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California Genealogy and History Archives

Sonoma County


George Edwin Prunk

As an instructor of youth in his early manhood and as a minister of the Gospel in his mature years, George E. Prunk has filled a sphere of distinct usefulness in the localities where duty called him, and as he looks back over the past he may gather encouragement and happiness from the thought that the days of his greatest physical and mental activities were given to the spiritual and educational upbuilding of the race. In the quiet routine of his self-sacrificing labors, helping the needy, encouraging the despondent, uplifting the fallen, teaching the erring and ignorant, he passed from young manhood to old age, yet he has not allowed his activities to be diminished, having merely changed their form of service. Besides he officiated as postmaster in Minnesota and as justice of the peace in Illinois. After coming to California in 1886 he occupied a number of pulpits on the coast, but after coming to Healdsburg he retired from the ministry and has since been a useful citizen of his home town.

During the early history of Maryland Daniel Prunk was born in that Commonwealth in 1796, but when he was a child of two years his parents removed to Virginia, and in that commonwealth he was reared and educated. It was there that he met and married Catherine Hammond, who was born in Virginia in 1797. Later years fund Daniel Prunk and his wife immigrating to the middle west, and it was while living on a farm in Putnam county, Ill., that their son George Edwin Prunk was born February 3, 1834. Until he was twenty-one years of age he remained with his parents on the home farm, in the meantime, however, receiving a primary education in the district schools of the locality and later for a year and a-half, attended the Chicago University. In early life he had decided to give his life to the cause of Christianity, and all of his studies and reading were pursued with this thought in mind. In 1859 he took up a course of study in the Chicago University, continuing his studies there until the year 1862, when owing to the illness of his father he was called home to take charge of the farm. The death of this parent followed soon afterward, in March, 1862, when he was made administrator of the estate. By the division of the property among the heirs he received one hundred and sixty acres of land, which he endeavored to till and cultivate, but not being a practical farmer the undertaking was not a success and he finally sold the property. After his marriage, which occurred in 1865, he took up his studies in earnest and in that year entered upon a course in Shurtleff College, remaining there two terms and graduating with the license to preach. His first appointment was in Chillicothe, Ill., having charge of a Baptist church there for a year and a half, when he was called to the Second Baptist Church of Peoria, Ill. He remained there two years, after which he went to Mossville, a country village near Peoria, having charge there for two years and a half. It was at the expiration of this time that he went to Minnesota and near the village of Union lakes, Rice county, purchased a farm which he operated for the following ten years at the same time continuing his ministerial duties. Going from there to Kansas, he had charge of a church in Wetmore until 1886, in which year he came to California, landing Christmas day. Going to Yountville, Napa county, he was chaplain of the Veterans Home there for fifteen months. After spending a year in Washington and Oregon he returned to California, locating in Colusa county, where, in Arbuckle, he had charge of two churches for two years. He then, in 1892, came to Healdsburg, and on the 20th of April of that year he purchased his present home place at No. 465 West street, where he has since lived retired from ministerial and other labors.

Mr. Prunk’s marriage, which was celebrated April 20l 1865, united him with Miss Mary Jane Hatch, a native of Elmira, N. Y., who died February 17, 1911, at her home in Healdsburg, at the age of sixty-nine years, ten months and twelve days. The only child born of this marriage was George Edwin Prunk, Jr., born January 19, 1874. In June, 1906, he was married to Miss Marie Noonan, a native of California, who at her death, December 13, 1909, left one child, George Edwin Prunk III. Wherever duty has called the elder Mr. Prunk he has invariably filled is obligations with the most complete satisfaction to all concerned, this quality being nowhere more noticeable than when he was a member of the board of Shurtleff College.

History of Sonoma County, California
Biographical Sketches of The Leading Men and Women of the County Who Have Been Identified With Its Growth and Development from the Early Days to the Present
History By: Tom Gregory
Historic Record Company, Los Angeles, California (1911)

Transcribed by Peggy Hooper 2011