WILLIAM F. HUNTTING, deceased, was for thirty-five years one of the prominent business men of McGregor, and during the last year of his life was a member of the incorporated firm of the Huntting Elevator Company of this place, being President, General Manager and owner of the majority of the stock. During this time he was interested in the grain trade, and the annual amount of business of late years covered many millions. The Huntting Company were legitimate dealers and not speculators, and no firm ever had a higher standing in commercial circles for integreity.
The subject of this sketch was born in Southampton, L.I., May 7, 1828, and was nearly sixty-four years old at the time of his death, which occurred April 28, 1892. He received an academic education in early life, and lived with his father on a farm until he was about sixteen years of age, when he entered the store and began a mercantile career; but a love of travel and adventure was inherited in this youth, and for about three years he followed the sea, and later became one of the forty-niners during the gold excitement in California. After a few years, growing tired of life on the Pacific Coast, he came to McGregor, and in 1857 once more turned his attention to merchandising. Later he became a member of the firm of Bassett, Huntting & Co., which in time became so prosperous as to extend its operations through the whole northwest. They employed a large number of men in different parts of this region, as well as at their elevator at Prairie du Chien and the home office. A few years ago Mr. Bassett withdrew, and later Mr. Raynolds, another member, sold out his interest. During the long years in which Mr. Huntting was thus prominent in extensive business no whisper of wrong was ever heard against him or his co-partners. He was honorable and upright in his business methods, and death could have taken few men from this section whose loss would have been more deeply and generally mourned.
In 1856 Mr. Huntting married Miss Mary R. Smith, who died in 1872, leaving five children, Annie F., Free H., Harry S., Charles E. and Mary R. In 1876 our subject married Mrs. Charlotte M. Cory, who had one daughter, Jessie, by her former marriage; she is now Mrs. W.S. Nott, of Minneapolis. The three sons of his first marriage are all connected with the elevator business, and Annie is the wife of C.W. Cowles, of this city.
One of the predominating features in the character of Mr. Huntting was his generosity; to give and to give liberally was with him almost a passion, for his object was to uplift and make others happier and better. In the work of the church he was a pillar of strength, and he was a regular attendant of the Congregational Church, whose Pastor, Rev. C.A. Marshall, preached the funeral sermon. The applause of the world was to Mr Huntting an empty honor, not worthy to be sought for. Every enterprise looking toward the improvement of McGregor in any way was heartily aided by his counsel as well as money. He was public spirited, generous and courteous in his treatment of all mankind. One of his prominent qualities was his keen sense of humor, for his conversation abounded in flashes of wit and innate love of fun, and this is a great gift, for it helps to smooth the rugged pathway of life and is appreciated by all. Into every social circle he entered he brought sunshine and good cheer, and the extent of the good he has done will never be known, for he was one whose life was actuated by the sentiment, "Let not thy right hand know what thy left hand doeth."
source: Portrait and
Biographical Record of Dubuque, Jones and Clayton Counties;
Chicago: Chapman Pub. Co., 1894; pg 423
-transcribed by Sandi Coobs
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