Gunnell #704

William Gunnell (1676-1760)

Born in England.  Arrived in Virginia prior to 1701 and

Martha Corbin (Lee, according to some sources) (1688- )

Born in Virginia.

Gunnell 704

William Gunnell (1676-1760) seems to have been the first of his family to settle in what is now Fairfax County, Virginia.  He would become the progenitor of most Gunnells in America before 1800.  In 1729, he received three land grants on the Northern Neck of Virginia, then encompassing all of what is now Northern Virginia.  His grants totalled 1,616 acres in what was Stafford County and later became Fairfax County.  Below Difficult Run he recieved 966 acres, on Pinimentts Run he recieved 400 acres, along with 250 acres below the headwaters of Pinimentts RunWilliam Gunnell and his two sons, William Gunnell (Jr.) and Henry were recorded on the 1744 poll list for the election of Burgess from Fairfax County.

The Occoquan Church was the central church of Truro Parish and today is known as the Pohick Church.

The Occoquan Church was the central church of Truro Parish and today is known as the Pohick Church.

Such is the genesis of the Parish of Truro[1], which extended along the Potomac from the mouth of the Occoquan to the Blue Ridge, including what are now the parishes of Truro, Cameron, Fairfax and Shelburne [These are Colonial Parishes. Those of more recent foundation in the same territory are Johns, Upper Truro, McGill and a part of Meade.] Within this territory there were three churches, Occoquan, William Gunnells, and a chapel above Goose Creek.

William Gunnell’s Church was probably a temporary, or perhaps a rented building, and may have been situated not far below Difficult Run, as the Gunnells owned land in that vicinity.  It disappears after the building of the Church near Michael Reagan’s, and may be considered the first Falls Church.  The location of the Chapel above Goose Creek is not known.  It was still unfinished at this time, being completed in 1736.

The “Chapel Above Goose Creek”, built by the vestry of Truro Parish in 1736. Augustine Washington, father of George Washington, was a member of the vestry at the time. This was the first church on the soil of Loudoun County, Virginia, erected as a chapel of ease for the benefit of early settlers. The marker was erected 1935 by Conservation & Development Commission (Marker Number F-7).

The “Chapel Above Goose Creek”, built by the vestry of Truro Parish in 1736. Augustine Washington, father of George Washington, was a member of the vestry at the time. This was the first church on the soil of Loudoun County, Virginia, erected as a chapel of ease for the benefit of early settlers. The marker was erected 1935 by Conservation & Development Commission (Marker Number F-7).

At the meeting on 6 Apr 1733, Michael Ashford took the oaths and subscribed the test as a Vestryman.  An agreement was made with the Rev. Lawrence De Butts to preach three times a month for one year, at Occoquan Church, the new Church, or William Gunnell’s, and at the Chappell above Goose Creek, for the sum of eight thousand pounds of tobacco clear of the Warehouse charges and abatements,—And the said De Butts doth further agree to and with the Vestry aforesaid, that in case he fails, or is by the weather prevented to preach at any of the places aforesaid, any of the times aforesaid, tobacco shall only be levied for him in proportion to his service.

William Gunnell died in 1760, naming the following children in his will: Sons – William Gunnell and Henry Gunnell; Daughters – Elizabeth Saunders, Wife of William and Sarah Saunders, Wife to James.  In his will, he describes himself as a Planter.

William Gunnell and Martha Corbin (some sources say Martha Lee) were married about 1701.  I’m inclined to believe that her actual name was Corbin, and that she acquired the name Lee because she was indentured to the Lee family (Richard Henry Lee, 1647-1715, the son of Richard Lee, 1617-1664, my 10th g-grandfather) as was William.  William’s will names his children, but not his wife, whose identity is still in question.   William Gunnell (1705-1794) is the son of William Gunnell (1676-1760) and Martha Corbin (or Lee), born possibly 1688.

Allen Gunnell (1735-1826) is the son of William Gunnell (1705-1794) and Margaret (1725-1787).  U.S. Census records show him resident in Fairfax, Virginia in 1810, reporting a household of 22 persons, including 12 slaves.  He was born blind, according to the memoir of his grandson, Thomas Allen Gunnell.

John Turley Gunnell (1796-1867) was born in Virginia and is the son of Allen Gunnell (1735-1826) and Elizabeth Turley (1764-1813).  He married Elizabeth Redd Major (1802-1821) in 1820 in Franklin County, Kentucky.  Elizabeth died in 1821 at about nineteen years of age.  John Turley Gunnell later married Catherine Athelia McKenzie in 1827 in Christian County, Kentucky, and they removed to Illinois some time between 1827 and 1850.  US Census records show them resident in Stouts Grove, Illinois in 1850 and Danvers, Illinois in 1860.  Illinois Census records also show them resident in Danvers, Illinois in 1865.

Thomas Allen Gunnell (1821-1906) is the son of John Turley Gunnell (1796-1867) and Elizabeth Redd Major (1802-1821), who died in the same year as Thomas Allen was born.  After his father remarried and moved to Illinois, Thomas Allen Gunnell remained in Kentucky until 1844, when he moved to Missouri, along with his paternal grandparents who raised him, Thomas Major (1769-1846) and Susanah Trabue (1772-1862).  Thomas and Susannah had been born in Virginia and moved to Kentucky in their youth.  Thomas Allen knew them as “Ma & Pa”, according to his memoir, which he wrote towards the end of his life (1902-1903) to his grandaughter, Seddie Gunnell (1875-1946), entitled Memories of a Grandfather “From Twilight to Twilight” .  This work has been passed down to us through my grandmother, Elizabeth Gunnell Hamlin (Seddie’s daughter).

