David was the originator of the central Illinois branch of Van Gundys. His occupation was miller but he was also listed as a farmer in the census records.
Residences and events in his life:
1791 Somerset Co, PA.
1801-1805 Ross Co, OH. Both of his parents' families, Van Gundys and Wisslers, moved from PA to OH.
1812 S Bloomfield, Pickaway Co, OH. His father bought the grist mill there on the Scioto River, near the bridge.
1820 David was not listed in the Ohio census so he was either still at home, on his way to New Orleans, or had already arrived and was counted down there. His father, living in Harrison Twp, Pickaway Co, OH, at that time, had in his houshold, Ann Denny, a family friend and roundabout relative who apparently never married, and the neighbors were Coonrods.
Abt 1820-1821 David and friend, next door neighbor, David Denny (half brother to Hannah Denny), took a flat-boat load of pork from below Chillicothe, OH, to N Orleans, LA, and never went back. He migrated back up the Mississippi to Madison Co, IL. David Denny became the captain of a river packet and later died in New Orleans of yellow fever.
Abt 1821 Madison Co, IL. He arrived at the "American Bottom" near St Louis where he met Ohio neighbors, the Coonrods, who arrived in 1818. Shortly after, he married their daughter.
11/14/1823 Morgan Co, IL was his residence when he purchased 80 acres in Scott Co, IL, for $80. The Bur of Land Mgt has the certificate of transfer dated 4/15/1824 for the following: E½SE 27/ 15-N 13-W No 3rd PM IL Scott
The Bluffs, IL, Centenial book recorded his arrival: "Another early settler was David VanGundy who built a home and a mill. The mill was propelled by water furnished by the stream which comes down from Neeleyville-one branch of Wolf Run Creek. Across this stream, quite a distance above the mill, a dam was constructed which collected the water and preserved a supply to furnish the power for the mill."
Another entry tells the story a little differently: "Among these (early settlers) was David VanGundy, father of 'Squire' Adam VanGundy and progenitor of the VanGundy family. He entered 80 acres on Sept.10, 1831, and on this site he built a home and a mill, which was
a useful thing in those days."
A family history written by a Vannier descendant states: "Paralee (it was actually Mary Ann, Paralee was Mary Ann's mother) was married to David VanGundy and they settled at the foot of the 'Mills' hill on an eighty acres of land without previously entering it, in 1829, Mr. VanGundy though he was a 'squatter' erected a mill on Killmormocks run and other improvements and had accumilated quite an extensive trade in supplying meal in the surrounding community, until one day along came a man from unknown parts with a title to said eighty acres, which also meant that all improvements were included. it was soon noised around about what a predicament Mr. VanGundy was in and the following evening
a large gathering of the neighbors quietly gathered, loaded up the mill on ox-carts together with all other movable improvements and by day light the next morning Mr. VanGundy lived on his future homestead one half mile east of where Bluffs, Illinois now stands and the mill
was quietly grinding away."
The obituary of son, Adam, mentioned the mill as well: "When a boy he (Adam) tended the mill his father owned, and which was erected on the old home place, it being the only mill at that time between Quincy and Springfield, people driving and bringing their wheat as far as 60 miles to have it ground."
The History of Morgan County in an article about the first railroad in Illinois, the Northern Cross, said "the division of the road beginning at the Illinois River, at this place, and extending to Van Gundy's, the first station east of here---about a mile east of where Bluff City now stands was subcontracted....." And again, "The work began at Meredosia, on the Illinois River. There were two passes in the bluff, called Taylor's and Van Gundy's. That by Taylor's was the cheapest and best, but it would not touch several tracts of wild land that belonged to some of the magnates, and it was located up Van Gundy's Run...."
The same history in an article about Neelyville's coal mine says: "When the shaft was first opened quite a number of miners were employed. These men boarded at Van Gundy--a town which was near the present town of Bluff City, in Scott County."
1824 Morgan Co, IL. David voted in the Mauvaisterre Pct along with his in-laws: Adam, George, and William Coonrod.
1830 Morgan Co, IL, no township listed. At census time his household consisted of 1 male 30-40, 3 males under 5, 1 female 30-40, and 2 females 5-10. Living next door was the Scobey family, future in-laws of son, John, and a few doors down was brother-in-law, Adam Coonrod. The George Ohler family lived 2 doors down. Orphaned brother-in-law, Jonas Coonrod, was counted at David's house but according to descendants he was living with his Uncle Adam Coonrod at that time.
9/10/1831 He continued amassing land in Scott Co but still lived in Morgan. On this date he bought another 80 acres at S15 T15N R13W, paying $100.
7/2/1836 and 7/29/1836 He added to his holdings in Scott Co, IL with 2 more plats, each 40 acres and $50 apiece. They were located at S22 T15N R13W and S11 T15N R13W.
1837 There was a country wide financial crash which completely demoralized values. We do not know the financial status of David before or after the crash but as with most settlers, he built his own house, raised his own food, and met his own needs.
4/14/1839 David sold 10 acres to John B. Merris for $50.00.
1840 Winchester, Scott Co, IL, was his address at census time.
11/4/1842 He sold 134 acres to the State Bank of Illinois for $355.00.
3/5/1847 David bought the land of widow, Mary Troy at public auction with dower rights of $192.00/year each year of her natural life.
3/23/1848 He sold 40 acres of Mary Troy's land to his future son-in-law, John Smallwood, with the same dower rights.
1848-1849 George Van Gundy, nephew and son of brother, Daniel, was sent to live with David following the death of his parents. Daniel died in Ohio but the mother moved with the family to Piatt Co, IL, under the care of the oldest son, Charles Wesley, then only 19. She also died shortly thereafter, the children distributed among family and friends to be raised.
10/16/1850 Oxoille, Scott Co, IL. At census time David was 59 years old, Mary was 53. Their children were George, 23, Daniel, 22, John, 20, Adam, 19, and Martha, 18. Living with them were the orphaned children of brother-in-law, Daniel Coonrod: Henry, 17, and Sarah, 20; and of course, nephew, George Van Gundy, then 8. David's property was valued at $1000. Daughter, Mary Smallwood, and her family lived next door while on other side was the Margaret Ohler family. Margaret would later become David's second wife and her daughter would marry David's son, Adam.
6/17/1851 David sold 134 acres to "Dederich Vautier" (actually Detrick Vannier) for $1850.00. Detrich married David's granddaughter, Ada Van Gundy.
11/22/1853 Scott Co, IL. David bought 40 acres of Federal land at S11 R13W T15N for $1.25/acre. His residence was also Scott Co at that time.
8/24/1854 He bought 40 more acres of public domain land, paying $50 for the property located at S14 T15N R13W.
1860 Naples P.O., Scott Co, IL. At age 69 at census time, he had retired from farming. Wife Margaret was 58 and they lived alone. Daniel's property valued that year was $2000/$1500.
David may not have moved while his place of residence changed from county to county as the borders shifted throughout his lifetime.
A rift must have developed among David's children, Adam vs the rest. They all sold their lands and were gone by 1870. George went to the next county, the rest travelling farther east, landing in various Illinois counties. Adam's family never again spoke of their relatives to later generations.
David spent his last days with his son, George.
The cemetery is a beautiful little plot on the top of a bluff, not visable from anywhere below, surrounded by trees and farm land. It contains mostly family and friends from the area, nearly all names being familiar.