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Life on the Farm When the Children of Geo. K. and Estella M. Bunce Were Growing Up
The Bunce Family (continued in part 2)
Jackson Line (continued in part 4)
Loomis Line (continued in part 5)
Generations, Lines of Descent and Nationalities [omitted here]
Kansas Maps [omitted here]
New York Maps [omitted here]
Memorabilia [copies of death, marriage certificates, etc. omitted here]
Pictures [34 pages made on photocopier, some of those old photos are included in the biographies here]
Our count of names in this genealogy indicates there are 1,251 names listed.
This Bunce genealogy was made possible by having a collection of family histories, Bible records and many old letters containing records of the Bunce family and related lines left by our parents; also records developed by Leslie R. Bunce, spare time, over the past forty years, during which time he compiled a short Bunce genealogy and revised it once. We have done research work recently too.
We wish to thank our cousins and other family connections who furnished records. They were most helpful. Their names:
|Mrs. Freda (Bunce) Myrick||Mrs. Nina (Delong) Liggett|
|Mrs. Josie (Miller) Liebhardt||Mr. Lloyd Millhollen|
|Mrs. Sylvia (Flitch) Von Tungeln||Mrs. Earl Bunce|
|Mrs. Naomi (Williams) Bunce||Mrs. Gladys McClelland|
|Mrs. Evalee (Bailey) Taylor||Members of our immediate family|
Bonnie M. Bunce, daughter of Leslie R. Bunce, even though the time she had to devote to this work was limited because of being employed, was able to develop some early family histories that were needed to make this record more complete, so she also had an important part in this work.
Finding the names and interesting information in the old letters dating back as far as the 1890's and combining them with the rest of the histories was a difficult task involving many hours of work and requiring the use of over 600 family history work sheets. Many of them were mailed to other people to gain information; some were not returned. Leslie's familiarity with the subject made a record this complete possible.
Vida E. Bunce, sister of Leslie R. Bunce, did a great deal of the work involved in typing the manuscript from the work sheets, writing the histories and editorial work. She helped with other work on this project, also. It could not have been completed without her help.
Insofar as we can determine, this is the first comprehensive genealogy of our branch of the Bunce family; it includes maps, pictures, histories, over 1,200 names and six generations of the Bunces in the G. K. Bunce branch, more generations in some of the other branches.
Our aim was to compile a record as complete as possible and with accuracy in mind. We decided to publish all we have accumulated so far, then keep searching for the records of earlier family members. We would be glad to hear from anyone who has additional information that we may include in a supplement or a revised copy of this history.
We had more pictures, which we planned to have in this record but they are missing. If we locate them, they will be included in any future issue of the record. We hope younger members add names to this history as needed and that members whose list is incomplete add a supplement to complete their genealogy.
This is a brief history of names in general and of the Bunce name. It is believed that primitive personal names originated soon after the invention of spoken language. The time of their first use was in the ages before recorded history. For thousands of years, given names were the only names used but with increased population, there came a need for more specific designations.
Surnames were added to a first name to indicate family relationships or descent. Most surnames originated from: (1) those formed from the first name of the father; (2) those derived from occupation; (3) those describing personal characteristics; and (4) those taken from the place of residence.
In England, those names date from about the year 1000 but were not universal by 1465. Most of them were introduced from Normandy, France, although Saxon surnames are recorded before the Norman Conquest.
Surnames became symbols of all the individual families stood for, associated with accomplishments and traditions. They became the most treasured possessions to protect and fight for if necessary.
Various sources of information indicate that the first ancestor of people with the surname "Bunce" was French. Information which seems to verify the French origin is given: Poinz or De Pons from Pons, in the Saintonge, is listed on a roll of French soldiers involved in the Battle of Hastings where the Normans defeated the English in the year 1066; this was soon after surnames first began to be used. Four brothers, sons of Pons, went to England. Two of them, Drogo FitzPonce and Walter FitzPonce became barons. These people, descendants of the Lord of Pons, became the ancestors of the Cliffords, Burghs and Veseys. The name later became known as Bunce and Bounce.