(Follow the link — > to view the manuscript of T.A. Gunnell’s memoir, in the possession of Ingrid Hetfield of Ocean View, Delaware).

 

In his memoir, Thomas Allen recounts memories of the significant events and influences of his life.  He recalls, for example, that one of his earliest memories was the spectacle surrounding the visit of General Lafayette[2] to Frankfort, Kentucky, an occasion which must have been a topic of conversation for years afterwards.  In 1830, his grandfather, Thomas Major, bought a farm in Woodford County, Kentucky.  Thomas split his time between this homestead and the home of his Uncle Oline T. Major (1794-1846), in Franklin County, Kentucky.  Thomas Allen Gunnell was educated informally, as he explains in his memoir:

There were no public schools then; each patron subscribing and paying directly to the teacher so much per scholar be sent. The patrons hauling the wood to the schoolhouse in turn, the boys would chop the wood and make the fires; also bringing water from some nearby spring. The girls would sweep the house. That was all there was to it. There were no janitors, no superintendents, no grade and no designated school hours. All got to the school in the morning as soon as they could, unually an hour by sun, and remained until near sunset with an hour’s intermission at noon. We also had a short recess in the forenoon and in the afternoon likewise… The school was divided into classes according to attainment… Boys and girls composed the classes and one room was all there was, presided over by one teacher, who flogged any who needed it, himself the judge.  He was an autocrat.  Lady teachers were very rare. The term was three or six months according as the teacher had made it up.  When the term expired, he made up another if he could, and his ability to do so proved his qualifications to teach the school. There were no public funds; no taxes to build schoolhouses, to pay teachers or for any other purposes connected with getting an education…

Thomas Allen recounts how he loved spending time at his Uncle Oline’s place, where there were other children his age (eleven children in all), including his daughter, Susan.  Susan’s best friend, Marion Wallace Thomson, often visited, although neither one had any inkling that they would one day be married.  In fact, Marion and her family moved to Missouri in 1833, and it was only many years later that their paths again crossed.

Giddings Hall, originally called Recitation Hall, is a Greek Revival building located on the campus of Georgetown College in Scott County, Kentucky. Georgetown was the first Baptist college founded west of the Allegheny Mountains, and Giddings Hall was the first permanent structure constructed after the college was formed. The building is named after Rockwood Giddings, the third president of the school. The property was added to the U.S. National Register of Historic Places on 6 Feb 1973.

Giddings Hall, originally called Recitation Hall, is a Greek Revival building located on the campus of Georgetown College in Scott County, Kentucky. Georgetown was the first Baptist college founded west of the Allegheny Mountains, and Giddings Hall was the first permanent structure constructed after the college was formed. The building is named after Rockwood Giddings, the third president of the school. The property was added to the U.S. National Register of Historic Places on 6 Feb 1973.

In 1837, Thomas Allen was sent to Bacon College at Georgetown, Kentucky, which was newly established by a religious organization called “Christians” (by themselves) and “Campbellites”[3] (by others, after its leaders, Thomas and Alexander Campbell).  Thus, at an early age Thomas Allen embraced the doctrines of this sect, which was growing rapidly at the time in Kentucky and the surrounding regions[4].  He did not graduate with a degree.

In 1840 or thereabouts, Thomas Allen and his Uncle John Major (who had became his guardian) took a horseback trip together.  They crossed the Ohio River at Cincinnati, proceeded thence across Indiana by way of Indianapolis (then an extremely “small village”); thence into and across the State of Illinois via Bloomington (also a “small village” at the time), where some Major relatives dwelt.  He describes the journey as “a wonderful experience”.  On this trip, he also visited his father, John Turley Gunnell, whom he had only seen once before and hardly remembered.  He had married again and had six children (Thomas Allen’s half brothers and sisters), and they stayed quite awhile with them.  After that, Thomas Allen and Uncle John Major continued on to Missouri, crossing the Mississippi River at Quincy.  The returned to Kentucky by steamboat.

The Gen. David Thomson House (1840) - listed on the National Register of Historic Places

The Gen. David Thomson House (1840) – listed on the National Register of Historic Places

In the summer of 1842, Thomas Allen and Susan Major took a trip to Missouri to visit relations who had gone there and settled near the home of General David Thomson, and at this time he became reacquainted with Susan’s childhood friend (and his future wife), Marion Wallace Thomson and began a correspondence with her.  The house that David Thomson built in Hughsville, Pettis County, Missouri is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.  The nomination form, dated 7 Jan 1982, can be viewed here, and it contains much background on both Gen. David Thomson and the house, including photos.  In March 1844, Thomas Allen moved to Missiouri, seetling eventually in Saline County and starting a farming operation raising corn and hemp.  In his memoir, he explains that he moved to Missouri, rather than Illinois, because Missouri was a slave state, admitted into the Union as such, and “a great many Virginians, Kentuckians and Tennessee people had and were then going into Missouri with tleir slaves”.  Slaves were forbidden in Illinois, and he owned several slaves.  Also, land was expensive in Kentucky, and he could get good rich land in Missouri from the government at $1.25 an acre.

