from Application for Widow's Pension of Abby R. Parsons, 30 June 1875,
District of Columbia
Personally appeared before me the subscriber a Justice of the Peace in and for the county aforesaid, John H. Goddard to me well known, and after being duly sworn dispose and saith.
I have been well acquainted with James E. Dunawin from early boyhood to the present time (say forty five years). I know that he married Ellen Regan in the year 1848. I was not present at the wedding, but I remember the time and circumstance, they both lived with the father and mother of the said James E. Dunawin in the same house where the said Ellen Dunawin now resides, and has resided from that time to the present. After the death of the father and mother of the said James E. Dunawin a handsome property fell to him, he being the only child. At that time he, the said James E. Dunawin, was engaged in the business of selling butter and eggs in our market, and doing a very good business; but soon after their death, he bagan to keep very bad company, drinking to excess, and soon began to involve his property by borrowing money in order to induce his wife Ellen to join in making Deed of Trust. He was induced to convey to a Trustee a part of the real estate for the use and benefit of his said wife Ellen and his son William (who is now in his twenty-sixth year, and only child living) which I was in part instrumental in effecting.
The said James E. Dunawin soon ran through the remainder of the property, and in order to raise money he committed a robery on the person of a man by the name of Travis on Pennsylvania Avenue, for which he was tried, convicted and sent to the penetentiary at Albany N.Y. After he served his term out, he returned to Washington City but his wife Ellen refused to live with him. He striped the house of all the furniture, sold it and left the city.
The next I heard of him was that he was in Worcester, Massachusetts and married. In the summer of 1874, I visited Rhode Island, and to satisfy his wife Ellen as well as myself, I went to Worcester, went to the house, found his name on the door plate; had a lengthy conversation with his wife No. 2, Abbie R. Parsons. I informed her of Dunawin's wife then and now living in Washington, being the same Ellen that was married to him in 1848. To satisfy me that she was lawfully married to the said James E. Dunawin, she produced to me, and which I read, the certificate of marriage from the minister who married them; in repeated conversations with me, the said James E. Dunawin freely admitted his marriage to the said Abbie R. Parsons knowing at the same time that his wife Ellen was still living, and that the said Abbie was the widow of George H. Parsons deceased.
Mrs. Abbie R. Parsons came to Washington last winter or the early part of the spring of this year 1875 and came to my house -- North East corner of N. and eleventh street North West. I went with her to Mrs. Ellen Dunawin's house and introduced her to Mrs. Ellen Dunawin who was married to James E. Dunawin in 1848.
James E. Dunawin has recently returned to this city again. I have requested him to make an affidavit stating the fact that he knew when he married Abbie R. Parsons that his wife Ellen was then, and is now living, which he refuses to do saying I will not make any oath that may send me to prison.
I have no interest in Mrs. Parsons application for pension in any manner. Mrs. Ellen Dunawin will have nothing to do with the business. I take the liberty of attaching the letter of Mrs. Parsons to me, to show what induces me to do what I have done to aid the poor woman.