James F. Gunby, president of the Altoona State Bank, is a Kansan by birth and a native son of Wilson county, born Sept. 5, 1871. The Gunby family is of English descent and contributed to the heroes of the Revolution, Colonel Gunby bearing a gallant and conspicuous part at the battle of Camden. Joseph H. Gunby, the father of James F., was a farmer, merchant and banker. Born in Missouri he came to Kansas, in April, 1861, and served in the Kansas state militia during the Civil war as the captain of a company. Immediately upon coming to this state he bought land, which he continued to own up to the time of his death, March 3, 1906, and for years was engaged as a merchant and banker at Buffalo, Wilson county, where he was well known and highly respected. For the most part his allegiance was given to the Republican party, but in later years he was a free silver man. He and his wife, who was Elvira D. Welch, were members of the Methodist Episcopal church. She died in 1827. She was a daughter of Peter Welch, one of the earliest of Kansas pioneers who moved to this state from Missouri, in 1858, and here experienced all the privations and hardships incident to pioneer life. The country was then still full of Indians and game abounded everywhere. There is an apple orchard still standing which Peter Welch, with provident forethought and with the spirit of development, planted nearly a half century ago. James W. Gunby, the paternal grandfather and a native of Delaware, came to Missouri, in 1836, but never came to Kansas. He was a farmer and a mechanic by occupation and died at Shelbyville, Mo.
James F. Gunby completed a common school education in Wilson county and then attended the Sanders Normal College, at Fort Scott, two years. After teaching one term of school he was associated with his father in the mercantile business until January, 1896, when he engaged in the banking business at Buffalo, remaining there until 1904. That year he established the Altoona State Bank and has since been identified with it, as its president. He has given the subject of finance careful study, and with that knowledge and his natural gift of good business judgment, he has made a success of banking. The Altoona State Bank has a capital of $15,000 and a surplus of $6,000. Besides his bank stock he also owns a good farm in Wilson county.
In June, 1897, was celebrated the marriage of Mr. Gunby and Miss Frances A. Spillman, a daughter of John W. Spillman. Mr. Spiliman was a farmer and an early settler in Wilson county and resided near Coyville at the time of his death, in 1901. The union of Mr. and Mrs. Gunby has been blessed with five sonsMerl, Kenneth, Donald, Dean and Wayneall of whom are in school, except Wayne. Mrs. Gunby is a member of the Methodist Episcopal church. Mr. Gunby sustains fraternal membership in the Independent Order of Odd Fellows and the Knights of Pythias, and has held all the offices of both orders. He is a Republican in his political views, but takes no decided interest in party affairs. He is interested in that which pertains to the public welfare of his community, however, and while a resident of Buffalo served as a member of the school board, and has served one term as mayor of Altoona. As a financier his integrity is unquestioned and as a citizen he is both prominent and highly respected.Pages 726-727 from volume III, part 1 of Kansas: a cyclopedia of state history, embracing events, institutions, industries, counties, cities, towns, prominent persons, etc. ... / with a supplementary volume devoted to selected personal history and reminiscence. Standard Pub. Co. Chicago : 1912. 3 v. in 4. : front., ill., ports.; 28 cm. Vols. I-II edited by Frank W. Blackmar. Transcribed December 2002 by Carolyn Ward. This volume is identified at the Kansas State Historical Society as microfilm LM195. It is a two-part volume 3.
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