Biography of Charles C. Bunnell

No more familiar figure and substantial business man and patriotic citizen is seen on the streets of Lewiston than the subject of this article. Mr. Bunnell was born in Rochester, New York, on October 5, 1835, being the son of Dennis D. and Eliza (Durand) Bunnell, natives of Connecticut, the mother coming to New York in 1818. When two years old our subject came west with the family to Michigan and settled in Marshall. The father farmed there and also conducted various financial operations. In March, 1850, he died and in October of the same year the mother passed away, having returned to New York to be among old friends. Charles C. remained with his brothers, Augustus and D. D., for two years in Milwaukee, then returned to Rochester, New York, and there learned the tinner’s trade. He worked at it five years in Rochester and then went to Michigan for a few months, then to Portland, Oregon, in May, 1857, whence he took a trip to San Francisco, but returned to Portland, and then to The Dalles, where he did well, saving one thousand dollars.

He went to Portland in 1860 and opened a tinware and stove store with his brother, D. D. They worked together until 1868. In 1862, however, our subject came to Lewiston. A few people had stopped there the previous year, but Mr. Bunnell is about one of the oldest settlers. He and his brother put up a quartz mill at Sparta. Baker County, Oregon, which proved a financial failure; in 18′ 18, when he and his brother dissolved partnership, the mill fell into his hands and he sold it at a great sacrifice. Our subject started into the tinware business in Lewiston in 1812, manufacturing all his own stock: he soon added hardware and stoves and prosperity came to him constantly. He labored faithfully year after year, gaining a fine patronage by his kind and upright treatment of all and his business became one of the mammoth affairs of the city; he now owns the block where he conducted it, having sold the business, feeling assured that he has well earned the retirement that now comes to him in the golden years of his well spent career. He also owns a number of dwellings and some farms adjacent to Lewiston. 1899 was the date that Mr. Bunnell sold his business and retired from the store.

The marriage of Mr. Bunnell and Miss Flora Springer, daughter of Wesley and Rebecca (Shoemaker) Graves, was solemnized on September 22, 1872. Mr. Graves came to Oregon in 1852 and he was proprietor of the Chemetka Hotel in Salem for years. Mrs. Bunnell was born in Knox County, Illinois, in 1845, and was but seven years old when she came with her parents to Oregon. The other members of her father’s family are Johanna Springer, in Lewiston; Mary Lenninger Graves, in Oregon: Mattie Cardwell, also in Oregon. Mr. Bunnell’s brothers and sisters are, Augustus, William and Dennis D., all deceased.

Mr. Bunnell is a charter member of Nezperce Lodge of Masons, No. 10, and has been its treasurer since its organization. He and his estimable wife are members of the First Presbyterian Church in Lewiston. He has never sought office in any form and although being frequently solicited by friends to accept, he has steadily declined. Mr. Bunnell is one of the real builder of the County and has been one of its most successful business men, is esteemed by all and highly respected as a worthy pioneer and gentleman of integrity. He has been a director of the Lewiston National Bank since 1888, and for three years was president of the institution.

Source: An Illustrated History of North Idaho: Embracing Nez Perce, Idaho, Latah, Kootenai and Shoshone counties, state of Idaho; Western Historical Publishing Company, 1903

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