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Francis R. Shunk

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Title: Francis R. Shunk  
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Subject: Pennsylvania gubernatorial election, 1844, David R. Porter, List of Governors of Pennsylvania, List of Pennsylvania gubernatorial elections, William Findlay (governor)
Collection: 1788 Births, 1848 Deaths, American Lutherans, American Military Personnel of the War of 1812, American People of German Descent, Burials in Pennsylvania, Deaths from Tuberculosis, Democratic Party State Governors of the United States, Governors of Pennsylvania, Infectious Disease Deaths in Pennsylvania, Pennsylvania Democratic-Republicans, Pennsylvania Democrats, People from Trappe, Pennsylvania, Secretaries of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia

Francis R. Shunk

Francis R. Shunk
10th Governor of Pennsylvania
In office
January 21, 1845 – July 9, 1848
Preceded by David R. Porter
Succeeded by William F. Johnston
Personal details
Born Francis Rawn Shunk
August 7, 1788
Trappe, Pennsylvania
Died July 20, 1848(1848-07-20) (aged 59)
Harrisburg, Pennsylvania
Political party Democratic
Spouse(s) Jane Findlay (married 1820–1848; his death)
Profession Teacher
Government administrator
Religion Lutheran

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


  • Early career 1
  • Governor of Pennsylvania 2
  • Legacy 3
  • References 4

Early career

Shunk was born on August 7, 1788, in Trappe, Pennsylvania, to a poor farming family of German descent. His great-grandfather Caspar Schunck was born in the Rhineland 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 school 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.


Shunk Hall on the University Park campus of the Pennsylvania State University is named in his honor.

Shunk Street in Philadelphia is also named for him, as is Governor F.R. Shunk Avenue in Carlisle.

The village of Shunk in Fox Township, Sullivan County is also named for him.


  1. ^ "Caspar Schunck". Geni. Retrieved September 19, 2015. 
  2. ^ "Governor Francis R. Shunk". Retrieved September 19, 2015. 
  • Francis R. Shunk at Find a Grave
  • Francis R. Shunk at Pennsylvania Historical & Museum Commission
  • Francis Rawn Shunk at National Governors Association
  • Francis R. Shunk at Political Graveyard
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

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