James Hunt

James Hunt

Birth
Somerset, England
Death 20 Nov 1907 (aged 81)
Marshall County, Kansas, USA
Burial Blue Rapids, Marshall County, Kansas, USA
Memorial ID 22194641 · View Source
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Hunt Family Notes from Dorothy Hunt...

James Hunt married Esther Bond at Chumley, Devonshire, England on May 15, 1852. The ceremony was performed by William Tanner, Davy Curate for the Church of England. The next year when James was 27 years of age, they decided to migrate to America. That spring (1853) they took passage in a sailing vessel from the Port of Plymouth and for nine weeks they sailed westward on the Atlantic Ocean, finally anchoring their vessel in the harbor of the Canadian city of Quebec. They had no knowledge of the French language spoken there and it is not known how they made their way to New York State, settling in Genessee County where they were engaged in farming for eighteen years and prospered somewhat.

Four children were born at Stafford, New York: William Bond, Sarah Ann, Emma, and Frank L.

Six children were born at Oakfield, New York: John, Charley, Thomas, Esther, James and Sidney.

When Blue Rapids colony was formed in Marshall County, Kansas, the Hunts decided to move again, arriving Easter Sunday morning, 1871. They first lived in a small house on North Main in Blue Rapids. They rented a farm on the Blue River known as the Brown Farm and operated it for two years. After experiencing a flood, they were glad to purchase 160 acres of upland from the Railroad at $8.00 per acre. It was all raw prairie, not a tree or fence post could be seen. They built a house that was about twenty feet square, 1 1/2 stories high. The walls of the loft were never plastered so the seven boys who slept on three beds in were guaranteed plenty of fresh air. During snowy weather, they had to be careful how they left their boots or they might find snow in them in the morning.

Mr. Hunt made many trips to the river, digging up small trees of various kinds which were set out on the farm. A long windbreak consisting of three rows of these trees was put out just north of the farm buildings. He went to the home of a friend by the name of Brown, who lived down by the river and dug up seedling peach trees from their orchard, as Mr. Brown showed him which were best. These little trees furnished many bushels of peaches for the family in later years. They also had an apple orchard from which they packed many barrels of apples which were shipped to market. The family tried to produce vegetables and fruits to meet the needs of the family and to have some to sell.

In 1885 a new nine-room was built of which they were very proud. There were two bay windows--one on the west and one on the south. There was also a screened-in porch which they really enjoyed. The old house was turned into a granary.

They had purchased more land by the times the following items were written for an early history of Marshal County, Probably about 1890.

"The Passing Traveler beholds with pleasure the well-regulated farming land and splendid residence of the gentleman (James Hunt). In the midst of a beautiful landscape, filled with evidences of the taste and financial standing of the owner, it is a monument to the industry, energy and unremitting labor of the man who has brought about these results. He is a resident of Blue Rapids City Township, his farm being located on section 9 and comprising 320 acres. In connection with agriculture, he is interested in stock-raising, making a specialty of raising Shorthorn cattle and Poland China hogs."

"Religiously, Mr. and Mrs. Hunt, while in England were members of the Episcopal Church. They now attend the Presbyterian Church of Blue Rapids, and are prominently connected with all worthy works. He votes on the Republican ticket, and has served on the School Board, but otherwise prefers the quiet of the home fireside to the excitement of public office. When he first came here not a house could be seen in the whole broad prairie, where now there are many beautiful farms and pleasant, cozy homes. He has seen many startling changes wrought in the face of nature and has himself borne a prominent part in uplifting society and elevated the standard of morality. He and his devoted family are deservedly held in high esteem, and are honored as representatives of the worth and integrity of Marshall County."

The history also pays tribute to Esther as a loving wife and counselor in trouble, said she had faithfully worked at his side and together they shared the joys and sorrows incidental to every life.

It seems they really had their share of the sorrows of life. Six children were born after they moved to Kansas but not one of them grew to maturity. Jennie lived to be five years old. Mary Jane was about ten years old when she died of Scarlet Fever. George, Fred and the other two all died before two years of age. In Argie Spunaugle's history, she said that Ague or "fever and chills" as it was commonly called, was very common among the early settlers in Kansas. It seems Esther was very susceptible to this illness. Twice when she was suffering with fever and chills and was unconscious for several days, the baby, suffering from the same illness had passed away and been buried before the mother even knew about it.

The children had very little formal education. The schoolhouse in district no. 6 was originally down near the river. As the upland was more settled, it was decided to move the schoolhouse up nearer the center of the community. Mr. Hunt wanted it moved farther east so his children could attend school again, but instead they organized a new school district, called Patterson District, between Elm Creek district on the north and Fairview on the south. The schoolhouse was built on an acre of ground donated by Major Marion Patterson just a mile east of the James Hunt home. The boys attended school a little in the fall and winter when they didn't have farm work to do.

Frank and John herded the cattle. Charles and Thomas herded the sheep. The boys took turns, each going to school a week and then herding for a week. Esther (Essie), Charley and Thomas were very close in age and the boy who went to school tried to keep the boy who stayed at home posted on what he had missed. The country schools weren't graded in those days. When one reader was finished, the class went on to the next reader. Also, Mr. Hunt was a great reader and usually read aloud all he could, even when the children were playing games; so no doubt they learned quite a lot from this.

Anna died July 22, 1893 and James died in 1907. William, John and Frank had settled on farms adjoining the old home. Emma married William Means and Esther married James Means.

The Sixteen Children were:

William Bond
Born: May 6, 1854
Died: June 16, 1934

Sarah Ann
Born: April 28, 1856
Died: December, 1870

Emma
Born: November 7, 1859
Died: May 21, 1940

Frank L
Born: November 10, 1861
Died: July 3, 1933

John O
Born: September, 1863
Died: August, 1948

Charley J.
Born: June 16, 1865
Died: August, 1950

Thomas
Born: September 1, 1866
Died: March 1, 1910

Esther
Born: August 31, 1867
Died: March 30, 1907

James
Born: July 4, 1869
Died: aft 1940

Sidney
Born: November, 1870
Died: March 12, 1946

George
Born: January, 1873
Died: October, 1873

Jennie
Born: May, 1875
Died: March, 1880

Fred
Born: April 28, 1876
Died: October, 1876

Mary Jane Born: Died: at 10 yrs old

Information from the histories of Argie Spunaugle and from Frank Hunt's wife, Nellie.

Transcribed by Mitchel Hunt.


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  • Created by: Kevin Thomas West
  • Added: 14 Oct 2007
  • Find A Grave Memorial 22194641
  • Find A Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com : accessed ), memorial page for James Hunt (4 Feb 1826–20 Nov 1907), Find A Grave Memorial no. 22194641, citing Prospect Hill Cemetery, Blue Rapids, Marshall County, Kansas, USA ; Maintained by Kevin Thomas West (contributor 46930153) .