Sandburg's Hometown

December 1, 2014

Dwight W. Bunker,
Dwight W. Bunker (1846-1897)

Bunker Boots and Shoes

by Barbara Schock

From time to time, descriptions of Galesburg residents will be included in “Sandburg's Hometown.” Carl Sandburg probably knew of them even though the individuals were not mentioned in his writings. The city on the prairie was a collation of businessmen, farmers, industrialists, and the many immigrants who had settled there.

Dwight W. Bunker operated a boot and shoe store at 132 East Main Street. He opened the store in 1876 and built a reputation for quality merchandise and good service. Patrons could purchase handcrafted shoes, if they desired.

Bunker was born in Lake County, Ohio, November 4, 1846. His parents, Samuel and Silvia Walton Bunker, moved to Knox County when he was two years old. At the age of fourteen, he went to Wataga and enlisted in the 45th Illinois Infantry Regiment on October 20, 1861. There were seventy-nine men from Knox County in the regiment.

The 45th participated in the battles of Forts Henry (February 6th) and Donelson (February 16th) and the battle of Shiloh on April 6th and 7th , 1862. Private Bunker was wounded on the second day of the battle. The commander of his regiment had mistaken an advancing rebel force as a Union regiment. The young soldiers were cut down with rifle fire. A mini ball tore away about 1 ½ inches of Bunker's lower ribs and part of his elbow on the left side. Another bullet lodged in his left shoulder and he carried it the rest of his life. He was left on the battlefield and wandered for several days, finally seeking refuge in an old tent.

After a week had passed, he was found and taken to a hospital in St. Louis. His father brought Dwight back to Henderson and the family nursed him back to health. Dwight had served one day short of a year in the Union Army.

After recovering, young Bunker went to Kansas and worked as a teamster and helped build some two hundred miles of the Union Pacific Railroad. On May 31, 1873, Bunker married Mary Isabelle Carpenter.

In 1874, they returned to Galesburg and he opened a general store. He started the boot and shoe store several years later. Bunker was very active in the Grand Army of the Republic, the Civil War veterans organization. He was an officer in the state G.A.R. at the time of his death on November 4, 1897. The doctors assumed a blood clot had formed at the site of the shoulder wound and had been carried to the brain. He was fifty-one years old.

The Bunkers had a son and a daughter. The son was given his father's first name along with his mother's surname. Dwight C. Bunker continued to operate the shoe store after his father's death. It was the oldest shoe store in Galesburg when he sold it in 1923. Then he became the custodian of city parks.

After World War I, golf became an enthusiasm for many men in Galesburg. Dwight C. Bunker became an expert at the game. He designed and built a golf course next to Lincoln Park on the north side of Galesburg. Teams of horses were used to grade and shape the rolling landscape into greens and fairways, and yes, bunkers too. Subsequently, it was named in his honor. Bunker also made many improvements to Lincoln Park: a pavilion, clay tennis courts, a wading pool and flower gardens. After the city of Galesburg leased Lake Storey from the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railroad, Bunker made improvements there as well. The parks were very popular with the citizens of the area.

Dwight C. Bunker died November 7, 1936, in his home and was buried in Hope Cemetery in the family plot. Several years later, the Galesburg Woman's Club placed a bench in Lincoln Park in memory of Mr. Bunker. It is still there.

