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U of I Extension offers timely horticulture class

[SEPT. 4, 2001]  Dave Robson will teach "Selection, Planting and Care of Hardy Bulbs" at the Extension office on Tuesday, Sept. 18, at 10 a.m. Robson is from the Extension center in Springfield. The class is open to all and there is no charge.

Reservations are requested, as the class will be canceled if the minimum of 10 participants is not met. Please call 732-8289 to reserve a place.

If you need a reasonable accommodation to participate in the program, please contact John Fulton, unit leader of Logan County Extension.

[Click here for the U of I Extension program schedule for the upcoming year.]

Small outbreak of deadly parvovirus

[AUG. 24, 2001]  Puppy a little puny? If you have a pup that’s acting quiet, not puppylike, you may want to have it checked by your veterinarian. Best Friends Animal Hospital has seen an increased number of cases of the deadly parvovirus this year.

Veterinarians Lara Borgerson and Ron Pierce treated five cases just this week in what appears to be a small outbreak. Lincoln Animal Hospital reported that they have not seen much increase, though they saw a particular outbreak earlier this year that was associated with a litter from Springfield.

The highly communicable disease is most often seen in the spring of the year when everyone starts getting out and going places more often. Your dog does not need to go to the source of the virus to pick it up. The virus could easily come to him or her. It is spread by contaminated feces. Anyone could unknowingly track the invisible virus into the home or yard where your puppy lives, and he or she could pick it up. The virus is long-living and highly virulent. It can be killed on contaminated surfaces with a 10 percent bleach solution.

The virus affects dogs between the ages of a few weeks up to 8 months. It is most often seen in 3-, 4- and 5-month-olds. The incubation period (the time when the virus is in the body before symptoms show) for the virus is one week.


[to top of second column in this article]

It requires hospitalization of two days to about a week for the patient to recover. If not caught early enough and treated, up to 70 percent of puppies die from it.

There is a test for parvo.

Symptoms of parvovirus include:

•  Depressed (quiet, not much energy)

•  Vomiting

•  Bloody diarrheas

The best advice from the veterinarian is to make sure your dog’s vaccinations and boosters are kept up to date and to watch your dog’s behavior. Puppies need a series of four vaccinations up to 5 months of age. If your dog seems a little under the weather or is just not acting like himself or herself, contact your veterinarian.

You can find more information at these websites:



[Jan Youngquist]


Animals for Adoption

These animals and more are available to good homes from the Logan County Animal Control at 1515 N. Kickapoo, phone 735-3232.

Fees for animal adoption: dogs, $60/male, $65/female; cats, $35/male, $44/female. The fees include neutering and spaying.

Logan County Animal Control's hours of operation:

Sunday    closed

Monday  –  8 a.m. - 5 p.m.

Tuesday  –  8 a.m. - 5 p.m.

Wednesday    8 a.m. - 5 p.m.

Thursday  –  8 a.m. - 5 p.m.

Friday  –  8 a.m. - 3 p.m.

Saturday  –  closed

Warden: Sheila Farmer
Assistant:  Michelle Mote
In-house veterinarian:  Dr. Lester Thompson

Big to little, most these dogs will make wonderful lifelong companions when you take them home and provide solid, steady training, grooming and general care. Get educated about what you choose. If you give them the time and care they need, you will be rewarded with much more than you gave them. They are entertaining, fun, comforting, and will lift you up for days on end.

Be prepared to take the necessary time when you bring home a puppy, kitten, dog, cat or any other pet, and you will be blessed.

[Logan County Animal Control is thankful for pet supplies donated by individuals and Wal-Mart.]  

Warden Sheila Farmer and her assistant, Michelle Mote, look forward to assisting you.

[These two girls are looking for a good home.  They are 8 weeks old and a mixed breed.  They would both be good family pets.]

[This is one of three husky puppies that are up for adoption.  All of them would be good family dogs or would feel right at home on the farm.]

[This German Shepherd is looking for someone with a strong personality to channel his energy.  He is a very smart 2- to 3-year-old and needs someone to lead him in the right direction.]

[This medium-size female would be a perfect family dog.  She is very sweet and just looking for someone to love.]

