Born in Clark County, Kentucky on November 17, 1797, Isaac came to Illinois in 1824. He settled in McLean County in an area which became known as Funk's Grove. Starting a few years later he began buying land, eventually owning about 26,000 acres.
Isaac was one of the early users of corn to fatten cattle prior to sending them to slaughter. He typically sent the cattle to Chicago, taking about fourteen days to complete the drive. Occasionally he drove herds of hogs to the same market. He also moved the beef east, making his last drive to Ohio in 1841.
To build his herds Isaac purchased cattle throughout Illinois and Missouri. He also brought at least one herd from Texas when he and James Nichols purchased 1200 head in 1855 and drove them to Illinois.
He was a public servant by being in the state General Assembly twice. First he was a Representative 1840-42 and then a Senator from 1862 to his death January 29, 1865. In a quirk of fate his wife Cassandra died on the same day.
Isaac's contributions to the area were commemorated by the naming of the Funk's Grove rest stop on Interstate 55. Plaques are mounted there telling of his life and his accomplishments.
Funk of Funk's Grove · Helen M. Cavanagh · 1952
Historical Encyclopedia of Illinois · Charles A. Partridge, ed. · 1902
Illinois: A History of the Prairie State · Robert P. Howard · 1972
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