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W.E. Hunt Furniture Make
in Fayette, Iowa from 1874 to 1896

on the NW corner of Main and Water Street

Hunt's Furniture, General Merchandise and Undertaking

Looking north down Main Street at the corner of Clark Street,  the furniture store is the building to the left of the bridge.  W.E. Hunt would take over the business in 1874 at the age of 23 and run it until 1896,  when at the age 55 he would sell his business and move one mile south of Fayette to farm the area just north of the Wilcox Cabin site.  He would remain on that farm until retiring to town in 1920, at the age of 69.  W.E. had a very successful dairy herd of Holstein cows with a reputation of running a very meticulous, organized farm.  Throughout his life he was very active in the Methodist Church and Fayette community activities.  W.E. born in England in 1851, would be brought to Fayette in 1855, when his father Reuben, Sr.  came to Fayette to help erect the Seminary.  W.E.  would live out his life in the house on the northwest corner of Main and Seventh Streets.  He would continue his furniture making as a sideline  and on occasions do finish work for Fayette residents and the Methodist Church.  Walter Eugene Hunt would pass away at the age of 94, in 1945.


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Walter Eugene Hunt , my GGrandfather, from 1874 to 1896, operated the business on the northwest corner of Main and Water Streets. Below are the entries in his 1874-1875 Ledger
and give a good picture of the supplies being purchased by Fayette area residents.  From the late 1840's to 1874, most products not produced locally where brought into the Westfield/Fayette Valley by drayers.  Men who used 5 to 7 hitches of oxen to pull big high wheeled freight wagons over dirt trails through the timbered hills and wet prairies.  In the early years the pioneer village of McGregor and the more established village of Dubuque functioned as Mississippi River ports to supply the settlers on the frontier to the west.  The supplies  to Fayette came up the Mission Road from Dubuque, or across the big ridge of hills from McGregor.  W.E. son, my grandfather, Walter Reuben Hunt told of his father and his father traveling through the deep forest to McGregor to sell Fayette area products and then to return with commodities to sell to the merchants in Fayette.  The trip would take many days to complete.  It is from these "merchandising" trips that the entry into the furniture store occurred.  
       Until 1874, the supplies to the Village were pretty basic, due to the time, effort, and cost of bringing in supplies by oxen, and later horse team.  By the late 1860's and into the 1870's railroads would be connecting Dubuque to the growing villages to the west as Marion and Cedar Rapids.  Supplies would at that time start to move up to Fayette from Eads Grove/Manchester and Marion/Cedar 
      By 1873 the railroad had pushed northward from the Marion area.  The real boom years for Fayette would start in 1874, as the railroad would bring a revolution in commodity movement.  On the other had, it would also mean the demise of many local industries, crafts, trades, as they could not compete with the commodities brought from "big business" elsewhere.  One can see, by studying the list of products sold that by 1875, a multitude of new items are available.  Note the types of fish and the appearance of  canned goods.  However the basic local grown plant and animal products still supply the staples for the community.  

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The Ledger shows the products available at the very beginning of the railroad era of supply to Fayette County.  The entries in the late 1874 through 1875 have been separated out in groups to more easily get an idea of the products available.  With the coming of the railroad more and more items would be coming into Fayette, and more merchants would open businesses.  The entries from 1876 on are listed in the second table and will basically follow the same sequence of entry into the ledger.  W. E. Hunt made all of his own furniture for sale in this building while running the undertaking business and selling a certain amount of other merchandise.  

Hunt's Furniture, General Merchandise and Undertaking
1874-1875 Ledger Entries (group by category)

Beans, 30lb, 60c
Beans, 41lb, 81c
Beans, 6lb, 40c
Beans, 10lb, 25c
Hominey, 6lb, 25c
Hominey, 2lb, 10c
Oatmeal, 10lb, 50c
Oatmeal, 2lb, 10c
Popcorn, 1peck, 30c
Rice, 2lb, 25c
Rice, 9lb, $1.00