[Say hello to Zeus.  Zeus is a full-blooded Great Pyrenees, 2-3 years old.
He would be a great farm dog or family dog.]

Ten reasons to adopt a shelter dog

 1.  I'll bring out your playful side!

 2.  I'll lend an ear to your troubles.

 3.   I'll keep you fit and trim.

 4.   We'll look out for each other.

 5.   We'll sniff out fun together!

 6.   I'll keep you right on schedule.

 7.   I'll love you with all my heart.

 8.   We'll have a tail-waggin' good time!

 9.   We'll snuggle on a quiet evening.

10.   We'll be best friends always.


[Logan County Animal Control is thankful for pet supplies donated by individuals and Wal-Mart.]  

Warden Sheila Farmer and her assistant, Michelle Mote, look forward to assisting you.

In the cat section there are a number of wonderful cats to choose from. There are a variety of colors and sizes.

Farm cats available for free!

[The "three musketeers" need a home.
The two females and one male are looking for some mice
to chase and would love a new home on a farm.]

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Part 2

Funk home was both
comfortable and impressive

[SEPT. 10, 2001]  When LaFayette Funk brought his bride Elizabeth home to Illinois, he presented her with his wedding gift — the spacious, graceful 13-room country home near Shirley, south of Bloomington, that is today the Funk Prairie Home. He built it himself with lumber from the family land at Funks Grove, just down the road.

[Click here for Part 1]

When he and Elizabeth moved in, in January of 1865, the house was not completely finished inside. It took them 10 years to complete the home and furnish it the way they wanted.

Although first and foremost the Prairie Home was a home, LaFayette, like his father, was a public person, and he often entertained visitors, perhaps the governor or another state official, perhaps farmers from the United States and other countries who came to see the model farm on the Illinois prairie. The Funks were so far ahead of their time in farming practices, people came from far away to learn from them, according to Bill Case, guide and caretaker of the home.


LaFayette followed in his father’s footsteps as a "cattle king" and was a founder and director of the Chicago Union Stockyards. Like his father, too, he was both a state representative and a state senator. He was prominent in Illinois agriculture, serving for nearly 25 years on the State Agricultural Board. This board worked for laws which would benefit farmers, helped plan courses of study at the University of Illinois agricultural college, and took part in planning and staging the 1983 World’s Fair in Chicago.

So LaFayette and Elizabeth’s home was both comfortable and impressive. Guests entering the front hall saw a stamped tin ceiling and a fine large hall tree, complete with mirror. The hall tree is one of six pieces made by a carpenter "out east," where the best furniture was made at that time.

LaFayette and Elizabeth had gone to the United States Centennial in Philadelphia in 1876, where they saw furniture that was made as a gift for President Ulysses S. Grant. They had been saving money for 10 years to buy the kind of wood pieces they wanted, so they found the firm that made Grant’s furniture and ordered six pieces for their home on the prairie. Grant’s furniture is now in Blair House in Washington, D.C., while LaFayette and Elizabeth’s furniture is still in the Prairie Home, along with most of the other pieces they purchased.


All six pieces have a rosewood base, with burled walnut and, on most pieces, bird’s eye maple veneer. Superb handiwork and detailed wood carving make them still impressive 125 years later. Downstairs, along with the hall tree, is a massive desk-bookcase, sometimes called a "secretary," which sits in the library next to the living room. A 10½-foot sideboard dominates the dining room. The other three pieces are in the guest bedroom upstairs.

In the parlor, just off the front hall, hang portraits of Isaac and Cassandra, LaFayette’s parents. Here, too, is a Chickering square grand piano, made by the famous Boston firm and bought by the Funks in Chicago. Although most furniture was shipped by railroad at that time, this piano was brought to the Funk home by oxcart, making the trip from Chicago in just three days.


The parlor, always the most elegant and least used room in a house of that time, has a fine Italian marble fireplace (even though the home had hot-water central heating), also a floor-to-ceiling pier glass between two windows. The pier glass, Case explains, was called that not because people "peer" into it, but because it came by ship from Europe and had to be picked up at the dock or "pier" when it was unloaded.

