Biography of Dr. James G. Hunt
Oneida County, NY Biographies





JAMES GILLESPIE HUNT, M. D.
The medical profession may safely claim an unusually brilliant and successful representative in Dr. James Gillespie Hunt, who has practiced in Utica for more than forty years and has gained a national reputation as a sanitarian. He was born in Litchfield, Herkimer county, New York, June 21, 1845, a son of Dr. Isaac J. and Mary (Ingersoll) Hunt, the latter of whom was a native of Herkimer county and a daughter of John Ingersoll, a farmer and manufacturer. Dr. Isaac J. Hunt and four of his brothers were physicians. He was born at Warren, Herkimer county, March 27, 1820. After graduating from Castleton (Vt.) Medical College he began practice and for nearly thirty years was a leading physician of Utica, where he died January 25, 1875. There were two sons in the family of Dr. and Mrs. Hunt, James Gillespie and Loton S., the latter of whom was born in 1852 and was admitted to the bar.

The ancestry of the Hunt family has been traced through a number of generations to Rev. George Hunt, vicar of Wadenhoe, Northampton county, England, and to Rev. Robert Hunt, one of the four brothers who emigrated to America about the beginning of the seventeenth century, and Jonathan Hunt, of the "Northampton line," who lived in the township of New London, Connecticut, Hartford, Connecticut, and Northampton, Massachusetts. Among the members of the family that deserves special mention should be named Timothy Hunt, who was a soldier in the Revolutionary war under General Abercrombie in the attack on Fort Ticonderoga. He located in Tryon county, now Florida, Montgomery county, New York. He and his family narrowly escaped with their lives from an attack by Tories and Indians, November 12, 1778. Mr. Hunt's buildings were burned and most of his stock killed, but he and his family were saved by concealing themselves in the thick underbrush of a neighboring ravine.

Dr. Hunt of this review attended the district school and was graduated from the Utica Free Academy in 1865. Soon afterward he became assistant bookkeeper of the Ilion Bank at Ilion, but after a year or more accepted a position in the Utica postoffice, where he remained until 1867. He then went to Buffalo as bookkeeper for Andrews & Whitney, proprietors of the Mansion House, with whom he remained for one year. In 1868, having decided to devote his energies to the medical profession, he began the study of medicine in his father's office, where he continued for four years. He then entered the medical department of the University of Michigan, where he took courses of lectures and a course in the laboratory of analytical and applied chemistry. This was followed by a third course in Jefferson Medical College, Philadelphia, from which he was graduated March 13, 1871. In the same year he attended a course of clinical lectures at the Philadelphia Hospital. He received a diploma from the Philadelphia School of Anatomy and also from the Pancoast Anatomical School and one from the Philadelphia Quiz Association on anatomy, chemistry, surgery and obstetrics. At graduation he received a larger number of honorable mentions for clinical instruction in medicine and surgery than any of his class mates. He began practice in Utica in 1871 and was associated with his father for three years, since which time he has practiced alone. His capacity for professional labor in almost unbounded and he never permits outside interests to interfere with his devotion to his duties. He fully deserves the estimation in which he is held as one of the most competent physicians of central New York.