Candy, 1lb, 40c
Candy, nuts, and gum, 15c
Coffee, 1lb, 28c
Coffee, 1lb, 29c
Coffee, 7lb, $2.00
Coffee, pail, 95c
Cookies, ginger snaps, 2lb, 32c
Cookies, ginger snaps, 1lb, 16c
Crackers, 2lb, 20c
Crackers, 3lb, 25c
Crackers, sweet, 1lb, 20c
Lard, 2 1/2lb, 50c
Lard, 1 3/4, 32c
Pickles, 1 doz, 10c
Sal. soda, 1 3/4lb, 15c
Salt, sack, 30c
Salt, 5lb, 10c
Salt, barrel, $2.75
Sorgum, 5gal, $2.50
Sorgum, 1 gal, 60c
Starch, 1/4lb, 5c
Starch, 1lb, 15c
Sugar, 9lb,  $1.00
Sugar, 18lb, $3.00
Syrup, 1/2 gal, 80c
Syrup, 1/2 gal, 50c
Syrup, 1qt, 20c
Syrup, 46gal, $23.00
Tea, 1/4lb, 23c
Tea, 1/4lb, 15c
Tea, 1/4lb, 31c
Tea, 1lb, 90c
Tea, 5 1/2lb chest, $6.85
Vinegar, 1gal, 30c
Vinegar, 2qt, 8c
Vinegar, 1/2gal, 15c
Butter, 5lb, 50c
Butter, 1lb, 20c
Butter, 2lb, 36c
Cheese, 1 5/12lb, 25c
Cheese, 44lb, $5.50
Chicken, 4lb, 32c
Eggs, 5doz, 50c
Eggs, 2doz, 18c
Eggs, 4doz, 32c
Fish, 2 9/16lb, 32c
Fish, codfish, 2 1/4lb, 20c
Fish, Halibut, 1 5/16lb, 21c
Fish, Mackerel, 2 15/16lb, 36c
Ham, 17 3/4lb, $2.48
Milk, bottle, 10c
Mincemeat, 1lb, 20c
Oysters, 2 cans, $1.00
Oysters, 1 can, 20c
Pork, 13 1/2lb, $1.65
Pork, 5 3/4lb, 25c
Port, 3 5/6lb, 40c
Salmon, 3 14/16 lb, 49c
Salmon, 1can, 35c
Trout, 20lb, $1.80
White fish, 2 11/16 lb, 28c
Baking power, 1/2lb, 30c
Buck wheat flour, 100lb sack, $1.00
Corn meal, 100lb sack, $1.00
Flour, 6 100lb sacks, $8.40
Flour, 100lb sack, $1.50
Soda, 2lb, 20c
Yeast, 1 cake, 13c
Yeast, 1 cake, 10c
Allspice, 1/4lb, 10c
Cinnamon, 1oz, 5c
Cloves, 2oz, 10c
Cream of Tarter, 1/2lb, 13c
Ginger, 1/2lb, 25c
hops, 5lb, $2,25
Mustard, 1oz, 5c
Mustard, 2 1/2oz, 10c
Nut meg, 1oz, 10c
Nut meg, 1 1/2oz, 18c
Pepper, 5c
Pepper, 1/2lb, 30c
Soda, pkg, 10c
Vanilla extract, 15c
Vanilla extract, 15c