Pettis County, Missouri map

Thomas Allen Gunnell and Marion Wallace Thomson were married in Georgetown, Missouri on 4 May 1847.  They farmed a place in Pettis County, Missouri, which Thomas Allen described as “quite a large farm… a single room house with a half story above, and houses for the negroes.”  They lived on this farm until 1857, when they sold it and bought another, further out on the prairie, near Waverly, Missouri.  In the years leading up to the Civil War, Thomas Allen changed from a Democrat (who generally favored the dissolution of the Union in order that slavery might be perpetuated and its area extend) to a “black Republican”.  He explained his views as follows: 

About this time a struggle was on to make Kansas either a slave or a free state which resulted in making it free. Also John Brown’s raid into Virginia, and then Mr. Lincoln’s election to the Presidency. These incidents were made a pretext for the southern states to secede, so they, most of them by their representation in Congress and otherwise, withdrew from the Union and essayed to set up another republic.  We had no sympathy with these proceedings whatever.  As I was a large slave owner and had been a democrat, this position made us unpopular in the country, but none of these things moved us.  We had, on account of our religious views, encountered similar opposition, but we both conscientiously followed our convictions in both cases, and I follow mine now… we, although from a slave state and slave holders, were unconditionally for the Union, and willing, for its maintenance, to give up slaves and every other material thing if necessary to save the country in its entirety and its integrity…

Buena Vista is located in central Colorado roughly midway between Salida and Leadville in the Upper Arkansas River Valley at an elevation of about 8,000 feet. The town lies at the base of the "Collegiate Peaks": Mt. Princeton, Mt. Yale, Mt. Columbia and Mt. Harvard, of the Sawatch Range.

Buena Vista is located in central Colorado roughly midway between Salida and Leadville in the Upper Arkansas River Valley at an elevation of about 8,000 feet. The town lies at the base of the “Collegiate Peaks”: Mt. Princeton, Mt. Yale, Mt. Columbia and Mt. Harvard, of the Sawatch Range.

Thomas and Marion had seven children, three sons and four daughters.  Those who surviced to maturity are listed as follows: (1) Kate; (2) Marion (May); (3) Allen Thomas Gunnell (see below); (4) Volney, and (5) Eva.  One son (Manlius) and one daughter (Lizzie) died young.

In the summer of 1882, Thomas Allen and Marion sold the farm in Missouri and traveled to Colorado to visit their grown children, who had moved there.  What began as a visit became a “new life” for them, as they eventually settled permanently in Colorado Springs, Colorado.  They later moved to Buena Vista, Colorado, and were “more content there than anywhere else”. 

Marion Wallace Thomson died in Buena Vista, Colorado on 15 Mar 1896.

Reflecting on his life, Thomas Allen wrote:

…if I have adhered to my convictions, then am I satisfied.  If in retrospection over a past life now near the close I find that I ever once surrendered principle for any consideration whatever, I shall not be satisfied.

Although Thomas Allen Gunnell was in many respects a typical Southern slave-owner of his age, in some ways, he appears to have been a man very much ahead of his times.  In the “Prelude” to his memoir (1903), he wrote the following to his granddaughter, Seddie Gunnell, which apparently were the words he wished her to remember him by:

I want to tell you some things right here. From a youth I followed my convictions. I always abhorred the institution of slavery; as a child, I remember, I did, and as I grew, this feeling grew too and intensified. Was it not utterly inconsistent with our Declaration of Independence? And I never could see why women should not vote and hold prop­erty independent of her husband or anybody else. I don’t yet see why women may not be members of representative bodies, political aad religious. They have always been amenable to the laws of each, and preach too. Why not let ability decide qualification, not sex?

Thomas Allen Gunnell died in Colarado Springs, Colorado on 13 Feb 1906.  His son, Allen Thomson Gunnell, was born 29 Jan 1848 near Marshall, Saline County, Missouri and died 21 Mar 1907 in Colorado Springs, Colorado (Find A Grave Memorial #108372347).

According to an article which Allen T. Gunnell wrote for the El Paso County Democrat (a memorium or recollections of Judge William Harrison), Allen moved to Colorado from Missouri in the summer of 1872, when Colorado was still a territory.  In about 1873[5] in Saline County, Missouri, he married Elizabeth Minor Hancock.  She was born 1 Jun 1850 in Hopkinsville, Kentucky, the daughter of Rev. Thomas White Hancock, a native of Kentucky and a pioneer preacher of the Christian Church in Missouri.  She died 22 Feb 1928 in Colorado Springs, Colorado (Find A Grave Memorial #108372980).

Thomas White Hancock, and his second wife, Martha Stone

Allen Thomson Gunnell (1848-1907) and Elizabeth Minor (Hancock) Gunnell (1850-1928), my 2nd paternal g-grandparents

Allen Thomson Gunnell (1848-1907) and Elizabeth Minor (Hancock) Gunnell (1850-1928), my 2nd paternal g-grandparents – photo credit: Ron West

A more complete account is contained in a source called the Portrait and Biographical Record of the State of Colorado, 1899 — > click here.

License to practice law, issued to Allen T. Gunnell by the Territory of Colorado in 1874 *click to enlarge)

License to practice law, issued to Allen T. Gunnell by the Territory of Colorado in 1874 (click to enlarge)

Allen T. Gunnell prepared for college under Dr. Yannis in Sweet Springs Academy, and in 1866 entered Bethany College[6] (West Virginia), from which he graduated in 1869 with the degree of A.B. (follow the link —> to view Allen‘s Final Monthly Report from Bethany College). After studying law with Judge John F. Philips[7] of the United States District Court of Kansas City, and Senator George Graham Vest[8], he was admitted to the bar in Sedalia, Missouri in 1872.  The following summer, his health becoming impaired, he came to Colorado, but went south to Austin, Texas for the winter.  The climate there disagreed with him, and he returned in the spring of 1874 to Missouri and during the same year came to Colorado Springs, where he began practice.  Two years later he went to Lake City in the San Juan country, and in 1878 was elected Representative from Hinsdale County, in the State Legislature, serving as a member of the Second General Assembly.  In the late 1870s, Hindale County, Colorado was a remote frontier outpost, and even today this county is the least densely populated of the 64 counties of the State of Colorado.  The population was only 843 persons at the 2010 census, spread over more than 1,100 square miles.  The county seat and the only municipality in the county is the town of Lake City.  This qualifies Hinsdale County as one of the most remote counties in Colorado and the United States.  It is covered by mountains, including multiple fourteeners (peaks > 14,000 feet), and it contains one of the most roadless areas in the country.  The continental divide crosses the county twice.  Today, most of the county is divided among several different national forests and the Weminuche Wilderness area.  I have no idea what specifically may have drawn Allen T. Gunnell to this region, although a spirit of adventure must surely have played a part.

