The life of Cornelius W. Munudell is both interesting and unusual, for his rise in life has been due entirely to his own undaunted efforts and an innate ability to accomplish whatever he has set out to do. The man who is now the respected and popular superintendent of the schools of Franklin county could not at the age of eighteen write his own name.

Mr. Munndell was born in Franklin county, Illinois, on the 24th of August, 1866, the son of J. H. and Malinda (Launace) Munndell, his birth occurring sometime after his father's death. His father was a native of the state of South Carolina, and his mother of Franklin county. His father moved to Southern Illinois in 1854, and here bought a small farm, which he lived upon until his removal to Missouri, in which state he died. J. H. Munudell was a thorough going Democrat, but he never cared for the honors and emoluments of public office and was content to show his interest merely at the polls. Both he and his wife were active members of the Methodist Episcopal church.

John Launace, the maternal grandfather of Cornelius W. Munndell, the immediate subject of this brief personal review, was one of the earliest and most prominent settlers in Franklin county, for he came to the United States from Germany about the year 1820, and located in Franklin county in the days when the whole region was a vast wilderness, and Indians were the most frequent visitors. Fortitude and persistence were indeed necessary to make life possible in those days and it may be that from that hardy settler Cornelius Munndell inherited some of the vigor and perseverance that have won him so high a place in the general esteem. The grandfather took up his life as a farmer and was one of the wellknown circuit-riders in the Methodist Episcopal church. His death occurred in the pulpit during a revival sermon. He was a much revered figure of those early days. In politics he had always identified himself with the party of Jefferson and Jackson.


Cornelius Munndell, bereft of his parents at an early age, was left with the care of his sisters and his own fortune to carve for himself. He set himself gladly at the task and began life as a farm hand, not attending school until after his eighteenth year. He then attended the common schools of the county and later took a term in the Benton high school, but the main part of his education can honestly be said to have been obtained from books which he has read by himself or through that other school, experience. He began teaching at the age of twenty-one and since the year of his majority he has taught for twenty-three years, finally, in 1910 being elected to the superintendence of the Franklin county schools by a majority of two hundred and fifty, an almost unheard of majority for a Democrat to have rolled up in a district consistently Republican, and one which shows well the high regard in which Mr. Munndell is held by those who have known him throughout his entire life.

In 1891 was solemnized the marriage of Mr. Munndell to Miss Lizzie Quillman, the daughter of David Quillman, a pioneer farmer of Franklin county, and to this union have been born eleven children. Eight of the family are sons and the remaining three are daughters. The family are members of the Missionary Baptist church and active participants in the many good movements fostered by the denomination. Fraternally Mr. Munndell is a member of the Modern Woodmen and of the Independent Order of Odd Fellows.

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