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James Dunning

John Wray was not the only Indian trader to establish a trading post in the Pennsylvania frontier that would become Bedford County. James Dunning set up his trading post to the northwest of John Wray's, along the river that would bear his name (i.e. Dunning Creek) and close by the foot of the hill that likewise bears his name (i.e. Dunnings Mountain).

The word town was derived from the Old English tun, which had been derived from the German zaun, meaning a fence or wall. It referred to two or more buildings surrounded by a fence. Many of the Indian traders built a log cabin to live in along with a second (or third) log cabin in which to store their trade goods. Those traders (such as John Wray, Frank Stevens and Thomas Cresap) who built multiple cabins, surrounded by a protective fence or wall tended to get 'towns' named for those trading posts (such as Raystown, Frankstown and Cresaptown). James Dunning apparently had only a single structure in which he lived and stored his trade goods. His trading post was shown on early maps simply as 'Dunnings'.

James Dunning established his trading post in the region that would become Bedford County prior to 1747. Dunnings House appeared on a map dating from that year.

James Dunning was, at least in one instance, the proverbial 'horse thief'. On 9 July 1747, Conrad Weiser made the following report to the Pennsylvania Provincial Council: I am sorry to add that there are great Complaints against two of our Traders; one is James Dunning, who is accused to have stolen 47 Dear Skins and three Horses (or Mares), upon the heads of Joniady River; the circumstance are very strong; the Indian from whom the Skins & Horses have been stollen is a Delaware Indian, a Sober, quiet, and good natur'd man; he was down at my House with his Complaint, a few days before I set out for Shamokin. I sent him back again till I had learned the particulars, being I could not talk with him sufficient to find out the Truth of the Story; he was now with Shikalamy and renewed his Complaint. James Dunning is gone down Ohio River, and will stay out long; the Indian was content that I should inform the Council of his misfortune; he not only lost his skins & Horses, but pursued James Dunning in vain to the place call'd Canayiahagen, on the South side of the Lake Erie, from thence back again to the Place where he left the Skins, and from thence again to Ohio, but all in vain, for he could not find or come up with James Dunning.