William Henry Hunt (judge)

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William Henry Hunt
William H. Hunt.jpg
Governor of Puerto Rico
In office
September 15, 1901 – July 4, 1904
Preceded by Charles Herbert Allen
Succeeded by Beekman Winthrop
Personal details
Born (1857-11-05)November 5, 1857
New Orleans, Louisiana
Died February 4, 1949(1949-02-04) (aged 91)
Political party Republican
Profession Federal

William Henry Hunt (November 5, 1857 – February 4, 1949) was a state and federal judge and a territorial governor of Puerto Rico.

Early law practice[edit]

Hunt was born in New Orleans, Louisiana in 1857. He did not go to a law school, but instead read law in 1880 and immediately began a private practice at Fort Benton in the Montana Territory. In a year, he was supplementing his private practice with a position as collector of customs for both the Idaho and Montana Territories. He added yet another item to his professional plate as he was a member of the Montana Constitutional Convention of 1884. In 1885, he gave up his position a collector of customs to become attorney general of the Montana Territory. In 1887, he gave up both his private practice and his position as territorial attorney general.

When Montana became a state in 1889, Hunt briefly served as a member of the state legislature before becoming a judge of the First Montana State Judicial District later that year. In 1894, he was promoted to Justice of the Montana Supreme Court.

Secretary and Governor of Puerto Rico[edit]

In 1900, Hunt was appointed by President William McKinley to be the Secretary of Puerto Rico. A year later, he was promoted to the Governorship of Puerto Rico, succeeding Charles Herbert Allen. Hunt served as Governor of Puerto Rico for three years, from September 15, 1901 to July 4, 1904. During his governorship, Hunt signed numerous Executive Orders, including those that made Christmas Day and Thanksgiving Day legal holidays in Puerto Rico.[1]

Federal judicial appointments[edit]

Hunt returned to his role as a judge when President Theodore Roosevelt appointed him to the bench of the United States District Court for the District of Montana on April 14, 1904; Hunt was confirmed five days later. On March 30, 1910, Hunt became an associate judge of the United States Court of Customs Appeals. Then, on December 12, 1910, Hunt was nominated by President William Howard Taft to the newly created United States Commerce Court. He was confirmed on January 31, 1911. The Commerce Court was abolished a little less than three years later, on December 13, 1913. Nonetheless, as a judge of the Commerce Court, Hunt was also an at-large judge of the United States courts of appeals and remained in that position once the Commerce Court was abolished. The Chief Justice of the United States, Edward Douglass White, assigned Hunt to the Ninth Circuit.

On January 31, 1928, Hunt, still assigned to the Ninth Circuit, assumed senior status. Ten months later, Hunt retired from federal service on November 30, 1928. Hunt went back to private practice, this time in San Francisco, California. He retired from his private practice in 1942. Hunt died in 1949.

Political offices
Preceded by
Charles Herbert Allen
Governor of Puerto Rico
Succeeded by
Beekman Winthrop


  1. ^ Second Annual Report of the Governor or Porto Rico. (1902-1903) William H. Hunt. August 1, 1903. Page 60. Washington, D.C. Government Printing Office. Retrieved 11 June 2012.

External links[edit]