Our lineage continues with John. History records said he was a prominent and well known citizen. By the standards of the day, John and his family definitely lived a comfortable life.
Residences and events:
3/15/1855 Scott Co, IL. He bought several pieces of land at Naples at auction.
Local relatives still in the county in the 1990s said he owned a large tract of land of at least 300 acres.
6/15/1860 Naples P.O., Scott Co, IL. At census time, John reported his occupation as farmer and his property value at $6000/1000. He was 31 years of age while wife Sarah A was 28. They had 3 children: James D, 5, Laura J, 2, and Daniel, 6 mo. Living with them as a 30 year old Joseph Schulter, farm laborer. Henry Vannier was next door and John's father was in the same township.
10/11/1869 John and Sarah donated land near Naples to be used for a school with the provision that the property reverted back to them if the school ever vacated the premises. Also in the deed were instructions to school trustees to build a "good substantial Board
fence around said ground."
7/27/1870 Scott Co, IL. The census recorded his name as Vanganda with property totaling $8670/1980. His occupation was farmer at age 40. Living with him were Sarah, 28 (should be 38), James, 13, Laura, 12, Daniel, 10, Carrie, 8, Elmer, 5, and Charles, 5 mo. (Where was John?) Henry Vannier was still next door.
11/13/1873 For $50 John sold all the downed and/or dead standing timber on a 2 acre plot to a Marshall Smith.
1873 Macon Co, IL, Milam Twp, near Decatur. In preparation for moving east with his siblings, John bought 238 1/2 acres in S31 T15N R3E, the same section as brother-in-law, Ellery Merris. However, John and his family did not move there for another couple of years.
1/18/1875 Scott Co, IL, was still their address when they sold 289 acres to Herman Vannier. They probably moved to Macon Co either the past fall or the following spring. The Vannier family passed this same land to descendants of John's brother, Adam, whose later generations still owned it in 1996.
4/1878 Milam Twp, Macon Co, IL. John was elected County Supervisor, re-elected in 1879. He was a farmer along with his political interests.
8/1878 He and C Merris were elected to be a delegates for an upcoming county Greenback convention in Maroa, IL.
4/15/1880 He was elected Milam township supervisor.
6/12-14/1880 Same residence. That census taker recorded different ages for the children than other records, making the line-up different. It said John was a 50 year old farmer, wife Sarah A was 47, and the children were: James D, 23; Daniel W, 20; Laura J, 18; Ida C, 16; Elmer H, 14; and John F, 7.
9/20/1880 "A convention was held at the court house on Saturday which claimed to represent the temperance element of the portion of the county. The object was to place in nomination a county ticket....The convention was not called by authority of the prohibition organization of the county, but originated with a few person who are dissatisfied with the nominations of other parties." John was nominated for "greenback" candidate for Sheriff.
4/25/1881 John was present at a meeting of the agricultural board and listed as a member.
7/7/1881 On that date he took his seat as Milam township Supervisor on the Macon county Board of Supervisors, according to minutes of their meeting.
6/1883 He was appointed by the Macon county board to be chairman of the Town Accounts committee.
His name appeared several more times in county board proceedings which the newspaper published.
4/21/1887 Milam Twp, Macon Co, IL. John was assessed a total of $216.53 for 758.38 acres there in several different plots. Son DW, brother-in-law EM Merris, and nephew Asa Merris were also on that list. Two years later his name was on the list of those owning over 300 acres in the same township. John owned 760 acres and his residence was Macon.
4/12/1888 John (of Milam Twp) was elected among the Decatur delegates as a "Dry delegate" at the upcoming May Prohibition Convention.
1/24/1889 John W Van Gundy was selected from Milam township to serve on a committee trying to get the state fair to be held in Macon county.
7/16/1890 Under the heading of Prohibition Convenstion and subheading of Senatorial Convention, the paper said: "Macon presented the name of A. Quesenberry for senator and Logan presented John Van Gundy, ex-supervisor and an influential farmer of Milam township, for representative, both of whom were unanimously nominated."
