Buena Vista County, IA
USGenWeb Project

Extracted from:  Wegerslev, C. H. and Thomas Walpole. 
 Past and Present of Buena Vista County, Iowa
Chicago:  S. J. Clarke Publishing Co., 1909, p. 286-87.

Transcribed by Paul Nagy

Biography of  Professor Jesse Ellwood Cundy

Alert, energetic, realizing the possibilities that lie before the public-school system, and laboring earnestly to secure the support of the general public in lines of educational progress, Professor Cundy is doing excellent work for the public schools of Buena Vista county.  He was born in Taylor county, one of a family of eleven children, ten of whom reached adult age.  The father, Edwin L. Cundy, was born in Ontario, Canada, in 1849, was of English descent, and in the year 1850 was brought to the United States by his parents, William and Mary Cundy, who located at Elk Grove, Wisconsin.  There Edwin L. Cundy remained for several years and eventually he became a farmer and removed to Taylor county, Iowa.  In that locality he bought land which he cultivated and improved for eight years, after which he took up his abode in Corning, Adams county.  He was engaged in the milling business there until 1890, when he returned to his Taylor county farm, upon which h lived until 1906, when he removed to South Dakota, his death occurring in that state on the 12th of January, 1907.  He was a good business man and met with fair success in his undertakings.  Ever loyal to the teachings of the Methodist Episcopal church, he served as one of its officers, and his life was in consistent harmony with its teachings.  His political belief was that of the democratic party and in his fraternal relations he was connected with the Masons and the Woodmen of the World.  His wife, who bore the maiden name of Mary Bell Bosisto, was born in Elk Grove, Wisconsin, is of English lineage and is now living at Artesian, South Dakota, at the age of fifty-six years.  She is also a member of the Methodist Episcopal church.


Jesse E. Cundy spent his early boyhood on his fatherís farm.  He attended the public school in the acquirement of his education and for nine years was a pupil at Corning, Iowa.  On the expiration of that period his parents returned to the farm, after which he had only the advantages of the district schools to aid him in his educational progress.  He was eighteen years of age when in 1894 he began teaching and devoted three years to that profession, but, desirous to promote his own intellectual advancement, he became a student in the State Normal School at Cedar Falls in the spring of 1898, and during the succeeding three years completed the work of the regular course.  He also taught to some extent at intervals during those years.  In 1901 he secured the position of principal in the schools of Brooks, Adams county, this state, where he continued for a year and a half, when he accepted a call from the .schools of Massena, Cass county. He afterward devoted one year to his profession in Nodaway, and for two and a half years was located at Newell, Buena Vista county.


In the fall of 1906 he was elected county superintendent on the democratic ticket and so acceptably did he fill the office that he was reelected in 1908, receiving over four hundred majority, while the county went fourteen hundred majority in the national and county elections.  He received the largest vote in Storm Lake ever given any candidate regardless of party.  Thus his election has come in substantial recognition of his work and able service.


On the 25th of December, 1903, Mr. Cundy was married to Miss Minnie Newton, who was born in Newell township in 1880, a daughter of John and Anna Newton, of Newell.  They now have two little daughters:  Dorothy, who was born June 12, 1904; and Carol, born September 4, 1908.


Both Professor and Mrs. Cundy are members of the Methodist Episcopal church, and he has served as a teacher in the Sunday school.  He takes an active and helpful interest in church work and in the Young Men's Christian Association and is now a member of the executive committee of the county organization and is acting as chairman of the religious work committee.  In his fraternal connections he is an Odd Fellow and a Modern Woodman.  His face is strong with a resolute and determined with altogether genial expression and this well typifies his character.  That he is personally popular was indicated by the large majority which he received as a candidate for the county superintendency of schools.  He has made continuous progress in his professional career and every change in his position has brought him deserved promotion.  As county superintendent he has done good work in every district and he inspires teachers and pupils with much of his own zeal and enthusiasm for the profession.