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McLean County, Illinois
History and Genealogy



JACOB FUNK, a highly esteemed farmer, and one of the most extensive stock-raisers of McLean County, is a native of this county, and was born in Funk's Grove Township. The date of his birth was April 7, 1830, and he is the third son of Isaac and Cassandra (Sharpe) Funk, a sketch of whom appears in another part of this work.

As soon as old enough, young Jacob commenced to assist his father in all the various kinds of farm work, and herded cattle during the summer season on the wild prairies of his native township. At the age of twelve years he went to Chicago and lived with an uncle there, also following his old occupation of herding cattle and sheep, outside the city limits. Chicago was then a. small town, with probably 5,000 inhabitants. The greater part of the land now occupied by the city was wild prairie, and Jacob Funk frequently herded a flock of sheep on the ground which is now occupied by the Grand Pacific Hotel. He remained with his uncle ten months, and then returned home to his father in McLean County, where he lived until fourteen years of age, and then again started for Chicago and the home of his uncle with whom he had lived before. He was accompanied by his father, and together they pursued their way overland to Indiana where they intended making a short visit. Jacob was there taken sick, and after an illness of three weeks, his father, who had gone home in the meantime, returned for him and removed him home on a bed. After this he remained with his father until his marriage, when he settled on the farm which he now owns and occupies, and a part of which was given him by his father. Only a few acres were then improved, but he set himself industriously about its cultivation, and by degrees increased his possessions until now he may be ranked among the large landed proprietors of the State, owning 2,600 acres, and all under a good state of cultivation. This land is divided up into several farms which are furnished with suitable buildings and occupied by tenants. Mr. Funk manages his extensive possessions, and upon his land are raised in large numbers, horses, cattle and hogs. He grazes from 400 to 600 head of cattle annually, and also operates as a shipper, sending his animals to Chicago. As we might expect, the income from these enterprises yields him a handsome sum annually.

Jacob Funk was married to Miss Mary A. Waltman, Nov. 18, 1858. Mrs. Funk is a native of Bedford County, Pa., and was born June 15, 1838. She is the daughter of Michael and Julia Ann (Wilson) Waltman, and of her marriage with our subject there have been born three children Charles A., Clara May and Dean N. They are all now at home with their parents. The two eldest were educated at Wesleyan University, Bloomington; the youngest son received his preparatory course at Peekskill, N. Y., and is now a student at Yale College.

The farm residence of our subject and his family is a handsome brick structure, one of the most elegant in the Prairie State, and both within and without is indicative of cultivated tastes and ample means. Its inmates are surrounded by all the comforts of life, and enjoy the confidence and esteem of a large circle of friends and acquaintances. In politics Mr. Funk is strongly Republican, and as a business man is straightforward and systematic in his operations, meeting his obligations promptly, and in all respects conforming to the duties of a good citizen whose influence is widely felt, and whose transactions largely affect the welfare of his community. He is known far and wide, and his portrait, which we give in connection with this sketch, will be welcomed by his many friends throughout the county.

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), 281. Transcribed by Judy Rosella Edwards.


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