Fonds ID1741 - Bunting family (1858-1887)

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Bunting family (1858-1887)

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0.5 cm of textual records

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(Branch begins in 1785)

Biographical history

The Rev. Joshua Bunting (1785-1869), son of New Brunswick Loyalist Roland Bunting, married Elizabeth Golding in 1818. They had 4 sons, William F., Charles Edward, Stephen Gerow, and W.D. Bunting. William Franklin Bunting (1825-1897) was often called Frank within the family. He was educated in Saint John at William Mills' school and at Jarvis William Hartt's high school. He became a clerk in the office of the city's collector of taxes in 1846 and remained in that office for over 40 years. Under a new assessment act in 1859, Bunting was appointed clerk to the newly-formed Board of Assessors. In 1882 another act created a permanent chairmanship of the Board to which W. F. Bunting was appointed until 1896 when he was removed and made an assessor.

Bunting was a member of the volunteer fire department of Saint John and served as foreman of a company for 14 years before the volunteer fire department was disbanded in 1864. He was active in the social, cultural and sporting life in the city, particularly with freemasonry, joining St. John Lodge No. 632 in 1852. He was active in Masonic politics until 1883 when his duties as Chairman of the Board of Assessors became too demanding. He wrote a book, published in 1895, on the history of the lodge in Saint John with sketches of all Masonic bodies in the province from 1784 to 1894. He also wrote a series of articles on the early government of Saint John for the "St. John Daily Sun" that were published between February and May 1888. He also published "The Encampment of Saint John" in 1892.

W.F. Bunting was also a member of the Polymorphian Society, a magistrate of the city and county of Saint John, and secretary of the Saint John Mechanics Institute between 1858 and 1864. He was an avid fisherman and hunter, was a member of the Saint John Baseball Club and the Pleasure Grounds Association, and was active in the founding of the Victoria Skating Rink and Club.

Brother Charles E. Bunting married Martha sometime in the early 1850s and had two sons. One son, Charles Jr., died in Saint John around 1857. In 1858, Charles and Martha; their surviving child, Willie; and Charles' brother, Stephen decided to move to California and boarded the "Visurgis". While en route Martha gave birth to a daughter, Annie, who died and was buried at sea. Martha died 11 days later and was buried in San Francisco when the ship landed.

In September 1859, Charles and Willie boarded another vessel which became unseaworthy near Samoa, in the South Pacific. They were forced to abandon ship and take to a raft. They eventually found passage on another ship which landed them in Sydney, Australia on 1 January 1860. They finally settled in Victoria B.C. where Charles become a member of Victoria City Council.

In 1864 Charles was remarried, to Jeannie, only daughter of Hugh McRoberts of Richmond Place, B.C. The same year, his son Willie died, at the age of 8. In 1861 Stephen married Maria Fuller of at Sacramento. They also moved to Victoria, where one son Francis, died.

Sources: Johnson, D.F. Vital Statistics from New Brunswick Newspapers, 1838-1858; McAlpine's Saint John City Directory, 1876-1877; Dictionary of Canadian Biography

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Information about the custody of these records prior to acquisition is incomplete.

Scope and content

This fonds consists of photocopied personal letters and a page of family history information. It includes a letter from W. F. Bunting to his brother Stephen describing in detail the fire that destroyed Saint John in 1877. There is also a letter by Charles describing the experience of his son and himself travelling on a ship that foundered in 1859 on the voyage to British Columbia from California.

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Lois White; Gerow Family Organization, (New York)


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  • English

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W.F. Bunting diaries, S54a-4

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