John Funk died 2 August 1897 – Or Did He?

John Funk was born 4 December 1816, perhaps.  Ancestry has several trees for him posted by users.  Some say he was born 4-12-1816, but is that April 12 or December 4?  The standardized way of writing dates in genealogy is day – month – four-digit year.  If someone doesn’t follow that pattern, it can lead to confusion.  If one of the digits is higher than 12, then you know that is the day number, not the month.  In this case, the numbers are small, so without finding the original source, like a birth record, it is hard to know which is correct.  And of course once the date is posted, it gets copied into other posted family trees.  At any rate, John was born in Falks Township, Hocking County, Ohio.  His parents were Daniel Funk and Mary Phillips.  The Funks were of German descent, from Pennsylvania. 

John and his brother Andrew both had land grants in Chilicothe, but John moved to Eden, Indiana.  A history of Eden published in 1882 describes the area:   At the opening of the country to settlement, it was densely covered by beautiful forests, in which sugar maple and black walnut were most abundant, and remarkably free from small growths, except hawthorn and wild grapes. The abundance of the hawthorn was the most striking peculiarity of the region, and gave rise to the name by which it is so widely known. Now that the forests and the hawthorns have vanished, the region has taken on another style of beauty, and is made doubly attractive by splendidly kept farms and elegant residences, where every comfort possible has taken the place of the hardships of log-cabin days. Eden Township was organized in November, 1832.  About this time, the settlement of the region west of the marsh began.  John Funk arrived in 1837.

On 23 October 1842, John married Elizabeth Strine in Elkhart, IN.  The record does not name her parents.  More than one marriage index names her as Cline, but she is believed to ber the daughter of Mathias Strine, as he named her husband John Funk as an heir in his (Mathais’) will.  (Elizabeth predeceased her husband and her father.)  The population of the Eden area more than doubled from 1840 to 1849.  The Funks did their part, with seven children. 

Another description:  The population in 1840 was 3,664; at this time [1849] it is about 8,600. About two-thirds of the county is barrens, or oak openings, one-tenth is prairie, and the balance thick timber. The face of the country is mostly level, though in some places it is broken or gently undulating. The soil in the openings is a sandy loam; in the timber there is a large intermixture of clay. The former is well adapted to wheat, the latter to wheat, corn, grass and oats, and the prairies to wheat and corn. The surplus products consist of wheat, corn and oats; and hogs, cattle and horses are driven to Michigan or northern Ohio, for the eastern markets, the value of all which is estimated at about $200,000 annually. There are in the county six flouring mills, twenty sawmills, one woolen factory, four tanneries, three distilleries, one cupola and one blast furnace, two printing offices, each publishing weekly newspapers, fifteen stores, two groceries, five lawyers, ten physicians, seven preachers, twenty carpenters, five cabinet makers, four chair makers, fifteen blacksmiths, ten shoemakers, six wagon makers, twenty coopers and five harness makers.

John’s family was counted in the 1850 census in Eden.  He was a farmer, with his land valued at $1020.  They were in the community of Hawpatc in Eden township in 1860.  His farm was valued as $6400, with personal property valued at $1500.

Elizabeth died in 1865.  The 1870 census lists John at Mt Pisgah postal district in Eden township.  His farm was now valued at $15,000, with personal property of $1130.  On 23 October, 1872, John married Mary A Hart in Wyandot, OH.  They had no children together.

John, Mary, and the two youngest children were in Eden for the 1880 census.  He still listed his occupation as farmer. 

John died of cancer on 2 August 1897 in Lagrange, IN.  In later years he wore a white patch on his right cheek.  (His daughter, Mary Funk Mullenax also died of cancer of the face.)

Some people have posted trees giving the death date as Feb 8, again a transposition of the date 2-8-1897.  But someone transcribed his headstone in Eden cemetery and confirmed it as August 2.  Mary, his second wife, died at age 71 on 21 October 1901.


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