JOHN W. DUNLAP (c1812-1879)

Known as “Big John”

I was born sometime between 1810 and 1814 in Illinois or Missouri territory. The censuses even differ on the subject
I hung around Texas for a time and even became a Texas Ranger. I served with the great Sam Houston at the Battle of San Jacinto.
On Nov. 15, 1837, I married Mary Ann Early. Our first child we named James Early Dunlap and later we had Mary E. Dunlap. Unfortunately Nary Abb died a year or two later.
In 1844, I wed another Mary Anne -- Houston. Our first of nine children we named Jane Ann Dunlap, but we called her Jennie. In 1848, Calvin Houston Dunlap was born \ and Franklin Pierce Dunlap in 1853. Pierce was only four months old when we journeyed over the Gila trail to California. Dunlap started the nearly 1,600 mile journey with about 1,500 hearty Longhorns, some oxen and 120 horses and mules. We were attacked by Apaches, Dunlap and his allies charged on horseback and headed back to the trail. The wagon train took a break at Warner Springs arriving with 450 head of cattle and a few scrub horses and mules. The Dunlaps recouped and headed to El Monte. I managed to acquire squatter’s rights to a large homestead. Laura Dunlap was born there in 1856. The next year Lucky Baldwin was discovered to have swindled my land, so we packed up and headed to the Visalia area. I bought 4,000 acres at Lynn’s Valley and stayed there for 14-15 years. I dabbled in mining, too. Louis Napolean Dunlap was born in 1858 in Visalia. The next year I got a four year contract to deliver the mail via the pony express. I employed my son James to handle it. Andrew Jackson Dunlap came along in 1860.
I have to admit, I was a southern sympathizer during the Civil War. Daughters Ida and Ella were born in 1863 and 1865.
The big change came in 1869 when I entered into a partnership to buy about 4,000 acres in Yucaipa. My partner was William Standifer, who was with the wagon train. We bought the property from James Waters. We moved into the Yucaipa Adobe in 1870 and continued to raise cattle and sheep on a large scale. I did quite well, actually, and doubled the value that first year. The dairy was awesome.

In 1874, I bought a Crafton Hills gold mine with James Waters and two other partners.
Independence Day was a big deal in those days and it was a grand occasion in San Bernardino, In 1875, not being one to miss a party, was there in on July 4 celebrating considerably with good whiskey, which was another one of my passions. I, being Big John, decided to walk across the track when someone called my name. I wasn’t aware there was a race in action and I stopped and turned to say hello and was struck and run over by s speeding harness rig. Three days later I died.
I was an extremely successful businessman, cattle man, stock dealer, accomplished horseman-vacquero who was there during the settling of the west. I am buried in the Old Pioneer Cemetery in San Bernardino.

It’s me they named west Yucaipa after. In fact, it the area had incorporated in 1890s, this area would have been named Dunlap instead of Yucaipa.