 

Welcome to Lake City, Colorado - founded 1874

Welcome to Lake City, Colorado – founded 1874 (incorporated 1884)

Crofutt's Gripsack Guide 1884 Lake City, Colorado, about 1880 - view of town (from Crofutt's Gripsack Guide, 1884)

Lake City, Colorado, about 1880 – view of town (from Crofutt’s Gripsack Guide, 1884)

Hinsdale County is located in a mountainous area of southwestern Colorado. Lake City is located in the north-central portion of the county at an elevation of approximately 8,800 feet. The town was first settled in about 1875 and incorporated in 1894, as it quickly developed as a supply center for miners and prospectors in the San Juan Mountains. Lake City's population peaked around 1900, at the height of the mining boom, then dwindled as the mines were closed.

Hinsdale County is located in a mountainous area of southwestern Colorado. Lake City is located in the north-central portion of the county at an elevation of approximately 8,800 feet. The town was first settled in about 1875 and incorporated in 1894, as it quickly developed as a supply center for miners and prospectors in the San Juan Mountains. Lake City’s population peaked around 1900, at the height of the mining boom, then dwindled as the mines were closed.

Lake City, Colorado: “Then & Now”

Miners & Merchants Bank. Lake City, Colorado (late 19th century illustration)

Miners & Merchants Bank. Lake City, Colorado (late 19th century)

Community Banks of Colorado. Lake City, Colorado branch (photo credit: Matt Hylbom, 12 Sep 2016)

Community Banks of Colorado. Lake City branch (photo credit: Matt Hylbom, 12 Sep 2016)

 

Alfred G. Packer (1842-1907)

Alfred G. Packer (1842-1907)

An interesting bit of Lake City’s local lore provides a glimpse of the “Wild West” character of Hindale County, Colorado:  It is here that that prospector Alfred G. “Alferd” Packer (1842-1907) was accused of cannibalism during the winter of 1873-1874.  First tried for murder, Packer was eventually sentenced to 40 years in prison after being convicted of manslaughter.  In November 1873, Packer was in a party of 21 men who left Provo, Utah, heading for the Colorado gold country around Breckenridge.  On 21 Jan 1874, he met Chief Ouray, known as “the White Man’s Friend”, near Montrose, Colorado.  Chief Ouray recommended they postpone their expedition until spring, since they were likely to encounter dangerous winter weather in the mountains.   Ignoring Ouray’s advice, Packer and five others left for Gunnison, Colorado, on February 9.  The prospectors became hopelessly lost, ran out of provisions and were snowbound in the Rocky Mountains.  What happened next is unclear.  On 16 Apr 1874, Packer arrived at Los Pinos Indian Agency near Gunnison.  A month later, he wrote his confession, stating that Bell killed the other men, and he killed Bell in self-defense.  Since there was no food, and they had brought inadequate provisions, he lived by eating the dead men. (A second confession, written in August 1874, gives more detail, and a third confession, written years later is even more detailed. However, each confession contradicts the earlier confession in numerous details as to how the men died, and who killed whom.  The only consistent “facts” are that Packer admits to killing Bell after Bell attacked him, and that he ate some of the dead men’s flesh due to starvation hunger).  According to tradition, the presiding judge at trial, M.B. Gerry, allegedly told him:

“Stand up yah voracious man-eatin’ sonofabitch and receive yir sintince.  When yah came to Hinsdale County, there was siven Dimmycrats. But you, yah et five of ’em, goddam yah.  I sintince yah t’ be hanged by th’ neck ontil yer dead, dead, dead, as a warnin’ ag’in reducin’ th’ Dimmycratic populayshun of this county.  Packer, you Republican cannibal, I would sintince ya ta hell but the statutes forbid it. ”

In reality, what Judge Gerry told him was much more educated:

“ Close your ears to the blandishments of hope. Listen not to its fluttering promises of life.  But prepare to meet the spirits of thy murdered victims.  Prepare for the dread certainty of death. ”

Memorial to Packer's alleged victims, at the scene of the crime, southeast of Lake City, Colorado. (photo credit: Plazak / Wikipedia Commons; dated Aug 2009)

Memorial to Packer’s alleged victims, at the scene of the crime, southeast of Lake City, Colorado. (photo credit: Plazak / Wikipedia Commons; dated Aug 2009)

