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GEORGE BUNNEY, a highly respected farmer and a resident of Belleflower Township, where he is actively and intelligently engaged in the prosecution of his chosen calling, is a native of Leicestershire, England, born Aug. 29, 1820. His father, William Bunney, and his grandfather, George Bunney, Sr., were born on the same estate in Leicestershire. William Bunney, while young, learned the trade of a shoemaker, which he followed in his native shire, and there spent his entire life. He was married to Miss Elizabeth Gill, a native of the same county as himself and son, and she also spent her life there.

The subject of this history was reared in Leicestershire and commenced to earn his own living at the early age of ten years, in the meantime assisting his mother in the support of the younger children. The most of this time he was engaged in farming pursuits, and after arriving at years of manhood was married, on the 24th of June, 1845, to Miss Sarah Tomblin. Mrs. B. was born in Northamptonshire, England, June 2, 1826, being the daughter of James and Sarah (Eady) Tomblin.

In 1850 our subject set sail with his family for the United States. They embarked at Liverpool on the 26th of March, and after a voyage of about six weeks, landed in Philadelphia on the 14th of May following. A brother of Mr. B. had assisted him by paying his passage. From Philadelphia they proceeded directly to Madison County, Ind., where Mr. Bunney soon secured employment and as fast as he earned the money paid over all he could spare to liquidate his indebtedness, which took nearly four years. In 1854 he left Indiana and came to this State, via the Ohio and Mississippi Rivers to Alton, thence by rail to Bloomington. He was accompanied by his family and they first stopped at Esquire Wakefield's, in Randolph Grove. He was employed by Mr. W. the following year, and the family took up their residence in a log house which belonged to the latter, and he began to cultivate land on shares. Mrs. Bunney was very industrious and assisted her husband in the support of the family by sewing and washing. After working land on shares for two years, in the meantime having lived economically and saved what he could, Mr. Bunney was enabled to buy a team, and then began cultivating land which he rented from Mr. Wakefield. He operated thus for six years, then removed to Bloomington Township and rented land two years longer. At the expiration of this time he purchased forty acres of railroad land, in what was then Mosquito Grove, but now Allin Township, and buying a frame building (the first engine house in Bloomington) removed it to his little farm and converted it into a dwelling. He occupied this with his family for sixteen years following, then removed to Belleflower Township, and in 1880 purchased his present homestead, which, however, he did not take possession of until two years later.

The farm of our subject contains 160 acres, all enclosed, in a good state of cultivation and supplied with a good set of buildings. Mr. Bunney has proven himself a first-class farmer and citizen and is universally respected wherever known. The children of our subject and his wife are recorded as follows: Sarah, the eldest, became the wife of Jonathan Tyas, and lives in Champaign County, Ill.; Mr. Tyas enlisted as a Union soldier early in the conflict between the North and South, afterward veteranized and served until the close of the war; Elizabeth married Dr. Elijah Woolley, a practicing physician of Saybrook; George W. married Laura Cochran and lives in Belleflower Township, on a farm; James T. married Malissa Knox and they also live in Belleflower Township, on a farm; John K. married Hester Jane Vreeland and lives in Belleflower Township; Wakefield E. married Alice Lyons and lives in the same township; Winfield L., a twin brother of Wakefield E., Mary C. and Emma are at home. The second child died while on the passage from England and received an ocean burial, and two died in infancy.

Mr. and Mrs. Bunney have been connected with the Methodist Episcopal Church for many years, Mr. B. having assisted materially in the erection of the church at Stanford and being one of its first Trustees and Stewards. He was licensed by the Methodist Episcopal Conference to exhort and has preached in various places since that time, doing excellent service in the cause. Mr. B. is essentially a self-made man and he most nobly gives his excellent wife due credit for the courage and faithfulness with which she has performed her wifely and motherly duties. He claims that to this excellent lady a large share of his success in life is due, and as a neighbor and friend she is no less warmly held in respect and esteem by all who know her. Mr. Bunney, in August, 1845, enlisted in the Queen's army, serving in the 73d Infantry until April following, when he was discharged on account of disability.

[SOURCE: 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). Transcribed and annotated by Judy Rosella Edwards.]


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