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McLean County, Illinois
History and Genealogy



JOHN W. FUNK, of Randolph Township, is the second son and fourth child of Jesse and Fannie U. (Stringfield) Funk, his mother being the sister of Capt. A. M. Stringfield, a sketch of whom is given on another page of this work. The parental household included the following children: Sarah J. is the widow of John A. Brittonham; he was formerly a farmer; Mrs. B. is living at Monticello, in Piatt County, Ill., aged sixty-one years; John W.; Thomas C. married Miss Julia Childs, and is now a live-stock dealer of Crawfordsville, Kan.; Delilah is the wife of James F. Brown, now living in Heyworth, this county; Absalom C. resides at Belleflower; he married Miss Chloe C. Bishop, and is engaged in farming and stock-raising; Nancy A., now deceased, first married John Wilson, who died of smallpox; she afterward married John Thompson, who now lives in Santa Barbara, Cal.; Adam was fatally injured by being run over by a loaded wagon, when eleven years of age; he was a promising boy, and his death was a great affliction to the family.

The grandfather of our subject, Adam Funk, it is supposed was born on the Atlantic Ocean while his parents were crossing from Germany to the United States, his mother, it appears, having died on the ocean, probably at the time of his birth. The father after landing upon American shores settled near Philadelphia, Pa., and after a few years disappeared from the knowledge of his parents. The child, Adam, was placed with a family near Philadelphia, with whom be lived for a number of years, and subsequently went to Strasburg, Va., where he remained until his marriage with Miss Moore, the daughter of an old pioneer of that State, who lived at Mooresville, and who was of German parentage and ancestry. Adam Funk and his young bride after marriage removed to the Blue Grass regions of Kentucky, where was born their son Jesse, the father of our subject. Later the family came North to Ohio, and after a few years residence there removed to Illinois, in 1824, locating in what is now known as Funk s Grove, McLean County, where he lived with his brother Isaac a few months, and there, after a few years the parents died.

Jesse Funk, after arriving at years of manhood, was united in marriage with Miss Fannie U. Stringfield, Feb. 16, 1825. The following spring they came to Randolph Township, where Jesse Funk in time secured 8,000 acres of the best land in this section, and improved a large portion of this before his death, which occurred Feb. 6, 1865. The mother of our subject survived her husband a few days over five years, dying Feb. 21, 1870. They were members in good standing of the Methodist Episcopal Church, and possessed in a marked degree those admirable traits of character for which the entire family is celebrated, and by which they have obtained their reputation as among the best citizens of McLean County. Their son, John W., performed his filial duties in the most praiseworthy manner. He lived with his father until his death, and tenderly cared for his widowed mother until she followed her husband to the better land.

John W. Funk was reared in Randolph Township, where he pursued his primary studies. Later he entered Wesleyan University [ed., Illinois Wesleyan University], where he attended three years. He then returned to the farm, and employed his time in agricultural pursuits until his marriage, which occurred July 30, 1867, at the home of the bride s parents in Lincoln, Logan County, this State, the maiden of his choice being Miss Elizabeth C., the daughter of John and Nancy A. (Glover) Fryer. Mrs. Funk had two brothers who served under Gen. Jackson in the War of 1812. Her parents were natives of Ohio, and of German and English descent. They removed to Logan County, Ill., in 1865, whence they came to McLean County, and settled in Randolph Township on one of the farms of Mr. Funk. The father of Mrs. F. was a carpenter by trade, and is now about seventy years of age. The mother is also living, being sixty-six years old on the 7th of February, 1887. Both are members of the Methodist Episcopal Church.

The grandfather of Mrs. Funk, Benjamin Fryer, was reared by the Jefferson family, of which Thomas, the President, was an early member, and was married to Miss Catherine Jefferson. She was a cousin of President Jefferson. They settled in Portsmouth County, Ohio, among the early pioneers of that section, and became intimately identified with its welfare and progress, aiding by every means in their power the religious and educational element which was struggling for recognition. Benjamin Fryer became an invalid many years before his death, but bore his sufferings with resignation and patience, and closed his eyes upon the scenes of earth in 1868, when about eighty-five years old. He served as a soldier in the War of 1812.

Mrs. Funk was the eldest of her father s four children, and the only daughter of the family, all the children being yet alive; Randolph B., Samuel B. and John F. are married and settled in homes of their own. Mrs. F. was born in Portsmouth, Ohio, Aug. 30, 1843, and received her education in her native town. She was twenty-one years of age when she came to this State, and was employed in teaching music until her marriage with our subject. Of this union were born two children, Jessie A. and John W., both at home. All the members of the family are connected with the Methodist Episcopal Church, of which Mr. F. has been Trustee and Steward for many years. Politically he is a stanch Republican. Mr. Funk is largely engaged in stock-raising (high grades), in connection with his farming operations. His farm comprises 900 acres.

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), 476. Transcribed and annotated by Judy Rosella Edwards.


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