Hunt, John Wesley

1773 - 1849

Merchant, Manufacturer and Financier.

John W. Hunt was born in Trenton, Delaware in August 1773.  Mr. Hunt began his business career during 1792 in a dry goods store in Richmond, Virginia.  After settling in Lexington during 1795, he again entered the dry goods business.  His business expanded from the westward trade and by 1810, he was one of the wealthiest individuals in Lexington.  His business interests expanded into hemp manufacturing, slave trading, land speculation, railroads and thoroughbred horses.

As Mr. Hunt's fortunes improved, he became interested in banking, serving as a director of the Kentucky Insurance Company.  He was later a large investor in the original Bank of Kentucky and the Lexington branch of the Bank of the United States.  In 1818, he became the President of the newly formed Farmers & Mechanics Bank of Lexington.  This institution remained open during the Panic of 1819, when most Kentucky banks failed.

During 1834, Mr. Hunt served as a commissioner overseeing the subscription of stock in the new Bank of Kentucky and he served as a director of the Lexington branch bank.  In 1835, he also invested heavily in the newly formed Northern Bank of Kentucky.

Mr. Hunt died on August 21, 1849, during the cholera outbreak at his home "Hopemont" (now known as the Hunt-Morgan House).  During his lifetime, he accumulated a substantial fortune and was the first millionaire west of the Allegheny Mountains.

William M. Ambrose, First Security National Bank & Trust Company (1835-1992), Limestone Press, Lexington, 2007.