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Robert Hunter


Posted By: Greta Thompson (email)
Date: 4/26/2005 at 21:45:05

For nearly forty years Robert Hunter has been actively and successfully engaged in the practice of law in Sioux City, and during the period he has been connected as counsel with much of the important litigation in the courts of this county and has earned a reputation as an exceptionally sound and safe counselor, while in the trial of cases he is fully able to cope with any of his compeers. Born on his father's farm in Butler county, Iowa, on the 12th of January, 1858, he is a son of James and Caroline (Mears) Hunter, the former a native of Belfast, Ireland, while the latter was born and reared in Warren county, Indiana. The father came to the United States in 1849, when thirty-two years of age, going at once to Indiana. For a short time he was employed in Crawfordsville, after which he hired out to the man who later became his father-in-law. In 1852 he was married and two years afterward brought his wife to Iowa, settling on the southwest quarter of section 13, township 91, range 17 west, in Butler county, buying the land for a dollar and a quarter an acre. Here he created a good farm and spent the remaining years of his life, his death occurring in April, 1888, at the age of seventy-one years. He was prominent and influential in his community and held a number of township offices.

Robert Hunter acquired his elementary education in the district schools of Butler county and then attended Lenox College, a Presbyterian institution at Hopkinton, Iowa, where he was graduated with the degree of Bachelor of Science in 1879. Two years later that college granted him the degree of Master of Science. After leaving Lenox, he entered the law school of Iowa State University, where he won the degree of Bachelor of Laws in 1881. In January, 1882, he opened a law office at Aberdeen, South Dakota, remaining there until 1886, when he moved to Hartington, Nebraska, where he maintained an office one year. He then came to Sioux City and has since been engaged in the practice here. He has gained a high place in the ranks of his profession, winning the confidence of the public and the respect of his colleagues, while financially he has been successful to a very gratifying degree. In 1898 he founded the Western Land and Loan Company, of which he has been president since its incorporation in that year. He has taken an active interest in public affairs and in 1908 was elected to the state senate, where he served four years with ability and distinction.

On October 19, 1881, Mr. Hunter was united in marriage to Miss Olive Ann Merrill, who was born and reared in Butler county, Iowa and to them have been born two children: Jane May, who is the wife of Martin Luther Sloan, Jr., electrical engineer with the General Electric Company at Cleveland, Ohio, and Cora Martha, who is the wife of T. M. Hyatt, an ex-navy officer who is now engaged in the real estate, loan and life insurance business in San Pedro, California. The mother died May 13, 1917. Mr. Hunter is a member of the Presbyterian church, to which he gives generous support. Fraternally, he is a member of Landmark Lodge, No. 103, Ancient Free and Accepted Masons; Sioux City Chapter, No. 26, Royal Arch Masons; Columbian Commandery, No. 18, Knights Templar; Sioux City Consistory, No. 5, Ancient Accepted Scottish Rite; Abu-Bekr Temple, Ancient Arabic Order of Nobles of the Mystic Shrine; Sioux City Lodge, No. 112, Benevolent Protective Order of Elks; Sioux City Lodge, No. 164, Independent Order of Odd Fellows, belonging also to the Uniformed Rank, of which he was colonel in 1904. Mr. Hunter has received distinctive preferment in the Masonic order, being at the present time most illustrious master of the grand council of Royal and Select Masters of the state of Iowa, while in October, 1915, the honorary thirty-third degree was conferred on him in recognition and appreciation of his eminent services in the order. He is a member of the Sioux City Bar Club and of the Sioux City Chamber of Commerce. He is a man of great energy, and of keen and vigorous mind, and does well whatever he undertakes. As lawyer and lawmaker he has left his impress on the history of his native state and is yet active in molding its destiny.


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