Sunday, June 17, 2012

Union Banner Hunt (1864-1915), Union Lee Spence (1867-1954), Union Corwin DeFord (1863-1934)

   This portly looking gentleman is one Union Banner Hunt, a prominent 19th century resident of Randolph County, Indiana. Mr. Hunt served as the Secretary of the State of Indiana from 1899-1903 and also distinguished himself as a lawyer and newspaper editor.
  Union Banner Hunt was born in Randolph County on September 2, 1864, the son of Joshua Parker and Rachel Howell Hunt. His full birth name is listed as "Union Banner Basil Morton Hunt", and the 1914 work Past and Present of Randolph County gives some interesting anecdotes as to how his unusual name came about: "At the time of his birth his brother was confined in the Confederate Prison in Andersonville, Ga., having been captured at the Battle of Chickamauga. Hence the name "Union Banner". Basil (pronounced "Bazil") is an old family name, and "Morton" is for the great war Governor of Indiana." This same work relates that Hunt was "not responsible" for his unusual name and "neither is he ashamed of it." 
   The Hunt family removed to Vermillion County, Illinois in 1868 and returned to Randolph County in 1877. Union B. Hunt is recorded as taking part in farming pursuits during the summer months and attending school during the winter. In addition to farming Hunt also was employed at a tile factory, taught school, and also clerked in a general store. While engaged in these vocations he began studying law under Enos Watson of Winchester, Indiana and eventually formed a law partnership with him. In November 1891 Hunt married Randolph County native Mary Myrtle Hinshaw with whom he had one daughter, Ethel (1893-1958). 
   Shortly before his marriage Hunt began involvement in the publishing industry, purchasing a large interest in the Winchester Herald. He would go on to serve as editor of this paper and during this time continued with his earlier law practice. Hunt eventually sold this paper in the mid-1890s and formed another law partnership, this one under the name of Hutchens, Hunt, and Hutchens
    In 1898 Hunt was nominated by the Republican Party for the position of Secretary of the State of Indiana, defeating his Democratic opponent Samuel M. Rolston. Hunt officially took office in 1899 and his service is noted by the History of the Republican Party of Indiana, Volume One as one of honor, and he administered "the office with credit to himself and the State". Hunt was subsequently reelected to the Secretaryship in 1900 and continued to serve until 1902. The portrait of Hunt shown below was discovered in the History of the Republican Party of Indiana, published in 1899 while he was serving in the Indiana state government.

   Shortly after leaving office in 1903, Union B. Hunt returned to practicing law and in that same year was named by then Indiana Governor J. Frank Hanly as a member of the Indiana Railroad Commission.  Hunt was eventually named as the commission's president and served in this position until resigning in December 1908.
   Within a few months of his resignation, Hunt was named as President and General Manager of the Insurance Department of the Supreme Lodge of the Knights of Pythias. Hunt is mentioned as being affiliated with this organization for a number of years, and had earlier served as Grand Chancellor and Supreme Representative for Indiana.  It is mentioned that at the office Hunt occupied was "burdensome and exhausting", and during his stewardship of the Insurance Department, the Knights of Pythias managed to "accumulate a reserve fund of over $6,000,000" quite a considerable sum for the time!
   Union Banner Hunt died of unknown causes at age 50 on May 3, 1915, in Indianapolis. He was survived by his wife Mary, who later remarried and died in 1936 at age 80. Both are buried in the Fountain Park Cemetery in Winchester, Indiana. The portrait of Hunt that adorns the top of this article was found in the Men of Progress of Indiana: A Selected List of Biographical Sketches and Portraits, originally published in 1899.

From the Aberdeen, North Carolina Pilot, January 16, 1931.

