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John H. Dunn

There may be a Karmic law that constantly controls us, but the man who works, and directs his energies with intelligence, will overcome and dominate that mysterious, occult something we call destiny. An old adage says that "Every man is the architect of his own fortune," but the old saying is not complete. It should read: "Every man who applies himself with diligence and persistence to the attainment of a purpose in life is the architect of his own future." The man who has accomplished something solely by his own endeavors has done more than he who has reached the same goal with assistance.

A farmer's son, a school teacher at the age of sixteen, and by teaching acquiring money to obtain a collegiate education, a law student, a lawyer, and finally a federal official in Alaska, -- this is an epitome of the life of the subject of this sketch. John H. Dunn was born in Mercer County, Pennsylvania, June 18, 1866. His father was member of an old English family that came to America in the early part of the last century, and his mother was of German lineage. John H. Dunn was the eldest of the children, and the death of his father when the subject of this sketch was only eight years old invested him at an early age with the cares and responsibilities of the head of the family. When sixteen years old he taught school, and the following year was a student in the Pine Grove Academy, now known as the Grove City College. After teaching school for another period, he attended the Edinboro State Normal School and was graduated from this institution in 1888. In 1892 he was graduated from the Alleghany College at Meadsville, with the degree of A. B., having received the classical course. Three years later the degree of A. M. was conferred upon him.

From 1893 to 1895 he was principal of the schools at Monaco, and from 1896 to 1898 he was principal of the schools in Beaver, Penn. In 1894 he began the study of law in the office of John A. Buchanan, in Beaver, and in 1897, while teaching school, was admitted to the bar. The following year he opened a law office in Beaver, and practiced law until 1902, when Judge Moore, who had been appointed from Beaver, Penn., to succeed Arthur H. Noyes as Judge of the Second Judicial Division of Alaska, requested him to accept a deputyship in the office of the district clerk. He closed his office in Beaver and came to Nome, and has since filled, satisfactorily and creditably, the position of deputy clerk in the court room, with the exception of two months, when he filled the office of U. S. Commissioner in Council, owing to a temporary vacancy. During the summer of 1904, and while Mr. Borchsenius was absent from Nome, he was acting clerk.

In the fall of 1904 Mr. Dunn was appointed U. S. Marshal pending the arrival of Mr. Powell, who succeeded Frank H. Richards. In the summer of 1905 he was select- ed by Judge Moore as District Clerk, vice Geo. V. Borchsenius, resigned.

Mr. Dunn is a student, a worker, a genial companion and a good friend. He is a member of the Knights of Pythias and Woodmen of the World. He was president of the K. of P. club in Nome during the winter of 1903-'04. During the same period he was president of the Nome Literary Society, one of the better class of institutions that has helped to make the long winters an occasion for instruction and self-improvement.

Source: Nome and Seward Peninsula by R. S. Harrison. Seattle: The Metropolitan Press, 1905.




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