The following are variations in spelling the name: Bone, Boon, Bun, Bunch, Bunche, Bune, Bunel, Bunes, Bunge (Dutch), Bunn (English), Bunne, Bunnes, Bunnell, Bunt, Bunts, Tuntz (German), and Bunz. The meaning of the name is a boon companion or good and spirited or gushing.
Characteristics of the Bunce family were reported to be courage, energy, determination, industry, perseverance, resourcefulness, initiative, fortitude, integrity, patience, and power of will. They were considered a wealthy family.
The early members of the Bunce family in America were Puritans. During the Reformation in England when the Church of England was established, the Puritans came into being. Puritans broke from, but did not totally separate from, the discipline and ceremonies of the church. Some Puritans were imprisoned and cruelly treated, so many of them fled to Germany, Switzerland and Geneva and chose the purer forms of the churches in the country where they decided to live. The fact that at some point in time the French name Pons was changed to the English spelling Bunce and Bunn and possibly about that time many Puritans, Bunces among them, left England and established the name in other countries may be the reason some researchers believe the family originated in one of the other countries Germany seems to have been their best guess. This is just speculation on our part.
The unbroken male line descendants of an ancestor who had the right to bear heraldic arms may use their ancestor's coat of arms by inheritance like they inherit anything else. A daughter, with no brothers, may inherit her father's coat of arms if she remains unmarried or combined with that of her husband if he has one, but her children may not inherit it. Women did not go to war in the Middle Ages so did not need coat armor. The mother's family arms may be used in the account of her descent. In the U.S. they may be registered as a trade mark or copyrighted. Such insignia could be a violation of the laws of another country if used outside the U.S.
Heraldry is of ancient origin. A surcoat with the embroidered insignia was worn over the metal armor for identification purposes. Many soldiers employed this device at the time of the Norman Conquest of England. In time laws were made in the different countries regarding them. It is an interesting subject but is too extensive to go into further here. There are many books on the subject.
Additional Note: At an early period of time parts of names were dropped or parts were changed and anglicized for utilitarian reasons.
In 1846 a 2,000-member Indian Tribe farmed near Wakarusa Creek. Late that year they were moved to a reservation twenty by thirty miles square, near the Greenwood Agency on the Osage River. It was bound on the north and east by two Indian reservations each and on the south, for some distance, and west by one Indian reservation each.
There was an Indian war in 1856 along Wakarusa Creek. Some Osage Indians left their reservation to plunder settlers until 1867. Other Indians caused trouble in the southern and eastern part of Kansas as late as 1869 or 1870. There were reports of Indians scalping and killing men settlers, taking their women and children with them and stealing livestock.
By the late 1850's Kansas was still only sparsely settled by white people with only an occasional settler's cabin to be seen. They suffered great hardships and some had to defend themselves against intruders.
One of the acts of violence by white men that took place as a result of the Civil War was the massacre of Lawrence, Kansas, population 2,000. Captain Clarke Quantrill with his 200 guerrillas along with 250 men from other such bands entered the town early in the morning of 21 August 1863, rudely awakening the residents by the noise they created. In a few hours they had killed 150 people, burned a large number of homes and in the business section left only two stores. Captain Quantrill's band and other guerrilla bands caused trouble along the southern and eastern part of Kansas until 1865. He also operated in Missouri and Kentucky. Army troops shot him and Quantrill died in Louisville, Kentucky 10 May 1865.
Peter Bunce and family moved from Yates County, New York to Tescumseh, Kansas in 1857, then moved to the farm in October 1858. It was about fifteen to twenty miles from Lawrence, Kansas and about ten miles from Wakarusa Creek. We have no record of the Indians or guerrillas causing them or other settlers in their immediate vicinity any trouble. The Bunce children did find a number of Indian arrowheads on the farm.
