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Washington Hunt

Biographical and portrait cyclopedia of Niagara county, N.Y., 1892.  Wiley, S. J. and W? S. Garner.

Transcribed by Arlene Goodwin photo of law offices in Lockport his memorial

Hon. Washington Hunt.  Irreproachable in private  and efficient and faithful in public life, Washington Hunt is one without whose biography the history of Niagara county would be incomplete.  His life was straightforward, energetic and eventful, and is worthy of imitation. He was a son of Sanford Hunt, and was born in the town of Windham, Greene county, New York, August 5, 1811. Members of the Hunt family served in the Revolutionary war, and Sanford Hunt, after marriage, removed to Livingston county, where Hunts’ Hollow became the name of the settlement in which he located. He afterward went to Greene county, where he resided for some years. Washington Hunt was reared and received his education in Greene county, and in 1828, came to the city of Lockport, where he commenced life for himself as a clerk in the general mercantile store of Tucker & Bissell. Two years later he entered the law office of Lot Clark, and after completing the required course of reading was admitted to the bar, but never engaged in the active practice of his profession, as he found more profitable and congenial employment in real estate transactions, which constituted his principal business throughout life. In 1833 he became a member of the firm of Hunt & Walbridge, and they purchased from the Albany Land Company 32,000 acres of land in Niagara county. This fortunate investment of Mr. Hunt gave him considerable wealth, which he used wisely and judiciously in various business enterprises.

In 1834, he married Mary, daughter of the Mr. Walbridge who was his partner in the firm of Hunt & Walbridge.

At twenty-five years of age he was appointed as first judge of the county by Governor Marcy, and served very acceptably in that position from 1836 to 1841. In 1840 he left the Democratic party on a financial issue, and served two terms in Congress from 1843 to 1849 as a Whig, representing the 34th district. Leaving Congress he was appointed comptroller, and in 1850 was nominated as the Whig candidate for Governor of New York. At the polls in the ensuing election he was elected over Horatio Seymour, the democratic candidate, by a majority of 262 in a total vote of 428,966. His services as governor were satisfactory, and he was renominated by the Whig party, but went down in the next gubernatorial contest before former opponent, Horatio Seymour, as the Whigs in New York were punished for the failure of their party under Fillmore to obey nationally the positive injunctions of popular sentiment.  He was intimately connected with the business history of Lockport, and aided largely in its material and financial development. He was a pillar in the Protestant Episcopal church of Lockport, which he frequently represented in diocesan and other conventions.

Governor Hunt died from cancer, in the city of New York, on February 2, 1867, and his remains were interred in Glenwood cemetery, at Lockwood, where an imposing monument twenty-two feet in height, and costing $6,000, was erected to his memory by influential political friends from all parts of the Union. Suitable inscriptions are on each of the four sides, and on the south side it is stated that it is erected “In grateful remembrance of the public services and private virtues of WASHINGTON HUNT.

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