|Augustus Funck, who survived Antietam and Rebel prisons, poses for a photo, probably|
taken in the early 20th century. (Connecticut State Library archives)
"He worked harder than anybody else in the business for years," The Hartford Daily Courant noted in 1911, "and the success of the big enterprise was due to no one else but himself."
Funck undoubtedly learned a lot about grit and determination during the Civil War, when he faced more than his share of hardship. A carpenter, he enlisted with his brother Henry in the Union army on July 22, 1862, his 26th birthday. Less than a month later, Funck was wounded in the foot at Antietam, one of more than 200 casualties in his regiment in fighting in a field of head-high corn. Nineteen months later, he and his brother were captured with nearly their entire regiment at Plymouth, N.C., and sent to Rebel prisons. Funck spent four months in Andersonville and five more months in captivity in Florence, S.C., where Henry died, before he was paroled and sent north.
After the war, Funck was married twice (his first wife died in 1883), raised eight children, was active in the local Grand Army of the Republic post and served a stint as the town jailer. In 1910, veterans of Funck's Company K celebrated his 25th wedding anniversary to his second wife by giving the couple a silver bread tray that was inscribed with a reference to his service in the 16th Connecticut. The undertaking business that he jump-started in the late-19th century remains active to this day in Bristol.
A defender of family honor, Funck legally dropped the "c" from his last name shortly before his death in 1911 to "prevent mischievous corruption of the company name by less-than-savory characters who hung around the railroad depot across the street." The old soldier's grave may be found in Bristol's West Cemetery near the final resting places for many of his 16th Connecticut comrades.