For a few months in 1867 John J. Bunce, son of Peter Bunce, Jr., served as an Army Indian Scout in Kansas and Colorado out of Fort Harker, Kansas.
COLONIAL PERIOD: On July 4, 1776, there were about 3,000,000 people in the 13 U. S. Colonies. Fighting for survival while carving settlements and farms out of the wilderness as well as building new homes, schools and business buildings, the pioneers had many problems with the Indians and wild animals so record keeping was not well organized.
[Additional Note: According to p. 185 of the book, John Adams by David McCullough, ©2001, Thorndike Press, in 1776, the population of the 13 American colonies was nearly 2,500,000 of which about 1 in 5 or 500,000 were slaves.]
Memories of being a small child living in the large house on this 160-acre farm and gradually becoming interested in watching and later involved in the activities on the farm are still with us.
In season the birds were a fascination with their different songs, types of nests and eggs of various sizes and colorsblue, brown, white, speckled brown and whitethere were meadowlarks, bob-whites, wrens, sparrows, black birds, brown thrush, orioles, robins, owls, chicken hawks, black crows, rain crows, buzzards, doves, geese, ducks, woodpeckers, humming birds, and the more colorful bluejays and red birds.
There are also memories of listening for the chirp of crickets and the music of locusts; in the evening watching bats dive for objects we threw at them; watching for small flashes of light of fireflies (lightening bugs) in the black night and trying to catch them; hunting for nests of baby rabbits and squirrels; sometimes found nests of baby snakes. One spring we took two baby squirrels from a nest and raised them. By summer they ran after us when we ran around the house and jumped on our shoulders. One night they disappeared, later one evening they returned a short time, looked down and chattered to us from the branches of a maple tree near the house as if to say goodbye, then disappeared again and did not return.
George K. Bunce said his father, Peter Bunce, when gathering wood along the creek, thought he saw a log, but it proved to be a huge snake. . . . history books report some rattlesnakes had 15 rattles. There were also water moccasins (cottonmouth), copperheads, blue racersa total of 10 to 12 species. While running one of us jumped over a small coiled rattlesnake and another time a big bull snake sunning himself. A water moccasin appeared in the creek where the boys just got out from swimming; a large bull snake was pitched with some hay on the wagon close to one of the boys who jumped off; we destroyed it when father pitched it back on the ground. The youngest child [Letha Bunce] was playing by the corner of the house outside the kitchen door when she screamed: "A big fishworm dropped on my head." We rushed to her and discovered a black snake about five feet long, was caught in the mesh of the wire fence a short distance from her. It had dropped about ten feet from the limb of the tree above her, hit her on the head and knocked her down. We destroyed it. It was common to see snakes which sometimes frightened us but we were never bitten.
We found many things to do when not busy with chores, such as making teepees from cornstalks with a thick carpet of fluff from cattails, climbing trees, swinging in swings hanging from tall tree limbs, making clay statues of red clay from the bank by the side of the road; Mother chose two or three to put on the organ in the parlor. Also pitching horse shoes, playing marbles, baseball, etc. There were few toys. In winter ice skating and sleigh riding were popular sports.
From six years of age we carried lunches in lard pails and walked about a mile and a half to Decker School, where one teacher taught all eight grades. To shorten the distance we crossed pastures, sometimes running from cattle who were not very tame, and sometimes sinking in snowdrifts so deep it was hard to get out of them.
There were an endless number of chores for children to perform. Some of them were feeding chickens and pigs, gathering eggs, hoeing in the garden, pulling weeds, getting the cows in from the pasture at milking time, picking fruit, gathering nuts, shelling dry beans, which we did by putting them in the wash tub and tramping on them with bare feet, gathering wood for the stoves, pumping water and carrying it from the well to the kitchen, helping at planting time and helping in the house.
At times when 10 or 12 years of age we mowed and raked hay, harrowed the fields, picked corn, helped put up hay in stacks, dug potatoes, etc. Our legs were so short it was hard to stay in the seats of those farm implements and drive a team of horses.
