John Croil Hunter

John Croil Hunter was born in Woodstock, Ontario, and he came to the Dakota Territory as a young man in the late 1870's, originally settling in Casselton. There he began as a clerk in a general store, but eventually he became a partner in the local bank, possibly associated with Alex Stern.

J. C. Hunter was the first of several Hunter siblings to arrive in the Dakota Territory. William Thompson Hunter arrived shortly thereafter eventually established a mercantile business based in Wheatland. He left North Dakota between 1900 and 1910 and eventually settled in Vancouver, Canada, where he bought the Empress Manufacturing Company, Ltd. (which is now the Safeway brand name for their jams, etc.). Another brother, Harry Fowler Hunter, joined John Croil Hunter in Casselton in the early 1880's, originally working in the bank with which he was connected. He later became important within the Northern Pacific Railroad, apparently being in charge of settling and/or marketing the new territories which the railroad was opening up. He was well-known in the territory at the time and he was later an influential member of the first Dakota Territory legislature.

J.C. Hunter was the original secretary and treasurer of the Fargo Mercantile Company. His son, Croil Hunter (born in Casselton in 1893), was closely involved in the early development of Northwest Airlines, becoming president of that company in 1937 and chairman sometime later. His chief assistant was William (Bill) Stern, who was the son of Alexander Stern. They were friends from boyhood.

Thank you to Scott Oliver who provided the biographical information above.