Cabbage, 30 head, $2.40
Cabbage, 10c
Cabbage, 6lb, 30c
Cabbage, 4, 20c
Onions, 1peck, 30cPotatoes, 1bu, $1.25
Potatoes, 1peck, 20c
Potatoes, 1bu, $1.25
Potatoes, 1peck, 18c
Potatoes, 55lb, 46c
Potatoes, 5 1/2 bu, $.3.30
Pumpkin, 5c
Saleratus, 1lb, 13c
Sweet potatoes, 40lb, $2.00
Tomatoes, can, 20c
Apples, peck, 50c
Apples, 3 1/2bu, $5.25
Apples, 12 1/2bu, $6.50
Apples, 1 1/2pk, 25c
Berries, 3lb, 50c
Cranberries, qt, 15c
Currants, 2 1/4lb, 25c
Currants, 5lb, 50c
Currants, 5lb, 50c
Grapes, 28 1/4 lb, $2.30
Lemon, 5c
Melon, 15c
Oranges, 5, 5c
Peaches, 1 5/8lb, 25c
Peaches, can, 25c
Preaches, 3 1/4lb, 50c
Prunes, 1 1/4lb, 25c
Prunes, 5 1/2lb, 50c
Raisins, 2lb, 34c
Strawberries, can, 25c
Strawberries, 15c
Cigars, 10c
Comb, 15c
Soap, 3 bars, 25c
Soap, 1 cake, 10c
Soap, toilet, 3 cakes, 25c
Thimble, 15c
Tobacco, chewing, 1/4lb, 25c
Tobacco, cigarette papers, 10c
Tobacco, smoking , 1/2lb, 20c
Bed Straw, $3.50
Chains, 6, $5.50
Chains, 3, $5.50
Hinges, table, 6, 30c
Tacks, 3doz, 45c
Varnish, 3gal, $4.80
Chare, old, 60c
Chares, 4, $2.00
Cradle, $3.00
Frames, 2, $2.00
Jewel box, 50c
Mattresses, 2, $8.50
Mattress, woven wire, $13.00
Mattress, woven wire, $13.00
Mirror, $4.50
Mirror, $4.50
Rocker, $2.50
Rocker, $4.50
Safe for John (?), $7.00)
Sofa, $7.00
Table, center (dining), $15.00
Table, reference, $3.00
Toy cart, 20c
Turning, 3 sets of legs, 75c
Elastic, 1yd, 15c
Needles, 1 paper, 10c
Pins, 10c
Pins, paper of, 10c
Thimble, 3, 25c
Thimble, 3, 25c
Bowl, butter, 35c
Bowl, gravy, $1.35
Bowl, sugar, 50c
Bowl, wooden, 80c
China cup & saucer, 50c
Creamer, 10c
Dish, 10c
Fork and knife, 3sets, 45c
Goblets, 3, 45c
Goblet, 10c
Mug, 25c
Plate, 8c
Seive, 25c
Spoon holder, 20c
Tea pot, 45c
Book, 5c
Book, 20c
Envelopes, 6, 5c
Envelopes and papers, 10c
Pencil, 10c
Bluing, 1 box, 10c
Clothes pins, 2doz, 10c
Clothes line, 25c
Broom, 30c
Candle, 3c
Chamber pan, $1.10
Jar, 1/2 gal, 15c
Jug, 20c
Lamp, 55c
Lamp chimney, 10c
Lantern, $1.00
Mason jars, 1 set, 90c
Matches, 1 box, 10c
Mop stick, 30c
Pail, 30c
Wooden kegs, 25c
Wooden tub, $1.00
Woven basket, 15c
Mittens, $1.00
Mittens, $1.25
Mittens, 1pr, $1.75
Shoes, $2.60
Shoes (for self, W.E. Hunt), $4.00
Shoe strings, 10c
Shoe string, 2c
Socks, 3pr, 75c
Fish hooks, 5, 5c
Grease, 1 box, 15c
Husking gloves, $2.25
Oil, 1/2 gal, 15c
Rope, 1 1/2 lb, 25c
Rope, 5lb, $1.00
Rope, 1 1/8lb, 23c
Seeds, 12pkg, $1.10
Seed, onion, 2oz, 20c
Stove blacking, 1 box, 10c
Tacks, 1 paper, 13c
Whistle, 10c