Packer signed a confession on 5 Aug 1874, and he was jailed in Saguache, but he escaped soon afterwards.  In 1883, Packer was discovered in Cheyenne, Wyoming, living under the alias of “John Schwartze.”  On 16 Mar 1883, he signed another confession and on 6 Apr 1883, a trial began in Lake City, Colorado.  On April 13, he was found guilty of manslaughter and sentenced to death, but in October 1885, the sentence was reversed by the Colorado Supreme Court as being based on an ex post facto law.  On 8 Jun 1886, Packer was sentenced to 40 years at another trial in Gunnison.  At the time, this was the longest custodial sentence in U.S. history.  On 19 Jun 1899, Packer’s sentence was upheld by the Colorado Supreme Court.  However, he was paroled on 8 Feb 1901 and went to work as a guard at the Denver Post newspaper company.  He died in Deer Creek, in Jefferson County, Colorado, reputedly of Senility – trouble & worry at the age of 65.  Packer is widely rumored to have become a vegetarian before his death.  He was buried in Littleton, Colorado.  In 1968, students at the University of Colorado at Boulder named their new cafeteria grill the “Alferd G. Packer Memorial Grill” with the slogan “Have a friend for lunch!”  Students can order an “El Canibal” beefburger and on the wall is a giant map outlining Packer’s travels through Colorado.  A biopic of his life, The Legend of Alfred Packer, was made in 1980.  There is also a musical retelling Alfred Packer’s story called Cannibal: The Musical (1993).

Studio portrait, head and shoulders, of Judge Allen Thomson Gunnell, Colorado attorney and politician; arrived in Lake City 1875; state legislator, 1878; County Judge in Leadville (1883-?); appointed to State Court of Appeals, 1889; arrived in Colorado Springs, 1893. (Denver Public Library Digital Collections, Rose & Hopkins, taken 1886-1901)

Studio portrait, head and shoulders, of Judge Allen Thomson Gunnell, Colorado attorney and politician; arrived in Lake City 1875; state legislator, 1878; County Judge in Leadville (1883-?); appointed to State Court of Appeals, 1889; arrived in Colorado Springs, 1893. (Denver Public Library Digital Collections, Rose & Hopkins, taken 1886-1901)

One can only speculate on why Allen T. Gunnell may have chosen to establish residence in such a remote frontier location as Hinsdale County, Colorado.  Surely it confirms a spirit of adventure.  The theory which I favor expains it through Allen’s apparent early interest in a political career in the Territory, and later the new State of Colorado, and living in a spacrcely populated area increased his chances of election to public office, since he would have been among the most educated and qualified men of the district.  Upon retiring from the Legislature as a representative from Hinsdale County, Allen T. Gunnell became a partner of L. J. Laws in the general practice of law at Leadville.  In 1880 he was elected County Judge of Lake County, and three years later was re-elected, but resigned during the last year of his second term in order to form a partnership with Hon, J. B. Bissell, later a Judge of the Court of Appeals of Colorado.  The partnership was dissolved only when Mr. Bissell was elected to the bench, after which Judge Allen T. Gunnell continued practicing alone in the same place.  In the spring of 1894 he opened an office in Colorado Springs, taking as partner Judge William Harrison.  After the death of Judge Harrison, which occurred in June 1894, Judge Gunnell associated himself with Clarence Clark Hamlin (his future son-in-law), and the firm continued to be Gunnell & Hamlin until June 1899, when Clarence Clark Hamlin concluded to retire from the practice of law.  In January 1900, Judge Allen T. Gunnell took as partners Mr. W. J. Chinn, formerly of Kentucky, and Judge W. T. Miller from Virginia, and the firm continued under the name of Gunnell, Chinn & Miller.  While Allen T. Gunnell’s practice was general, he paid special attention to mining cases and was president of a number of mining companies at Cripple Creek.  He also had interests in Leadville mines, where he was the owner of valuable properties.

Certification of Allen T. Gunnell's election to the office of Lake County Judge, 6 Nov 1883

Certification of Allen T. Gunnell’s election to the office of Lake County Judge, 6 Nov 1883 (click to enlarge)

Allen T. Gunnell was recognized as one of the most prominent members of the Democratic party in El Paso County and the State of Colorado.  In the fall of 1890, he was elected to the State Senate, and he served in the sessions of 1891 and 1893 and the special session of 1894.  He was chairman in 1893 of the judiciary committee, and served on numerous other committees of importance.  In 1896, he was elected on the regular Democratic ticket as Presidential elector, and at the meeting in Denver voted for William J. Bryan.

Allen T. Gunnell entered Masonry while a resident of Lake City and was a member of the El Paso Lodge No. 13 A. F. & A. M.  Colorado Springs Chapter No. 6, R. A. M., Pike’s Peak Commandery No. 6, K. T. and the Scottish Rite and Shrine, as well as being a member of the Elks.

Photos from the Denver Public Library Digital Collections: Gunnell Hill and other sites in the area of the Central City mining district:

Allen and Elizabeth’s daughter, Seddie Gunnell, was born 22 May 1875 in Colorado Springs, Colorado Territory (prior to Colorado statehood in 1876) and died 17 Nov 1946, also in Colorado Springs, Colorado (Find A Grave Memorial #108360041).  On 16 Nov 1898 in Colorado Springs, Colorado, she married Clarence Clark Hamlin (1868-1940).  Their daughter (the only child who survived to maturity), Elizabeth Gunnell Hamlin, my paternal grandmother (1901-1982) married Tor Emil Hylbom (1900-1966), an immigrant from Sweden who is discussed under his own heading.

4 generations of the Gunnell family: Thomas Allen Gunnell (82 years), Seddie Gunnell (28 years), Elizabeth Hamlin (1 year), Allen Thomas Gunnell (54 years)

This photo from about 1902 shows four generations of the Gunnell family: Thomas Allen Gunnell (81 years), Seddie Gunnell Hamlin (27 years), Elizabeth Hamlin (1 year) and Allen Thomson Gunnell (54 years).