8/20/1890 In a county report in the paper was: "John Van Gundy made the only temperance speech of the day. The question of a tent campaign called hm out. He thought it might be a good thing, if the rural districts were not neglected."
10/17/1890 "The 'county conference' which is variously known as the farmers and the workingmen, and is really made up of members of those two classes, met yesterday in the grand jury room." Under Representative was W. S. Smith, democrat, and John Van Gundy, prohibitionist.
3/24/1894 John was nominated for Macon Twp collector on the Democratic, Populist and Prohibition Ticket.
1/20/1894 The newspaper published deeds recorded in Decatur: "Milton Trotter to John VanGundy, a 40-foot lot on N Water street; consideration $4,500.
1/27/1894 In the news again: "John VanGundy has been buying a bran new housekeeping outfit."
1357 N Water St, Decatur, IL. Upon retirement, he moved to the city. The county history later said he "has since lived a retired life save that he has some financial interests and is now the vice president of the Macon County Telephone Company."
In the 5/2/1895 Decatur Weekly Republican newspaper is the following:
"Elijah Walker has returned from the Storm Lake, Iowa, farming secion, accompanied by John VanGundy of Decatur....Mr. Walker is the owner of 320 acres of land near Storm Lake....Mr. Walker will make several trips to Iowa in the interest of farmers of this section, who contemplate making investments in the west."
3/23/1897 Moultrie Co, IL. John bought county property by warranty deed from son, DW and Laura B, at S22 T14 R5. Perhaps he intended to move nearer the children but never did. It was probably the same land DW got back by warranty deed for $1 on 8/7/1905, about the time John died, being located at the same S22 T14 R5.
12/2/1897 From the record of the annual business meeting of the Citizen's Mutual Telephone company: "W. P. Shade and John Van gundy were elected directors to serve for the next two years. Mr. Shade succeeds himself and Mr. Van Gundy succeeds Dr. J. G. Harvey. Mr. Van gundy is a man of long years of active business experience and is a man who has accumulated a small fortune by his busniess sagacity. He has been in the grain business for a good many years and moved to Decatur from Macon about three years ago."
1899 Decatur, IL. When the telephone company was reorganized, John was again appointed vice president.
6/2/1900 N Water St, Decatur, Macon Co, IL. The census recorded John at age 70, married 46 years to Sarah A, 68, who had birthed 9 children but only 5 still survived. His occupation is illegible.
The travels and events of the family were recorded in the newpapers:
6/24/1902 "John Van Gundy and wife of Decatur visited their sons, John and Elmer, a few days last week."
1/13/1903 John was in Macon visiting his sons.
6/12/1903 "John Van Gundy of Decatur visited his sons J. F. and E. E. Tuesday." (The purpose of the trip was probably to see Freddy and Clara's new baby that was born on the 6th.)
1/29/1904 "John Van Gundy and wife of Decatur, are visiting their son John F. Van Gundy and family."
He and D B Folrath were owners of the first Rambler cars in Macon Co.
Until at least 1952, there was a Merris-Van Gundy reunion held in Decatur, IL, at Fairview Park on the 3rd Sunday of August for his descendants and those of sister, Nancy Merris.
John's sons, Elmer and John, were co-administrators of his estate.
The Decatur Herald reported on 8/11/1905 that "The will of the late John Van Gundy was to have come up for probate in the County Court Thursday but the hearing was continued until Aug 24."
The newspaper carried the following on 8/25/1905:
Big Estate Is Divided
VanGundy Will Admitted to Probate
The will of the late John VanGundy was filed for probate in the county court Thursday, and by it a large estate was divided among the children. There is $34,000 in mortgages and cash, an elevator worth $10,000, and 800 acres of Macon county land.
The testator in 1902 divided his land by making deeds to his children, but these were not filed for record and the land is mentioned in the wil. Everything is divided equally among the children.
Cemetery records have the name as Van Grundy. The grave site is located in Lot 3 Blk 12 where son, Elmer, and his wife, Ida, are buried beside John and Sarah.