Lumber, 100ft poor, $2,00
Posts, 28, $1.50
Studs, 12doz, $1.90
Coffin & trimmings, $5.25
Coffin, $9.00
Coffin and box, $30.00
Filing saw, 25c
Hauling 2 loads of stone, 50c
Paneling 7chares and seating
  one rocker, $2.75
Fixing buggy wheels, 25c
$5.15,with 10 bushel potatoes
$3.20, with 20lb lard
$1.35, with 6 1/2 doz. eggs
$0.50, with 1 load of poor wood
$7.80, 2yrs interest on $34.01
$2,85, with 57 bars lye soap
$8.52, with butchered meat
$3.00, with 5 5/8 cord wood
$4.15,with 3 1/4 days work
$3.50, with cord of wood
$7.80, with 1doz tubs
$11.00, to account of Prof. H.E.Hurd
  for fall/winter terms in 1876.
$11.00, to account, Edith Shoemaker
  for fall term 1875
$3.50, paid with Civil Liberty course
$1.75, paid with Chemistry course
$2.00, paid with Mental Sci. course
$7.00, rent from Safonia Nye
$1.50, medical allowance, Dr. Milsie
Chemis, 1lb, 40c
Meligo, 2oz, 25c
Sea foam, 1lb, 70c
Stove pollis, 1box, 10c
Soap tray, 65c
Hair pins, 5c
Soothing syrup, 1 bottle, 35c
Paid taxes for M. J. Clark, $6.50
Paid to E. Bronson's account for
 running away, charged to loss, $1.20
Gave Joseph Grannis 60 days to
  balance his account.



The Ledger now starts to show the large amount of furniture W. E. Hunt started to produce in this building.  He did all of the work by himself, and all with just basic hand carpentry and finishing tools.  There is no water power, steam power, electrical power during the entire time he was in business.  The amount of items listed in the ledger indicates a prolific builder of household furniture.  I can remember many of his tools in his retirement workshop at his home at the south end of main street, and some of them were a constant reminder 

Hunt's Furniture and Undertaking
  Ledger Entries 1876-1882 (entered in sequence)

Paid by washstand, $1.50
Paid by bedstead, $1.50
Slipper case, $1.00
Watch safe, 15c
Carriage, $7.00
Window frame, glass and cord, 82c
Toilet case, $1.25
Warner Angleswourth, for lumber, $45, was paid $25 in green backs, with remainder applied to various other accounts and merchandise.
Moving building, was paid $35

for work 2 1/4 days, at $2.25 per day.
Paid $20 by gun
Set casters, 30c
Paid out, $50 in green backs
Easy chare, $9.50
Paid by apples, 30c
Paid by maple sugar, $1.25
Varnishing bed, 25c
Rocking chare, $2.50, returned for $1.75
Coffin $25, paid cash and pig ($10)
Capret lounge, $15
Feathers, 2lb, $1.50
Filling say, 20c
Marble tope table, $11
Pattent rocker # 5 1/2, puffed with satten, $20
Comb case, $1.25, returned
Naud sled, $1.25
Paid with 1/2 bu Saberian apples, 38c
Parlor table, $6
Lumber, 12ft, @ 2 1/2c per foot
Colck self, 60c
Paid by honey, 10lb at 12c per lb
Smoking chare, $11
Coffin, flat top with glass, $20, 
Express wagon, $2.50
French bedstead, $7
Clothes bar, $1
Carriage, $13
Paid with load of hay, $6
Paid with load of hay, $5.80
Paid by fixing buggy, $4
Paid by 5/8 cord wood, $3.50 per cord
Oval stand, $6
C.W. Sperry, paid by coat $4.50, $7.50, and box of collars @ 30c
Crib $2.25
For work 50c
Extension table, $1.10
High chare with table, $1.40
Toilet cases, 2, $2
Lights of glass, 3, 20c
Spring bed, $5
Table, $15
Stove, $10
Chares, 1 coz, $10
Lounge, $16
Chares, 4, $3.33
Chares, 3, $6.67
Lounge chare, $4.50
Bureau. $10
Sudries, $2.50
Feathers, 3 1/2lb, @ 70c per lb
Towel rack, $1.50
Sundries, $5
Maple lumber, 90ft @ 2c per ft
Looking glass, $1
Fixing table, 90c
Fayette County, 1 coffin, $15
Spring bed, $4
Clock shelf, 90c
Bureau, 3 drawer, $12
Pd. by wood, $1.10
Coffin, $30
Table cloth, $1
Wash stand, $3.50
Toilet, $2
Table slide, 50c
Pd. by wood, 2/3 cord, 1/2 dry, 1/2 green, $2
Pd. by wood, 7/16 cord @ $3/cord, $1.40
Toilet case, $2
Receipt book, 15c
Door handle, 50c
W. Boyce, pd. 25c, by 1 cuff button
Folding chare, $10
Pd. by one clock, $6

