James Hunter was born in the town of Galashiels, Scotland, June 8, 18o6. On both his father's
and his mother's side he came of good stock. His paternal grandfather was for a long time a prosperous merchant of Leith, so that his father, Andrew Hunter, grew to manhood with the privileges of the genteel families of those days, and married Mary, the daughter of Laird Blaikie, one of the leading citizens of Galashiels. Four sons and one daughter were born to them, but the family fortunes were soon changed by great losses in the East India trade, and the sons, therefore, inherited little except the stock of intelligence and manly independent qualities of character which come of good ancestry. They, however, all received a good education at a private school for boys in Edinburgh, where James Hunter was sent when nine years of age, and remained six years. At the age of fifteen, he was apprenticed to Alexander Sanderson to learn the business of woolen manufacturing. In 1829, he married the daughter of Thomas Walker. Though this was a new business to Mr. Hunter, he made it successful by patient industry and an intelligent study of its natural development, and the present large and prosperous business of the James Hunter Machine Company, of which James E. Hunter, the oldest son, is at the head, has been the outgrowth of these small beginnings. Mr. Hunter, as an employee, always gave more than was expected of him. He once said : " I am happy to think that no human being ever lost a dollar by me," and then added, " or a moment's work when I was employed by others." He was the true and kind friend of his employees, the confidential adviser and helper of many, and just, generous and devoted to the interests of his patrons. He was the consistent advocate of temperance, education and religion, intelligent as to public questions and loyal to American institutions, but ever retaining an ardent love for the land of his birth. He was for several years president of the Berkshire National Bank. At JAMES HUNTER. the time of his death, citizen of Galashiels. Great depression overtook the manufacturing interests of Scotland during the early thirties, and Mr. Hunter emigrated with his wife and two children in 1833. For five years he lived in Otsego County, N. Y., working at his trade. In 1838 he went to North Adams, and soon became superintendent of a part of the mill of Brown & Tyler, afterward Brown & Harris. In 1846, with others, he built the first cotton mill at Greylock, and, in 1847, exchanged his share of in 1891, he had been senior deacon of the Congregational church for a long term of years. Mr. Hunter's persevering industry, his courage in overcoming difficulties, his strictness of life and stern honesty, his intelligent methods of meeting the demands of business, make him a typical adopted son of America; but more than that, his pleasing and cheerful manners, his personality, which stood for all that is best and purest in character, and his life of gentle usefulness to others make him a fitting example for emulation to the young.
Information courtesy of "Massachusetts of Today" Page 570.