 


[1] The original Truro Parish was created by the General Assembly of Virginia on 1 Nov 1732 when Hamilton Parish was divided along the Occoquan River and Bull Run. It included what is, at present, Arlington, Fairfax, and Loudoun counties, and the independent cities of Alexandria, Fairfax, and Falls Church. The parish was named after Truro Parish (now the Diocese of Truro) in Cornwall, England. The cornerstone of the current main church of Truro is from Truro Cathedral in Cornwall. Truro Parish initially covered all of the land north of those rivers up to the Potomac, and westward all the way to the Blue Ridge Mountains at Ashby’s Gap. The parish originally contained three churches: Occoquan (the parish seat), William Gunnell’s, and a chapel above Goose Creek. The exact locations of the second two are unknown, but the Occoquan church was later known as Pohick Church, which still stands. In 1733, work was started on a new church near Michael Reagan’s; this was at the site of the present-day Falls Church. On 11 Jun 1749, the parish was divided in two, with the newly-formed Cameron Parish constituting the portion north and west of Difficult Run and Popes Head Run. George Mason, author of the Virginia Articles that presaged the Bill of Rights, was elected to the parish vestry that year.  In 1753, the first church service at the new town of Alexandria was recorded.  George Washington was appointed to the Truro Parish vestry on 25 Oct 1762. His father, Augustine Washington, had served on the vestry for a few years, starting in 1735. Truro Parish was further split on 1 Feb 1765. The new boundary was just south of Washington’s estate, and the northern portion became Fairfax Parish, with The Falls Church as its seat. Parishioners of Truro, however, complained that the division was far more favorable to Fairfax Parish, and succeeded in having a new border drawn through Washington’s estate. Later church buildings were constructed, including Payne’s Church on Ox Road (1766), and replacements for The Falls Church (started in 1763, while it was still part of Truro Parish) and Pohick Church in 1767. In those early years, there were only two churches in Truro parish: a chapel above Goose Creek (in what is now Loudoun County) and the original Pohick Church near Occoquan, in southern Fairfax County. In 1766, a new church was established on the middle ridge near Ox Road, the present site of Jerusalem Baptist Church off Route 123. The Truro Parish vestry contracted Edward Payne to build this new church and it became known as Payne’s Church. With the outbreak of war with England in 1776, Payne’s Church fell into disrepair and was abandoned. The Jerusalem Baptist Church later took possession of the building until the outbreak of the Civil War when Union troops demolished the church, disassembling it brick by brick and using the materials to build chimneys for their tents. There was no official Episcopal Church in City of Fairfax until the Rev. Richard Templeton Brown, rector of The Falls Church, organized a congregation in 1843. The congregation first met at the historic Fairfax Courthouse and then moved to the private home of Mrs. William Rumsey, a Baptist from New York. There were fourteen communicants. A year later, a plain white frame church was built on the present site of the Truro Chapel and was consecrated as Zion Church in 1845. As Union troops advanced into Virginia at the outset of the Civil War, the congregation was forced to abandon Zion Church. During the Civil War, Zion Church was first used as a storehouse for munitions and then was destroyed. The house that is now the Gunnell House (at that time a private residence) was used as the Union headquarters by General Stoughton until 1863 when he was captured in the middle of the night by Confederate Captain John Mosby. Graffiti written by the officers stationed in the house was found on the walls in a closet on the third floor and is now on display at the Fairfax Museum.

Marquis de La Fayette (statue at Mount Vernon Place, Baltimore, Maryland)

Marquis de La Fayette (statue at Mount Vernon Place, Baltimore, Maryland)

[2] From July 1824 to September 1825, the last surviving French General of the Revolutionary War, the Marquis de Lafayette, made a famous tour of the 24 states in the United States. He visited Frankfort, Kentucky on 14 May 1825. At many stops on this tour he was received by the populace with a hero’s welcome, and many honors and monuments were presented to commemorate and memorialize the Marquis de Lafayette’s visit.  The visit was a landmark event during the first half of the 19th Century in America. The aging war hero (1757-1834), who had come to U.S. shores nearly 40 years earlier as a 19-year-old major general, to lead American troops in the battle for the nation’s independence from Great Britain; who had been a key figure in the early days of the abortive French Revolution, and spent seven years in an Austrian prison; lived on in American lore and legend.

[3] Campbellites were religious followers of ministers Thomas Campbell and his son Alexander Campbell in the early nineteenth century. Originally associated with the Presbyterian Church in western Pennsylvania and Virginia, the Campbells argued that the strict religious practices of the church were too divisive and that all denominations should give up their doctrinal differences and reunify as one single Christian Church. In addition, they believed that all Christians, regardless of denomination, should be allowed to participate in the Lord’s Supper. Unable to convince the various denominations to follow their teachings, the two men founded their own church in 1809. They later formed an alliance with the followers of another religious dissenter, Barton W. Stone of Kentucky, to create the Disciples of Christ in 1832.

[4] Another ancestor of mine who was greatly influenced by this religious movement is Benjamin Utter Watkins (1811-1890) of Ohio, a 3rd g-grandfather on my mother’s side.

