But what is known about this patriarch? Much is known about his character, versatility, and physical appearance. William Benton Bunn, Sr.8, was more than 15 years old when Benjamin6 died January 9, 1855. Andrew Berry, early citizen of Richland County, Illinois, and a long time resident in Olney, Illinois, frequently told the writer of this sketch, William Benton Bunn, Jr.9, about Benjamin6, the distinguished ancestor of the Southern Illinois Bunn Clan.
Physically Benjamin Bunn6 was a large framed, powerfully built, tall, and strong man. It is known that he was 6'5" tall in his "sock feet" and that he weighed 260 pounds during his prime. Perhaps from these physical descriptions and the numerous traditional stories about his athletic prowess, he probably would, as a young man, have qualified as a member of a top-flight college basketball team, had he been born 150 years later. Likewise, he probably would have won a heavyweight berth on the college wrestling team; and there is not much doubt but what he would have qualified for some event on the track team. He possessed size, strength, stamina, agility, and a will to win. His well known physical characteristics persist today in numerous hand-me-down stories.
Andrew Berry, a long time citizen of Richland County, Illinois, remembered Benjamin as a large framed, tall, rather dark complexioned man. He particularly was impressed with Benjamin's "double chin". "But," said Mr. Berry, "Benjamin6 was aging when I knew him and the "double chin" was becoming somewhat "flabby" or "wattle like." This description indicates that Benjamin must have possessed a corpulent tendency when younger.
Hyatt Bunn8, a grandson of Benjami.16, also left behind a traditional story; according to Hyatt8, it was a well-known fact that his grandfather, Benjamin6, on one occasion carried eleven bushels of wheat (about 650 pounds) in a "bed tick" from his wagon into the gristmill on one try.
Our country hails with much pride the 5'4" Abraham Lincoln, the rail splitter, great story teller, President of the United States, and all around versatile character; but the Bunns descended from Benjamin6 can also review with much pride their patriarchal character, the 6'6" Benjamin, strongman, Methodist minister of the Gospel, blacksmith, millwright, and pioneer farmer. He lives today in the minds of hundred of his descendants scattered over most of the states of our Nation.
But retracing, and trying to understand why this man moved westward, over westward from near the eastern seaboard to mid-America -- always pioneering, struggling, meeting challenges -- is very interesting. Doubtless he had the urge to explore, to look for new frontiers that challenged his rugged spirit. Apparently he was always on the lookout for greater opportunity a little further on. ".Westward the Star of Empire takes its way," uttered the early and illustrious Indiana Senator, Albert Beveredge. Likewise, Horace Greeley, a renowned editor in the mid -half of the l9th century, is yet remembered for his famous words, "Go West, Young Man, Go West." Even though these men lived after Benjamin6 the same spirit of freedom of opportunity and a desire to move on has prevailed through all the development years of America.