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Portrait and Biographical Album of Benton County, Iowa
Chicago: Chapman Brothers, 1887

WILLIAM A. HUNTER. Postmaster and druggist, Belle Plaine, was born in Carrollton, Carroll Co., Ohio, July 8, 1845, and is the son of Dr. John S. and Nancy (Beatty) Hunter. He came to Iowa with his parents when ten years of age (1855), and the family located at Newton, Jasper County, where our subject received his primary education at the public schools. Later he entered Grinnell College as a student, but before completing the course he enlisted in the late war, being only in his sixteenth year. His first enlistment was in June, 1861, in the State service, but was mustered into the United States service September 16 following, at Davenport, as a private of Co. B, 13th Iowa Vol. Inf. He veteranized with his company and regiment at Vicksburg, Miss., in the fall of 1863, and served till August, 1865, when he was mustered out at Louisville, Ky., with his regiment. He was twenty years of age and had seen four years of active service, participating in the most decisive campaigns of the war. He was slightly wounded three times, but met with no serious casualty, and, with very rare exceptions, was able to report for duty. He participated in all the battles in which his regiment and company took part, including Shiloh, first and second battles of Corinth, Iuka, Bolivar, Tenn., the Vicksburg campaign, and Meridian. The regiment joined Sherman's army in June, 1864, and took part in the battle of Kenesaw Mountain and in the subsequent Atlanta campaign. The 13th made the celebrated march to the sea under Sherman. Our subject was a member of the detachment of the 13th Iowa regiment under Lieut.-Col. Kennedy that crossed the river, under fire of the rebel batteries, and raised the stars and stripes on the Confederate Capitol. While in charge of a squad, skirmishing with the enemy, he released a lot of Federal prisoners, conspicuous among them being his friend, Adj. S. H. M. Byers, author of "Sherman's March to the Sea." While at Ft. Sumter, in Charleston Harbor, after the close of the war, he was commissioned First Lieutenant of Co. F, 41st U. S. Inf., but, preferring to engage in active business rather than to serve in the regular army in a time of peace, he refused to accept the commission.

On his return from the war our subject re-entered college at Grinnell, Iowa, and resumed his studies, and again entered the State service, with the rank of Captain and Military Instructor of the "College Cadets," and was afterward commander of a battery. In the fall of 1866 he engaged in mercantile business at Newton, Iowa, in which he continued till 1868, when he removed to Ft. Dodge, Iowa, where he continued in the same line till 1874. He then went out of business and went on the road as a commercial traveler for a Boston mercantile house, which connection continued two years. He then traveled two years for a New York house, still making his home at Newton, Iowa. In 1879 he came to Belle Plaine, and purchased the drug business of H. Bishop & Co., which he still carries on. Mr. Hunter carries a full assortment of everything usually found in a first-class drug-store, including drugs, paints, oils, medicines, books, stationery, etc.

Mr. Hunter was appointed Postmaster of Belle Plaine in December, 1882, and entered upon the duties of the office in January, 1883. He has been prominently identified with the history of the Grand Army of the Republic from its inception in Iowa to the present day. He became a member of the order in 1865, and was one of the twenty-six who met at Davenport in September, 1866, and organized the Department of Iowa of the G. A. R. He was a delegate from Post No. 16, Grinnell, and brought about the organization of John B. Hancox Post, No. 314, of Belle Plaine, but was prevented by sickness from participating in the ceremonies on the institution of the Post. He is now a member of the National Encampment, G. A. R., and in August, 1884, was appointed Aid-de-Camp on the staff of the National Commander, Gen. Burdett. He is a Royal Arch-mason, a member of Hope Lodge, No. 175, A. F. & A. M., and of Mt. Horeb Chapter, No. 45, R. A. M. He is also a member of the Benton County Veteran Association, of which he has served one year as Quartermaster and Paymaster, one year as Colonel, and is the present President.

Mr. Hunter was married at Bethlehem, Conn., Sept. 20, 1871, to Miss M. Amanda Peck, daughter of Hon. Henry B. and Mary (Brown) Peck. Mrs. Hunter was born at Bethlehem, Conn. They have one child, a daughter, Mary Brown, born at Belle Plaine, June 10, 1880. Mrs. Hunter is a member of the Episcopal Church. Mr. Hunter is a Republican in politics.

Source Citation: "1887 Benton County, Iowa Biographies"  [database online]  Benton County IAGenWeb Project. <>
Original data: "Portrait and Biographical Album of Benton County, Iowa." Chicago: Chapman Brothers, 1887, p. 368-369.
Transcribed by: Sue Soden. Submitted to the Benton County IAGenWeb Project on February 18th, 2009.  Copyright © 2009 The IAGenWeb Project.

Return to: 1887 Biography Index

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