HUNTER, GEORGE W. (deceased) - In the death of George W. Hunter, a pioneer stockman and successful farmer, Sangamon County lost one of its most useful and highly respected citizens. He was a native of the county, born in Auburn Township, May 9, 1860, son of James Hunter and wife (the maiden name of the latter being Layson), both of whom died when their son George was but six years old. He was one of six children, four sons and two daughters, the others being: John, who died in Dakota; William, of Moscow, Idaho; Douglas, died in Moscow, Idaho, leaving a widow and two children - Mamie and William; Margaret, married Alfred Campbell, and both died leaving four children - Mamie, Minnie, Edward and Earl; Rebecca, married (first) James Campbell, by whom she had two children - Etta and Fred, her second husband being John Henry, of Jacksonville, Ill., by whom she had one child - Earl.
After the death of his parents, George W. Hunter went to live with his uncle, Wesley Hunter, at Jerseyville, Ill., where he remained until he was twelve years old, but in this time had never attended school. He then went to live with his sister, Rebecca Ann Campbell, then living in Talkington Township, and being an ambitious lad, began to attend the district school near by and apply himself diligently to his studies, in which he was assisted by his kind and patient sister. In this way he was able to make rapid progress, and by studying often until midnight, he was able, by the time he was sixteen years of age, to obtain a teacher's certificate, and began teaching in the Wilson District School in Auburn Township. For five or six years he continued in this profession with excellent success, then turned his attention to farming and stock-raising. He became a breeder of the best grade of horses, cattle, hogs and sheep, and spent a useful, busy life, being a kind neighbor and true friend, always ready to help those in need or distress, and was most highly esteemed in all relations of life. He was of a noble and upright character, and was prominent in social and political circles. He was an ardent supporter of the principles and representatives of the Democratic party and was active in party councils. He served as Supervisor of hi township and also in other offices.
Mr. Hunter was married November 3, 1880, to Miss Rachel C. Campbell, born in Chatham Township, Sangamon County, March 5, 1857, a daughter of Peter Campbell, one of the most prominent and extensive farmers of the southern part of Sangamon County, a sketch of whom appears elsewhere in this work. Mr. Hunter and his wife settled on the farm where she now resides, in Section 18, Chatham Township, occupying a small three-room frame building then standing on it. He continued teaching for a time, then gave his whole attention to the clearing and improving of his land, which was mostly uncultivated. He had accomplished a great deal at the time of his death in the way of developing and improving his farm, and had erected the handsome residence still standing there.
In 1889 Mr. Hunter and his wife went west to visit his brother and sister, and while on the trip Mr. Hunter was taken ill, finally dying at Chehalis, Wash., of typhoid fever, November 3, 1888. His remains were brought back to Illinois and buried in the cemetery at Chatham, after which Mrs. Hunter returned to the home farm which she carried on, hiring the work done until her sons were old enough to take charge of it. The children born to her and her husband were: John W. and Walter, twins, born September 3, 1881, the former a farmer living on Section 6, Chatham Township, whose sketch appears elsewhere in this work, the latter dying February 17, 1882; Peter J., born April 24, 1884, a sketch of whom also appears in this work; Charles A., born May 26, 1886, in charge of the home farm; William D., born July 10, 1889, a farmer on Section 12, Loami Township. The sons of Mrs. Hunter all did their share in carrying on the home farm, and now all except one have settled on farms of their own near the old home, having been provided with land by their mother. There are about 400 acres in the home place, and Mrs. Hunter owns in all about 1500 acres. At one time she owned 1900 acres in Chatham Township besides timber land in Louisiana. Mrs. Hunter is revered and loved by all who know her, and has followed the example of her husband in taking an interest in all around her. She is a devout member of the Christian Church. She is a woman of strong will and high character and has reared her children to honorable manhood. Charles A. Hunter is one of the prominent stock-breeders of his community and has been successful in his farming operations. He makes a specialty of raising full-blooded Hereford and Polled-Angus cattle.