BIOGRAPHY - John E. Bunker

JOHN E. BUNKER, who is engaged in general farming on section 3, Lyman Township, is a native of the Pine Tree State. He was born in Somerset County, May 25, 1839, and is a son of John G. and Sylvira (Rollins) Bunker. His father was a Maine farmer and his death occurred many years ago. His wife, who is also a native of Maine, is yet living at the age of seventy-eight years and makes her home with her son John. They had a family of five sons and one daughter, four of whom are yet living: Henry, W., who is married and is a barber of Canada; John, of this sketch; Stephen F., who is married and follows farming in Howard, Minn.; and Martin L., who is engaged in farming in East Wilton, Me.

Mr. Bunker, whose name heads this record, has been dependent upon his own exertions since the age of sixteen years, when he shipped from Portland, Me., on a coaster and did not again see his native land for four and a half years. The vessel, "Desdemona," was under command of Capt. Smith, and during the long voyage encountered some severe storms. Mr. Bunker next went to Australia on a merchantman, visiting the East Indies, Calcutta and the most important cities of China; he also went up the Ganges and Hoogly Rivers. He then went to London, England, and after a short time returned to New York, having been away for two years and eight months. This was in 1861, and he afterward joined the United States navy under Capt. Smith, serving as Quartermaster of the vessel, which was stationed near Fortress Monroe to protect the coast. He was in the service for one year, and was then in the lighthouse service for a time, after which he returned home and began rigging sailing-ships for use during the war.

On the 21th of November, 1864, Mr. Bunker wedded Miss Hannah M. Bigelow, a native of Somerset County, Me., born June 16, 1842, and a daughter of Sawyer and Elizabeth Bigelow. Her father was a farmer of Maine and died at the age of eighty years. Her mother is still living in the Pine Tree State and is about sixty-five years of age. Mr. and Mrs. Bunker have had five children, three sons and two daughters, four of whom are yet living: Luella, who was educated in Roberts, and was a successful teacher, is the wife of Harry E. Fairley, a farmer; Irvin G. wedded Mary Arnold and is a resident farmer of Iroquois County; Everett aids his father in the labors of the farm; and Irene is yet attending school.

In 1867, Mr. Bunker and his wife bade goodbye to their home in the East and emigrated to Illinois. They spent a short time in Chicago and then removed to Grundy County, where he engaged in farming until 1870, when they came to Lyman Township and have since been numbered among its highly respected citizens. They are members of the Congregational Church and their upright lives have won them the high regard of all. Their pleasant home, which is the abode of hospitality, is located on an eighty-acre farm, whose rich and fertile fields yield a golden tribute to the care and cultivation of the owner. Mr. Bunker cast his first Presidential vote for Gen. Grant, and the Republican party has ever found in him a stanch advocate of its principles. He has been officially connected with the school of Lyman Township for a number of years, and while in Roberts was a member of the Board of Education. Socially, he is a member of the Grand Army.

Extracted 28 Mar 2020 by Norma Hass from Portrait and Biographical Record of Ford County, Illinois, published in 1892, pages 284-285.

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