Joseph at age 3, lived with older brother, Charles, and his new bride, Rachel, following the death of their mother. Following Rachel's death 4 years later, he went to Iowa to live with his 18 year old sister, Amelia Neal, who had married 2 years prior.
He fought in the Civil War and was in the battle of Pea Ridge, Arkansas. It was there he was wounded in the leg one night. The following morning doctors decided to remove the leg and from that time on, he used a wooden leg. A niece remembered opening a closet door after he died and the leg tumbled out.
It is unknown when he returned to the Monticello, Piatt Co, IL, area but most of his history can be found there where he is often called "Mr. Van Gundy."
6/1/1870 Monticello, IL was where the census taker found him at age 25 and living with the family of sister, Mary and John Painter. At that time he was a teacher.
He had several other occupations in his lifetime:
He operated a grocery store which he later sold to A.B. Binder.
He was a druggist in partnership with a German immigrant named Bohn.
4/10/1872 He was the Treasurer of Monticello and also spent some time as county clerk.
7/9/1873 He was a charter member of the Fraternal Encampment #145, I.O.O.F. Lodge and immediately elected as a presiding officer, that of C.P. He was installed in the same office again 1/2/1882. The membership at that time totaled 30 and met twice a month in the Odd-Fellow's hall over J.A. Brown's store.
1877 He was listed as County Treasurer.
6/9/1880 Monticello Twp, Piatt Co, IL. In the census, he is listed as a druggist born in Ohio with parents both born in Germany. Joseph Van Gundy, 35, with wife Dora, 25, and 9m old Ella. Also living there was boarder, Viola Walker, 20, house worker.
11/1899 From the newspaper:
"The following Odd Fellows from Monticello registered at the Piatt hotel last night on their way home from the grand encampment in Springfield.....J T VanGundy."
1898-1912 He seved as postmaster of Monticello.
On 12/26/1905 the Decatur Herald reported that "Postmaster Vangundy has been notified by the post office department that the two new rural routes will be installed January 2, 1906."
6/22/1906 "J T VanGundy spent Sunday with his sons in Ottawa." according to the newspaper.
Joe outlived his wife and young children so his estate was divided among 34 nieces and nephews, $400 of which was received by John Neal. Owen Van Gundy said he received $200.