Van Gundy Family Tree

Notes for Joseph VAN GUNDY

Residences & events in his life:

Lancaster Co, PA

Pleasant Twp, Columbus, OH

1828 Myersville, Newell twp, Vermilion Co, IL. Joseph selected land on the North Fork of the Vermilion river, built a cabin on the land he entered and went back to his home in OH.
Winter, 1828. Eugene, Vermillion Co, IN. Descendants say the family spent the winter there before crossing the Wabash River to IL.

Mid 1829 Myersville. Migrating with his in-laws and other family members, Joseph brought the family to their new home, being among the first settlers of the area. Other siblings and his father would soon follow.

The History of Rossville, IL says they were the first whites to homestead in the area, Indians were their only neighbors. When daughter Susan was born the Indians came to "gaze on this wonder--a white papoose." (Actually 2 other children were born there before Susannah.)

1840 Vermilion Co, IL. That census listed Joseph with a large family consisting of: 1 male under 5, 1 was 5-10, 1 at 10-15, 2 were 15-20, 1 at 20-30, 1 at 30-40, Jacob at 40-50, 1 male aged 70-80, possibly his father, 1 female under 5, 1 at 5-10, 1 was 15-20 and 1 at 30-40. Down the road was brother-in-law, William Nichols.

Another history said:

"Joseph came her to find a new country, where land would be cheap, and as soon as he got across the state line he expected to find things as he wanted. He took up the first land he could find, subject to 'squatter sovereignty,' or entry. He carried on farming very successfully, and acquired nine hundred acres of land; raised stock largely, bought and fed, but did not adopt the more hazardous and speculative undertakings; he sold his stock to drovers. He often sold to the Funks, to Williamson on Sugar Creek , to Ohio men and to others from Pennsylvania. He had two children when he came her and ten were born to them here, four of whom are now dead. of the eight living children all but one live in the county: Mrs. Isaac Chrisman, in Ross; Mrs Dr. Henton, in Danville; Mrs. John Davison and Mrs. Milton Lee, at Rossville."

Years later a family returning to OH from the west where they had lost everything, were advised to go to Danville and ask Joe Gundy to help them. Joe and Sally took them into their home and when their little girl became ill and died, Sally, remembering her own daughter left behind in IN, promised she would tend the grave as though it was her own. This she did and the Davison Cemetery was begun. Years later it became known as the Gundy Cemetery.

12/30/1850 Dist 21, Vermilion Co, IL. At census time Joseph was listed as a 53 year old farmer, born in PA, with real estate worth $10,000. Wife Sarah was 46 and the family consisted of Andrew, 20, Susannah, 16, Thomas, 17, Mariah, 14, Joseph, 12, Jane, 9, Frances, 7, and Catherine, 4. Also living there were William Edwards, 20, farmer, nephew Thomas Bivans, 25, probably worked on the farm, and Margaret Deek, 22, possibly a servant. Three doors down was James Davidson, 43, probably Sally's brother.

1852-1854 Myersville. Joseph owned an interest in a store there.

Joseph was a client of Abraham Lincoln during the 1840s and 50s. Apparently Joseph had given Lincoln money with which to pay his state taxes in Springfield and Lincoln refunded the excess. The letter donated to the University of IL library, dated Sept 23, 1845, is the earliest in the library's Lincoln collection and states:

"Dear old friend:

Enclosed you find twentyone dollars and thirtyone cents, the full amount, after expenses & postage.

Very Respectfully,
A. Lincoln"

1860 Ross Twp, near Danville, Vermilion Co, IL. Township lines may have shifted rather than the family moving as some of the neighbors were still the same. The census listed Joseph at 63, still farming, and his estate had grown to $25,000/6000, a huge amount for the day. Living with him were daughters SJ, 20, and Catherine, 13, son FM, 16, and Elizabeth Davidson, 20, Robert Davidson, 16, male MV Canada, 21, and William Gilland, 55. All the extras had property of their own. Next door was James Davison, 54, also a huge property owner.

The History of Vermilion Co, IL says: "Joseph Gundy, Sen., died at Myersville in 1865, closing a useful and successful life."

Copyright 2010 by BJ Van Gundy

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