Historian researches forgotten Carmel composer


Hamilton County Historian David Heighway stumbled across forgotten composer Frederich L. Hunt while researching artists from the county.

Heighway learned that Franklin Booth, a well-known illustrator from Carmel, was the uncle of Hunt.

A photo of Hunt from his 1967 obituary in Rochester Democrat and Chronicle. (Photo courtesy of newspapers.com)

“I learned his work had tremendously been forgotten and a lot of his work ascribed to other people,” Heighway said.

Heighway will make a presentation at 2 p.m. Dec. 2 at the Hamilton County Historical Society’s annual meeting and dessert reception at Preservation Hall, 1274 Logan St., in Noblesville. Prior to the presentation, there will be a short meeting and board election.

Hunt, a 1926 Carmel High School graduate, died of cancer at age 60 in 1967 in Rochester, N.Y.

“Even people who were writing about him and were using his music didn’t know anything about him,” Heighway said. “Literally, his whole life was a surprise. I looked into his relationship with parents, siblings and with his wives. We don’t know much about his first wife. There are still so many odd unanswered questions, I don’t know if we will ever find out. I had to find out his relationship with the Eastman School of Music (in Rochester). Some of the articles I found had him being a student there and I had to find out if it was true or not.”

Hunt’s parents died when he was 5 years old, and he was raised by his grandmother, who was an aunt of the aviation pioneers and brothers Orville and Wilbur Wright.

Hunt mostly made his living as a printer for newspapers or private presses in the state of New York.

Heighway said he would like to write something about Hunt in a magazine.

“The music I’m told is decent music, it might not be a great lost masterpiece, ” Heighway said. “It would be wonderful if there could be a concert of this music done.”

Heighway said there are some rough recordings of the music from the Eastman School of Music. He said it would be interesting to have the music performed in Carmel.

“I’m not a musician, so I can’t pass judgment on the quality of the music,” Heighway said.

The presentation will include clips of the music.

The cost for Historical Society members is $5 and $7 for nonmembers. For more, visit hamiltoncoinhs.com.


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