Lighting Ancestral Lamps

Page 90

CHAPTER XIII

William Benton
A Man with a Purpose

Short biographical sketches of William Benton Bunn appeared in two old histories covering Richland County Illinois and other nearby counties. In these old volumes if found a record of the lives of many prominent citizens of that era whose lives are worthy of study be future generations,/3 Many commenced life in poverty, but through industry and economy they accumulated wealth.

The volumes tell of others with limited advantages of securing an education, who became leaders of their day. Frequently their influence extended far beyond their community and their generation.

 

( Pictured William Benton Bunn Sr., about 56 always a commendable father, proudly poses with his eldest baby son, William Benton Bunn Jr. Orig pg 86p)

 

William Benton Bunn Sr. was one who belonged in this category. The Portrait and Biographical Record of Richland, Jasper, and Effingham Counties, Illinois states: "He cleared, fenced, built a log cabin and planted an orchard of 100 apple trees a short period after his original 100 acre farm was deeded to him by his father. By subsequent purchases, he extended the boundaries of his farm until it now (1893) comprises two hundred sixty acres of valuable land. The farm is under a high state of cultivation and well-improved-" At the close of his life he owned 320 acres of land, free from debt, as well as a substantial amount of farming equipment, supplies and considerable livestock.

The old history continues: "Mr. Bunn has given a home to several orphan children. He aided them in starting in life." For instance he gave Daniel Murphy a forty acres of land and helped him equip this acreage- His generous impulses and kindly spirit which prompted many good deeds, won him the love and respect of all with whom he was brought in contact. In politics he was a staunch Democrat. He took quite an active part in local politics. By so doing his fellow citizens appreciated his worth and ability, and asked him to serve in several offices of public trust. In municipal affairs he was especially prominent. He filled nearly all of the various township offices, including that of Supervisor for two terms. He was school Trustee for several years. For nine years he assisted in laying out township roads and building bridges.

He discharged his duties, both public and private in an able manner. For this uprightness and attitude he won the commendation of all concerned. Practically his entire life was spent on a farm in Richland County- Those who knew him over the years were numbered among his warmest friends. This fact alone indicates that he was a man with an honorable upright career and one well worthy of emulation.

He was also an active member of the rural Methodist Church known as Mt. Olive. However he was very tolerant on religious questions. Many differed with his views, but he believed in freedom of worship. The writer has frequently heard him say that he always made a contribution when asked to any religious activity operating within the bounds of his acquaintanceship. Certainly it was unfortunate that this enterprising father lived ahead of most of the marvelous period following the turn of the twentieth century. He would have been one who

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