Among those buried in Hannibal's historic Riverside Cemetery is Maj. Josiah Hunt, former Hannibal mayor.
Editor’s note: The following is a reprint of the death notice and tribute to a man who died in 1874. Hannibal was starting to rebound following the Civil War. Maj. Josiah Hunt served two terms as mayor of Hannibal. According to the City Directory of 1873-74, he was treasurer of the State Insurance Co., of Missouri, located on Broadway east of Main; he was president of the First National Bank, 100 N. Main; and he lived at 1005 Lyon Street. In his employ were a coachman, Barney Ward, and a servant, William Bender. He was associated with Hunt, Godfred and Co., dealers in real estate. At the time of his death in 1874, Hannibal had 13 churches, a mercantile library, three hotels, three public halls and four banks. Both the newspaper clipping and the City Directories were referenced online through the Hannibal Free Public Library. Facts and story compiled by Mary Lou Montgomery.
Funeral of Major Hunt
Oct. 7, 1874.
The funeral of Maj. Josiah Hunt, who died in Hannibal, Oct. 3d, aged fifth-six years on the 6th day of last May, occurred this afternoon.
The body lay in state at the residence from 10 o’clock a.m. till about 3 p.m., during which time it was witnessed by about three thousand persons. Previous to opening the door for the reception of visitors, an immense crowd had assembled on the street, awaiting an opportunity to see the last remains of the deceased. All during the time the body was lying in state, a constant stream of people, of all ages and nationalities passed in and out, and the tearful eyes of many, as the wended their way homeward, was proof that their sorrow was keenly felt.
The fact that the body presented a remarkably natural appearance, although death occurred four days previously, was the subject of remark by nearly every person in attendance. The deceased seemed to be asleep, so naturally was every feature preserved. And it may not be out of place here to state that the undertaker, Mr. E. Fritz, having the whole affair in charge, is entitled to great credit for the manner in which the body had been preserved.
The casket, containing the remains, was an ornamented metallic casket, with silver plate bearing the following inscription:
Born, May 6th, 1818
Died Oct., 3d, 1874.
Also a silver plate on which were the names of Excalabar commandery, and the Blue Lodge of which he was an honored member. An Odd Fellow emblem, with inscriptions bearing the names of the Lodge and Encampment of which he was a member, was also attached to the casket.
- Among the visitors from abroad we noticed Mr. P.B.Groat, of St. Louis, Mr. Geo. H. Nettleton, of Topeka, Rev. J. F. Hamilton, of Moberly, and Maj. T.D. Price, of Brookfield.
The different orders assembly at the residence, corner of Lyon and Tenth streets, the procession was formed in the following order:
Subordinate Lodges of Odd Fellows.
Encampment of Odd Fellows.
Blue Lodges A.F.&A.M.
Clergymen in Carriages.
Board of Education.
City Council as Pall Bearers.
Immediate Friends of Deceased in carriages.
Procession of the public in carriages.
Nearly all the schools were represented, the pupils forming two lines from Fourth Street to Eighth, the procession marching between the lines. It is estimated that over two thousand children in the lines, all of whom had assembled to pay a last tribute to the memory of the deceased.
Arriving at Trinity (Episcopal) church, Fourth street, between Center and Bird streets, the burial services were performed by Rev. Sydney Corbett, of Quincy, and Rev. Samuel Ringgold, the pastor, after which the body was taken to Riverside cemetery for interment. Thus a good man — one who was a friend to all, rich and poor — gone to his long home. “May the turf lie lightly o’er his grave.”
- Tribute to the late Josiah Hunt
A special telegram from Springfield, Illinois, to the St. Louis Republican, Tuesday, said, “the sudden death of Maj. Josiah Hunt, of Hannibal, reported in the Republican, is a cause of regret to the many friends of the deceased gentleman in this State. He was the chief engineer charged with the construction of the old Terre Haute and Alton railroad, and though his was in the era of railroad building when such work was slighted, he stood firm to his ideas of personal and professional honor, and when he concluded his service on that line it was said by competent judges to be the best built road in the State. After he moved to Hannibal he took charge of the Hannibal and St. Joseph railroad, then under construction, and completed that line. In the early part of the (Civil) war Maj. Hunt organized a battalion of Union troops, the first Union solders recruited in the State outside of St. Louis. In the excitement of the time and by the exigencies of the service he was in almost supreme control at Hannibal, and over the surrounding country. He was not only a gentleman and a man of courage, but he was of kindly, generous feeling and conservative in his views. In all his actions and operations he avoided the harsh measures and severe treatment of his opponents, which disgraced so many of the local commanders in Missouri. Since the war he has pushed the enterprise of building the Hannibal and Naples railroad to a successful conclusion. Like other gentlemen of his profession, he raised up a state of young men about him, all of whom are, it is believed, doing honor to themselves and their instructor. Of these, two are George H Nettleton, superintendent of one of the important western roads, and Peter B. Groat, Esq., general passenger agent of the St. Louis, Kansas City and Northern Railroad.