William Huntley, vice president of the Exchange National Bank, is recognized in business circles as a man of keen discernment and of marked sagacity, as is evidenced in the judicious investments which he has made and which have returned to him the gratifying rewards of industry, sound judgment and capable management. Various business projects have profited by his cooperation and his ability to control important and intricate interests, and he is today one of the prominent representatives of financial affairs in Spokane. He has displayed both originality and initiative in the handling of his business interests, which he has recently incorporated under the name of the Huntley Investment Company, in which equal shares are held by his wife, their ten children and himself.
Mr. Huntley was born in Pike county, Illinois, September 19, 1858, a son of Alonzo and Paulina (Smith) Huntley. The latter is still living but the father died in 1899. The son enjoyed but limited educational opportunities, for when only nine years of age he took his place as a regular hand in the fields. At ten years of age he was herding cattle and he remained upon the home farm until he had completed his first two decades of life. The last ten years of that period were spent in Missouri, to which state his parents had removed about 1868. At length he started out in life on his own account and took up the occupation to which he was reared, following farming in Missouri until the spring of 1884, when he removed west to the Palouse country, settling near Endicott, Washington. There he homesteaded one hundred and sixty acres of land and used all his rights. He next engaged in the live-stock business, in which he continued until about 1909. As he prospered he also extended his efforts in other directions, became interested in a bank at Colfax, established the bank at Endicott and became owner of a store at St. John and another at Colfax, both of which he still owns in addition to six thousand acres of valuable land in the Palouse country. He has operated even more largely along business lines in Spokane. He was connected with the establishment of the Powell-Sanders Company of this city, of which he is still a director, and when the capital stock of the Exchange National Bank was raised from two hundred and fifty to seven hundred and fifty thousand dollars he bought in, became a director and has served as vice president of the bank during the past four years. The capital stock of the Exchange National Bank was later raised to one million dollars, and Mr. Huntley is now the largest stockholder in this institution. He is president of the Mechanics Loan & Trust Company; president of the Farmers & Mechanics Bank of this city; secretary of the Inland Brewery Company; secretary of the Boise Brewery Company; and a director and stockholder of the American Building Company. He also has extensive interests in other institutions and business enterprises of Spokane and his cooperation is a prized factor in the management and support of business projects.
On the 4th of January, 1883, when in Missouri, Mr. Huntley was united in marriage to Miss Emma Langford, of Audrain county, that state. Twelve children have been born unto them, of whom ten are living. The married daughter, Grace Lorean, became the wife of Ira Hunt in 1907 and lives with her husband at No. 1604 Fourth avenue. The other children are: Jesse Blain, a trustee of the Huntley Investment Company; Mabel Frances; Carl Raymond, aged nineteen; Lawrence Platt, a youth of seventeen; Eunice Leta, who is fourteen years old; Elva Dean, aged thirteen; Emma Lilly, who is ten years of age; and Ralph William and Clarke Valentine, who are eight and six years of age respectively. It is said that when Mr. and Mrs. Huntley were married her parents were reluctant to give their consent because of the meager financial resources of the prospective husband, whose sole possessions consisted of a team of mules. This opposition was overcome, however, and two years after their marriage the young couple started for the Palouse country and, as previously stated, preempted a claim four miles from that town for fifteen years or until they came to Spokane in 1902. In the meantime Mr. Huntley had given ample demonstration of his worth and resourcefulness in business and in July, 1910, he organized the Huntley Investment Company, of which he is a trustee, a unique corporation providing against the division, distribution or dissolution of the Huntley estate and retaining Mr. Huntley as manager for twenty years. Arrangements were made for the distribution of the income among the husband, wife and ten children, each receiving equal shares save that the special provision has been made that Mrs. Huntley’s income shall never be less than three hundred dollars a month for herself and one thousand dollars a year for each of her seven minor children. The company was incorporated for one million, two hundred thousand dollars, the incorporators being William Huntley, Emma V. Huntley, Jesse B. Huntley, the eldest son, and Edwin T. Coman, president of the Exchange National Bank. Its trustees for the first six months were William Huntley, Jesse B. Huntley and Edwin T. Coman. The incorporation is for a period of fifty years and its objects and purposes are, generally, to buy, sell, encumber and otherwise deal in real and personal property, lands, mines, mill sites, town sites, irrigation ditches, stocks, bonds and negotiable paper. The stockholders are empowered to increase the number of trustees from time to time, this provision enabling them to make places on the board for such of the children as may develop sufficient interest and ability to justify the appointment as they grow to maturity. Mr. Huntley taking this method of stimulating the interest of his sons that they may eventually assume the management of the estate for themselves and their sisters. At the end of the twenty-year period in which Mr. Huntley is to serve as manager, the Mechanics Loan & Trust Company, of which he is president, is directed to assign and deliver to each living child or to direct descendants of such as are not living, their respective interests in the one million dollars of trusted stock. One feature of Mr. Huntley’s business that has ever awakened surprise and admiration among his associates and colleagues is his remarkably retentive memory. He has never kept an ordinary system of bookkeeping and but few memorandums, relying entirely upon his memory not only for the principal features of his business but also for the details connected with every transaction. He seems to have almost intuitive perception as to the value of a business situation or the opportunity for investment.
In his political views Mr. Huntley is a republican and during his residence in Whitman county served as county commissioner. He belongs to the Masonic lodge and also holds membership with the Elks and the Spokane Club. His is one of the life records which make the history of the western country read almost like a romance. There have seemed to be no setbacks in his career, his path on the contrary being marked by continuous progress, bringing him at last to rank with the millionaire residents of Spokane and the Inland Empire.