HOMER C. HUNT

Source: Album of Genealogy and Biography, Cook County, Illinois with Portraits 3rd ed. revised and extended (Chicago: Calumet Book & Engraving Co., 1895), pp. 80-81

HOMER CONKEY HUNT, a well-known citizen of Evanston, was born at Martinsburgh, New York, January 27, 1829.  He is a son of Levi and Roxanna (Smith) Hunt.  His grandfather, Willard Hunt, was a member of the Massachusetts militia, and bore a part in the Revolutionary War.  He was a prominent and influential citizen, and invested largely in Vermont land.

Levi Hunt, son of the last-mentioned, was born near Boston, where his ancestors settled about 1635.  Several members of the Hunt family came from Bristol, England, at that time, and their posterity now number many people in the vicinity of Boston.  Levi Hunt moved to Vermont in 1801, and later to Lewis County, New York, where he became an extensive farmer.  He was a man of unusual discernment and refinement, who practiced the strictest integrity in financial dealings, and led an exemplary life in all respects.  He died there in 1856, at the age of seventy-seven years.   Mrs. Roxanna (Smith) Hunt was born at or near Keene, New Hampshire, and went with her parents to Washington County, New York.  Her mother, whose maiden name was Jones, was of Welsh birth.   Mr. and Mrs. Levi Hunt had six daughters and three sons, of whom but two are now living. One of these is Mrs. Lee, of Lewis County, New York.

Homer C. Hunt spent his boyhood in his native county, and completed his education at an academy in Lowville.  At one time he contemplated studying law, but abandoned that purpose to try his fortunes in the new West.  In 1854, he located in Port Washington, Wisconsin, where he engaged in the mercantile business. He had frequent occasion to visit Chicago on business, and, becoming convinced of the superior advantages of that place, removed thither in 1858.  He accepted a position with a firm dealing in railroad supplies, and has been connected with that line of business most of the time since.

Since 1853 he has been a member of the Presbyterian Church.  Upon locating in Evanston, in 1873, he at once united with the First Presbyterian Church of that city, with which he has ever since been identified, and in which he has been an Elder since 1876.   He is well known as an earnest and enthusiastic worker in the cause of Christianity.

He has ever been a firm advocate of popular education, and was one of the first men in Evanston who endeavored to arouse public sentiment regarding the need of appropriate accommodations for that purpose.  In 1877 he was elected a member of the Evanston Board of Education, and served nine years consecutively in that capacity, during which time the official records of the district were first regularly preserved, and its financial affairs placed on a systematic footing.  The founding of a high school there is due to his efforts as much as to those of any individual.  During Mr. Hunt’s administration three ample school buildings were erected and the district became the owner of school property.  When he took hold of the work it owned no unencumbered real estate, and the present prosperous condition of the public schools is attributable largely to his energetic and systematic efforts.  He has been identified with the Republican party since its organization, and takes a decided stand in matters of national policy, though never putting himself forward as a candidate for public patronage.

In 1854 Mr. Hunt was married to Miss Ann M. Gleed, daughter of Rev. John and Elizabeth Gleed, of Waterville, Vermont.  Mr. Gleed was a dissenting clergyman of Dorsetshire, England (where Mrs. Hunt was born), and came to America in 1832, preaching first in Canada, and afterward in Vermont the balance of his life.  Mr. and Mrs. Hunt are the parents of four children, as follows:  John Levi, a graduate of the Northwestern University Law School; Elizabeth, a graduate of the Northwestern University, with the degrees of B. L. and M. L., now a teacher in the School of Oratory; and Jessie and Caroline. The latter is also a graduate of the Northwestern University, with the degree of B. A., and is connected with Hull House, Chicago.

Mr. Hunt is a quiet, unobtrusive citizen, earnest and practical in all his undertakings.  His influence is always exerted in the cause of human progress, and his motives are unquestioned by those to whom he is best known.

                                -- Submitted on 11/4/99 by Sherri Hessick ( slhessick@crosswinds.net )