Funk's Grove founder, Illinois legislator and farmer who was also known as the "Cattle King".
1797-1865 | Artist: Robert Wadsworth Grafton (1876-1936)
Impact & Accomplishments
Isaac Funk was born in Clark County, Kentucky, in 1797. He and his brother moved to McLean County, Illinois, in 1824, and established the Funk’s Grove homestead. There, they raised corn and livestock, growing the farm to 25,000 acres.
Isaac Funk was elected to the Illinois legislature in 1840 and to the state senate in 1862. He was a passionate orator supporting the Union during the Civil War. To protect their livestock interests, the Funk brothers established slaughter and retail market facilities in Chicago as early as 1839, helping to earn Isaac the nickname, “Cattle King.” His efforts preceded the founding of Union Stock Yards in 1865, the year of his death.
Isaac Funk founded a professorship at Illinois Wesleyan University, and left Funk’s Grove to his family.
Did You Know?
Funk was a Whig before becoming a Republican. He was friend of Abraham Lincoln and worked in his presidential campaign of 1860. Isaac Funk, along with his attorney and friend, Abraham Lincoln, were responsible for bringing the Chicago & Alton Railroad through the Bloomington area, sidetracking it from its planned route through Peoria.
Funk was named to the Board of Trustees of Illinois Wesleyan University in 1850 as one of its original founders.