BUNCE, IRA MATTISON , of the firm of Bunce & Company, publishers of "The Farm," a valuable agricultural journal, published in Jacksonville, Morgan County, Ill., was born in Springfield, Ill., July 1, 1855, the son of John James and Ann Maria (Sperry) Bunce, the former a native of Accomac County, Va., where he was born in 1826. His grandfather Bunce was an Englishman and served in the British navy, into which he had been impressed. The man-of-war upon which he had been placed was afterward wrecked on the Maryland coast, near Chesapeake Bay. With others he was washed ashore and rescued, terminating his connection with the British navy. He finally located in Accomac County, Va., where he married and reared a family of five children: John J., Edward P., Samuel and two daughters. John J. Bunce, father of I. M. Bunce, was born in the State of Virginia in 1826, and died at the age of sixty-one years in Virginia, Cass County, Ill. In 1840, at the age of fifteen, after the death of his father, in company with his mother, brothers and sisters, he came to Illinois, making the journey in a wagon, and took up his residence in Meredosia. He learned the printer's trade in Jacksonville, Ill., and was afterward employed on various papers and in various places, among them being Springfield, Virginia and Winchester, Ill. He founded the "Jeffersonian," a weekly newspaper in Virginia, Ill., which he published four years. He then moved to Chandlerville, Ill., and there founded the "New Era," which he issued two years. There Ira M., who had been employed in the office at Virginia, entered into partnership with his father under the firm name of J. J. Bunce & Son. They subsequently returned to Virginia, Ira M. Bunce retiring from the firm. His place was taken by John S. Harper and the publication of the "Virginia Enquirer" commenced. Within a few months Harper had succeeded to undisputed ownership, giving his partner a note for his interest, upon which Mr. Bunce was never able to realize. Having lost everything and being out of employment, J. J. Bunce went to Hot Springs, Ark., to accept a position in a printing office. Ira M. Bunce remained with the family, gardening, saving wood, doing anything to provide for the family during the father's absence. Soon after his father's departure he accepted a position in the office of the "Virginia Gazette." Later his father returned to Virginia and took a position in the same office, father and son working side by side once more; and a comfortable home was the result of the combined efforts of the family. At the end of four years Ira M. Bunce left the Gazette office to enter the employ of the "Virginia Examiner," which had changed ownership, his father remaining with the "Gazette." Here he was promoted from time to time, and after four years in the Examiner office, relinquished his place to his father, and went to Macon County, Mo., where he was engaged in farming for five years. In 1888, he returned to Jacksonville, and was employed as a printer on the "Jacksonville Daily Journal" until 1899 (eleven years), resigning the position early in the last named year. Shortly afterward he purchased the "Daily Dinner Horn" outfit and started "The Farm" March 1, 1899. In this venture his son, Curtis, was a partner for some time, and later, his wife entered the concern forming the company. The paper was first issued as a monthly seven-column folio, and four months afterward the size was increased to a seven-column quarto. Four months later it became a bi-weekly. It is a local paper, circulating mainly in Morgan County, and aside from its publication, the firm of I. M. Bunce & Co. does job-printing. John J. Bunce's last enterprise was the "Temperance Advocate," which was published in Virginia, Ill., at the time of his death, on November 26, 1887.
On April 24, 1879, Mr. Bunce was joined in wedlock with Hattie F. Haverly, a native of Macon County, Mo. And their union resulted in two children: Curtis W., of Yuba, Wash.; and Gary, a daughter.
In politics Mr. Bunce casts his vote with the Democratic party. Religiously he is a member of the First Baptist Church, and is treasurer of its Sunday-school. For two years, Ira M. Bunce was a member of the military organization in Cass County, Ill., known as the "Lippincott Guards." Fraternally he is affiliated with the Modern Woodmen of America.