Question: What name did the Indians give Daniel Buckley Funk because of his activities and use of natural resources?
Answer: When Daniel Buckley Funk was born on February 22, 1820, in Montgomery, Pennsylvania, his father, Abraham, was 31 and his mother, Susannah, was 28. He married Mariah DeMille on April 22, 1841, in Quincy, Illinois. In 1843 he became a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, being baptized and confirmed by Newel Knight.
Daniel and Mariah made their first home in Quincy, Illinois. Here their first three children were born, and their oldest daughter, Sarah, died soon after birth. On April 21, 1847 Daniel was ordained an elder by Lorenzo Snow. In the summer of 1847, they sold out and were driven with other Saints to Mount Pisgah. A year later, in the summer of 1848, Daniel, Mariah and their growing family began their journey to the valley of the Great Salt Lake in Brigham Young’s Company. They had one son born in Salt Lake.
In June, 1849, Brigham Young asked Daniel Funk and George W. Bradley to build a ferry at the Green River in Wyoming. They ferried many California gold rushers across the river. They experienced some dangerous situations, but the endeavor helped them financially.
October, 1849, Daniel was called to help settle San Pitch Valley, Sanpete County, Utah. Daniel and Mariah were instrumental in settling this new frontier, the second settlement (Manti) south of the Salt Lake Valley. They built a fort and some houses and a bower. Daniel built a water-powered mill where he ground grain and made furniture. The rest of Daniel and Mariah’s children were born in this area. They lost one set of twins in 1856, as well as a daughter in 1861. In October 1856, Daniel married Mary Jane Pectol in polygamy, and they had eight children.
Daniel’s unique skills and ingenuity brought opportunities and blessings to the pioneers and their posterity. Some of Daniel’s accomplishments are: the creation of Funk’s Lake, a recreational area that still exists today as Palisade Lake; steam boats and row boats for the lake; engineer; farmer; tanner; carpenter and wood craftsman; chemist and paint maker; iron worker; harvester of saleratus and alum; military scout and drummer; and maker of musical instruments. His friend, George Washington Bradley described him as “indomitable.’ He planted six thousand trees to beautify the area. His Indian friends favored him with the title “The Squirrel’ because of his activities and use of natural resources.
Daniel died in Manti from a heart attack on November 30, 1888, while hauling lumber for new improvements at Funk’s Lake. He was 68, and was buried in Manti, Utah. Mariah soon followed on March 25, 1889, and was buried in the Manti Cemetery.
Sources: Excerpts from Personal family records and memories, and “A Collection of the Histories of Daniel Buckley Funk, His Wife Mariah De Mill, and His Wife Mary Jane Pectol,’ compiled by Jerry Lyn Bradley Lloyd; FamilySearch.org; FindAGrave.com