Arm Chare, $2
Bed stead, $6.50
Table, $10.50 pd by labor
Frame and glass, 75c
pd by eggs, 6c per doz
pd by 20lb buck wheat @ 4c per lb, 80c
rocking chare, $2.75
Loocking glass, 35c
Bedstead, $4, pd $3 by return of bedstead and cash
Stove, $14
Bureau, $11
Rocker, $2
Bedstead, $3.25
Wool mattress, $6.25
Cord, 5yd, 25c
Pd by shaving, $20
Cradle, $2.25
Toilet mirror, $2.25, pd by return of mirror
Table slide set, $1.75
Pd by 2 sets, table legs, $1.75
Coffin, $16
Coffin trim, $3
Picture frames, 6, $6.65
Sights of glass, 3, $2
Rocker, $4.50
Sundries, $1.30
Fixing looking glass frame, $1.25
Looking glass knobs, 2, 30c
Picture knob, 6c
Pd by wourk, 1/2 day @ $1.50 per day, 75c
Small rocker, $1.25

More entries will be coming soon, 4/1/2001/z






Mr. Hunt was born near Banbury, England, June 6, 1851, and with his parents came to Chenago County, New York,  when he was three years of age. At the age of four, in 1855, the family came to Fayette, Iowa.  Oct. 31, 1878, he married Amanda Thompson, who was born Sept 13, 1856, near Grannis Hollow, four miles southeast of Fayette.  Amanda migrated from Ohio to Brush Creek (Arlington) in 1853 with her family.  Mr. Hunt engaged in the furniture and undertaking business on the northwest corner of Main and Water Streets, from 1874 to 1896. In 1896, after failing health they decided to sell the business and move to a farm one mile southwest of the cemetery, or one half mile north of the road leading to the old Wilcox place, the first cabin in Fayette County (1840), and on the west side of the road. The Hunt's occupied this farm from 1896 to 1920, when they again became residents of Fayette and moved back into town to the house on the northeast corner of Main and Seventh Streets, which is at the south end of Main. Mr. and Mrs. Hunt have been active in affairs of the Methodist Church, which Mr. Hunt contributing much labor on the remodeling of the church. They were also interested in Masonic and Eastern Star Activities. 



In 1938 the many of the Hunt Clan gathered in front of the Legion Hall (the old Congregational Church of the late 1800's) in Fayette, to  celebrate the 60th wedding anniversary of Amanda Katura Thompson, 82 and Walter Eugene Hunt, 87.  This would be the last major gathering of the Hunt Clan in Fayette.  By 1945 W.E. and his brother Reuben Wrench and wife Laura Farr Holmes (first row, 3 & 4 from the left) would pass away).  From that point on the Hunt Reunions would move to the west, many at the Bar 2 Ranch in Keating Oregon, or in the Dakota's.  Like many families of European descent, they next generations moved to search out new land to claim until it gone. The last of the Hunt's to make a living in Fayette is my grandfather (first row, second from left) Walter Reuben Hunt, and his wife standing behind him, Winnifred Mary Strayer.


Always active and interested and active in the Fayette community, Walter Eugene Hunt, age 89, and his wife of 62 years, Amanda Katura Thompson Hunt, age 84, take part in the 1940 UIU parade (above) moving north from the depot area down King Street.  Reuben Sr. Hunt originally brought the family to Fayette in late 1855 and settled on three lots just below College Hill on the east side, which he began work on the finishing of the Seminary (College Hall).  Reuben would become a chief stone mason on the project, and remain in Fayette the rest of his life as a stone mason, brick layer, builder.  Walter Reuben Hunt, son of Walter Eugene, would farm the area to the north of the Big Rock road, with the farmstead on the road leading to Albany, on the right side of the picture below, within sight of the old furniture store.  W.R.  was the last of the Hunt's in Fayette, passing away in 1977, ending 120 years of the Hunt family in Fayette, Iowa.




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