The living room, separated from the parlor by a golden oak archway, was the place for family and close friends to gather. Although this room, too, has an Italian marble fireplace, the furniture is not so impressive, just what people of that time could buy through the Sears, Roebuck catalog.


[to top of second column in this section]

The highlight of the living room tour is the 1913 Victrola. Case winds it up and puts on a record to play for visitors, perhaps the song "To Any Girl," recorded in 1904 by Alexander Campbell and Henry Burr. Although recording techniques at that time did not pick up bass sounds nearly as well as they do today, the music still sounds amazingly good. Perhaps that is because of the bamboo needles that play the thick, old 78 rpm records. The Funks always thought ahead, so along with a huge supply of these bamboo needles, the Funks also had a needle sharpener. Those needles will last another hundred years, Case says.

Elizabeth, a talented musician, must also have loved the Swiss music box that sits on a small table in the living room. Case winds it up so visitors can hear one of the five tunes it can play.


Off the living room is the library, with the big secretary. Accessible from both the library and the dining room was a real luxury for an early farm familyan indoor bathroom with a zinc-lined tub and a toilet. Water was pumped into a tank in the attic to operate the gravity-flush toilet.

The dining room could seat 16 comfortably for dinner. The big sideboard and the bay window are focal points in the room.


Not only most of the furniture but even some of the houseplants are original. On the plant stand in the bay window is Elizabeth’s Christmas cactus, now 125 years old, which she brought back from the United States Centennial celebration in Philadelphia in 1876. A cutting from a night-blooming cereus, also 125 years old, is on the plant stand as well.

On the table is Volume I of the Funk-Stubblefield family tree. This book has 800 pages, and Volume II is in the works.


Above the table hangs an electric light fixture that looks as if it might have been designed by Frank Lloyd Wright, or at least someone well-known in the Arts and Craft movement. This, and the kitchen, demonstrate that members of the Funk family possessed a wide array of talents.

LaFayette and Elizabeth had only three sons, one of whom lived just a few years. The oldest, Eugene Duncan Funk, usually known as E.D., became a noted seedsman who pioneered the use of hybrid corn. The youngest, Marquis DeLoss, branched off in a new direction. Sent to the University of Illinois to study farming, DeLoss instead signed up for courses in the new science of electricity. At the U of I he built an internal combustion engine and became the university president’s chauffeur.

When he came home again, he put his talents to use in the Prairie Home. Not only did he design and build the light fixture in the dining room, he provided his home with electrical appliances that most people didn’t dream existed, let alone hope to own. In 1910, the farm had so many electric lights journalists called it "The City on the Prairie." DeLoss was "light years ahead of his time," Case explains, because the city of Bloomington didn’t have electric lights for another five years, and ordinary rural people didn’t have electricity for another 15 years.

(To be continued)

(For a tour of the Funk Prairie Home and Gem and Mineral Museums, call (309) 827-6792. Tours are available Tuesdays through Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. March through December. Tours range from individuals to groups of 50 and are free of charge.)

[Joan Crabb]

Part 1

Funk Prairie Home tells story of prominent, colorful central Illinois family

[SEPT. 8, 2001]  Not every tourist attraction makes you want to pull up a chair and just sit awhile on its front porch, or perhaps wander through its lawn and gardens. But the Funk Prairie Home, a little gem of a museum near Shirley, south of Bloomington, does just that.

This inviting country home also gives visitors a pleasant and painless history lesson, a look at a prominent rural family whose accomplishments are interwoven with the story of our state and nation.

And if that isn’t enough, part of this gem of a museum includes a museum of gems, room after room of cut and uncut gems and minerals from all over the world. Another section of the museum, still a work in progress, tells the story of the Funk Brothers Seed Company, which became a major producer of hybrid corn in the United States and abroad.


Perhaps the most important feature of the Funk Prairie Home is that it still keeps the feeling of the comfortable, welcoming place it was in the days when the man who built it, Lafayette Funk, entertained important political and business leaders there. This impression is helped along by the tour given by guide and caretaker Bill Case, who somehow makes you feel you are one of those honored guests who were entertained by LaFayette and his wife Elizabeth.

"The Funks knew what hospitality was and how to make you feel at home," Case says. "Our mission, different from that in the grand showplace homes like the David Davis mansion in Bloomington, is to educate people about the Funk family and life back when they were living here.

