John Dunstan, early Tustin pioneer

John Dunstan, early Tustin pioneer

First published June 13, 2023

If you have ever shopped at Marshall’s/Home Goods on 17th Street, then you were standing on what once was the ranch of early Tustin Pioneer John Dunstan.

John Dunstan was born on December 5, 1866, near Cornwall, England, the only child of James Dunstan and Elizabeth Berryman. When James Dunstan arrived in New York City in 1867, he immediately headed west, first to Iowa, then to Nevada and arrived in Tustin in 1875. James purchased 20 acres and planted grapes, oranges, and apricots.

John began buying acreage, first off Bryan Avenue and planted walnuts and apricots, and later oranges and lemons. In 1903, he sold this acreage and purchased 30 acres on East Seventeenth Street and built a lovely craftsman style home in what is now Tustin’s French Quarter Shopping Center. The home was demolished to build the Marshall’s Store and surrounding shops. Sixteen of his acres were devoted to growing Valencia Oranges and John managed those acres as well as his mother’s adjoining orchard. John marketed his oranges to the Santiago Orange Growers Association and was a long-time member of the association. He was on the board of Directors of the Santa Ana Valley Irrigation Company and served as its President.

On 16 April 1902, he married Myrtle Hall and the couple had three children: Gilbert Hall Dunstan, Mary Elizabeth (later Mrs. George Broomell) and Frances Emily. The children attended Santa Ana High School and Frances Tustin Grammar School. Gilbert attended USC and received his Master’s degree from the University of Iowa. He taught electrical and sanitation engineering at USC, Tulane University and Washington State University. Mary attended USC where she received her general education degree and taught at Tustin High School. Frances also attended and graduated from USC and was a bookkeeper at the First National Bank of Tustin.

When the First National Bank of Tustin opened its doors on February 5, 1912, John Dunstan became the Vice President. He resigned his position at the Santa Ana Valley Irrigation to devote his time to banking, farming his oranges, and assisting his mother.

John Dunstan passed way in 1944 at age 77 and is buried at Santa Ana Cemetery. Dunstan Avenue in Tustin Ranch is named after John Dunstan.