Buena Vista County, IA
USGenWeb Project

Extracted from:  Wegerslev, C. H. and Thomas Walpole. 
 Past and Present of Buena Vista County, Iowa
Chicago:  S. J. Clarke Publishing Co., 1909, p. 346-48.

Transcribed by Paul Nagy

Biography of  Horace S. Hunter

Horace S. Hunter, who at various times has been connected with farming and building operations but is now living retired, deriving a substantial annual income from his landed possessions, makes his home in Newell.  He was born in Franklin county, Vermont, July 28, 1834, a son of Alanson and Sarah Mallory Hunter, both of whom were natives of the Green Mountain state.  The paternal grandfather, however, was born at Ticonderoga, New York.  He conducted a saw-mill and also engaged in general farming.  His last days were passed in Franklin county, Vermont, where he died at a very advanced age.  His wife was Eunice (Allen) Hunter, a relative of Ethan Allen, the distinguished leader of the green Mountain boys in the battle of Bennington.  They had four sons and four daughters:  Ira, Levi, Lloyd, Noah, Lydia, Eunice, Betsey and Harriet.  The maternal grandfather of Horace S. Hunter lived in Franklin county, Vermont, throughout his entire life and his family numbered one son and two daughters:  Gilbert, Julia and Sarah.


Alanson Hunter, following the occupation of farming as a life work, removed from Franklin county, Vermont, to Ohio in l846 and settled near East Norwalk in Huron county, where he died in 1849 at the age of forty years.  His wife passed away in Indland [sic], Michigan, in 1883 when seventy-seven years of age.  She was a most estimable lady and held membership in the Methodist church.  By her marriage she became the mother of seven children of whom four are now living:  Horace S.; Thalia Elizabeth, the wife of William Wilkes, of Grand Rapids, .Michigan; Stephen W., a resident of Custer, Ohio; and Milo C., located in Louisville, Arkansas.


Horace S. Hunter spent the first twelve years of his life in the state of his nativity and then went to Ohio, where he resided until 1850, when he made his way westward to Porter county, Indiana, settling near Valparaiso.  There he was employed at farm work but in 1863 returned to Ohio and became a resident of Custer, Wood county, where he worked as a carpenter and plasterer.  He also operated sawmills and followed various other pursuits that would yield him an honest living until he joined the army.  He belonged to the state militia and in 1864 enlisted in the One Hundred and Thirtieth Ohio Volunteer Infantry for one hundred days' service.  He was a private and with his command did guard duty.


The year 1869 witnessed the arrival of Mr. Hunter in Iowa and for forty years he has now made his home in this state.  He first settled in Sac county, where he .purchased eighty acres of land four miles south of the present site of Newell.  It was a wild and unsettled district, the ground covered in winter with one dazzling sheet of unbroken snow, while in summer the prairies were starred with wild flowers.  Mr. Hunter broke the sod and tilled the fields, carrying on farm work year after year, and adding to his property from time to time until he was the owner of eight hundred and eighty acres when he retired.  Always generous with his family he then divided his property with his children, but still owns a good tract of eighty acres, from which he derives a substantial income.  His extensive holdings indicate his life of industry, well directed labor and capable management.


In 1853 occurred the marriage of Mr. Hunter and Miss Laura Ann Dell, a daughter of Solomon and Eliza (Phay) Dell.  They became parents of eleven children, of whom seven reached adult age.  Eliza, the eldest, is the wife of John Rodda of Newell, and they have four children, Mert. May, Frank and John.  William, who is farming in Sac county, married Flora Ann Ellis and they have three children, Maud, Ethel and Hazel.  John, also a resident farmer of Sac county, wedded Macey Aldrich.  Charles, who carries on general agricultural pursuits in Sac county, married Dora Harper and they have three children, Levern, Stewart and Eunice.  Harry, who is carrying on farm work in the same county, married Celia Fyfe and has two children, Myrtle and Ernest.  Forest, who owns an orange grove at Ontario, California, married Estella Coates, and they have two children, Dale and Wayne.  Sarah Ellen, the youngest, is the deceased wife of Frank Peck.  The mother, Mrs. Laura Ann Hunter, died March 6, 1897, at the age of sixty years.  She was a member of the Christian church and a most estimable lady who made friends wherever she went. On the 2d of November, 1898, .Mr. Hunter was married to Mrs. Annie Messenger, nee O'Hern, who was then a widow.  By her former marriage she had three children:  Hattie, William and Fred.  The daughter is the wife of Charles Hechtner and has three children:  Elsie, Lloyd and Ernest.


Mr. Hunter belongs to Newell Post, No. 416, G. A. R.  Politically he is a republican and has filled all the various township offices, serving at different times as supervisor, justice of the peace and school director.  He has always been a capable official and is as loyal today to his country as when he followed the old Hag on southern battlefields.  He justly deserves to be called a self made man with all of the honor which that term implies, for he started out empty-handed and has worked his way steadily upward, achieving success through his determination, energy and careful management.  In all of his dealings he has been strictly honorable and the rest which he is now enjoying is well earned.  He has lived to see remarkable changes in the comity as this section of the state has emerged from pioneer conditions and taken on all of the evidences of a modern civilization.  His memory forms a connecting link between the primitive past and the progressive present and his mind is stored with many interesting reminiscences of the early days.