Friday, October 30, 2015


The Arcanum Wayne Trail Historical Society #6 designated historic site is 105 North Street in Arcanum. This was the site of the Founder of Arcanum, William and Nancy (Rice) Gunder’s , log house back in 1833. At present this was the home of the late William (Bill) Gunder, the great grandson of the original founder.

We learn of the Gunder family history through William Gunder’s book The Secret Town. This is where we also obtained information for this article regarding the log house site and the founding of the town of Arcanum.

William Gunder owned substantial amount of land in section 8, 5, and 4 in Twin Township. He first built along Millers Fork in section 8. He married Nancy Rice in 1821. In 1829 William and Nancy purchased lot #11 in Ft. Jefferson, Ohio. They were pioneer residents of the town. During this time he was enlarging the log cabin to move his family back to Twin Township and harvesting more trees from the wooded, swampy land. William purchased more land in sections 5, 4, and 8. A new three room log house was built near the southeast corner of the southwest quarter of section 4.

This is the present site at 105 North Street. The property had returned to the ownership of the Gunder family in the late 1960’s when Marion and Emma Alice Gunder purchased the home. Marion was the brother of Bill Gunder who passed away in March.

William’s wife died in 1849. He then married Huldah Loy in Preble County. William and Nancy had 14 children.

The #7 and last dedicated historic site is the grave stone of William Gunder who died in 1863 and is located in the back of the old part of the Ithaca Cemetery in Twin Township off of St. Rt. 503. The cemetery and stones of William and Nancy are part of the Historic Driving Tour that was printed in brochure form and publicized this spring as part of the Ithaca tour. Bill had the tombstones restored due to the stones having an uneven foundation. This causes the stones to eventually fall over and sometimes break. One of the wishes of Bill was that the stone would be marked as a historic site since his great grandfather was the founder of Arcanum in 1849. Our historical society has marked the Founders grave in memory of Bill Gunder, our historical Societies historian and author of several books which we have for sale at the historical society house and on our website. Bill, the great grandson, was instrumental in helping to write the guidelines for our AWTHS Reference Library and took the late Anita Short’s work and organized into digital files for our library of her historical research of which was taken from the local newspapers. Bill’s other goal was to write and complete his family history of the Gunder family.

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