From NKAA, Notable Kentucky African Americans Database (main entry)

Dunbar, Joshua

(born: 1817  -  died: August 16, 1885) 

Joshua Dunbar was born in Garrard County, KY and enslaved in Shelby County, KY. He escaped and joined the Union Army where he served with two Massachusetts Colored Regiments during the Civil War [55th Massachusetts Colored Infantry in 1863 and 5th Massachusetts Colored Cavalry in 1864]. He received an honorable discharge in October 1865.

Dunbar was employed as a plasterer. He married Matilda Murphy December 23, 1871 in Montgomery County, OH (Dayton). Their marriage certificate is available online at Joshua Dunbar was the father of Paul L. Dunbar and Elizabeth Florence Dunbar.

In 1874, Joshua Dunbar was employed as a whitewasher when he separated from Matilda Dunbar. He was a boarder at 310 Baxter Street, according to William's Dayton City Directory for 1874, p. 140. He was still said to be a whitewasher in the 1874-1879 Dayton city directories.

Joshua Dunbar's marital status was 'divorced' in the 1880 U.S. Census when he was employed as a laborer and his son Paul, a student, was living with him at 481 4th Street in Dayton.

Joshua Dunbar was admitted to the U.S. National Home for Disabled Veterans in Dayton in 1882. According to the Home's records, he died on August 16, 1885. He is buried on the grounds of the Veterans Affairs Center on West Third Street in Dayton.

For more see L. Dempsey, "Dunbar's dad may rest with dignity," Dayton Daily News, 1/25/2004, Local section, p. B1.

Kentucky County & Region

Read about Garrard County, Kentucky in Wikipedia.
Read about Shelby County, Kentucky in Wikipedia.

Outside Kentucky Place Name

Item Relations

Cited in this Entry

NKAA Source: Dayton daily news (newspaper)
NKAA Source: Ancestry (online)
NKAA Source: William's Dayton directory (serial)

Related Entries Citing this Entry

NKAA Entry: Dunbar, Matilda Jane Burton Murphy
NKAA Entry: Paul L. Dunbar's Mother's Family

Cite This NKAA Entry:

“Dunbar, Joshua,” Notable Kentucky African Americans Database, accessed May 25, 2024,

Last modified: 2023-06-12 16:46:32