Pioneer History at Learning Tree Farm

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As we enter the winter season we reflect on the past both recent and of the farm's beginnings.  We thought that you might like a glimpse into how this little plot of earth in southwest Ohio has transformed over the years.  The next several blog posts are pieces that were written to record Learning Tree Farm's long history.  Enjoy this first in the series that tells of the beginning of the property in the 1800s.  




The property that is now Learning Tree Farm was settled in 1829 when John Funderburg and his wife Margaret (Shank) Funderburg brought their two children, Jacob and Anna and Margaret's niece, Lydia Shank, in a covered wagon from Frederick County Maryland. They were of German ancestry and belonged to the Church of the Brethren.

Previously, on December 5, 1827, John and Margaret Funderburg had received a letter from Margaret’s brother, John Shank and her nephew, Abraham Shank. At that time, John and Margaret Funderburg lived in Frederick County, Maryland, “near Samuel DeVelbiss’ Mill on the banks of the Monocacy” River. The Shanks had already migrated by covered wagon to Dayton, Ohio and apparently were very happy with their move westward. They wrote the letter from Dayton on October 29, 1827. John tells his sister that his family is living “like a king among the bees”. They had been searching every wagon that came to Dayton, hoping it was John’s, but now they have given them up “for this fall’s coming.”* That was the fall of 1827. Their letter must have convinced John and Margaret to bring their family and come on out. John had a big public sale of his property in Maryland on August 28, 1828.*

Then, on August 29, 1829, John purchased 106 acres from Phillip and Susanna Gebhart. (Phillip had purchased it for $1.00 from his father, Henry Gebhart who received it as a land grant from the U. S. Government in 1810.)*** John paid $1,000 down with the agreement that he would pay $400 more within two months when a "good sufficient deed was established". * In 1853, after John and Margaret died, the farm passed to their daughter, Anna Funderburg Huffer, according to the provisions in John Funderburg’s last Will and Testament.** The Funderburg/Huffer Family established a subsistence farming operation here which passed down through the family for over one hundred years.

You can learn more about the farm's land and family history when you visit the Century House at any of our programs.  Check out the family's ancestry here!

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