Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Alvarado Erwin Funk (1895-1954), Alvarado Brown (1809-1882), Alvarado Alonzo Coburn (1855-1933)

From the Whitesburg Mountain Eagle, October 28, 1943.

   The state of Kentucky has been sadly underrepresented here on the site, with only five odd named political figures receiving a write up here over the past two years. That list grows slightly with the addition of Mr. Alvarado Erwin Funk, a distinguished Bullitt County attorney who in 1947 won election as Attorney General of Kentucky. Despite attaining such a lofty office, little could be found on Funk's life, excepting an obituary for him published in the July 21, 1954 edition of the Middlesboro Daily News.
   A lifelong resident of the Bluegrass State, Alvarado Erwin Funk was the son of Alvarado E. (1859-1920) and Eugenia Holsclaw Funk (1861-1932), being born at Brooks Station, Kentucky on June 14, 1895. His early education was attained at the Bullitt County Grade School and later, the Louisville Training High School and the "high school at Beechmont."
   In 1917 Funk embarked upon the study of law at the University of Louisville's Law School and in August of that year married to Myrtle Childers (1900-1989), later becoming the father to four children, Eleanor Lorraine (1919-2004), Loretta Eugenia (1920-1995), Alvarado Erwin Jr. (1922-2001) and Betty Funk Gonnella (1927-2008). The year 1917 proved to be a busy one for Funk, for in July of that year he began military training at Fort Benjamin Harrison in Indiana, and after completing his training served throughout the duration of WWI, attaining the rank of First Lieutenant. 
   After being discharged in 1919 Funk returned to Kentucky and took up farming for a few years, and in 1923 began the practice of law in the small town of Sheppardsville, operating under local judge Charles Preston Bradbury (1875-1964). Funk's practice here extended until 1929, and in that year won election as Bullitt County attorney. Serving five years in this post, Funk left office in 1934 and shortly thereafter formed a law practice with Cassius M.C. Porter. This practice continued until 1936 when Funk took leave to accept the appointment of assistant attorney general of Kentucky. He was reappointed to this post in 1937 and 1940 and at the time of his leaving office had served in the administrations of Governors Albert Benjamin "Happy" Chandler and Keen Johnson. 
   In 1943 Funk launched a candidacy for Attorney General of Kentucky, but in that year's contest came up short in the vote count, losing the election to funny named Republican nominee Eldon S. Dummit. Four years following his loss Funk began another candidacy and was this time successful, officially taking office in 1948. His tenure in this office extended until 1952, and after leaving office returned to practicing law in Frankfort, being the senior partner in the law firm of Funk, Chancellor and Marshall. He continued to actively practice law for the remainder of his life and was at his office the day before his death, which occurred on July 21, 1954 at age 59. His obituary in the Middlesboro Daily News records him as having suffered a fatal heart attack at his home and he was later discovered by his wife in the bathroom of their home in the early morning hours of July 21st. 
  A burial location for Funk is unknown that this time. However, one has been located for his son Alvarado Erwin Jr. at the Frankfort Cemetery so it may not be a foregone conclusion that both Alvarado and Myrtle Funk may also be buried here. 

                                                         From the History of Branch County Michigan, 1879.

   Another "Alvarado" that made his name known in political circles is Alvarado Brown, a native son of Herkimer County, New York who later removed to Michigan. Born on January 15, 1809 in the aforementioned county, Brown married in 1833 to Almina Ridgway and later had three children. A few years following his marriage, Brown and his family resettled in Indiana. After a four year stint at farming in this state, he and his wife relocated to Michigan, settling in the town of Quincy.
  In the years following his relocation to Michigan Brown served as Quincy town clerk from 1841-1847 and later represented the county of Branch in the Michigan State House of Representatives from 1847-1848 and two years following served as a delegate to the Michigan State Constitutional Convention, again representing Branch County. Brown died at age 73 on May 4, 1882, in Quincy and was, presumably, buried at a cemetery in this town.

Portrait from the Historic Homes and Institutions of Worcester, 1907.

    In a new update (June 22, 2016) to this article, a third "Alvarado" has been located... Alvarado Alonzo Coburn! The son of prominent Worcester, Massachusetts businessman and developer Jesse Johnson Coburn, Alvarado A. Coburn was born in West Boylston, Massachusetts on June 8, 1855
   During his youth, Alvardo Coburn resided with his grandparents in West Royalton, Vermont and also attended school here. He would continue his education at the Friend's School in Providence, Rhode Island and at age fourteen returned to his father in Worcester, Massachusetts. He studied at the local high school but left to work for his father at Lake Quinsigamond, home to a then-burgeoning lakefront community. Coburn would learn the boat-letting business, and in 1876 went into business for himself, taking ownership "of four keelboats with smooth seams."
   In 1881 Alvarado Coburn married to Addie Jane Booth (1855-1954), to whom he was wed for over fifty years. The couple would later have two sons, Alvarado Booth (died in infancy in 1883) and Charles Jesse, who was killed in a sledding accident in January 1899.
  Through the succeeding years Coburn would become the operator of the largest boat livery on Lake Quinsigamond, and in 1904 the A.A. Coburn Company was incorporated. Over a decade later he is reported to have owned a total of 238 boats and canoes, as well as having "a boat building department that was prosperous and active." In addition to the above site, Coburn owned and operated a similar facility at Lake Whalom in Fitchburg, Massachusetts, remarked as being a "resort for canoeing and boating.

   In 1893 Coburn made his first and only foray into politics, becoming the Republican candidate for the Massachusetts General Court from Worcester's 3rd ward. He would lose that election to Democrat Eugene Moriarty, who garnered 676 votes to Coburn's 422. Following this defeat, Coburn continued with his business endeavors and is also known to have been a member of several fraternal groups, including memberships in the Worcester Chapter of the Royal Arch Masons, the Montacute Lodge of Free Masons, the Order of the Eastern Star, the Elks and the Wachusett Boat Club.
  Alvarado A. Coburn died on November 21, 1933 at age 77. His wife of 52 years survived him and following her death at age 98 was interred alongside him at the Worcester Rural Cemetery.

1 comment:

  1. A.E Funk and Myrtle Funk are buried in the Frankfort Cemetery.