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. 554-55.

Transcribed by Paul Nagy

Biography of  Mrs. Maude Funk

Mrs. Maude Funk, who is well known as the proprietress of the Newell Hotel at Newell, Iowa, was born in Marion, Kentucky, January 28, 1875.  Her paternal grandfather was a planter and employed a large number of negroes in the cultivation of his land.  His son, Dr. Walters W. Rivers, the father of Mrs. Funk, was a native of Louisiana, received his early training in the district schools of that state and was later graduated from a medical college of New Orleans. Subsequently he took up his abode in Kentucky and was there successfully engaged in the practice of his profession until he succumbed as a victim of the yellow fever epidemic, passing away in a hospital at Memphis, Tennessee.  He had wedded Nannie (Johnson) Cruce, a young lady of eighteen years, who is a native of Marion, Kentucky, and of Scotch-Irish descent.  She was the second in order of birth in her father's family and obtained her education in a Catholic school.  Her father was one of the extensive tobacco planters of the Blue Grass state, finding a ready market for his product at Evansville.  He owned about one hundred slaves and when the Emancipation Proclamation set them free, many of them refused to leave his service but continued faithful to their former "master" until the latter's death.  He was taken prisoner while serving as a Confederate soldier but eventually made his escape.  Unto Mr. and Mrs. W. W. Rivers were born two children:  Fred Rayon; and Maude, of this review.  Subsequent to the demise of her first husband Mrs. Rivers, with her two children, removed to Illinois, where she was afterward joined in wedlock to John W. Stephenson, who was also born in Kentucky.  Later the family took up their abode in Savannah, Missouri, where Mrs. Stephenson still resides, having now attained the age of fifty-three years.  By her second husband she also has two children, Mamie and Duke.


Maude Rivers attended the district schools until twelve years of age and then entered the State Normal University of Illinois.  Following her graduation from that institution she was engaged in teaching until the time of her marriage, imparting clearly and readily to others the knowledge which she had acquired.  On the 6th of November, 1889, at Carmi, Illinois, she gave her hand in marriage to R. B. Wilson, whose birth occurred in the state of Indiana.  By this union there were born three children, namely:  Duke Welden, who is now playing a musical role in a theatrical company; and Minnie Blanche and Lee Russell, who are attending school in Newell.  Mr. Wilson was a very prominent musician and all of his children inherited his talent to a remarkable degree.  Following the demise of her first husband Mrs. Wilson was again married, her second union being with Edward N. Funk, who is a native of Indiana and of German parentage.  The wedding ceremony was celebrated at Emmetsburg, Iowa, on the 3d of December, 1900.  Mr. Funk is employed as a traveling salesman for a house dealing in ladies' furnishings, suits and coats.  On leaving Illinois, Mrs. Funk located in Iowa, where she was employed as clerk in a general store operated by her father-in-law.  Subsequently she removed to Belmond, Iowa, where she purchased the Kern Hotel, conducting the same with good success for two years.  On the expiration of that period she went to Algona, Iowa, and afterward came to Newell, Buena Vista county, Iowa, having for the past two years been the proprietress of the Newell Hotel.  A lady of excellent executive ability and superior business qualifications, she has met with gratifying prosperity in her undertakings and has the warm esteem and kindly regard of all with whom she has come in contact.  She is a great lover of literature and is a lady of culture and refinement, devoted to the welfare and happiness of her family and to all those principles which work for splendid character development.