[5] The marriage date for Allen and Elizabeth is problematic, but possibly important in understanding the timing and nature of the couple’s move from Missouri to Colorado.  According to the family history notes compiled by my grandmother (Elizabeth Gunnell Hamlin), the marriage occured in 1872, but documentation is lacking.  However, the official census record of 1900 (see below) for the Gunnell family is interesting due to the fact that at this time, three generations of the Gunnell family were living together in the same residence in Colorado Springs.  The form clearly states that Allen and Elizabeth (Hancock) Gunnell had been married 26 years as of the census date of 6/1/1900.  Seddie is listed as 25 years, born in May 1875.  Her older brother, Allen White is listed as 26 years, born in July 1873.  Obviously if Allen and Elizabeth were married after about October 1872, then Allen White was conceived out of wedlock.  Some online genealogies actually show a marriage date for Allen and Elizabeth of 22 Oct 1872, which may have been the “official story” and is consistent with my grandmother’s notes, but this seems a little bit too convenient, being exactly 9 months, 7 days prior to Allen White’s birth.  If they were married 26 years on 6/1/1900, they would have been married in either 1874 or 1873 (i.e., between 2 Jun 1873 and 1 Jun 1874).  If the couple was actually married in 1872, one would expect the census form to reflect that the couple had been married 27 or 28 years.  One would also expect that the age of the eldest child would not be the same as the length of the marriage, but about one year less.  There are known problems with this census record: it states that Elizabeth Hancock Gunnell was born in 1851, but her grave marker inscription says 1 Jun 1850, and I’m inclined to believe the date on the grave.  A census-taker could easily make a mistake in transcription or may have faithfully recorded mistaken information.  That could be an alternative explanation for the marriage/birth date inconsistencies, but probably the obvious reason is more likely.  The marriage dates and ages are correct and the embarrassment it may have caused Rev. Thomas White Hancock could have been part of the reason for Allen and Elizabeth leaving Missouri for Colorado in 1874, around the same time as a hastily arranged wedding in Missouri.  After all, Elizabeth’s father, Rev. Thomas White Hancock was a preacher, and the community may have held him in high esteem for his morale rectitude.  Family lore handed down from my grandmother through my Aunt Ingrid suggests that Rev. Hancock was not pleased with the marriage, or at least disapproved of the groom.  I may never be proved, but my suspicion is that Allen left Missouri for Colorado in the summer of 1872, and returned to Missouri the next year when he learned that Elizabeth was pregnant with Allen White.  It was then that they married, and they returned together to Colorado shortly after Allen White’s birth.

Official census form for 1900, when three generations of the Gunnell family were living together under one roof in Colorado Springs, Colorado. This is a detail shot of the relevent information on form discussed above, for ease of reading. (Source Citation Year: 1900; Census Place: Colorado Spings, El Paso, Colorado; Roll: 123; Enumeration District: 0025; FHL microfilm: 1240123 - Description: Enumeration District: 0025; Colorado Springs). Follow the link ---> for an image of the complete page.

Official census form for 1900, when three generations of the Gunnell family were living together under one roof in Colorado Springs, Colorado. This is a detail shot of the relevent information on form discussed above, for ease of reading. (Source Citation: Year: 1900; Census Place: Colorado Spings, El Paso, Colorado; Roll: 123; Enumeration District: 0025; FHL microfilm: 1240123 – Description: Enumeration District: 0025; Colorado Springs). Follow the link —> for an image of the complete page.

The Campbell Mansion in Bethany, West Virginia was the home of Alexander Campbell, built between 1795-1840 and offered religion and southern hospitality in abundance. Guests in the Campbell home included Jefferson Davis, future president of the Confederacy and James A. Garfield, trustee of Bethany College, president of Bethany’s daughter institution, Hiram College, and future president of the United States. The home was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1970, restored in 1989 and registered as a National Historic Landmark in 1994.

The Campbell Mansion in Bethany, West Virginia

[6] Bethany College is a private, liberal arts college located in Bethany, West Virginia.  Founded in 1840, Bethany College is the oldest institution of higher education in West Virginia.  Bethany was chartered on 5 Mar 1840, by the Virginia legislature and given “all degree-granting powers” of the University of Virginia.  West Virginia’s secession from Virginia on 20 Jun 1863 recognized existing Virginia charters; Bethany College continues to operate under the Virginia charter today.  Founded by Alexander Campbell, who provided the land and funds for the first building and served as the first president, Bethany has been a four-year private liberal arts college affiliated with the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), since its inception.  This religious body, of which Campbell was one of the principal founders, continues to support and encourage the College but exercises no sectarian control.  An early center of coeducation, Bethany has admitted women since the 1880s.  The College’s roots stem from the Buffalo Seminary, a center for advancement to further education, founded in 1818 by Campbell and held in the Alexander Campbell Mansion, home of Alexander Campbell and Thomas Campbell, located less than a mile away from the College’s present location.

Judge John Finis Philips (1834-1919)

Judge John Finis Philips (1834-1919)

[7] John Finis Philips (1834-1919) was born 31 Dec 1834, in Boone County, Missouri, the last of eleven children.  After attending the University of Missouri, he graduated from Centre College, in Danville, Kentucky, in 1855.  He joined the bar in 1857 and developed a large practice in Georgetown, Missouri.   At the beginning of the Civil War, Philips recruited the Seventh Missouri Cavalry and was commissioned as a colonel in the Union Army in May of 1862.  After displaying considerable courage in combat, he was nominated as a brigadier general but never confirmed by the General Assembly.  Immediately following the Civil War, two Union officers, John Finis Philips and Thomas Theodore Crittenden, formed law partnerships with two Confederates, Francis Marion Cockrell and George Graham Vest.  Philips and Vest in Sedalia and Cockrell and Crittenden in Warrensburg became influential attorneys and major political figures in the Democratic Party earning them the title of Missouri’s “Big Four.”  Philips was an unsuccessful candidate for election in 1868 to the Forty-first Congress.  However, he was elected as a Democrat to the Forty-fourth Congress (1875-1877).  Subsequently, he was elected to the Forty-sixth Congress to fill the vacancy caused by the death of Alfred M. Lay and served from 10 Jan 1880 to 3 Mar 1881.  He was an unsuccessful candidate for reelection in 1880 to the Forty-seventh Congress, but afterwoards he used his considerable connections to obtain judicial positions.  In 1882, Philips received an important appointment as commissioner of the Missouri Supreme Court, followed by an appointment by friend and fellow Democrat, Governor Thomas Crittenden, as one of three judges to the newly-formed Kansas City Court of Appeals.  With an appointment by President Grover Cleveland in 1888, Philips became judge of the United States District Court for the Western District of Missouri.  After twenty-two years on the federal bench, Philips retired in 1910 and resumed a law practice in Kansas City until his death on 13 Mar 1919.

