Frederick Funston

FREDERICK FUNSTON, the most distinguished soldier who has ever gone forth from Kansas, was born at New Carlisle, Ohio, November 9, 1865, a son of Edward H. and Ann E. (Mitchell) Funston. When two years old his parents removed to Kansas, and in 1885 he became a student in the State University. He also attended the University in 1889-90, after which he was employed as a newspaper reporter in Kansas City, and the next year was botanist with the Death Valley expedition. General Funston was commissioned by the United States Agricultural Department, in 1893, to explore Alaska and report on the flora. When this work was completed he went to Cuba, where he served for eighteen months in the insurgent army in 1896-97, receiving promotions to captain, major and lieutenant colonel. Having received a wound, he returned to the United States, and when the war was declared against Spain he was commissioned colonel of the Twentieth Kansas Infantry on May 20, 1898. His regiment was ordered to the Philippines and on May. 2, 1899, Colonel Funston was promoted to brigadier general of volunteers for his bravery in crossing the Rio Grande River at Calumpit on a small raft and establishing a rope ferry in the face of a severe fire. He organized and led the expedition that captured Emilio Aguinaldo, the insurgent leader, and on April 1, 1901, was commissioned brigadier general in the regular army. In that year he returned to the United States and commanded in succession the departments of the Colorado, the Columbia, the Lakes, the Southwest, and California. In 1911-13 he was military head of the Department of Luzon and in 1913-14 that of Hawaii. In January of the latter year he was appointed commander of the Second Division, United States army, and in April was placed in charge of the Vera Cruz expedition, sent to Mexico because of the Villa-Huerta complications. He was military governor of the city until November, 1914; was raised to the rank of major-general in the regular army the same month, and in February, 1915, placed in general command of the United States forces along the Mexican border. Subsequently he had command of the expeditionary force which crossed the border into Mexico and which was actively led by General Pershing. While thus having general supervision of the border forces of the American army, whether regular or comprising the regiments of the National Guard, General Funston suddenly died at his headquarters in San Antonio, Texas, February 19, 1917.


A Standard History of Kansas and Kansans, written and compiled by William E. Connelley, Secretary of the Kansas State Historical Society, Topeka. Chicago: Lewis Publishing Company, copyright 1918; transcribed October, 1997.
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