   Another "Union" who made his name known in political circles is Mr. Union Lee Spence of North Carolina. During a long life of nearly 87 years, Spence served multiple terms in his state's legislature as well as distinguishing himself as a past Mayor of the city of Carthage.
  Born in Stanly County, North Carolina on August 20, 1867, Union Lee Spence was the son of Daniel and Mary Ann Reeves Spence. He received his education in the schools of Palmerville and went on to attend the Oak Ridge Institute in Guilford County, graduating from this institution in the class of 1890.
   Spence continued his education at the University of North Carolina's Law School, where he earned his law degree in 1893.  Soon after he established a law practice in the village of Troy, operating there for about a year. He eventually removed from Troy and reestablished his office in Carthage, North Carolina, where he would reside for the remainder of his life. Spence went on to gain distinction as "one of the leading attorneys in his section" and was later elected to several terms as mayor of that town. In November 1902 he won election to the North Carolina State Senate from his home county of Moore and served one term that concluded in 1905. 
  On April 24, 1912 Spence married to Mary Margaret Worthy (1883-1965), with whom he would have two children, Union Lee Spence Jr. (1913-1979) and a daughter, whose name remains unknown at the time of this writing.
   After leaving the Senate in 1905, Spence continued in the practice of law and in 1924 and 1928 was named as one of North Carolina's delegates to the Democratic National Convention. In 1929 he was elected to his first term in the North Carolina State House of Representatives and was reelected to this body in the November 1930. Shortly after beginning his second term Spence was named to the post of chairman of the House Committee on Finance, and an article on his appointment appeared in the January 16, 1931 edition of the Aberdeen, North Carolina Pilot. This article also notes that in addition to his chairmanship of the Finance committee, Spence also served on the committee on Congressional Districts and the committee on Appropriations.

   In November 1934 Spence was elected to the state senate for the second time, nearly three decades after serving his first term. He served in the senate session of 1935-1937 and afterward continued in his work as an attorney. In his later years, Spence was involved in a number of local fraternal organizations in Carthage, including the Kiwanis Club, the Knights Templar, as well as the Masons. Spence died at the Moore County Hospital on June 30, 1954 at age 86. His wife Mary survived him by eleven years, dying in January 1965 at age 81. Both were later interred at the Cross Hill Cemetery in Carthage.

                                                 From the Carolina Alumni Review-April 1954.

  From the Bench and Bar of Northern Ohio, 1921.

  Mr. Union Corwin Deford was a noted figure in Carroll County, Ohio political circles, being both a probate judge and former Mayor of the village of Carrollton. Born in Carroll County on November 15, 1863, Union C. DeFord was the son of John William and Elvira Croxton DeFord. His education commenced in the Carrollton public school system and he later went on to attend the Mt. Union College in Alliance, Ohio, where he received his Bachelor's degree.
  DeFord began the study of law following his graduation, reading law in Carrollton. He was admitted to the bar in 1888 and in that same year married to Ms. Eva Rue (1870-1912), with whom he had a son, John William (1891-1944). In the same year as his marriage, DeFord was elected as Mayor of Carrollton, serving in this position for fourteen years. He was a member of the law firm of Fimple, Holder, and DeFord during this time and while serving as Mayor pulled double duty, serving as a probate judge for Carroll County from 1894-1900. 
  In 1907 Union DeFord removed to Youngstown, Ohio, where he joined the law firm of Arrel, Wilson, and Harrington. In 1912 Eva Rue Deford died at age 42 and three years following her death Deford remarried to Grace Whitcraft (1878-1948). One daughter was born to Deford and his new wife, Sarah W. (1916-1996). During WWI he served as a member of the Legal Advisory Board in Youngstown and was a prominent member of the local Masonic fraternity, the Knights Templars, and the Ohio State and Mahoning County Bar Association. Union C. DeFord died at age 81 on March 6, 1934 and was later interred in a lavish mausoleum at the Grandview Cemetery in Carrollton, Ohio. He was survived by his second wife Grace, who died in 1948 at age 70.

From the History of Columbiana County Ohio and Representative Citizens.

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