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John Hunt is one of the oldest business men in point of continuous service at Grenola, Kansas. He established a lumber business there more than thirty-four years ago, and today he is the only merchant furnishing lumber and building supplies to the people of that community. He had had a long and active career, and aside from his material achievement he may take special pride in the fact that he had reared a large family of self-respecting, honest and worthy children.
He represents old American stock. The Hunts came originally from Wales and were settlers in New Jersey in colonial days. The family in the various generations have not failed to give a good account of themselves when called upon to render patriotic service as soldiers. Mr. Hunt’s grandfather was Elijah Hunt, who died at Trenton, New Jersey, before John Hunt was born.
Mr. John Hunt was born at St. Louis, Missouri, June 23, 1842. His father, Isaac Hunt, was born at Trenton, New Jersey, in 1793, and was a boy soldier with a New Jersey regiment in the War of 1812. He was reared and married in New Jersey and spent his active career as a farmer. He was one of the pioneer American settlers in the vicinity of St. Louis, Missouri. He arrived there and secured a claim in St. Louis County in 1820, a year before Missouri came into the Union as a state. He developed a farm of 160 acres, but subsequently removed to another farm in Jefferson County, Missouri. He spent the remainder of his life and died in Jefferson County. In politics he grew up as a whig and became a republican when that party was organized. Isaac Hunt married Ellen Nelson, who was born near Trenton, New Jersey, in 1800, and died in Jefferson County, Missouri, in 1882. The oldest of their children, Robert, was a Union soldier for 1½ years in the Eleventh Missouri Regiment of Infantry, was wounded at the Battle of Shiloh, afterward was granted an honorable discharge, and then followed farming until his death in 1890 at Harviell, Missouri. Wilson P. Hunt was a farmer and died at Kimmswick in Jefferson County, Missouri, in 1889. Nelson Hunt was in the army in 1864, was with Sherman on the march to the sea, and was given an honorable discharge at the close of hostilities. He now lives at Kimmswick, Missouri. Benjamin F. Hunt, also a farmer, died at Kimmswick in 1889. Elizabeth, who died in Kimmswick in 1867, married Cicero McMillan, who was a merchant and is also deceased. Ann Maria, who lives at Kimmswick, Missouri, is the widow of Joe Muse, who was a farmer. Ralph, a retired farmer at Kimmswick, enlisted in 1861 in the Fourth Missouri Cavalry, was in active service all through the war except for nine months spent in the Confederate prison at Belle Isle in the James River of Virginia, having been captured at Roanoke, Mississippi.
Mr. John Hunt, the eighth and youngest of his father’s family, grew up on a farm in Jefferson County, Missouri, and gained such education as was afforded by the primitive schools of that locality. He had just passed his twenty-first birthday when in August, 1863, he enlisted at Desoto, Missouri, in the Forty-seventh Missouri Regiment of Infantry. He continued as a soldier until mustered out at St. Louis on April 1, 1865.
He was on his father’s farm until the age of twenty-four, and then engaged in the mercantile business at Gads Hill, Missouri, until 1876. In that year Mr. Hunt became one of the early settlers at Independence, Kansas. In that new town he conducted an elevator for two years, and then had a brief experience as a lumber dealer at Winfield. In 1880 he came to Grenola and opened a pioneer stock of lumber and building supplies. His lumber yards are situated along the Santa Fe tracks and for many years they have been a reliable source of the best merchandise of the kind for the large trading community surrounding Grenola.
Mr. Hunt owned his home on Walnut Street, and was formerly vice president of the Citizens State Bank of Grenola. He had served as a member of the school board, for ten years was treasurer of Greenfield Township, and for two terms was mayor of Grenola. He is a republican, a member and elder of the Christian Church, and is affiliated with Lodge No. 86 of the Ancient Order of United Workmen at Grenola.
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In 1866, fifty years ago at Kimmswick, Missouri, Mr. Hunt married Miss Virginia Wilcoxon. She was born in Pennsylvania and died at Grenola, Kansas, in 1890. She is survived by a family of children who are a credit to her name. Frank D. is a railroad man living at Portland, Oregon. Myra still lives at home with her father. Robert is a railroad man at Clinton, Oklahoma. Thomas W. is a representative of the Armour Packing Company at Port Elizabeth in South Africa. H. C. is associated with his father in the lumber business at Grenola. Minnie is the wife of James Mann, a railroad employe at Pawhuska, Oklahoma. Ollie died at the age of eleven years. Paul J. is a railroader at Portland, Oregon. Elsie, who lives at Wichita, Kansas, is the widow of Robert Murry, who was a merchant.
In February, 1893, Mr. Hunt married Arebella Teal, and their two children are Oliver I. and Ruth N. The son is a railroad man in Oklahoma. The daughter married Floyd Stiles and they reside on a farm near Grenola.