My Ancestors "The Buntings of Erie and Crawford County, PA"

12:35AM GMT - Saturday, 05 November 2005

Contributed by: Col Joseph Thomas

Samuel Bunting and his wife Septama (Cowgill) Bunting, in company with Jonah Cowgill (Septama's brother), moved by ox-cart from Bucks County, Pennsylvania to Le Bouef Township, Erie County in northwestern Pennsylvania about 1797. Le Boeuf Township is one of the first townships in Erie County where settlers came to establish homes in the wilderness. Here, French Creek and Le Boeuf Creek join in their rush to the Gulf of Mexico. Here, Indians camped and developed an early trail through the forest. Quarries were found and worked near the Borough of Mill Village This township received its name from Le Boeuf Creek, which joins French Creek within its limits. It is one of the original townships of the county, and belongs to what is known as "the Southern Tier." It is bounded on the north by Waterford, on the east by Union, on the south by Crawford County, and on the west by Washington. Capt. Robert King, who took up 400 acres at the present Ford Bridge, selected the first lands in Le Boeuf Township in 1794. Samuel and his wife Septama are listed in the 1820 Census for Le Bouef Township in Erie County along with Septama's brothers Johan and Joseph Cowgill.

Daniel Bunting was born in Le Boeuf Township, Erie County, PA on October 15, 1808; the son of Samuel Bunting and Septama Cowgill. He moved to Rockdale Township in Crawford County, PA in 1837; and resided there until his death. His wife, Nancy (Thompson) Bunting, was born March 21, 1813. In 1830 William Bunting conveyed land in Erie County to Daniel and Samuel Bunting. Daniel married Nancy Thompson on December 19, 1833 and they had eight children. Daniel and his wife Nancy are listed in the 1880 U.S. Census for Rockdale Township, Crawford County, PA. One of Daniel and Nancy’s children was Henry A. Bunting.

Henry A. Bunting and Adelle (Breeze’) Bunting were married at Thomastown, Rockdale Township, Crawford County, PA and lived there most of their lives. Legend says that as early as 1840, the Bunting and Breeze families were living in Rockdale Township in the settlement known as Thomastown. Henry and Adell had a son named Luther W. Bunting.

Luther W. Bunting was born August 2, 1863 in Little Cooley, Athens Township, Crawford County, Pennsylvania to Henry A. and Adelle R. Breeze'. Luther was a farmer and on July 2, 1902, at the age of 39, he married Edith Eldora Alexander. In 1909, at the age of 46, he is found farming land that he had rented from Mrs. Sproul and his mailing address was listed as RD 71 Townville. The following year's U.S. Census shows him still farming, married to Edith, with two daughters Maude and Evora. The 1930 U.S. Census lists Luther as still farming and owning his own land. His home is valued at $3,000 and has a radio set. His age in 1930 is listed as 66 and he and Edith are living on their farm by themselves. Luther died on November 30, 1934 and his wife Edith lived for 21 more years. Luther and Edith had a daughter Maude Hazel (my mother).

Maude Hazel Bunting was born on June 12, 1906 at her parents’ home in Little Cooley, Athens Township, and Crawford County PA. Both a brother and sister (Paul and Helen) died in early childhood and her only living sibling was a sister Evora who was born just two months shy of Maude's second birthday. Maude attended and graduated from Willis Grove Consolidated School and went to Edinboro College in Edinboro, PA. In 1925, after attending Edinboro College she was awarded a Provisional Teaching Certificate and secured a teaching position at Taylor Stand School in Athens Township. Maude knew Milton Thomas from Willis Grove Consolidated School and Edinboro College and they began dating during her first year of teaching. At the completion of her first year of teaching Milton and Maude decided to get married and Maude’s uncle The Reverend Forrest Amy conducted the ceremony on June 12, 1926 at her home in Little Cooley. That fall they both traveled to Wilmore, KY where Milton entered his Junior Year at Asbury College and where in the spring of 1927 he graduated "provisionally. Following this Milton was ordained in the Methodist Church.

Maude a young "School Marm" from rural western Pennsylvania now became a minister's wife and would spend the rest of her life supporting her husband, her family, and the Methodist Church. She was the mother of eight children; David, Virginia, Paul, John, James, Joseph, Vivian and Stanley. When she was living at Rimersburg in 1940, it was discovered that she had cancer of the throat. This was a terrible personal and family tragedy--she was so young--and her husband and children needed her so much. What seems like a miracle then and still today, the cancer was arrested and Maude recovered and went on to live for many more years and raises a large family. Thirty-four years later, in 1974, cancer once more struck this wonderful woman. Being the remarkable lady that she was, however, she again resisted this terrible disease and miracle of miracles--it was arrested for the second time. In 1976, it was discovered that her husband Milton had leukemia-- miracles of medicine do happen and Milton's cancer was also arrested.

Milton and Maude finally retired in 1973 and settled in Cambridge Springs, PA a town close to where they and their parents had grown up. Maude celebrated her 50th Wedding Anniversary on June 12, 1976 in the Methodist Church in Cambridge Springs. All of her children and their families, plus a large crowd of friends and former parishioners they had known for years joined in this "Golden Celebration". Maude spent her final years with Milton at the Methodist Retirement Home in Meadville, PA, where she died on February 18, 1986, fifteen months after her husband. A true lady to the end--she requested--and her request was granted to have her granddaughters be her pallbearers.

Joseph L. Thomas

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