Transcribed from History of Wyandotte County Kansas and its people ed. and comp. by Perl W. Morgan. Chicago, The Lewis publishing company, 1911. 2 v. front., illus., plates, ports., fold. map. 28 cm. [Vol. 2 contains biographical data. Paged continuously.] p. 527-528 transcribed by Courtney, student from USD 508, Baxter Springs Middle School, Baxter Springs, Kansas, on September 12, 2000.


Asa M. Bunn

ASA M. BUNN is one of the best known civil engineers of the state of Kansas and he has been engaged in some of the most important construction work carried on in this section, and the son of one of the state's stalwart pioneers. Mr. Bunn can look back over a busy, extremely varied and thoroughly interesting career, and one of constantly increasing usefulness.

The subject was born in Bloomington, Illinois, February 2, 1848, and is a son of David M. and Hanna (Hendricks) Bunn, both natives of the state of Pennsylvania. The paternal grandparents Henry and Jane (Freelenheisen) Bunn, were also natives of the Keystone State, as were those on the maternal side - John and Sarah Hendricks. Mr. Bunn's parents came to McLean county, Illinois, with their parents when children and there married and homesteaded one hundred and sixty acres of prairie land. The father improved the same and added to it from time to time, and in 1868 he traded two thousand, eight hundred acres of swamp land for four thousand acres in Franklin County, Kansas, the chiefest treasures of the latter being three elm trees. Henry Bunn removed to Kansas and located upon this great tract of raw land and there raised the first Durham cattle in Kansas, having brought some of this famous breed with him when he came. He was a man of great executive ability and accomplished the remarkable achievement of putting over four thousand acres under cultivation. He died on the farm which had been the scene of his successful endeavors. The subject's father married three times, and he is the third and youngest in order of birth of the children of the first wife, whose maiden name was Hanna Hendricks, as has been previously mentioned. The second wife, Ellen Ritter, became the mother of one child; and the third wife, Elizabeth Horr, reared six sons and daughters. Mr. Bunn has one sister, Mary, now Mrs. John Micheal, a resident of Bloomington, Illinois. The mother died when Mr. Bunn was an infant and he lived at the home of an uncle and aunt until the age of twelve years, when he went back to the home roof and remained there until he became twenty-two years of age.

Filled with the spirit of youthful love of adventure, Mr. Bunn secured work in railroading, which ever seems to appeal to the young. From Colonel A. C. Titus he secured a position as engineer with the Kansas City & Burlington Railroad, of which colonel A. C. Titus was then superintendent, and from 1872 until April 1, 1876, he ran the train conveying the transit men. In 1878 he ran the train of the Adams Express Company from Ottawa, Kansas, to Burlington, Kansas. In 1881, he abandoned railroading and made a radical change, buying a saw mill near Garnett, Anderson county, Kansas. He conducted this mill for three years and then sold out and removed to a farm his father gave him in Franklin county, Kansas. Being still somewhat dissatisfied and having his ambitions set upon higher positions, the young man sold his farm and went to Ottawa, Kansas, where he studied civil engineering and became exceedingly proficient in this science. In 1887 and 1888 he put in two and one half miles of sewerage in Ottawa, and after finishing that important work, he removed to Pittsburg, Kansas, where he superintended the installation of five miles of sewerage. He next removed, in 1892, to Girard, Crawford county, where he was engaged in the same line of work and he then located for a time in Pittsburg, Kansas, where he engaged in real estate transactions. About this time Mr. Bunn entered upon an important work in the opening of coal mines in Illinois, and he remained there for six months, bringing in that time the mines to a state of successful operation. He subsequently went to Canyon City, Colorado, and took charge of the coal mines belonging to the Atchinson, Topeka and Santa Fe railroad in Colorado. Over a year later he came back to Illinois, and after staying there for two months, went to Lansing, Kansas, where for a few months he held the position of superintendent of the coal mines of that place. A few months later he went to Topeka, Kansas, and in 1902, he went back to Illinois again. In the meantime he had also spent sometime in the Indian Territory engaged in the opening of coal mines, in which department his engineering skill has ever proved of the highest order.

In 1902, Mr. Bunn became identified with Kansas City, Kansas, assuming the office of civil engineer with the Chicago, Rock Island & Pacific railroad, and in the month of January of the ensuing year he began upon construction work. He was given charge of the division at Leeton, Johnson county, Missouri, and did not finish the work there before 1906. In that year he leased certain coal fields in Missouri, and engaged in the work of developing coal mines. His next change took him to St. Joe, Missouri, and he traversed the states of Missouri and Iowa, locating two railroads and at the termination of this great civil engineering work, in 1909, he became engineer in charge of the construction of the Kaw Valley drainage district, this being the largest work of its kind ever accomplished. In fact, Mr. Bunn's experience, executive ability, tireless energy, engineering skill and genius in the broad combination and concentration of applicable forces render his services of great and unusual value.

Mr. Bunn was happily married when in June, 1877, Miss Anna Harlan, a native of Ohio, and daughter of Chauney and Nancy (Freede) Harlan, became his wife. This union has been blessed by the birth of two children, namely: Albert L., of Kansas City, Kansas, who married Mrs. Charles Martin of Kansas City, Missouri; and Harlan D., who is at home.

Mr. Bunn is an altruistic and public spirited citizen and is an enthushastic adherent of the Socialist party, which he believes will be a strong factor in working out the welfare of the world. He is a popular lodge man, being affiliated with the Knights of Pythias of Ottawa, Kansas No. 53; the Modern Woodmen of America of Leeton, Missouri; and the Owls, No. 1425, of Kansas City, Kansas.

Mr. Bunn received his education in the Illinois State University and the business college of Jacksonville, Illinois.



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