John Funston


It is an experience of no little importance to have journeyed to this section of the country in its early days in the advance of civilization, and to have watched the growth and development of one of the most wealthy and prosperous States in the Union. The intelligent and thinking individual can scarcely refrain from a feeling of envy as he looks upon those who are now honored with the name of pioneer. Among these the subject of this sketch takes a place in the front ranks, it having been now a period of nearly forty-four years since he first set foot upon the soil of Illinois, and here he has since remained.

Our subject was born in County Donegal, Ireland, March 19, 1832, and came to America with his mother when a lad of thirteen years. His father, David Fuston, was also of Irish birth and parentage, and emigrated to America in 1843; two years in advance of his family. He had been the owner of forty acres of land in the Emerald Isle, but after coming to America, being so well pleased with this country, sold this, and resolved to make his future home in the New World. To the parents of our subject were born ten children, seven of whom are now living. The parents are both deceased.

In 1855, ten years after coming to this county, our subject was united in marriage with Miss Eliza Gray, who was the daughter of James and Mary Gray, and was born in Pennsylvania. Her parents, on coming to America, settled in Harrisburg, Pa., for a time, and then removed to Baltimore, Md., whence they came to Galena about 1849. Their family consisted of ten children. To Mr. and Mrs. Funston there were born eleven children. The eldest, Mary J., is the wife of John S. Virtue, a farmer of East Galena; Anna E. married David A. Virtue, and they are living on a farm in Rice Township; Nelson V., James G.; and Adam B. are all unmarried and all owners of land in Scott County, Kan.; John W. is attending school at Aurora, Ill.; David E., Ellen, Hattie, and Ida M. are at home with their parents. Mr. and Mrs. F. are members in good standing of the Methodist Episcopal Church, and our subject, politically, is a decided Republican. He has officiated as Highway Commissioner in his township for six years. He has been a man quite prominent in this county, and was personally acquainted with Gen. Grant, John H. Rawlins, E. B. Washburne, and other prominent men of this State.

Mr. Funston, while carrying on general farming, makes a specialty of fruit-growing, an industry to which he seems peculiarly adapted. He cultivates nearly everything in this line which can be grown in tile State of Illinois. He has a large area of the different kinds of berry bushes, and produces some of the finest specimens to be found in Northwestern Illinois. The premises in all other respects indicates the exercise of industry and taste, forming the ideal picture of the complete country home. The family is widely and favorably known throughout this region.

Source: Portrait and Biographical Album of Jo Daviess Co., IL (1889)