WILLIAM HARRISON DUNSON, cattleman and real estate dealer at Dalhart, has been identified with this extreme northwest part of the Panhandle country ever since the process of disintegration began by which the immense cattle ranges were portioned out among permanent settlers and towns and farming communities became in evidence. He has been very successful in his various enterprises, and is an honored and esteemed resident of Dalhart and the two counties of Dallam and Hartley.
Mr. Dunson is an old resident of the Lone Star state, and has been closely identified with its northwestern portion throughout its most important period of development. A native of Troup county, Georgia, he was born in 1840, being a son of William and Sarah (Cook) Dunson. His father, also a native of Georgia and reared in Jackson county of that state, moved with his family to Chambers county, Alabama, in 1856, and died there after the war. He was a farmer. His wife was born in Georgia and died in Chambers county, Alabama.
Reared on the home farm and receiving his education in the common schools, a short time after the outbreak of the Civil war Mr. Dunson, on February 10, 1862, being then twenty-two years old, enlisted in the Confederate army. He went to Memphis, where a number of Alabama regiments were being organized, but before he could become regularly connected with an Alabama regiment there came a hurry call for troops to go to the defense of Fort Donelson. For this special purpose he was placed in the Fiftieth Tennessee, and when Fort Donelson fell he was among those exchanged at Vicksburg, and he then became a member of Company E, First Alabama infantry, serving in this regiment throughout the remainder of the war. A great deal of his soldering was in the Georgia campaign, some of the arduous service in which he participated being the battles of New Hope, Jonesboro, the siege and battle at Atlanta, and then under Hood in the Nashville campaign.
When the war was over Mr. Dunson returned to Chambers county and went to farming, which he continued for several years, until his removal to Texas in 1867. For nineteen years thereafter he was engaged in farming in Navarro county, and in 1886 he came up to the Panhandle, locating in Hardeman county, a short time before the railroad reached the county. There he went into the cattle business, which has been his chief business interest ever since. After the town of Quanah in Hardeman county was started he made his home there for several years, carrying on his ranching operations from that point. Early in 1900 he came to Hartley county with W. E. Smith and W. D. Wagner, their purpose being to find cheaper and larger pastures for their cattle. Mr. Dunson bought four sections out of the immense 101 ranch, which before that had covered a large part of this region. This fine ranch, on which he built his residence and which is still his home place, is located about eight miles to the southwest of Dalhart. Recently, however, he has gone into the real estate business in Dallas, where he spends most of his time, but without detracting from his cattle interests. In the real estate business he is the partner of V. E. Cammack, the firm being Cammack and Dunson. They do a general real estate and live-stock business, and are among the energetic and public-spirited promoters to whom Dalhart and the surrounding country owes so much of its material growth and prosperity.
Mr. Dunson was married in Chambers county, Alabama, in 1861 to Miss Sarah Frances Leverett, and they have one daughter, Mrs. Mary Alice Auten, of Dalhart. Mr. Dunson has been a member of the Baptist church since 1862, and he is also one of the oldest Masons in this part of the state, having joined that ancient order forty years ago. In 1890 Mr. Dunson was elected tax assessor of Hardeman county, and continued to serve in that capacity for six years, or three terms.
Source: B. B. Paddock, History and Biographical Record of North and West Texas, Vol. II (Chicago: Lewis Publishing Co., 1906), pp. 329-330.