CHARLES LUNDY GUNN, who for a number of years has successfully and energetically combined farming with milling, is a resident of Great Bend and represents one of the early families established in Barton County.
Mr. Gunn was born in LaSalle County, Illinois, August 24, 1859, is of old and sturdy American stock, and came to Kansas with his parents at the age of seventeen.
His father, Levi Gunn, who is still active as a farmer seven miles west of Great Bend, was born in Massachusetts in July, 1833, of New England ancestry. His father, Windsor Gunn, moved to Brattleboro, Vermont, when Levi was but a small child and several years later brought his family west to Davenport, Iowa. When Levi was well grown the family moved to LaSalle County, Illinois, where Windsor Gunn spent the rest of his life as a farmer and where he died about 1868, at the age of sixty. He was a quiet, hard working farmer, a good citizen, and lived usefully if uneventfully. He began voting as a whig and later was a republican. The maiden name of his wife was Abigail Osgood, and they were the parents of four sons and two daughters. Their son Cyrus was a Union Soldier in the Civil war. Another son became a successful lawyer in Illinois, and still another was a farmer there. A daughter, Mrs. Lucy Ullery, came to Kansas at an early date and after a brief residence in Clay County moved to Barton County, where she is still living.
Levi Gunn, who was the only one of the sons to abandon Illinois and identify himself with the plains of Kansas, started life with a common school education and has been well satisfied to devote his active years to farming. When he came to Kansas in 1876 he made the journey by rail to Great Bend, where his carload of goods, including three horses and two cows, was unloaded. He invested his limited capital in Santa Fe Railroad land, on the partial payment plan, and established his first home on the west half of section 29, township 19, range 14. He has lived there forty-two years, has cultivated crops every year, and has achieved his ambition in the improvement of his farm and the making of a comfortable home. Even in times of adversity he never missed a payment on his land. Beyond his home farm his ambition did not extend to the possession of all land adjoining, and while his acquisitiveness has not been so pronounced as in the case of many early settlers, his interests and service to the community have been not less important on that account.
Levi Gunn was eager to get into the Civil war, but his family responsibilities kept him from enlisting. He first voted a whig ticket, and is one of the few original republicans still living in Western Kansas. But paramount to his interest in this party has been his many years of advocacy of prohibition, and he feels a proportionate satisfaction in the recent measures which have given prohibition a nation-wide enforcement. He is orthodox in his religions views, and in every way has supported the moral and righteous institutions of his community. Even though well past fourscore years, he has manifested the keenest interest in the great and vital problems of the present day, and during America's participation in the World war he was glad to bear his modest share of the burdens in taking war securities and in supporting other forms of auxiliary work.
In LaSalle County, Illinois, Levi Gunn married for his first wife Miss Sarah K. Wierman, daughter of William and Susan M. (Lundy) Wierman. Charles Lundy Gunn has every reason to be proud of the fact that he is a great-grandson of Benjamin Lundy, one of the earliest and foremost among American abolitionists. It is therefore not out of place to note some of the facts concerning the life of Benjamin Lundy.
He was born at Hardwick, New Jersey, in January, 1789, and died at Lowell, Illinois, August 22, 1839. He was reared by Quaker parents. At the age of nineteen he went to Wheeling, Virginia, and worked as a saddler's apprentice. While there he became convinced of the evil of slavery and resolved that his great work should be in combating that institution. At St. Clairville, Ohio, not far from Wheeling, he organized an anti-slavery society called "The Union Humane Society." He also wrote an appeal on the subject of slavery, and became a contributor of anti-slavery articles to the Philanthropist at Mount Pleasant, Ohio. During the agitation over the admission of Missouri as a state he went to St. Louis and devoted much time to the exposition of the evils of slavery in articles published in Illinois and Missouri newspapers. On returning to Mount Pleasant he began the publication of the Genius of Universal Emancipation, the office of which was soon moved to Jonesboro, Tennessee, and in 1826 to Baltimore. About that time he went to Hayti to arrange with its government for the reception of "freed" slaves. During 1828 he made a lecture tour in the east, and while there met William Lloyd Garrison, with whom he was later associated in editing the Liberator. Benjamin Lundy did a work for abolition which entitles him to a place in American history alongside Garrison and other prominent leaders of that cause. While in the east at Baltimore he was assaulted by Austin Woolfolk, a pro-slavery man, and was almost killed. The judge who tried the case censured Lundy indirectly as the aggressor, and he was compelled to move his paper to Washington and finally to Philadelphia, where he gave it the name of The National Inquirer. It subsequently was merged into The Pennsylvania Freeman. In 1829 he took several freed slaves with him to Hayti and the following year visited the Wilberforce Colony of fugitive slaves in Canada. He made a visit to Texas to provide similar asylum under the Mexican flag, and made a second visit to the southwest in 1838. His efforts in that connection failed because of the movement which gave Texas independence from Mexico. In 1838 his paper was burned by the pro-slavery mob that fired Pennsylvania Hall in Philadelphia, and during the winter of 1838-39 he moved his residence to Lowell, Illinois. It was his intention to continue the publication of the Genius there, but his plans were frustrated by his death. The outstanding achievements associated with his name were that he was the first to establish anti-slavery periodicals and to deliver anti-slavery lectures and the first to urge the formation of societies to encourage the produce of free labor.
