Pages 519-522, transcribed by Carolyn Ward from History of Allen and Woodson Counties, Kansas: embellished with portraits of well known people of these counties, with biographies of our representative citizens, cuts of public buildings and a map of each county / Edited and Compiled by L. Wallace Duncan and Chas. F. Scott. Iola Registers, Printers and Binders, Iola, Kan.: 1901; 894 p., [36] leaves of plates: ill., ports.; includes index.


  WOODSON COUNTIES, KANSAS. 519 cont'd

FREDERICK FUNSTON.

FREDERICK FUNSTON, whose brilliant achievements as a volunteer officer in the United States army in the Philippines have attracted the admiring attention of all the world, is an Allen county boy, and his old friends and neighbors are justly proud of him. He was born in Ohio in 1865, the oldest child of Hon. Edward H. and Ann Eliza Funston, but he came to Kansas with his parents when only two years old and hence has never known any other home. He grew up on the Carlyle farm, attending the district school at North Maple Grove during the winter months and doing his share of the farm work during the summer. He was quick in his books and ambitious to obtain an education; so at an early age he had mastered the course of study in the country school and entered the High School at Iola from which he graduated in 1886. Perhaps the first inde-

520 HISTORY OF ALLEN AND  

pendent work in which he engaged was to teach the school at the little stone school house, half way between Humboldt and Iola, known all over the county as "Stoney Lonesome," from its material and its location, and a picture of which as it now appears is presented on another page in this history. As soon as he could accumulate some money with which to defray expenses he started to the State University which he attended at different times for the next three or four years, but from which he never graduated. After leaving the University finally Funston engaged in newspaper work as a reporter, work which pleased him well and for which he had a peculiar aptitude. After continuing in the newspaper business, at Kansas City and at Fort Smith, Arkansas, for some time, he secured a better paid position as collector on the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe which he held until the summer of 1890, when he gave it up to accept an appointment as assistant with a party of botanists sent out from Washington to secure specimens of the native grasses of Montana. He did this work so well, that when another party was detailed to go to the Death Valley region the following summer on a similar expedition, he was made a member of it. The hardships of this expedition were so great that of the party of uncommonly hardy men who entered upon it more than one-half were permanently disabled in either mind or body, but Funston fortunately escaped sound and well. The next summer was spent among the Indians on the Alaskan coast, still in the employ of the Agricultural department, collecting specimens of the flora of the region. This work he did so well that when the Department wished to know what was growing in the interior of Alaska Funston was selected for the arduous and dangerous task. It was not a pleasant commission. It meant eighteen months of exile, many thousand miles of travel, largely through an unexplored country, and a winter the other side of the Arctic circle. But Funston entered upon it with his usual cheerfulness and energy. He climbed the famous Chilcoot pass, built a sled and pulled and sailed it across the frozen lakes, built a boat and floated it through the White Horse rapids,—a journey so full of toil and terrors that thousands of strong men have failed to survive it—and joked about it in the letters he wrote home. He spent the long, long winter in an Indian village, where he was the only white man, taking for diversion the longest snow shoe journey ever made by a white man, barely escaping death from cold, exhaustion and starvation. When the slow spring finally came he set about gathering the plants for which he was sent, eventually floating down the Yukon to its mouth where he was picked up by the United States revenue cutter Bear, and returned home by way of San Francisco, the expedition having been entirely successful.

