The Bullitt County History Museum

Bullitt Memories: Judge A. E. Funk

The following article by Charles Hartley was originally published here on 20 Nov 2017.


Alverado Erwin Funk, the first by that name, was born in 1859 to William Robert and Sarah Ann (McDaniel) Funk who were living in the Knob Creek area of Bullitt County near Mt. Olivet.

Rade, as he came to be called, was the fourth of their seven children. According to his obituary, "He was educated in the common school of Bullitt County and Bardstown, and was a man of splendid educational accomplishments."

Rade and Alice Victoria Holsclaw were married in Bullitt County in 1883, and they had two daughters, Edith and Ora. Alice died giving birth to Ora.

A bit more than a year later, Rade married Alice's sister Eugenia, and they would have eight children, five girls and three boys.

Rade followed his father's footsteps as a farmer, and in the ridges and valleys of western Bullitt County he produced excellent peach orchards.

Always interested in the welfare of Bullitt County, he was elected as magistrate in the Shepherdsville district in 1894, and served with distinguished ability.

He was described as a man of brilliant mind and much ambition, a splendid speaker, witty and eloquent, who rendered yoeman service in his party’s behalf in many hard fought political campaigns in Bullitt County.

In 1913, he was elected Judge of the Bullitt County Court, and served a single term.

In the weeks leading up to the election, The Pioneer News described him this way: "A. E. Funk, the nominee for County Judge, is a man of exceptional ability and will make one of the best Judges the county has ever had. He is a fine road-builder, having helped to start the building of metal roads in Bullitt County. A farmer and a fruit grower and a man of affairs. He can be depended upon to take care of the county business in first class style."

Four years later, the newspaper offered this candid description of his service.

"Judge Funk, now serving out the last year of his tenure in office, is seeking a re-nomination and re-election at the hand of the people. There are few better and more worse men than Judge Funk. While his administration has been stormy at times, it has, in the main, been a successful one.

"In many respects, Judge Funk has made an excellent County Judge and along certain lines, he has proved the best Judge ever elected in this County. One thing can be truthfully said in his favor, he has at all times been County Judge. No faction or set of politicians have ever been able to control his actions.

"As a revenue getter, the Judge excels any official who ever held that office in this county. The records will show that he has collected more fines off law breakers and paid more money in to the Trustee of the Jury Fund than any predecessor. More miscreants have been kept on the rock pile and public roads of the county than by any former Judge. The information comes from reliable sources that last year, due to a scarcity of labor, the rock crusher would have been forced to shut down, had it not been for Judge Funk’s chain gang of misdemeanor prisoners whom most Judges permit to lie idly in jail and be fed at an enormous public expense.

"During the past three years, considerable road work has been done in various parts of the county, and the fact stands forth that all these improvements have not been contracted around the town of Shepherdsville.

"Judge Funk has at all times advocated doing things right. He has had the satisfaction of seeing constructed during his tenure, two steel bridges with concrete floors, the county’s only structures of this type. Just at present are under construction, a large steel bridge over Rolling Fork, at the Wooldridge Ferry, and a smaller one over Wilson’s Creek, at Hewlett Harned’s. Both will see completion in early spring. These bridges cost many thousand dollars, yet the people appear to want bridges more than roads, hence it has been necessary within the past two or three years to expend a large portion of the road fund for bridges.

"That the affairs of the County Judge have been well conducted and that the accounts have been kept in a business-like manner, stands fully attested by the recent visit of the State Inspector. That officer, after a careful examination of the official records, warmly congratulated the Judge on his excellent conduct of affairs.

"No one has ever doubted Rade Funk’s democracy. In every campaign for years, whether national, State or County, he has not failed to answer all calls for service, raise his voice and use his splendid talents to promote the aims and welfare of the Democratic Party.

"Judge Funk is just in the prime of life, strictly sober and industrious. The people could not be mistaken in giving the Judge the nomination and re-electing him."

Alas, Judge Funk had perhaps made a few too enemies, for in the primary election he was easily defeated, coming in fourth in a six-man race.

Rade returned to his farm and orchards which occupied him until his sudden death in 1920 at the age of 61.

His widow, Eugenia lived until 1932.

Of Rade's children, Edith married Daniel Gober, and they moved to Georgia; and Ora married Irving Sanders, and they would be the parents of C. V. Sanders who later was Circuit Court Judge in Bullitt County. Of the other daughters, Ernestine married John Lawrence Atterberry, Cecil married Richard Otis Sims, Verna married Leslie Sinkhorn, Clara Linn married Chester Crain, and Ida Ursa married Adrian Bach.

The three sons were Erwin, William Robert, and Muir Funk. William Robert died as an infant; and Muir was in college at Georgetown when his father died. the eldest, Erwin, who was named for his father, will be the subject of my next article.


The Bullitt County History Museum, a service of the Bullitt County Genealogical Society, is located in the county courthouse at 300 South Buckman Street (Highway 61) in Shepherdsville, Kentucky. The museum, along with its research room, is open 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday; and from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Thursday. Admission is free. The museum, as part of the Bullitt County Genealogical Society, is a 501(c)3 tax exempt organization and is classified as a 509(a)2 public charity. Contributions and bequests are deductible under section 2055, 2106, or 2522 of the Internal Revenue Code. Page last modified: 20 Nov 2017 . Page URL: bullittcountyhistory.org/memories/funk1.html