William C Bunn


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WILLIAM C. BUNN: In this enlightened age when men of energy, industry and merit are rapidly pushing their way to the front, those who, by their own individual efforts, have won favor and fortune may properly claim recognition. Years ago, when the west was entering upon an era of growth and Ogle county was laying its foundation for future prosperity, there came thither from all parts of the country men poor but honest, and with sturdy independence and a determination to succeed that justly entitled them to representation in the history of the great west. Among this now is Mr. BUNN who has met with remarkable success in his business undertakings, and is now practically living retired in Byron.

He was born on the 10th of February, 1837, in Hunterdon county , New Jersey, of which county his father, John E. BUNN, was also a native. On attaining to manís estate the latter married Sarah CONOVER, who was born in New Jersey, in 1817. He continued to successfully engage in farming in his native county until 1855, when he brought his family to Illinois, where he joined some New Jersey friends. For a few years he resided in Byron township, Ogle county, and then purchased land in Winnebago county, where he developed a fine farm of two hundred and thirty acres, operating the same for many years. He finally sold and in 1882 returned to Byron township, Ogle county, where he died in 1892 at the ripe old age of eighty-two years. His wife had passed away in 1872 and both were laid to rest in the Stillman Valley cemetery. In the family of this worthy couple were thirteen children, four sons and nine daughters, all of whom reached years of maturity. William C. , of this review, is the oldest; Mary wedded Westly YARD and is now deceased; A.M. resided on a farm in Byron township; Mrs. Sarah POWELL is a widow; Anna is deceased; Henry died at the age of eighteen; Mrs. Lucinda WELLS resides in Rockford, Illinois; Hannah is the wife of William VAN VALZY, of Ogle county; Caroline is the wife of Benjamin ANDERSON, who owns and occupies the old BUNN homestead; Jane married but is now deceased; Garrett is a farmer of Winnebago county; and Martha is the wife of Henry LIGGETT, of Marcus, Iowa.

William C. BUNN was reared in New Jersey and educated in its common schools. He came with the family to this state and assisted his father in opening up the farm, remaining with him until twenty-five years of age. In 1861 he was married, in Ogle county, to Miss Julia JARVER, a native of New York, who was brought to the county at the age of twelve years by her father, Anthony JARVER, a worthy pioneer of Byron township, where he reared his family. Four children have been born of their union: John, who is married and conducts the elevator and buys grain in Byron; Alma, wife of Homer LONG, a business man of Mt. Carroll, Carroll county, Illinois; Arthur, a business man of Myrtle, Ogle county; and George, who is employed in the Farmers & Merchants Bank, of Byron.

For eight years after his marriage , Mr. BUNN engaged in farming on rented land, but two years before the close of that period he purchased a half interest in a farm of two hundred acres, which he operated in connection with the rented farm. In the spring of 1870 he located upon his place, but sold his interest in the same two years and again became a renter. In 1872 he bought an improved farm of two hundred acres in Marion township, to the further development and cultivation of which he devoted his energies for four years. He remodeled the house, enlarged the barn and made many improvements which added to its value and attractive appearance. On account of impaired health he removed to Byron in the spring of 1876, but three years later returned to the farm and continued to follow agricultural pursuits until 1886, when he rented his place and purchased residence property in the village where he still resided. He became interested in the grain business, and four years later bought the elevator at Byron. He also began buying and shipping cattle and hogs on an extensive scale, and became a large dealer in flour, feed, salt, coal, etc. At one time Mr. BUNN was one of the heaviest depositors in the Byron Bank, but owning to a change of ownership and management he became dissatisfied and decided to establish a bank of his own. Later the bank closed and a number of the depositors lost heavily. Since then the present Byron Bank has been started. Withdrawing from the former institution Mr. BUNN established in 1891, the Farmers & Merchant Bank, which has since done a large and profitable business, and is one of the solid financial institutions of the county. Although our subject started out in life for himself in limited circumstances he is now one of the most successful business men of the community, and is the owner of much valuable real estate besides his business property, all of which has been acquired through his own well-directed efforts. At all times he supports the principles of the Republican party by his ballot, and though he served as collector of Marion township at one time, he has never cared for political preferment. He is public-spirted and enterprising, giving a liberal support to all measures which he believes calculated to advance the moral, intellectual or material welfare of his own town or county.

SOURCE: The Biographical record of Ogle County, Illinois
Chicago: S.J. Clarke Pub. Co., 1899, 492 pgs.