Grand Haven Daily Tribune December 6-7, 1915
David Fletcher Hunton, the aged lawyer-poet, whose verses have won him a great amount of local fame, will probably be laid to rest in Lake Forest, after his long career. Relatives of the deceased lawyer have notified local authorities that they are on their way to this city, and will arrive tonight or tomorrow morning. While no notice of arrangements have been received from them, it is likely that the remains will be brought to Grand Haven from Eastmanville where they are at present.
DAVID FLETCHER HUNTON
PASSES SUN. MORNING
Aged Poet of West Michigan Dies
After Long Years of Declining
Health at County Infirmary
Where he has been
AUTOBIOGRAPHY FOR PAPER
Is survived by Four Children of
Four Wives he had During Long
Life: Was one of Well
“Nearer the end of life.
Nearer the grave;
If I were to die tonight;
I would be brave.”
Years ago David Fletcher Hunton wrote those lines at his Grand Haven home on Howard street. He was an old man then and realized his evening of life had come. Sunday morning he passed away at the Ottawa county farm where he had been placed by relatives in a personal charge. According to his own statements he was in his eighty-seventh year.
On an October day six years ago David Fletcher Hunton came to the Tribune office and left a sealed packet marked “Grand Haven Tribune and Courier Journal. Not to be opened until after the death of David Fletcher Hunton.” The envelope has laid in untouched safety since that time until Monday morning of this week when it was opened to find the old man’s autobiography. The long varied career of the remarkable man is told by himself briefly with dates and incidents of his life both in New England and in west Michigan where he chose to live since 1866. Following is the self penned sketch of the old man’s life:
Judge David Fletcher Hunton, was born upon a farm, in a little township of Unity, Sullivan County, New Hampshire, about the year A. D. 1829. His parents, Erastus and Clarissa Fletcher Hunton, having been married in January A. D. 1828. He was the oldest of a family of three children, and the only boy. He attended the Common district School of Unity, and New Port, New Hampshire for several years; and at the age of thirteen, entered the “Innocent Caezar Seminary,” then near Kleene, N. H.. At the age of fifteen, he commenced teaching school in Massachusetts, in the winter time; and for several winters thereafter followed this vocation both in Massachusetts and New Hampshire; and in this way obtained the means for obtaining a Liberal Education before he was twenty-one years of age.
Mr. Hunton commenced the study of Law, in Bethel, Vt. And was after examination in open Court, and upon motion of General Benjamin F. Butler, was admitted to the bar of Middlesex County, Massachusetts, A. D. 1857. Mr. Hunton then commenced the practice of Law, in Lowell, Mass.; and for four years thereafter, continued such practice, in all courts of that state. Mr. Hunton came to this place in 1866; where for many years he had a successful practice; and at one time erected and owned a beautiful residence, and acre of property in the Third Ward of this City.
During the panic of 1873, he lost heavily in his real estate matters and has never since that date been as prosperous financially.
Mr. Hunton has been married four times and has been the father of six children; four of whom are now living. His fourth wife, a very esteemable woman formally of Pontiac, Illinois, has been living with him at his residence on Howard street in this city for the past several years. Mr. Hunton has honorably filled several official places of trust, both in Massachusetts and in this state, among which we may name school director, city attorney and judge of our city police court for four years and Notary Public for about forty years. He has also held the office of justice of the peace for two terms in Lowell, Mass. Prior to 1860. He at one time in Vermont, held a commission as postmaster and served for four years under former president Franklin Pierce. As a writer of verse, Mr. Hunton has for many years had more than local reputation. Many of his poems have been by good judges, rated as equal with those of the great masters in verse.
We understand that he has left some five hundred poems, which have never been published. As a criminal lawyer his services have always been in good demand, until a few years ago, when his health began to fail. At death he was the oldest member of the Ottawa county bar. For many years David Fletcher Hunton has been known as the west Michigan poet. He had no peers in Michigan for his ‘particular’ sort of philosophy and ability to transform it into beautiful verse. Some of these, but not many, have been published from time to time in the Grand Haven Tribune. Invariably they were copied here and there all over the country, some of them finding a place in current magazines. The old man never cared greatly for notoriety in his verse, it seemed.
It was a characteristic trait of the old poet to speculate the hereafter in deeply religious philosophy. Many of these creations were copied extensively in religious journals of the country. What is regarded as one of his most beautiful in this class was entitled “Sein God.” It ran:
I see Him in the waving corn,
And in the beauty of the flowers;
I hear Him in the song of birds,
And in the gently falling showers.
I hear Him in the hum of bees,
And in the linnet’s lay of love.
I see Him in the midnight sky
And in the twinkling stars above.
I hear Him in the winds at night,
In every storm and tempest wild.
I hear Him in the hurricane
And in the laughter of a child.
I see Him in the sultry noon,
And in the soft decline of day;
I see Him in the broad full moon
And when it seeks to melt away.
In Hunton’s old house on the sand dune overlooking Lake Michigan there are countless poems stowed away in receptacles of all descriptions. These have never been published. Perhaps these will be taken out and catalogued by members of the poet’s family and perhaps among them will be found verse to live with the years.
POET BURIED HERE TODAY
The remains of the late David Fletcher Hunton were brought to Grand Haven today from Eastmanville, and burial was in Lake Forest this afternoon. Brief services were held at the grave, with Rev. I. W. Minor, pastor of the Methodist church officiating. A few friends of the aged poet-lawyer gathered at the grave to attend the simple service.