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Hance M. Dunlap

Riverboat Captain, school board member, businessman, a founder of Mt. Union Cemetery (now Union Dale)

26 year old Hance M. Dunlap had been a successful Allegheny City merchant for eight years when his health began to fail.  Physicians in both Philadelphia and New York City advised him to sell off his store and change his career to one that would allow him to work out of doors.  Dunlap took this advice and, in 1843, was hired as 2nd Clerk aboard the steamship, “American Eagle.”  Life on the water agreed with Dunlap and he soon went from just working on steamships to buying shares in them.  Between 1843 and the mid 1860s, Dunlap served either as crew, captain or shareholder for “The American Eagle,” “The Diadem [later the “St. Claire”],” the “Jennie Gray,” the “Rochester,” the “Mary Ann,” and the “Washington.”  Two of Dunlap’s steamships,

“Argosy,” and “Argosy II,” were purchased by the Union Army

and used during the Civil War.

Captain Dunlap returned to his mercantile roots in 1860, selling dry goods and carpets with his business partner, George W. Snaman, until retiring in 1881 at age 64.  Throughout his life, be it as a merchant or a boatsman, Dunlap was active in Allegheny City affairs.  His name appears as a trustee on the initial papers that incorporated Mount Union Cemetery in 1846, Mount Union being one of two cemeteries that merged in 1867 to make Union Dale Cemetery (the other being Hilldale Cemetery, founded in 1857).  Dunlap also served over 20 years on the Allegheny City School Board.  He was largely responsible for both the opening and furnishing of the North Avenue School in 1859. 

Captain Dunlap had been one of six children and he and his wife, Sarah Ann, had twelve children of whom eight reached adulthood.  Captain Dunlap died at the age of 85 in the Marshall Avenue home of his daughter, Mrs. G. W.  Snaman.

photo credit "The Historic Pittsburgh Project"


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