JOSEPH W. BUNCH


Joseph W. Bunch, who is a well known resident of San Joaquin county, his beautiful farm and vineyard being situated off the Cherokee Lane, near the Eight-mile house, is a member of the family whose members have long been prominent in the activities of San Joaquin county, the father having only recently passed to his reward. Mr. Bunch's home place consists of fifty-six acres of land, and twenty acres of this is devoted to a first-class vineyard, where several varieties of grapes are raised. Mr. Bunch was born in Dvis county, Iowa, January 20, 1864, but having been brought to this state in infancy he is practically a lifelong resident of California.

His father, John Bunch, whose name often figures through this work in connection with San Joaquin county citizens, passed away at his San Joaquin county home on June 4, 1904, when nearing the advanced age of eighty years. His life was not only long, but useful and prosperous, and his memory will be honored in this section of the state for several generations to come. Born in Washington county, Indiana, July 23, 1826, a son of William and Catherine (McGrew) Bunch, his mother dying when he was four years old, he was reared to his majority in his native county, receiving such educational advantages as the pioneer school equipment of the time and locality afforded. He was at the time of his death one of the few surviving veterans of the Mexican war, having enlisted for that service and having taken part in the battle of Buena Vista, as also in some minor engagements. On his return from that war he remained with his father near Salem, Indiana, for some time, and then went out to the new state of Iowa and located in Davis county, where he was engaged in farming and stock-raising until he came to California. In connection with his other regular pursuits in Iowa, he also for a time conducted a steam saw and grist mill.

He was married, March 4, 1852, to Miss Mary F. Wallace, who was born near Nashville, Tennessee, December 13, 1829, and is still living, being one of the venerable and beloved old residents of San Joaquin county. A daughter of John N. and Sarah E. (Hamilton) Wallace, her father a native of South Carolina and her mother of Kentucky, in infancy she was taken by her parents from Tennessee to Randolph county, Missouri, where she lived and was reared to the age of fifteen, when the family moved to Platte county, Missouri, which remained their home until they settled in Davis county, Iowa, in 1851.

By their marriage John Bunch and wife had nine children: Sarah F., wife of George J. Leffler, of San Joaquin county; Mary E., wife of John A. Swain, also of San Joaquin county; Charles F., in Pleasanton, this state; David M., who is deceased; AnnV., wife of Florin C. Swain, of San Joaquin county; Julia C., widow of the late James G. Russell, of San Joaquin county, she residing in Stockton; Joseph W., of San Joaquin county; Ida D., wife of George Sayles, who resides on the Calaveras river in San Joaquin county; and John T., who resides on the home ranch with his mother.

In 1864 John Bunch brought his family across the plains to California, driving ox and mule teams, and after a short time spent in Tuolumne county he moved to San Hoaquin county in 1865. In 1867 he settled on the ranch still occupied by his widow, situated about eight miles northeast of Stockton, where he continued his career of activity until his death. For many years he was a trustee of the Davis school district, and was noted for his loyal support of all such institutions and public enterprises. He was a member of the Methodist Episcopal church South at Stockton, in which for a number of years he served as a steward, and his widow is also a member of this church and belongs to the foreign missionary society of the same. For forty years John Bunch held the unwavering confidence and esteem of his fellow citizens in this part of the state, and his integrity and trustworthiness were not only valuable accompaniments of his own character, but also stood for uplift and civic strength in the community. He was a successful business man, a good manager and financier, and he was always reckoned as one of the substantial men of the county. Mrs. John Bunch has one brother, M. T. Wallace, who resides in Tulare county, and a sister, Mrs. Joseph Osborn, in San Joaquin county.

Mr. Joseph W. Bunch was, as already mentioned, but an infant when the family made its long journey across the plains to California. Since 1865 he has been continuously a resident of San Joaquin county, where he was reared to manhood, receiving his education in the Davis district school of his neighborhood. He has always taken much interest in the affairs of his part of the county, and for several years he was a trustee of the Live Oak school district. In politics he is a Democrat. He is a member of the Methodist Episcopal church South at Linden, as was also his wife during her lifetime.

Mr. Bunch was married February 8, 1893, to Miss Ettie M. Sayles. After a happy married life of ten years, she passed away in death on October 12, 1903, leaving her bereaved husband and three children, namely, Leland W., Hazel L. and Sarah A. Mrs. Bunch was a native daughter of San Joaquin county, her father being Albert D. Sayles. For eight consecutive years before her marriage she had taught school in the county, having prepared for that profession at the California State Normal School at San Jose, where she graduated, and she was a woman of many fine attributes of both mind and heart, being highly esteemed in the neighborhood where she passed her married life.

Source: History of the New California Its Resources and People, Volume II

The Lewis Publishing Company - 1905
Edited by Leigh H. Irvine


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