or Santa Clara County, California, Illustrated. - Edited by H. S. Foote.- Chicago:  The Lewis Publishing Company, 1888.

Pg. 484-485


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