Benjamin Dunnigan was born into slavery in Georgia around 1851. He and his wife Isabella had a large family. After his wife’s death, around 1895,he moved to the Norcross area. For a few years, he lived off Medlock Bridge Road.
Ben and Isabella had seven children — daughters Emma (or Emily) (born 1879), Azalee (1884), Annie (1886), and Omie (1889) and sons James Newton (1881), Harrison (1891) and Esters (1895).
Daughter Annie lived most of her life in the Norcross area, in town and then on the property on Medlock Bridge Road. She worked for many years for the Medlock family.
Daughter Emma was employed as a school teacher and domestic servant in the early 1900s, living on today’s Sunset Drive in Norcross, while she raised her younger siblings Omie and Esters after her father’s death.
Daughter Omie worked for the Homer Jones family in Norcross for many years, and lived near their home on Thrasher Street during that period. Sons Harrison and James lived together in Atlanta in the 1920s, and Harrison and his wife Rose moved to Washington DC during the 1930s. Harrison worked for the Southern Railway as a boiler maker.
Esters and James Dunnigan were both drafted into the United States Army in 1918, during World War I. After the war Esters worked at the Sobeco Tannery, a major Norcross employer prior to its closure in the 1940s. He then worked at the Westvaco envelope factory in Chamblee (joining his son Rufus, who also worked there.)
Esters Dunnigan married Norcross native Annie Trimble and together they had four children, sons E. G. (Esters Green, named for his father and his maternal grandfather), Ben (named for his paternal grandfather) and Rufus (named for his uncle), and daughter Cora (named for her grandmother). Esters and Annie were active members of Hopewell Missionary Baptist Church their entire adult lives, with Esters serving as a deacon, church clerk and superintendent of the Sunday School.