History of Michigan, by Charles Moore (1915)
ERASTUS L. DUNBAR.
Erastus L. Dunbar. A long and faithful service in connection with one department of municipal activity has been the chief feature in the record of Mr. Dunbar of Bay City. Mr. Dunbar is an engineer by profession, has live in Bay City since 1865, and later superintending the construction of the Bay City Water Works, was made superintendent of operation of that plant, and has directed this important public utility for forty years.
Erastus L. Dunbar was born August 13, 1846, in Ellsworth, Connecticut, and is of staunch Scotch ancestry, many Dunbars being found in different parts of the country from Maine to California, and all of them descended from one original Scottish branch. His parents were Horace and Ann Jeannette Dunbar, who were likewise natives of Connecticut. His father was a Connecticut farmer and a man of considerable prominence, having served two terms in the state legislature. Both father and mother died in 1891. There were two sons and three daughters in their family and only two are now living. The only living daughter is Mrs. Jane Everett, wife of Charles W. Everett, who is living retired from active life at Washington, D.C. Another son, Everett S. Dunbar, who died in 1892 in Connecticut, went through the Civil War as a Union soldier and held the rank of first lieutenant in a company of the Thirteenth Connecticut Regiment.
Erastus L. Dunbar grew up in his Connecticut home, and besides his education in the public schools was tutored by a minister of the Congregational church at Ellsworth. At the age of eighteen in 1865 he came to Bay City, then a village, and soon took a position as assistant to the City Engineer, a Mr. Mercer. After a year they opened an office as engineers and land surveyors under the firm name of Mercer & Dunbar. In 1870, Mr. Dunbar was appointed city engineer of Bay City, and administered the duties of that position for two years. In 1872 he was placed in charge of the construction of the city water works, and since then held the position of superintendent of this plant without interruption. Also for seventeen years he served as assistant chief engineer of the fire department.
Until 1912 Mr. Dunbarís politics was Republican, but he is now a Progressive, believing that the midway position between the high tariff of the old Republican part the free trade tendencies of the Democratic side is the safety policy for the masses of the people. His affiliation with the Masonic Order include several of the different branches and his church is the Presbyterian.
On October 11, 1870, at Walsingham, Ontario, Mr. Dunbar married Miss Jennie McKay. Her father was a Canadian farm, and originally came from Scotland. The three children of this marriage are mentioned as follows: Jessie, the wife of Dr. George B. Little, a dentist at Palo Alto, California; James H., who is a graduate of the University of Michigan, and is now mechanical engineer for the Grasselli Chemical Company of Cleveland, Ohio; Everett S., who is a graduate of the Leland Stanford University of California, and is now practicing his profession as civil engineer at Almeda, California.
Mr. Dunbar very seldom takes a vacation from his official responsibilities, and has always led a busy life. His spare time is devoted tot he interests of his home, and he and his wife have an attractive residence at 1200 Fourth Avenue in Bay City. Mr. Dunbar, during nearly fifty years of residence, has seen Bay City grow from a small village to a city of over fifty thousand people, and his name was signed to the petition to the State Legislature for the first city charter.