David Munsel, Florence Pioneer

Submitted by Marge Bonds

David Munsel’s name is well-known in western Lane county; sadly, he is buried in an unmarked grave in the Glenada Odd Fellows Cemetery.

Born in 1824 in Ohio, he came across the Oregon Trail, arriving in December of 1847. During the next 30 years, he fought in the Indian Wars, lived for a time in Walla Walla, Washington, the Dalles, Oregon, southern Oregon and finally on the North Fork of our own Siuslaw River.

Munsel filed a homestead claim on 146 acres up the North Fork, staying there until around 1888.  Then he moved again into town (Florence) and became known for his skills as a carpenter and cabinet maker.  Chairs seemed David Munsel Chairto be
his ‘specialty’,  but they had to be strong enough to support him. If they broke down under his weight (said to be about 225 pounds and over six feet tall) they were ‘no good‘.  One of his chairs remains on display at the Pioneer Museum in Old Town, Florence (Photo by Eileen Gray).

David Munsel also had some eccentricities.  His known belief system was said to be spiritualism.  He believed spirits lived in trees, so would cut the limbs off trees that stood in front of his house.  He would also smear pitch or tar on his bald head to keep the spirits from bothering him.  Perhaps this is why he never married!

In August of 1896, Mr. Munsel was found alone in his cabin, sitting in one of his own chairs.  He was pronounced dead of natural causes after an official inquest.  He is buried in the Glenada cemetery where many other pioneers were buried during this time period.

David Munsel was said by those who knew him, to be “one of the most honest, industrious and kind-hearted men that ever lived.”  We are fortunate to have Munsel Lake, Munsel Road and Munsel Creek named for this man, a Florence pioneer.

–Information from “Tangled Grass:The Story of those Buried in the Glenada Oregon, Odd Fellows Cemetery” by Kevin Mittge and the Siuslaw Genealogy Society.

About siuslawgenealogy

The Siuslaw Genealogical Society of Florence, Oregon is a member supported, non profit organization. Researching genealogy and family history is our passion.
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1 Response to David Munsel, Florence Pioneer

  1. I love these snippets of local history!

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