Joseph Dunagan was born the son of Thomas and Sarah Dunagan in Orange County North Carolina in or around the year 1740. The summation of my research. is as follows:
According to George Dunagan, whose researches I trust more than anyone else, Thomas and Sarah Came to America in the 1730’s, they bought land in Orange County North Carolina in 1748. It is in Orange County, North Carolina that Joseph was born. There is record of Joseph serving on the Grand Jury at Hillsboro in 1763. George said that in “the same year he was known to be in South Carolina looking for a place to settle”. He purchased 150 acres on the Pendleton side of the Saluda River in 1768 and in 1769 he purchased another 150 acres adjoining his land. George said, “This is where he raised his family”. So this must be the birthplace of Ezekiel.
George does make mention of the Dunagan’s in Surry County as being an ‘Uncle John’ (not the same as John, the brother of this Joseph) whose son John Jr and of David who was his brother John’s son. He wrote in his notes that Joseph, Joshua, and Thomas served in the Continental Army during the American Revolutionary War. I have found Revolutionary War Records for Joseph’s brothers, however, I have not found them for Joseph.
I have found Joseph listed in 1790 census in Pendleton South Carolina. Listed in the house were 3 males under 16 and 2 over 16 and 4 females. We know that he did have at least 6 sons and 3 or more daughters but the daughter’s names are not known. I also have record of Joseph Dunagin in the U.S. Census Reconstructed Records for Franklin County Georgia, for the residence year of 1790, however household remarks on the record has a date listed for a petition given by the Governor as 11 November 1793. He must have first come into Georgia in 1790 since we find him listed in both censuses.
We know that he and others applied for land grants. Records, authenticated by the Georgia State Archives, prove that an order was given on 6 February 1792 to give Joseph Dunagan head rights for 200 acres in Franklin County, Georgia. He was given the land warrant on 1 January 1793. His brother Thomas was also given 100 acres in Franklin County, Georgia.
Next we find records indicating that a general order was given by Major General Elijah Clark that a Block House be erected on the Dunagan land near the Currahee Mountain dated 2 January 1793. Again we find records concerning the building of the Block House dated 30 April 1794. Then in the years of 1800, 1802, 1803, we find Joseph Dunagan in the Franklin County Georgia tax census. Another record is found in 1807 for J Dunnigan. Often the name is spelled ‘Dunnigan’ throughout the census.
It is said the Joseph traveled to Tennessee where he spent some time before traveling on to Madison County, Illinois to visit his sons Isaiah and Ande who had moved there from Georgia. George said “It is said he traveled some west of the Mississippi River. He left Georgia in the early part of 1805 but died in the latter part and was buried across the river from St. Louis, Missouri in St. Clair County, Illinois.”
So perhaps the J. Dunnigan of the 1807 census is not Joseph Dunagan, which means that he is last documented in Georgia in 1803.