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McLean County, Illinois
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Benjamin Franklin Funk
Bloomington
McLean County, Illinois

submitted by: Tony Canon

B. F. Funk, of Bloomington, is a native of Funk's Grove, this county, and was born in 1838. He is the son of Isaac and Cassandra (Sharp) Funk, natives respectively of Kentucky and Maryland, whose names are widely and favorably known throughout this section. He was reared on his father's farm, completed his education in Wesleyan College, and received from the estate 2,100 acres of land. To this he has since added 140 acres, and with others of that name so familiarly known throughout this county, has been prosperous in his undertaking, and ranks as one of the most valued citizens of McLean County.

Our subject remained on the home farm until the beginning of the late war, and then enlisted as a Union soldier in Co. G, 68th Ill. Vol. Inf., but served only six months, near Alexandria, Va. Returning home he continued under the parental roof until 1865, and two years later became a resident of Bloomington, where he has a beautiful home at No. 1008 North Main street, the residence having been erected at a cost of $12,000. He retains the supervision of his farm, which is operated by tenants who take care of the stock, of which there are about 500 head of cattle and twenty-five horses of the Clydesdale and Norman stock.

Mr. F. has been prominent in the affairs of the city since becoming a resident here. He was elected President of the Board of Trustees of Wesleyan University in 1877, which position he has since held, and occupies the same office among the Trustees of the Blind Asylum of Jacksonville, Ill., being appointed by Gov. Oglesby in 1885. He was elected Mayor of Bloomington in 1871, and each succeeding year until 1875, and then again in 1884-85. He was Supervisor of Normal Township for 1870-71. He is a member and Director of the Bloomington Loan and Building Association, a stockholder in the Walton Plow Company, and there are few worthy projects which have been set on foot since he became a resident here that have not received his assistance.

In 1886 Mr. Funk was chosen as one of the delegates from Illinois to attend the G. A. R. encampment which met at San Francisco, which he attended, and was also chosen by the local post as delegate to the State Encampment at Decatur, Peoria, Springfield and Rock Island. He was an alternate delegate to the National Republican Convention which met at Cincinnati and nominated Hayes for President, and was a delegate to the State Convention for many years.

Mr. Funk was united in marriage with Miss Sarah Hamilton in the spring of 1865. Mrs. F. is the daughter of John and Rebecca (Pritchard) Hamilton, natives of Ohio, who came to Illinois in 1845, and settled near Le Roy, where Mr. H. engaged in farming and stock-raising. Of this union there has been one child, a son, Frank, who is now attending college at Lawrenceville, N. J. Mr. Funk is Republican in politics, and socially, belongs to the Royal Arcanum.

[Portrait and biographical album of McLean County, Ill. : containing full page portraits and biographical sketches of prominent and representative citizens of the county, together with portraits and biographies of all the governors of Illinois, and of the presidents of the United States. (Chicago: Chapman Brothers, 1887), 195. Transcribed by Judy Rosella Edwards]

US Congressman. During the Civil War, he served in the 68th Illinois Volunteer Infantry. From 1871 to 1876 and 1884 to 1886, he was Mayor of Bloomington, Illinois. In 1893, he was elected as a Republican to the Fifty-third Congress, serving until 1895. An unsuccessful candidate for re-nomination, he resumed agricultural pursuits until his death. US Congressman Frank Hamilton Funk was his son.


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