In 1872 Dr. Hunt became a member of the Oneida County Medical Society and was elected its president in 1897. He is a member of the Utica Medical Library Association and was elected its president in 1886, being also elected a member of the Oneida County Microscopical Society in 1881. He is a member of the American Medical Association and was elected president of the northern branch in 1898 and 1899. In. 1880 he was chosen a member of the American Public Health Association, having by this time gained a wide reputation as an investigator and writer upon subjects pertaining to the preservation of health. He was appointed by Governor A. B. Cornell as health commissioner of the state board of health in 1880 and served under the administration of Governor Grover Cleveland, resigning in 1885. He was one of the incorporators of the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children, which was organized in 1881, and is now serving as physician to that society. In 1889 he was appointed by President Rutherford B. Hayes as surgeon of the board of United States pension examiners and was appointed to the same office December 19, 1907, by President Theodore Roosevelt. He has served as surgeon for several of the leading railways, among which may be named the Delaware, Lackawanna & Western Railroad Company, West Shore & Buffalo Railroad Company, and also the New York, Ontario & Western Railway Company, in which he is now serving his twenty seventh year. For two years he was in the service as railroad surgeon of the Delaware & Hudson Railroad Company. In 1882 he was elected a member of the New York State Association of Railway Surgeons and in 1891 was elected a member of the National Association of Railway Surgeons, being chosen vice president of the latter organization in 1898. He also filled the office of surgeon in charge at Caxton Hospital from 1880 to 1886 and has been a member of the hospital staff since 1886. He was selected as member of the hospital staff of St. Luke's Hospital in 1883 and of St. Elizabeth's Hospital in 1888. He has held the rank of first lieutenant in the Forty fourth Separate Company, National Guard, and was surgeon of that organization, being also for several years president of the Utica Citizens' Corps. He has shown a special fitness and capacity in the various duties indicated and earned the respect and esteem of all with whom he associated.

Dr. Hunt has been an extensive contributor to the annual reports of the state board of health, one of his most important efforts in this line being his report as chairman of the committee on public institutions in the first annual report of the state of New York for the year 1880. In this report he presented the results attained at the New York State Lunatic Asylum as to ventilation, heating, drainage and water supply. In the second annual report of the board for the year 1881 Dr. Hunt, as chairman of the committee on public institution; presented an outline of results of personal inspection and exact inquiry into the condition and sanitary wants of schoolhouses, which attracted general attention throughout the country. His lectures to the school of nurses of St. Luke's Hospital of Utica and Faxton Hospital for a number of years past have been very instructive and have been read by thousands of persons who are interested in the promotion of the public health. In questions pertaining to this subject he is a recognized authority.

Politically Dr. Hunt gives his support to the republican party. He was appointed by Governor John A. Dix as coroner in November, 1873, and continued in the office nearly ten years. He was also appointed health officer of the city of Utica in 1874 and served for nearly twenty years. On July 10, 1883, he paced a civil service examination for health officer with a rating of ninety two and nine tenths per cent. He inaugurated many useful reforms in the sanitary inspection of schoolhouses and public buildings and reduced to the greatest efficiency the system of ventilation, heating, drainage and water supply. In 1887 he was strongly urged to become a candidate for mayor of Utica and received the unanimous nomination at the convention, but on account of pressure of professional duties he felt compelled to decline the honor. He was appointed by Governor Theodore Roosevelt one of the managers of the Rome State Custodian Asylum December 29, 1899.

On the 28th of January, 1874, Dr. Hunt was married to Miss Ella R. Middle. ton, a daughter of Robert Middleton, of Utica, president of the Globe Woolen Company. Mrs. Hunt is of Scotch descent, her father having been born in Aberdeen, Scotland. Four children were born to Dr. and Mrs. Hunt: Gertrude May Hunt Casey, Mabel Lillian Hunt Howlan, Robert Middleton and Ella Louise Hunt Hall Dr. Hunt is a thirty second degree Mason and an Odd Fellow. He was physician in charge of the Masonic Home at Utica from its opening in 1893 until 1894 and has since been chairman of the executive committee of its medical staff. He is a member of Iota chapter of the Delta Phi Society, of the University of Michigan; the Jefferson Medical College Alumni Association; a life member and trustee of the Utica Female Academy since 1888; and a member of the Fort Schuyler Club since 1884. Even a cursory glance at the many activities with which he has been prominently connected is evidence of his remarkable professional and business judgment. In the discharge of his responsibilities he has been governed by a laudable ambition to perform his entire duty and those who know him best are of the opinion that he has notably succeeded. As years have passed his worth has been recognized and no man in Oneida county is more sincerely beloved than the accomplished gentleman and scholar whose record is here briefly presented.

From:
History of Oneida County, New York
From 1700 to the present time
of some of its prominent men and pioneers.
By: Henry J. Cookinham
The S. J. Clarke Publishing Company
Chicago 1912


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