When cold weather arrived the boys set a string of steel traps near the creek and caught skunks, muskrats, possum and polecats, which they skinned and sold the furs. Other animals were coyotes, cottontail and jack rabbits, squirrels, gophers, raccoon, toads, moles and small land turtles. Father bought the boys a 22 rifle and also let them use his 10-gauge and 12-gauge shotguns for hunting. When small, the shotguns nearly knocked them backwards when shooting them.
Our shadow, old Shep, [a pet dog] refused to eat much after we children moved from the farm and soon died.
There were several species of fish in the creek including cat fish which we sometimes caught. There were also frogs and crayfish (crawdads).
Mother, sometimes with our help, washed our clothes, using a hand-operated washing machine or washed by hand on a washboard in a large portable tub. Our white clothes were boiled in a copper boiler. Ironing was done with a flatiron heated on the kitchen stove.
Even by the time we were growing up a doctor was seldom consulted. We lived in an era of when it was a matter of necessity for farmers to help each other as insurance against want.
Our seven-room house, which was located in the middle of a large fenced yard and surrounded by several tall maple and elm trees, was lighted at night by coal oil lamps. We used lanterns to see to perform outside chores when it was dark. The coal and wood kitchen range and heating stove in the living room provided heat for cooking and warmth. In coldest weather it took coal to keep the needed constant heat.
There were hedge rows and stone fences part way around our farm and stone fences between some of the fields, also there was another hedge row fence many feet tall that grew green hedge balls the size of baseballs. Two very tall cottonwood trees about 200 feet from the house were often hit by lightning.
It was about two or more miles to Watson, four miles to Tescumseh, and eight miles to Topeka which took over an hour to drive by horse and buggy, at all of which places we bought supplies. In Topeka which was a rather small city at that time, some streets were paved with red brick and there were red fire wagons drawn by horses.
Several horses, a one-horse buggy, a two-horse spring wagon, a big wagon with a box body and a hayrack which could be changed as needed and drawn by one or more teams of horses, depending upon the weight of the load, provided our transportation.
Our farm implements consisted mainly of a plow, hay rake, disc, planter, harrow and a mowing machine, all were drawn by horses; also had a corn sheller, feed grinder, hand tools and a grindstone which was a large round stone, shaped on the sides, in a frame with a handle in the middle of the stone for turning, used for sharpening knives, axes, scythes, etc.
Our main crops were alfalfa, clover, and prairie hay, corn, oats, kaffir corn and sometimes wheat. There was no irrigation and crops were dependent on the weather. We did diversified farming and sold many things.
In those days it was necessary for farmers to depend mostly on food they raised. Our food supply consisted of an ample supply of milk and butter; pork which we raised, butchered and processed. The surplus lard was used in cooking and for making soap. Usually there was an ample supply of chickens, eggs and cottontail rabbits. Sometimes we raised a few ducks and geese.
There were vegetables from the large garden [planted and cared for solely by Estella Bunce and the children] and a variety of fruit from the orchard. Root vegetables, cabbage and apples were stored for the winter in a long trench about three feet deep and lined with straw, then covered with straw and dirt. Some apples were taken to a cider press and the cider was put in barrels; later it fermented and turned to vinegar. Mother usually canned six or seven hundred quarts of fruit, vegetables, meat, ketchup and pickles in addition to jam and jelly. [Note: Before sealing the jars, it is said that Estella Bunce would add a tablespoon of vinegar to each jar, and no one ever got sick from spoiled food that she canned.] A large supply of potatoes, dry beans and apples were stored in the basement. Black walnuts were also gathered and stored. Our purchases consisted mostly of flour, corn meal, coffee, sugar, salt, spices, syrup and other such grocery items, along with clothing and farm supplies. Most food items were sold in bulk. Coffee was ground by the store when sold or ground by the farmers when usedmany farmers had their own coffee grinders, as we did.
