6th April 1778
24th December 1862
Bucks County, Pennsylvania, USA
Joseph Funk was a pioneer American music teacher, publisher, and an early American composer. He invented a shape note system in 1851 for the Harmonia Sacra.
Funk was born April 6, 1778 (though his gravestone states March 9, 1777), in Bucks County, Pennsylvania, the son of Henry and Barbara (Showalter) Funk, and a grandson of Bishop Heinrich_Funck. Bishop Funck came to America in 1719, and was the first Mennonite bishop in America. As a boy, Joseph moved with his parents to Rockingham County, Virginia, and spent the rest of his life there.
In 1804, Funk married Elizabeth Rhodes, and they had five children. After her death, he married Rachel Britton, and they raised nine children.
He was a member of the Mennonite Church. In 1847, he established the first Mennonite printing house in the United States, at Mountain Valley, Virginia (renamed Singers Glen in 1860). Funk and his sons were active in organizing and teaching many singing schools in Virginia.
Funk died December 24, 1862, and is buried in the cemetery at Singers Glen. Funk compiled and published seven books and periodicals: