HON. SIMEON W. BUNCH. The fortunate possessor of 205 acres of as good and as there is in the beautiful township of Sparta, our subject is one of the progressive farmers and representative citizens of Christian County, Missouri, where he has long made his home. He came originally from Simpson County, Kentucky, born in 1832.
His parents, William and Malinda (Roark) Bunch, were probably natives of Tennessee, where they were reared and married. About 1831 the parents moved to Simpson County, Kentucky, and there the father died about 1833, when in the prime of life. He was a farmer by occupation and a soldier during the Black Hawk War. He was a son of Calloway and Nancy Bunch, who died in Warren County, Kentucky., when our subject was but a boy. The latter belonged to the old Virginia family of Bunches. After the death of her husband the mother of our subject married Joseph Cook, of Kentucky, and in 1837 removed with him to Taney County, Missouri, where Mr. Cook died a few years later. Afterward Mrs. Cook made her home with her children and died at the home of her son in Miller County, Missouri, about 1883. She was a Free-Will Baptist in her religious views. When she and her husband first settled in Taney County their nearest neighbor was ten miles away and the country was a wilderness inhabited by Indians and wild animals.
Our subject is the youngest of three sons and two daughters: William died during the war and left a family; Nancy was the wife of J. B. Cook and died many years ago, leaving a family (Mr. Cook was murdered for his money during the war); James was a farmer and was in the East Missouri Militia during the war (he died in Miller County, Missouri, about 1887); and Elizabeth died in Kentucky when young.
Simeon W. Bunch was reared on a farm in Taney County amid the rude surroundings of pioneer life and had limited educational advantages. He remained with his mother until grown, and, in 1855 was married to Miss Martha Jackson, a native of Greene County, Missouri, who bore him eleven children as follows: John M., a merchant at Little Beaver, Douglas County, Missouri; James died, in Ozark, leaving a family; William Berry married Miss Elizabeth Fitch, who died, leaving four children, two now living; Mary Elizabeth, wife of A. C. A. Sechler; Charles M., clerk at Ozark; Eliza M. married John W. Fitch and died,. leaving two sons; Alex. married Miss Laura Adams and died, leaving his widow and an infant; Benjamin F., now of Texas, married Miss Blanche Wood, daughter of J. B. Wood; Martha A. is the wife of Wesley Eledge, of Carroll County, Missouri; Ellen and Elbert, twins, are at home.
Mr. Bunch lived in Taney County until 1862, when he removed to Polk County, Iowa, but remained there only about a year, when he moved to Illinois. From there he moved to California, Missouri, and in 1866 purchased a farm in Jasper County, Missouri, where he made his home until 1688, when, owing to the ill health of his family, he returned to his old home in Taney County. There he resided until March 4, 1889, when he came to his present farm. He is engaged in stock raising and grain growing, also raises considerable fruit, and has one of the best farms in the county. Although born in the South, Mr. Bunch was a stanch Union man during the war, but never took an active part. He was never molested by either army. Since his first presidential vote, which was cast for James Buchanan in 1856, he has affiliated with the Democratic party and he has held many of the county offices.
In 1856 he was elected assessor of Taney County and held that position for two years, when Taney County included a part of Christian, Stone and Douglas Counties, and embraced his present farm. In 1858 he was appointed to the same office, holding that position two years, and so ably and well did he discharge the duties of the same, that he was reflected in 1860, serving until interfered with by the war. In 1870 he was elected to represent Taney County in the Legislature and served on the committee on county and county boundary, etc., and introduced several important measures, although none became laws. Again his services were appreciated and he was reelected in 1872. In 1874 he was offered the nomination, and was even solicited by Republicans, but refused to accept the nomination. In 1892 he was prevailed upon to accept the nomination for the same office in Christian County, but positively refused. He is a prominent Mason and now holds membership in Friend Lodge No. 352, at Ozark. For many years this worthy citizen has been a deacon in the Missionary Baptist Church, and the entire family hold membership in the same. Mr. Bunch is very familiar with the pioneer days of Taney County, and contended with the hardships and privations incident to that early period. In those days people went to Booneville with ox teams to do their marketing and were five or six weeks in making the trip. The nearest mill was north of Springfield, fifty-four miles away, and when attending church, the men carried their guns to protect themselves from wild animals.