Social activities for farm families consisted mostly of gatherings in homes, schools and churches. Sometimes people brought their own food. There were parties where decorated boxes of food were auctioned offthe lucky man bidder got to eat with the lady who brought the box of food. Some people attended dances, lyceums and lodges. Vinewood Park in a suburb of Topeka was a popular place for picnics. The State Fair in Topeka which was held once a year at harvest time was a big event.
At times cyclone funnels were visible a few miles from our farm but never hit our place or nearby while we lived there. Father said one time earlier a cyclone took all the feathers off a chicken, and picked up a man, took him about a mile and buried him head first to the shoulders in the prairie sod.
We saw the Kaw River, which was about four miles from our farm, in flood stage when it was about three miles wide or about twice its normal width. Livestock, lumber and many other things were floating down this raging river.
We remember seeing the first automobile in the area in 1910 or 1912 that was being driven up the hill on Cromwell Road in front of our house. Later a neighbor boy came by with the first motorcycle we ever saw.
We moved to Topeka in 1914 for educational purposes. Father continued to run the farm. [Note: Also, Estella Bunce's health was beginning to fail; she suffered from minor strokes the last 17 years of her life. A doctor told her that to prolong her life she must cease doing heavy farm labor.]
|"We have been married two months now. About 60 people present at the weddinglots of nice presents. I have 170 little chickens, three hens to hatch yet. That is all the chickens I am going to raise this year. Feed is so high. Maybe next year we will have our own feed. We are milking six cows, will have another one to milk before long. We live in a little four room house out on the prairie."|
PETER BUNCE, SR., b. 12 July 1772 (believe in Egremont, Mass.) d. 3 Jan. 1847 according to the family Bible. Inscription on grave stone shows he d. Jan. 1844. He married RHODA LOOMIS, dau. of ANDREW LOOMIS and ELIZABETH (COATES) LOOMIS, Oct. 1800. Rhoda was b. 24 March 1782 in Massachusetts, d. 27 Oct. 1852, apparently in Starkey, N.Y. She is listed in the 1850 census as being 68 years old and residing with her dau. and son-in-law, Rhoda and Tillman Kress of Starkey. Rhoda and Peter Bunce, Sr. were both buried in Old Barrington Cemetery near Warsaw, Yates County, New York.
Peter Bunce, Sr., with his wife and 10 of his children, moved from a farm near South Egremont, Berkshire County, Massachusetts to Barrington, Yates Co., N.Y. settling on a farm in the vicinity of Starkey's Corners, Yates Co., N.Y. in 1823. [See also the 1825 census New York state census record of the family.] They traveled in a two-horse farm wagon without springs. The older children walked, a distance of about three hundred miles.
[Note: Barrington, Yates Co., New York was said to have been named after Great Barrington, Berkshire Co., Mass. from which a large number of the settlers had come, so the Bunce family apparently did not travel alone. Great Barrington is a town north of Egremont, Mass. See, History and Directory of Yates County, New York by Stafford C. Cleveland, published 1873, pg. 167.]
Ten of their children were born in Egremont, Massachusetts. The eleventh and last child was born in Barrington, New York. Names of their children follow:
Orpha Bunce, b. 19 March 1802, m. Samuel Maring March, 1827, d. 6 Feb. 1842 at Conesus [Livingston Co.], New York.
Loomis Bunce, b. 18 May 1804, d. 5 March 1878 in Dundee, N.Y. Married (1) Mary Holmes, b. 1819, dau. of Wm. Holmes of Steuben Co., N.Y. 3 February 1837. Married (2) Eunice (Cleveland) Olney, widow of Rev. David B. Olney, a Baptist Clergyman. She was born in Naples, N.Y., dau. of E. W. Cleveland and Hannah (Watkins) Cleveland. She d. 13 Aug. 1880 in Dundee. She is listed in The Genealogy of the Cleveland and Cleaveland Families, compiled by E. J. Cleveland and H. G. Cleveland 1899. This genealogy includes the genealogy of Grover Cleveland, 22nd and 24th President of the United States.
