Thomas P. Gunnell was born on 17 October 1814 in Augusta County of the Old Dominion. He was one in a family of nine children born to Nathaniel and Elizabeth Patterson Gunnell, who moved to what is now Kenton County, Kentucky in 1832. Shortly after their settlement there Mrs. Gunnell died. Mr. Gunnell then went to Missouri where he resided the remainder of his days.
At eighteen years of age Thomas began the blacksmith’s trade at Chillicothe, Ohio. He subsequently worked one year at his trade at home, two years at Cincinnati, and in 1837 went to Evansville, Indiana. From there in August of the same year he settled at Newburgh, and lived there the remainder of his life.
He engaged primarily in blacksmithing, manufacturing, and dealing in plows, wagons, buggies, etc. In politics he was a Republican, formerly a Whig, and served as Township Trustee. He represented his district in the National Convention of the Whig party that nominated Fillmore for the Presidency.
In September 1836 he was first married, but his wife dies and left one son, William D. Gunnell, who died at some point prior to 1885. Thomas married again on 23 October 1861 to Miss Martha Kelley of Louisville, Kentucky, the daughter of Samuel A. Kelley. They had five children: Sarah K. Gunnell, Kittie Gunnell, Elizabeth Gunnell, Samuel P. Gunnell, and Thomas H. Gunnell. Click here to read more about their home at 114 East Jennings St.
Thomas and Martha belonged to the Methodist Episcopal Church in which Mr. Gunnell was Trustee and Steward. He was also one of the four Trustees of the Rose Hill Cemetery Company in 1872. He also belonged to the Independent Order of Odd Fellows and took an active part in the workings of the Subordinate Lodge and the Encampment of that organization.
- History of Warrick, Spencer, and Perry Counties, Indiana. Chicago: Goodspeed Bros. & Co., 1885.