Resigning his position in the Agricultural department, Mr. Funston spent the winter of 1894-5 on the lecture platform, telling the story of his Alaskan experiences. The summer and fall of 1895 he spent trying to organize a company to engage in the coffee business in Central America on a large scale. The enterprise required a large sum of money and times were too hard to make success possible. Funston therefore gave up the project and went to New York where he was engaged for several months in

  WOODSON COUNTIES, KANSAS. 521

writing newspaper and magazine articles and doing some work in the office of the Santa Fe railroad company. While thus employed he became acquainted with the Cuban Junta, then engaged in promoting in all possible ways the revolt of the people of that island against Spain. The cause enlisted his sympathies and he was easily persuaded to accept a commission as captain of artillery in the insurgent army. Proceeding at once to Cuba he engaged in the contest with so much zeal and ability that within eighteen months he held a commission as Lieutenant Colonel and was in command of all the artillery of General Gomez' army. The distinction had not been won without paying the price. Twice the young artillery officer had been wounded, once by a fragment of a shell which shattered his left fore-arm, and once by a Mauser bullet, which penetrated both lungs, passing within three-quarters of an inch of his heart. He had suffered an attack of typhoid fever also, but it was a fall with his horse that finally sent him back to New York, with a running abscess in his hip and with constitution apparently permanently wrecked. He went at once into a hospital where he submitted to an operation, and where he gradually gained strength enough to return to his home in Kansas. Although still far from well, he went upon the lecture platform, pleading the cause of the Cubans.

When the war with Spain broke out and Kansas was called upon to furnish her quota of the troops required, Frederick Funston was appointed without solicitation by Governor John W. Leedy, Colonel of the Twentieth Kansas, the first Kansas regiment to be raised for service in the Spanish war. Soon after his appointment Colonel Funston was summoned to Tampa, Florida, by General Miles, and for several weeks was engaged in writing some chapters in the book on the roads and topography of Cuba which the War department published for the use of the army in case it was found necessary to invade Cuba. He then joined his regiment which had been ordered to San Francisco. After several months in camp, spent in ceaseless drilling, the Twentieth was ordered to Manila, where it arrived about the first of December, 1899, and was made a part of the Eighth Army Corps.

From this time forth the history of Frederick Funston belongs to the history of the United States, rather than merely to a history of Allen county, or of Kansas, for from the hour when the Filipinos foolishly rebelled against the authority of the United States, the Colonel of the Twentieth became a National figure. Suffice it here to say that he led his splendid regiment with such energy, skill and soldierly daring that within six months from the time the first shot was fired he was made a Brigadier General of Volunteers. When the Twentieth came home to be mustered out, in November, 1899, Funston came with it, expecting also to retire from the service, as his term of enlistment had expired. The War department, however, requested him to return to the Philippines and resume command of his old brigade, and this, much against his inclinations and at great financial sacrifice, he did, regarding the request as a command of duty. Returning to Manila he was placed in control of one of the northern provinces of Luzon, with headquarters at San Isidro, where he exerted his

522 HISTORY OF ALLEN AND  

efforts to pacifying the country with such energy and efficiency that in a short time the province was noted as one of the quietest and best governed on the island. In the spring of 1901 General Funston regarded the insurrection as practically at an end and was looking forward to an early return to his home and to civil life, when news was brought to him of the whereabouts of Aguinaldo, the chief of the insurrection. He instantly formed a plan to capture him, and this plan, with the approval of his superior officers, he successfully carried out. The exploit was so daring and so successful, that the whole world rang with it, and the name of Frederick Funston became as familiar in every court and camp of Europe as it is in Allen county. In prompt and grateful recognition of the splendid service he had done his country President McKinley appointed him a Brigadier General in the regular army,—a fitting reward for patriotic, gallant and wonderfully able public service.

Frederick Funston was married, only a few days before his regiment sailed for the Philippines, to Miss Eda Blankhart, of San Francisco, a lady of rare culture and beauty, who is now with her husband in the Philippines.


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Pages 519-522, transcribed by Carolyn Ward from History of Allen and Woodson Counties, Kansas: embellished with portraits of well known people of these counties, with biographies of our representative citizens, cuts of public buildings and a map of each county / Edited and Compiled by L. Wallace Duncan and Chas. F. Scott. Iola Registers, Printers and Binders, Iola, Kan.: 1901; 894 p., [36] leaves of plates: ill., ports.; includes index.


Tom & Carolyn Ward
Columbus, KS

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