Sandburg's Hometown
Date Title
December 1, 2014 Bunker Boots & Shoes
November 24, 2014 Galesburg, Illinois
November 17, 2014 It was Buffalo Bill's Day
November 10, 2014 The Election of 1896 (A follow-up story)
November 3, 2014 The Election of 1896 (continued)
October 27, 2014 The Election of 1896
October  24, 2014 The Rissywarn
October 20, 2014 The Parlor Stove
October 13, 2014 Ashes to Ashes
October 6, 2014 Jesse James
Sept. 29, 2014 Lester T. Stone, Public Servant
Sept. 22, 2014 It's Who You Know
Sept 15, 2014 Mother of the Illinois Flag
Sept 8, 2014 The Scissors Grinder
Sept 1, 2014 Baseball
August 25, 2014 Howard K. Knowles, Capitalist
August 18, 2014  Alcoholic Beverages
August 11, 2014 Soda Water
August 4, 2014 Sweet Corn
July 28, 2014 Marching Through Georgia
July 21, 2014 The Knox County Fair
July 14, 2014 The Panic of 1893
July 7, 2014 The Rev. T. N. Hasselquist
June 30, 2014 The Knox County Courthouse
June 23, 2014 The Family Photograph Album
June 16, 2014 Parades
June 9, 2014 Lingonberries
June 2, 2014 Where We Live
May 26, 2014 Old Main
May 19, 2014 Rhythms of the Railroad
May 12, 2014 Spring Tonic
May 5, 2014 The Milkmen
April 28, 2014 Gray's "Elegy..."
April 21, 2014 Off to War
April 14, 2014 Swedish Easter
April 7, 2014 A Father's Face
March 31, 2014 Secret Societies
March 24, 2014 George A. Murdock, Merchant
March 10, 2014 Trade Cards
March 3, 2014 The Demorest Medal
February 24, 2014 Rip Van Winkle
February 17, 2014 Cabbage Soup
February 10, 2014 Lincoln's Birthday
February 3, 2014 4  The Colonel
January 27, 2014 The Lincoln Penny - A Little History
January 20, 2014 Walking to Work
January 13, 2014  A Small Abode
January 6, 2014 Birth of a Poet
December 30, 2013 Christmas 1880
December 23, 2013 Swedish Christmas
December 16, 2013 The Reporter Sees Santa
December 9, 2013 The Coming of Christmas
December 2, 2013 The Fire Boys Talk
November 25, 2013 Galesburg Will Feast on Turkeys and Cranberries - Thanksgiving 1893
November 18, 2013 Mary Sandburg Johnson
November 11, 2013 Carl Sandburg's Bicycle
November 4, 2013 Lace Curtains
October 28, 2013 The Front Room
October 21, 2013 A Warm Breakfast
October 14, 2013 Marion D. Shutter
October 7, 2013 Cigars and Consumption
September 30, 2013 Forrest F. Cooke & August Sandburg
September 16, 2013 Forrest F. Cooke, Mayor
September 9, 2013 Dusty Streets
September 2, 2013 Typhoid Fever
August 26, 2013 Coffee and Water
August 19, 2013 A Horse! A Horse!
August 12, 2013 Gaddial Scott
August 5, 2013 The Racetrack
July 29, 2013 John Peter Algeld - Part II
July 22, 2013 John Peter Altgeld - Part I
July 15, 2013 Tramps, Tramps, Tramps
July 8, 2013 Lady Liberty
July 1, 2013 Galesburg's Fourth
June 24, 2013 John H. Finley
June 17, 2013 The World's Columbian Exhibition
June 10, 2013 Fruit Short-Cake
June 3, 2013 Horatio Alger, Author
May 27, 2013 Memorial Day, 1887
May 20, 2013 Professor Jon W. Grubb
May 13, 2013 Beginnings of Lombard University
May 6, 2013 Young Sandburg’s View of Lombard College
April 29, 2013 Thinking
April 22, 2013 Robert Colville, Master Mechanic
April 15, 2013 The Galesburg Opera House
April 8, 2013 Grocery Stores and Sample Rooms
April 1, 2013  A Hearty  Breakfast 
March 25, 2013  The Lost Wallpaper Legend 
March 18, 2013 Martin G. Sandburg
March 4, 2013 The Edison Talking Machine
February 25, 2013 Joe Elser, Civil War Veteran
February 18, 2013 Remember the Maine...
February 11, 2013 Lincoln's Birthday
February 4, 2013 Curiosity