"We want people to feel like they’ve been in a home, not in a museum. We want them to feel they’ve been a part of what they are seeing. The tour is about the people who lived here, not just about the stuff you see here. History isn’t just stuff."

The "stuff" in the 13-room house, however, reflects the interesting lives of the Funk family, as does the house itself. Built in 1863-64, it was a wedding present for Elizabeth Paullin of Ohio, whom LaFayette met and fell in love with while in college.


Although LaFayette insisted upon bringing his bride to a comfortable and spacious home, he himself was born and spent his early years in a log cabin. His father, Isaac Funk, a man of German descent who come to Illinois from Ohio, and his mother, Cassandra Sharp of the Fort Clark area (now Peoria), homesteaded on the McLean County prairie in a one-room cabin located at what is now the Funk’s Grove rest stop along Interstate 55.

Isaac and Cassandra had 10 children, nine of whom lived to the age of 50 or more, unusual at that time. LaFayette, the fifth child, was born in 1834 and died in 1919, when he was 85, two years after he broke a hip cutting ice on a pond. In those times, a broken hip was usually a death sentence, but LaFayette didn’t think he could die right away because he still had important work to do.


LaFayette had incredible energy, Case says. He was 6 feet 3 inches tall, built like a linebacker, and he would leap out of bed at 4 a.m. because he couldn’t wait to get to work on his farm.

Still, he probably wasn’t a match for his father, "iron man" Isaac Funk, described as "tornadic and dynamic, 6 feet 2 inches of solid muscle." Isaac broke the prairie sod to plant corn, raised cattle and hogs and drove them to market, sometimes for hundreds of miles. He was able to sit in the saddle for as long as three days without sleep while driving livestock to market.



[to top of second column in this section]

Cassandra was no fragile prairie flower, either. It was said she could ride and drive cattle better than any other woman in the area. Most of her 10 children were born in one of two log cabins, the first one measuring only 12 by 14 feet not as big as one of the rooms in the Prairie Home. The Isaac Funk family did not move into its first frame home until 1841.

A Methodist, Isaac was an ardent abolitionist who strongly supported Abraham Lincoln for president. Lincoln is said to have called him the most honest and forthright man he ever knew. Isaac, himself a good hand with an ax, coined the name "railsplitter" for Lincoln’s campaign.

Before he died, Isaac accumulated 25,000 acres of fine Illinois land. He became known as the "cattle king" because of the number of animals he raised and took to market and his advanced methods of breeding and raising quality livestock.


He also found time to serve for a number of years in the Illinois House of Representatives and in 1862 was appointed to the Illinois Senate to complete the unexpired term of Richard Oglesby. He was re-elected in 1864 and attended a session of the Senate on Jan. 14, 1865, just 16 days before his death. (He died on Jan. 30, and Cassandra followed him three hours later.)

Isaac was a firm friend of the Union and an enemy of the "Copperheads," Northerners who sympathized with the South during the Civil War. His famous Copperhead speech, given in 1863, was widely reported in the national press and read to Union soldiers all over the country. Isaac pulled no punches, calling them traitors and secessionists who deserved hanging, and offering to fight with any one of them in any manner they chose. He was 65 years old at the time, but still so strong that when he spoke people could hear him a block away, and when he pounded his fist on the table, the inkstand bounded half a dozen inches into the air.

Like his father, LaFayette was a man of many accomplishments. His full name was Marquis De LaFayette Funk, in honor of the French general who helped George Washington in the Revolutionary War.

He was the first of Isaac’s sons to go to college, and he went to Ohio Wesleyan because it had a program for scientific farming. (Isaac was one of the founders of Illinois Wesleyan College in Bloomington.) There LaFayette met Elizabeth, a gifted musician who lived in a house that had been a station on the underground railroad.


They became engaged, and he promised to come for her as soon as he built a home for her to live in. She agreed to wait, though she probably didn’t think it would take as long as 2½ years. But when she did get to Illinois, she found a gracious, comfortable 13-room home, surrounded by rich farmland, where she spent the rest of her life.

(To be continued)

[Joan Crabb]


[Click here for Part 2]

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