The Dayton cemetery is full of family groups. Among the graves are more than seventy members of the Green family, eleven Hippards, nine Hites and seven Makinsons. There are only a few instances of a burial that appears to be a solitary one. Perhaps the youngest of these is little Ida Bell Brunk, who died in 1868, at the age of five years, four months and ten days. There are no other Brunk monuments in the Dayton cemetery
Ida’s father, Noah Brunk, was born December 14, 1828 in Rockingham County, Virginia. He moved to La Salle county, Illinois, in 1855, where, on September 24, 1857, he married Amanda Elizabeth Parr, daughter of Thomas J. and Sarah Ann (Pitzer) Parr.
In 1860 Noah and Amanda had a one-year old son, Thomas. Also in their household was Jesse Parr, Amanda’s 21 year old brother, who helped Noah with the farm work.
Between 1860 and 1870, little Ida was born in 1863 and died in 1869, so that in 1870 the household still consisted of Noah, Amanda, and Thomas, now age 11. They were living in Dayton township, where Noah was a Director of the Fox River Horse Collar Manufacturing Company, in partnership with J. A. Dunavan. He also served several terms as road commissioner and township treasurer.
In 1880, the household had expanded to include an eight year old daughter, Cora, and Amanda’s parents.
In 1899, Cora married William D. Hedrick and they moved to Kansas. Thomas had graduated from Cornell University and was a professor at Texas A. & M. None of Ida’s family remained in the area, as Noah and Amanda went to Austell, Georgia for a few years, before moving to Kansas to be near Cora.
It is very possible that Ida is not the only member of her family buried in the Dayton cemetery. Her parents lost three children who died in infancy in the 1860s, when the Brunks were living in Dayton township. The probability is high that they, too, were buried in Dayton, but there are no stones and no other evidence has been found to verify this.
The following epitaph appeared on Ida’s tombstone. It is no longer readable, but luckily it was copied in 1967, when the stone was less worn:
Dearest Ida, thou hast left us.
Here thy loss we deeply feel.
But ’tis God that hath bereft us.
He can all our sorrow heal.
If other Brunk children were buried here too, surely this sentiment also applies to them.