The first wife of Levi Gunn died the mother of three children: William W., a farmer and stockman at Weber, Kansas; Charles L., of Great Bend; and Francis L., who died in Barton County in 1916, leaving a family. Levi Gunn married for his second wife Sarah Lewis. She died December 9, 1900. Her children were: Lewis J., of Bonami, Louisiana; Howard A., who died at Great Bend in November, 1917, leaving two children; Lucy, who is the wife of M. L. Harrison, of Great Bend, and has five children; and Fred A., a farmer on the home place, who is married and has one child.
Charles Lundy Gunn during his early life in Illinois attended such schools as the neighborhood afforded. He also attended school in Kansas, and up to the age of twenty lived at his father's farm. At that time he inherited one-third of a half section of land, and buying a team began its cultivation. After that he was regularly engaged in the work of farming until September, 1905. At that date be bought a controlling interest in the Barton County Flour Mills, and at once entered upon his new business with all the energy and enthusiasm of his nature. After a year he had full charge of the mills, and later his eldest sons were associated with him. One of them, Leonard, is still in the mill and assistant manager. The Barton County Flour Mills have a capacity of 400 barrels daily. During the World war much of this product was turned over to the Government in aid of the food conservation movement. The mill employs about fifteen men, and the industry has been no small factor in the importance of Great Bend as an industrial center.
For all the demands made upon his time and energy by the mill Mr. Gunn has never abandoned farming, but has continued to manage a 1,000 acre farm, and has grown wheat and other crops in connection with cattle feeding. All his wheat has been ground in his own mills since he entered that business. One fact that indicates his energy as a food producer was in raising a crop of corn almost sufficient to fatten twenty carloads of cattle on ground where a crop of wheat had died out the winter before, this having been done chiefly to increase the food supply in pursuance to the urgent request of the government in 1917 to produce more food.
Mr. Gunn is a director of the First National Bank of Great Bend at the present time. He has never joined a secret order or identified himself with any church, and yet on the score of practical morality he has been distinguished by adherence both to the positive and negative virtues. He has never played a game of cards, never smoked nor chewed tobacco, never taken a drink of liquor and has never been ambitious for proficiency in any of the so-called manly accomplishments. He has always been a republican and a strong prohibitionist.
M. Gunn was a member of the Great Bend War Council and is chairman of the Home Service Committee of the Red Cross. His son, Edwin Ray Gunn, enlisted the day following the declaration of war on Germany, volunteering in Company C of the National Guard. Before leaving home he was transferred to the One Hundred and Thirty-Seventh Aero Squadron, went overseas in March, 1918, was in intensive training in England till the fall of 1918, and since then has been in France and at last reports was with the Army of Occupation.
In March, 1882, Mr. Gunn married in Barton County Miss Frances A. Lee. Mrs. Gunn was born in Ohio December 27, 1862, daughter of Elisha B. and Ann (Shields) Lee. Walter L. Gunn, the oldest of Mr. and Mrs. Gunn's children, lives at Huntington Park, California, and is married and has a daughter, Frances. Leonard L. has already been mentioned as associated with his father in the mill. He married Beulah Benefield and has four children, Charles, Maurice, Richard and Marjorie. Miss Grace Gunn is a teacher in the Great Bend schools. The next in age is the soldier, Edwin Ray. Nellie, the youngest, is a student in Kansas University.
Transcribed from A Standard History of Kansas and Kansans, written and compiled by William E. Connelley, Secretary of the Kansas State Historical Society, Topeka. [Revised ed.] Chicago: Lewis Publishing Co., 1919, c1918. 5 v. (xlviii, 2530 p.,  leaves of plates): ill., maps (some fold.), ports.; 27 cm.
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