Sen. George Graham Vest (1830-1904)

Sen. George Graham Vest (1830-1904)

[8] George Graham Vest (1830-1904) was born in Frankfort, Kentucky.  He was known for his skills in oration and debate.  Vest, a lawyer as well as a politician, served as a Missouri Congressman, a Confederate Congressman during the Civil War, and finally a US Senator.  He is best known for his “a man’s best friend” closing arguments from the trial in which damages were sought for the killing of a dog named Old Drum on 18 Oct 1869.  Vest took the case (Burden v. Hornsby) tried on 23 Sep 1870, in which the Sedalia (Missouri) legal team of John F. Philips and George G. Vest. represented a client whose hunting dog, a foxhound named Drum (or “Old Drum”), had been killed by a sheep farmer.  The farmer (Burden’s brother-in-law) had previously announced his intentions to kill any dog found on his property; the dog’s owner was suing for damages in the amount of $50, the maximum allowed by law.  During the trial, Vest stated that he would “win the case or apologize to every dog in Missouri.”  Vest’s closing argument to the jury made no direct reference to “Old Drum” any of the testimony offered during the trial, and instead offered a eulogy of sorts for all dogs.  Vest’s “Eulogy on the Dog” is one of the most enduring passages of purple prose in American courtroom history (only a partial transcript has survived):

Gentlemen of the jury: The best friend a man has in this world may turn against him and become his enemy. His son or daughter that he has reared with loving care may prove ungrateful. Those who are nearest and dearest to us, those whom we trust with our happiness and our good name, may become traitors to their faith. The money that a man has, he may lose. It flies away from him, perhaps when he needs it the most. A man’s reputation may be sacrificed in a moment of ill-considered action. The people who are prone to fall on their knees to do us honor when success is with us may be the first to throw the stone of malice when failure settles its cloud upon our heads. The one absolutely unselfish friend that a man can have in this selfish world, the one that never deserts him and the one that never proves ungrateful or treacherous is his dog.

Gentlemen of the jury: A man’s dog stands by him in prosperity and in poverty, in health and in sickness. He will sleep on the cold ground, where the wintry winds blow and the snow drives fiercely, if only he may be near his master’s side. He will kiss the hand that has no food to offer, he will lick the wounds and sores that come in encounters with the roughness of the world. He guards the sleep of his pauper master as if he were a prince. When all other friends desert, he remains. When riches take wings and reputation falls to pieces, he is as constant in his love as the sun in its journey through the heavens.

If fortune drives the master forth an outcast in the world, friendless and homeless, the faithful dog asks no higher privilege than that of accompanying him to guard against danger, to fight against his enemies, and when the last scene of all comes, and death takes the master in its embrace and his body is laid away in the cold ground, no matter if all other friends pursue their way, there by his graveside will the noble dog be found, his head between his paws, his eyes sad but open in alert watchfulness, faithful and true even to death.

Maybe all the jury members had dogs, and that’s why they really liked this speech, but anyway, they thought Mr. Burden should get $50 to repay him for the loss of Old Drum.  Doesn’t sound like much money, but back in those days, you could really buy a lot with $50, like for instance, a good hunting dog.  But Mr. Hornsby wasn’t happy with the result of this trial, so the case went on to the Missouri Supreme Court.  And that court said that the other court did the right thing in giving Mr. Burden the $50 for his dog.  So that was the end of it all, except that the people of Warrensburg put up a statue of Old Drum on the courthouse square, and you can see it there today.
"Old Drum" Statue in front of the Johnson County Courthouse, Warrensburg, Missouri

“Old Drum” Statue in front of the Johnson County Courthouse, Warrensburg, Missouri

Incidently, Vest didn’t originate the phrase “Man’s Best Friend”, as some have claimed (including local tourism officials).  It is a relatively new addition to the language, but the first documented instance appeared in print fifty years earlier in The New-York Literary Journal, Volume 4, 1821:

The faithful dog – why should I strive
To speak his merits, while they live
In every breast, and man’s best friend
Does often at his heels attend.

On 9 Aug 1904, Vest died at his summer home in Sweet Springs, Missouri, the last living Confederate States Senator.  He was buried at Bellefontaine Cemetery in St. Louis, Missouri.

 

 

 

(1876)

2 comments

  • Natalie Hughes - granddaughter of Mary Newbold Rittenhouse Gunnell Phillips.

    For 20 years I have searched for the family of the Martha Gunnell who married William Gunnell in Westmoreland County. She witnessed Richard Lee’s will; there is no evidence that she was in the Family. Several of her descendants were given the name Corbin but I can find no other evidence that would link her to that family. DNA may some day find her family for us.

    “William Gunnell’s church” was his own home, about a mile east of the later brick church, on a ridge above Four Mile Run on the 250 acres land he had acquired before leaving Westmoreland County and before Martha disappeared from the records. See Landmarks of Old Prince William by Fairfax Harrison. Genealogist Wes Pippenger also urrently gathering data on the Gunnell family of Virginia – and Maryland.

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