Dunn Cemetery is located directly to the east of the Indiana University Memorial Union next to Beck Chapel. Three heroines of the Revolutionary War are buried here: Ellenor Brewster Dunn, Agnes “Nancy” Brewster Alexander, and Janet Brewster Irvin. The women spun, wove, and created garments for the soldiers and cooked food for Washington and his army when they were stationed nearby. After the war, the three sisters eventually moved to Bloomington, Indiana. The plot of land it is located on was once known as the Dunn Farm. In 1883 a fire destroyed much of Indiana University at its former location (which is now Seminary Square) and Moses F. Dunn sold a part of the Dunn Farm for the new site of Indiana University. However, he did not sell the graveyard. This plot of land, also known as "God's Acre" is still owned by the Dunn family.
Backstory and Context
A three-sided corner gravestone marks the graves of the three sisters who moved to Bloomington after serving as aides in the Revolutionary war. Ellenor Dunn, the oldest of the three, and her husband bought 160 acres of farm land and built a home where Indiana University Bloomington’s School of Public Health is located today. Ellenor’s husband Samuel gave the family estate to his eldest son, George Gundy Dunn, who established the boundaries of family cemetery. George’s son, Moses Dunn, sold 30 acres of his family’s land to the university trustees after a fire in 1883 destroyed the main campus building. Indiana University continued to build and grow around the Dunn cemetery, which is forever deeded to the Dunn family.
There is beauty here, but I am suddenly oppressed. The wind blows colder and the sun does not shine so bright within these confines. I believe I shall retrace my steps through the iron gate in the wall, back to the evanescent world outside… (Richard Bruick in The Folio, 1940)
Hass, Katelyn. Dunn Cemetery sits on IU's campus quietly but speaks of history. Indiana Daily Student. October 30, 2017. Accessed August 07, 2019. https://www.idsnews.com/article/2017/10/dunn-cemetery-sits-on-ius-campus-quietly-but-speaks-of-history.
Schwier, Carrie. A Spot Called “God’s Acre” and the Remains of Three Revolutionary War Heroines. Blogging Hoosier History. October 30, 2012. Accessed August 07, 2019. https://blogs.libraries.indiana.edu/iubarchives/tag/beck-chapel/.