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Edwards, Richard; Hopewell, M.; Ashley, William; Barry, James G.; Belt and Priest; Casey, John; Hall, W.; Labaum, Louis A.; Leduc, Mary Philip; Lisa, Manuel; O'Fallon, Benjamin; Piernas; Port Folio; Risley, W.; Stoddard, Amos; Williams, Henry W.; Yore, John E. Edwards's Great West and Her Commercial Metropolis, Embracing a General View of the West, and a Complete History of St. Louis, from the Landing of Ligueste, in 1764, to the Present Time; with Portraits and Biographies of Some of the Old Settlers, and Many of the Most Prominent Buisiness Men . St. Louis: Office of Edwards's Monthly, A Journal of Progress, 1860. [format: book], [genre: biography; history; letter; narrative]. Permission: St. Louis Mercantile Library
Persistent link to this document: http://lincoln.lib.niu.edu/file.php?file=edwards.html


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Robert M. Funkhouser.

THE biography of such a man as Robert M. Funkhouser is fraught not only with a readable interest, but has a useful moral effect upon the present time and posterity. It teaches youth, what industry and moral worth can achieve; and that they can hope for all things if they make honor their guide, and are prompted by honorable emulation.

The subject of this memoir was born at Equality, Gallatin county, Illinois, March 31, 1819. His father, Robert R. Funkhouser, was a native of Greenbrier county, Virginia, and his mother was the daughter of Z. Cross, who served during the Revolution, and was a relation of Colonel Cross, of Revolutionary memory. The father removed from Virginia to Kentucky at an early day, and believing that Illinois offered greater inducements he emigrated to that country, and soon after was elected to the legislature, where his sterling good sense made him an efficient member. He had a large family of children, nine in number, of whom five are now living.

The early days of the subject of this biography were partially spent at school, but directly he became of size sufficient to make his labor available on the farm, he assisted his father in his agricultural pursuits, and on his demise in 1833, rented the farm, and by strenuous efforts made money sufficient to spend some time profitably at school, and then engaged with his uncle, until he was offered the situation of supercargo, in a trip to New Orleans, and did his business most satisfactorily to his employer, who was his brother-in-law. For some time he pursued a rambling, irregular life, and was unsettled as to what was the best vocation for him to pursue. On his return home, he was invited by an uncle, who resided on the National Road, at a place called Ervington, and there for some four months he kept school, and saved from the proceeds seventy-five dollars. He then went to Alton, where he had a friend in the banking business, who told him that the little town was thronged with enterprising young men anxious for situations. Acting with that decision which is one of the chief elements of his character, he leaped on a boat that was about leaving the wharf for St. Louis.

Mr. Funkhouser, while on the boat, made the acquaintance of Mr. Sparr, of the Virginia Hotel, and stopped at his house. This was in April, 1840, and his entire capital did not exceed fifty dollars. The second night after his arrival, in wandering through the streets, he was attracted by an auction sale, and seeing looking-glasses selling at what he considered dirt-cheap, he purchased four dozen, which he commenced to retail through the city. Whilst crying out his looking-glasses, he attracted the attention of Mr. T. R. Selmes, with whom he engaged as clerk, at two hundred and fifty dollars a year and board. He continued two years as clerk before commencing business for himself. Some time afterward,

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he commenced a dry-goods business with Mr. Mattox, on a small scale, which he subsequently carried on himself, and made it lucrative. He continued this for four or five years, and this may be said to be the commencement of the large fortune he has since amassed.

Amid the political agitation to which Missouri has been subjected, and drawn so many into its wild and unhealthful excitement, Mr. Funkhouser was never allured from his business, to take part in the factional disputes. His business engrossed all of his time, and its extensive operations required all of his watchfulness.

In April, 1848, Mr. Funkhouser married Miss Selmes, daughter of the Mr. Selmes who first took him in his employ, when he was a young vender of looking-glasses. It may be proper here to observe, that Mr. Selmes is still living, and is a wealthy and influential citizen of Hannibal, Missouri.

As a business man Mr. Funkhouser has but few equals, and the success which he has met with, is the best criterion of his business excellence; as a man of integrity the following responsible positions which he holds are testimonials of the regard of the community. He is a director in the Southern Bank; in the Millers' and Manufacturers' Insurance Company; in the Western Wrecking Company; of the Real Estate Saving Association; and is President of the Chamber of Commerce, and Vice-President of the Building and Saving Association. He has been for years connected with the Fire Department, and has done much to bring it to its present state of efficient usefulness. He is still young, and is in the very prime of physical vigor and matured experience. He can enjoy the fruit of the seed he has sown, whilst his nature is susceptible of enjoyment, and the stamina of life have not weakened and decayed. He has all the elements of happiness within his reach, and they are of his own creation.

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Edwards, Richard; Hopewell, M.; Ashley, William; Barry, James G.; Belt and Priest; Casey, John; Hall, W.; Labaum, Louis A.; Leduc, Mary Philip; Lisa, Manuel; O'Fallon, Benjamin; Piernas; Port Folio; Risley, W.; Stoddard, Amos; Williams, Henry W.; Yore, John E. Edwards's Great West and Her Commercial Metropolis, Embracing a General View of the West, and a Complete History of St. Louis, from the Landing of Ligueste, in 1764, to the Present Time; with Portraits and Biographies of Some of the Old Settlers, and Many of the Most Prominent Buisiness Men . St. Louis: Office of Edwards's Monthly, A Journal of Progress, 1860. [format: book], [genre: biography; history; letter; narrative]. Permission: St. Louis Mercantile Library
Persistent link to this document: http://lincoln.lib.niu.edu/file.php?file=edwards.html
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