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History of Linn County, 1911, pp.324-28

At the age of seventy years Theodore C. Munger is living retired in Cedar Rapids, where he established his home twenty-nine years ago. Through much of this period he has been an active factor in business circles, instituting and controlling interests which have constituted an important element in the commercial activity of the city. He has also become known in financial circles and his name has long been a most honored one on commercial paper. A native of Oneida county, New York, Mr. Munger was born September 4, 1839, of the marriage of Theodore H. and Emeline T. (Hanchett) Munger. The family is of English lineage and the progenitor of the family in the new world became one of the colonial settlers of Massachusetts. The name of Munger figures on the Revolutionary war records, as one of the ancestors of Theodore C. Munger stood with that valiant band of American soldiers, who on the Lexington green faced the British troops and fired the first volleys of the revolution that was to result in establishing the greatest republic on the face of the globe. The great-grandfather of Theodore C. Munger was a native of Massachusetts and on leaving New England became one of the pioneers of Oneida county, New York. The grandfather, Reuben Munger, lived in that county in the period of its early development and it was there that Theodore H. Munger was born in 1815. His youthful days were spent in the acquirement of an education and in the performance of such duties as were assigned him by parental authority, and when he had attained his majority he turned his attention to merchandising in what is now Deansboro, Oneida county, New York. While residing there he was united in marriage to Miss Emeline T. Hanchett, also a native of Oneida county, where her father had settled in pioneer times. Her death occurred in New York in 1843 and Theodore H. Munger afterward married again. In 1845 he came to Illinois, sailing around the Great Lakes and continuing his journey across this state to Peoria in one of the old-time moving wagons designated as a prairie schooner. He began farming in Peoria county, but subsequently removed to Fulton county, Illinois, where he put in operation an oil and saw mill. After engaging in the manufacture of lumber for a time he went to California in 1852 and continued his residence in the Golden state up to the time of his death.

Theodore C. Munger spent the flrst five years of his life in the Empire state and then accompanied his father to Illinois. The journey was one of marvelous interest to the young boy and many incidents thereof were indelibly impressed upon his memory. Much of his youth was spent in Peoria and Fulton counties of Illinois, where he pursued his studies in the public schools, although his opportunities in that direction were somewhat limited. In 1854 after the father's death he returned to New York and for a time attended school in Clinton, that state. Following the completion of his course he returned to Illinois, where he engaged in teaching school until after the outbreak of the Civil war. In the opening year of hostilities between the north and the south he offered his services to the country in response to President Lincoln's first call for troops, but as the quota for the state was full the regiment was not accepted, but went into state service for thirty days. Soon it was seen that the war was to be no mere holiday affair and that a larger army was needed to conquer the rebellious south. Again President Lincoln issued a call for more troops and the Seventeenth Illinois Volunteer Infantry entered the service for three years. He was engaged in active duty for three years with the Army of the Tennessee and participated in many important engagements, including those of Fredericktown, Fort Donelson, the siege of Corinth and the siege of Vicksburg. He was first under fire, however, at Fredericktown, Missouri. He likewise took part in the battle of Hatchers Run, Inka and the battle of Yazoo. An interesting feature in the military chapter of his history concerns a capture which he and a comrade, Chauncey Callaway, made on the 22d of May, 1863. They succeeded in capturing three prisoners, who were fully armed with loaded muskets and were hiding under a brush heap, which they supposed was surrounded by the Union forces. This was during the storming of Vicksburg, when Mr. Munger and his companion were on the skirmish line. The Seventeenth Illinois Infantry, as a part of the command of General John A. Logan, was the first regiment to march into Vicksburg. On the expiration of his three years' term of service Mr. Munger was honorably discharged at Springfield, Illinois, in June, 1864, at which time he held the rank of sergeant.

Returning to his home with a most creditable military record, he engaged in farming in Fulton county, Illinois, for two years and on the expiration of that period established an agricultural implement business in La Harpe, Illinois, which he carried on until 1878. He was also a traveling salesman a part of this time. In 1879 and 1880 he engaged in the manufacture of wooden pumps at La Harpe. Mr. Munger has been a resident of Cedar Rapids since 1881 and conducted a jobbing business in pumps here until 1885. He formed a partnership with James La Tourette, a pump manufacturer of St. Louis, Missouri, who the year previous had established a branch here. In 1885 a stock company was formed under the name of the Cedar Rapids Pump Company, of which Mr. La Tourette became president, with Mr. Munger as secretary, treasurer and general manager and L. M. Rich as superintendent. The entire stock was held by those three gentlemen, who in the development of the business enlarged the plant until employment was given to many workmen. Mr. Munger remained active in control of the business up to the time of his retirement in 1902. He still holds his financial connection with the enterprise and is vice president of the company, which established business on a very modest scale. Largely owing to the ability, keen insight and unabating energy of Mr. Munger it was developed along substantial lines, becoming one of the most important manufacturing industries not only of Cedar Rapids but of the entire state. The rapid growth of the business led to the building of a factory in 1885 - a brick structure, one hundred by one hundred feet, two stories in height, on G avenue, bordering the Chicago & Northwestern Railroad, and many subsequent additions have since been made to the plant. It was thoroughly equipped with modern machinery and furnished with steam power. The company was originally capitalized for twenty-five thousand dollars, but this was increased from time to time until the present capital is one hundred thousand dollars. As the years passed by Mr. Munger further extended his efforts, becoming a director of the Merchants National Bank and the president of the Cedar Rapids Building & Loan Association. His invested interests are of a character that bring to him substantial return, numbering him among the men of affluence in his adopted city.

Mr. Munger was united in marriage in Hancock county, Illinois, October 17, 1877, to Miss Grace Breed, who was born in Fulton county, Illinois, and was a daughter of Amos and Mary (Flower) Breed, who were married in that state. Her father was a native of Connecticut and on his removal westward in 1833 became one of the pioneers of Fulton county, Illinois. His father, Jonas Breed, was born in Stonington, Connecticut, and was of English lineage, the family having been represented on American soil since 1630. His ancestors first located in Massachusetts and were among those who fought for the independence of the colonies in the Revolutionary war, taking part in the battle of Bunker Hill, the engagement, however, occurring on Breed's Hill, which was the family estate. At an early period in the colonization of the new world representatives of the same settled in Connecticut and successive generations were represented there, Amos Breed removing from Connecticut to Hancock county, Illinois. Mrs. Munger was reared in Illinois and there resided until she accompanied her husband on the removal to Cedar Rapids. She died in 1902 and her death was deeply regretted by many friends. By her marriage she had become the mother of nine children, Alice, Ruth, Mary, Bessie, Grant B., John M., James La T., Clara Belle and Winnifred. The family home is at No. 837 Second avenue, but Mr. Munger spends the winters in California.

Mr. Munger still feels deep interest in the boys in blue, as is indicated through his membership in Cook Post, G. A. R. He gives his political support to the republican party, which was the defense of the Union during the dark days of the Civil war and, while not a politician in the sense of office seeking, has served as alderman from the eighth ward for two years. He is regarded as an exemplary representative of the Masonic fraternity and is a member and trustee of the Universalist church. There is not one esoteric phase in his entire career. He has sought success along the legitimate lines of trade and commerce and his keen insight has enabled him to note and improve opportunities which others have passed heedlessly by. His labors, too, have been of a character that have contributed to general progress and prosperity as well as to individual success and he may, therefore, be justly classed among Cedar Rapids' representative men.

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