Francis R. Shunk

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Francis R. Shunk
Francis R. Shunk Governor of Pennsylvania.tif
10th Governor of Pennsylvania
In office
January 21, 1845 July 9, 1848
Preceded by David R. Porter
Succeeded by William F. Johnston
Personal details
Francis Rawn Shunk

August 7, 1788
Trappe, Pennsylvania
DiedJuly 20, 1848(1848-07-20) (aged 59)
Harrisburg, Pennsylvania
Political party Democratic
Spouse(s)Jane Findlay (married 1820–1848; his death)
Government administrator

Francis Rawn Shunk (August 7, 1788 – July 20, 1848) was the tenth Governor of Pennsylvania from 1845 to 1848.


Early career

Shunk was born on August 7, 1788, in Trappe, Pennsylvania, to a poor farming family of German descent. His great-grandfather Simon Schunck was born in Saarland and settled in the Province of Pennsylvania. [1] [2] Francis R. Shunk began working on his father's farm at age 10. He continued to attend school, and by age 16 had received his qualification as a teacher and started working in the schools.

Originally a Democratic-Republican in politics, and later a Democrat, in 1812 Shunk was appointed Clerk to state Surveyor General Andrew Porter, the father of Governor David R. Porter. Shunk served in the Pennsylvania militia during the War of 1812, and took part in the 1814 defense of Baltimore.

After the war, Shunk was appointed Principal Clerk of the Pennsylvania House of Representatives. In 1820, he married Jane Findlay, daughter of Pennsylvania Governor and Senator, William Findlay, and Pennsylvania First Lady Nancy Irwin Findlay.

From 1829 to 1839, Shunk served as Secretary of the state Canal Commission, a critical position in the government during a period when major canal, railroad and other public works projects were planned and constructed.

In 1839, Shunk was appointed Secretary of the Commonwealth, and he served until 1842.

Governor of Pennsylvania

When Democratic gubernatorial candidate Henry A. P. Muhlenberg unexpectedly died in August 1844, Shunk was selected as the party's replacement nominee. He narrowly defeated Whig candidate Joseph Markle. Shunk was reelected in 1847 but ill health caused by tuberculosis compelled him to retire before his second term was complete. He resigned on July 9, 1848, and died in Harrisburg on July 20, 1848, just eleven days after resigning. Shunk was buried at Augustus Lutheran Church Cemetery in Trappe, Pennsylvania. [3]


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  1. "Caspar Schunck". Geni. Retrieved September 19, 2015.
  2. "Governor Francis R. Shunk" . Retrieved September 19, 2015.
  3. "Augustus Evangelical Lutheran. Trappe. Montgomery County. Pennsylvania". Locating Lutheranism. Retrieved November 12, 2015.
  4. "Shunk Hall Supplemental Housing - Penn State University". Ace Learning Company, Inc. Retrieved November 12, 2015.
  5. "Governor F.R. Shunk Avenue". Borough of Carlisle, PA. Retrieved November 12, 2015.
  6. "Shunk, PA". Mapquest. Retrieved November 12, 2015.
Political offices
Preceded by
Thomas Henry Burrowes
Secretary of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania
Succeeded by
Anson V. Parsons
Preceded by
David R. Porter
Governor of Pennsylvania
Succeeded by
William F. Johnston