William B. Hunt, scoundrel - 1873
HUNT, HOWARD, TIPTON, COOK, HALLETT
Posted By: Sharyl Ferrall (email)
Date: 7/30/2005 at 16:12:17
A Healthy Dead Beat. Financial Operations of Mr. William B. Hunt
Some fourteen months ago there arrived at the National House in this city, a rather stylish looking gentleman named Wiliam B. Hunt, who hailed last from somewhere in California.
After boarding at the house for a short time he announced to Mr. G.H. Howard, the proprietor, that he was in an impecunious condition and wanted some employment whereby he might obtain the wherewithal to supply his immediate wants. He was placed in the responsible position of dishwasher, and having performed his duties for some time to the satisfaction of all concerned, and Mr. Howard having found that he was a good penman and had some knowledge of accounts, he was promoted to the position of clerk in the house. Here he at first attended to his business in a manner that won the confidence of his employer and, during the protracted absence of the latter, Hunt was trusted with the control of the cash. Prosperity was too much for him and he then began a series of peculations the sum total of which is a very considerable amount.
When Hunt's irregularities were discovered he pretended to be very penitent and informed Mr. Howard that his father, who resided in Elkader, Iowa, would advance the money necessary to make up the amount stolen. Mr. Howard telegraphed to the address given but received no reply. After waiting for some time, Hunt was allowed to depart, after an immense amount of blubbering on his part, and numerous promises that if allowed to escape this time he would do better next time.
His first exploit after leaving Pueblo, was to go to a colored barber in Colorado Springs and collect five dollars which the confiding knight of the razor owed the National House. Some corespondence has taken place between parties in this city and some residents of Elkader, and we give herewith an extract from a letter received recently from the latter place.
May 29th, 1873.
Honorable A.F. Tipton of this place, has just shown me your letter making inquiry as to whether a person lived here by the name of Judge Hunt, and as to whether he had a son "Will" or William B. Hunt. At the suggestion of Mr. Tipton and others, I write this letter for your benefit and that of the young lady who has so unfortunately become the wife of William B. Hunt. In consequence of his father's efforts "Will" was after a few months study, admitted to the Bar to practice law, and shortly after which he entered into co-partnership with Captain George W. Cook in the practice of the law in this place, and continued for more than one and a half years, when the said Captain Cook married the sister of Wm. B. Hunt, who is a fine lady. A short time after said marriage Wm. B. Hunt having some business at Dubuque, took with him all the money which he had collected for other parties, including the money belonging to the firm, and left the country, and nothing has been heard from him as to his whereabouts until last week, except from parties whom he had tried or did swindle out of their money on false representations. Capt. George W. Cook, his own brother-in-law, says he swindled and embezzled from $1300 to $1500 of money from him and thier clients. In fact he has almost ruined his brother-in-law, who has said more than a half dozen times that if "Will" was here he would have him arrested for embezzlement. Not only Captain Cook but other parties would prosecute him. Almost every day I hear of parties whose money he took and left the cuontry, and for more than four months his own father and mother supposed him to have been murdered. But at last he turned up at Salt Lake City, where he tried to obtain money from the treasurer of the masonic order, on false representatons as to his standing as a mason, and as to the busness he was doing in the state of Iowa. But the treasurer being a banker, did not accept all he heard as true, and resorted to telegraphing, but when he recieved the reply, Mr. Will B. Hunt was not to be found. There is a party in Greeley, Colorado, who wrote me a year ago desiring to know if a "Will" Hunt lived in this place, and I have no doubt he has been trying the confidence game with some one in that place.
Wm. B. Hunt is a fine, dressy-appearing young man, social and congenial, good company, and would be taken by his appearance for a nice, upright young man. But in fact, from his own admission, and from what I know, and from the statement of his own brother who is now dead, and the statements of some respectable persons, he, the said Wm. B. Hunt, can be put down as an unmitigated scoundrel and libertine, who not only embezzled the money belonging to his clients, but belonging to his own brother-in-law, who is also a mason and an honest and upright man, but the disgrace brought upon him by his partner, W.B. Hunt, absconding with the money of their clients; which he tried to replace by mortgaging hs library for more than it was worth to meet their clients' demands until they came so thick and fast that he has exhaused all of his means and yet hundreds of dollars remain unpaid. Mr. Cook has closed his office almost broken hearted without business. It is a shame and disgrace on the part of "Will" to so treat his own brother-in-law. William B. Hunt has been married before, and his wife obtained a divorce from him in the state of Ohio and has a son living in that state about fourteen years old I think. The Masonic order expelled him about one year ago or more. I am told that he treated his employers in Chicago, previous to commencing the study of law, in the same manner, while clerking in the Revere house. I have forgotten the name of the proprietor. "Will" was a good hearted fellow, but it made no odds to him whose money he used or how he came by it. A man of his learning and travel thrughout the country should do different, and when they don't, the authorities should take him in charge and learn him a lesson by close confinement. While he was here everybody tried to help him on his father's account, but when he absconded he lost all his friends, even his brother-in-law.
So much of the flattering biography of Mr. Hunt, we publish for the benefit of the people of Colorado. Hunt is a rather good looking young man, about thirty-five years old, rather light curly hair, a gift of gab unsurpassed, and spends other people's money freely. There is, however, that penitentiary cast about his countenance, with which the devil seldom fails to mark his own. Hunt says he is going to California and we would advise anybody who wants to see a first-class specimen of a thief, liar, slanderer and a healthy dead beat generally, to take a "long lingering look" at Mr. Wm. B. Hunt.
Since writing the above, we learn that Hunt has been arrested in Denver in accordance with a telegram sent from this city, and will be here in time to pay his respects to the grand jury and Judge Hallett.
-source: Colorado Daily Chieftain; Pueblo, Colorado; June 7, 1873
William Hunt, insurance agent, age 30, was enumerated on the 1870 US census in Strawberry Point, Boardman twp. He is living in the home of his parents Judge Benjamin & Maria Hunt. Also in the household is Melissa A. age 34.
George W. Cook, lawyer, age 32, was enumerated on the 1870 US census in Strawberry Point, Boardman twp. He is living in the home of his retired parents Ambrose P. & Eliza Cook. The 1880 census enumerates George Cook, lawyer, age 43, in Reno co. Kansas. With him are wife Milissa age 42 and daughter Nettie, age 3 (born in KS)
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