Loomis Bunce farmed extensively, was part owner of a mill and a millwright, following that trade with John Spicer, building many mills in Yates and adjoining counties. Considered a wealthy man. He helped to raise his youngest brother, Peter Bunce, Jr. The value of his estate was $18,750.00.
Nancy Bunce, b. 23 June 1806, m. Martin Adsit 13 Nov. 1828 in Hornby, [Steuben Co.], New York, d. 28 Oct. 1868 in Hornby, N.Y.
Betsey Bunce, b. 27 Nov. 1808, m. Chauncey Boyce of Starkey on 10 Feb. 1828, d. 15 May 1879 in Tyrone, [Schuyler Co.], N.Y. Chauncey Boyce was a man of ability and was Supervisor, highest elected official, of Starkey, New York, when he died in 1850. Married (2) Jonathan Taylor.
Thankful Bunce, b. 10 July 1810, m. Lewis Bennett in Dec. 1833, d. 3 July 1880 in South Bradford, [Steuben Co.], N.Y.
Josiah Bunce, b. 13 June 1812, m. Hilda Taylor, [dau. of Jonathan Taylor] in Mar. 1844, d. 18 Sept. 1884 in Barrington, N.Y.
Calvin Bunce, b. 12 May 1815, m. Mary (last name unknown), Dec. 1842, d. No further record.
William J. Bunce, b. 25 June 1817, unmarried, d. 22 Jan. 1839.
Sophia Bunce, b. 16 June 1819, m. Luman Jones 29 April 1841, d. 19 April 1891 at Himrod, [Yates Co.], N.Y.
Rhoda Ann Bunce, b. 26 Aug. 1821, m. Andrew Tillman Kress, 3 Jan. 1849, d. 6 May 1898 in Corning, [Steuben Co.], N.Y.
PETER BUNCE, JR., b. 18 Oct. 1823 in Barrington, Yates Co., New York, d. 3 Jan. 1892, m. MARY BOLENDER KRESS, dau. of John Jay Kress and Margaret (Murdock) Kress of Starkey, N.Y. 18 March 1846, by Rev. Nathan Fellows, possibly in Penn Yan, N. Y., but it is not shown on their marriage certificate which we have. Mary was b. 22 Sept. 1822 in Starkey, Yates Co., N. Y., d. 22 April 1901. Both Peter and Mary d. in the Bunce farm home, near Tescumseh, Shawnee Co., Kansas, and were buried in Bethel Cemetery, about three miles west of Watson, Kansas. [Names of their children.]
Peter Bunce, Jr. and Mary (Kress) Bunce lived in New York until 1848 then went to Wisconsin where they lived in Fall River and Beaver Falls five years. They returned to Yates County, New York, and then moved to Kansas in the spring of 1857, stopping at Tescumseh the first year before settling on a 160-acre tract of land about four miles south of Tescumseh in Shawnee County, Kansas in October 1858. Lecompton was the Capital of Kansas Territory at that time.
They traveled by train to Westport, now a part of Kansas City, Missouri, and by Overland Freight which was a covered wagon drawn by a mule team, from Westport to Tescumseh, Kansas Territory. An old letter indicated that Rance Pratt and his wife, Catharine Read (Ovenshire) Pratt, niece of Mary (Kress) Bunce, traveled with them to Kansas.
The land they settled on was originally Bounty Land granted to Private Isaac Doane for having served in Captain Bickford's Company, Massachusetts Militia, War of 1812. The Warrant was assigned to Peter Bunce by Isaac Doane for $500.00. The transaction was completed on June 27, 1862 and the Patent was received and properly recorded in Washington, D.C. on 27 November 1867. Kansas became a state in 1861.
They lived in an old stone house on the adjoining Evans' farm for about four months until a shack on the property was torn down and rebuilt. Their first home consisted of three bedrooms on the ground level, a large room in the basement for cooking and a family living room. A smaller basement room without a floor was used for storage. It was necessary to carry water from the Lue farm, a distance of about one-fourth mile, until a well was dug.
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