George Opie Dunaway was born in Henry County, Tennessee, about 1816. Raised in Tennessee, Dunaway moved to Mississippi, where he married Abigail Kuykendall in Yalobusha County in 1847. By 1850 Dunaway and his wife were living in Marshall, Harrison County, Texas, where he worked as a saddler. Also by 1850, they had two children, Monroe, born in Mississippi, and George, born in Texas.
In 1860, before the outbreak of the Civil War, the Dunaways resided in Hallettsville, Lavaca County, Texas. By this time, they had another child, Opey. Dunaway also owned two female slaves, aged twenty-seven and fourteen.
He enlisted as a major in the Twenty-fourth Battalion, Texas State Infantry Troops. He was captured by Union forces on November 27, 1863, at Fort Semmes, Mustang Island, Texas, and held as a prisoner of war in New Orleans, Louisiana, at 21 Rampart Street. In February 1864 he was sent to St. Louis, Missouri, for medical treatment and returned to New Orleans on March 3, 1864. He was later exchanged on July 22, 1864, at Red River Landing, Louisiana. After returning to Texas, he was commissioned lieutenant colonel of the Third Cavalry, Texas State Troops.
After the war, Dunaway returned to Lavaca County, Texas, to farm. After being widowed, he married Caroline L. Kendall on May 5, 1878. Later he moved to Grimes County and worked as a saddler. George Dunaway died in July, 1895, and is buried in Oakland Cemetery, Navasota.