Hunt-14 of Bedford County Virginia Researcher, My Prom Date

A fellow Hunt-14 researcher contacted me because of a conversation he was having with someone who wants to connect to our Hunt line. The discussion was based on DNA matches to a fella who could be related to the Hunt family brickwall, Dr. Thomas Hunt of Bedford County Virginia, father of the children known as the Hunt 14. This probability has never been fleshed out before using DNA, but…

All this is very interesting (VERY VERY INTERESTING) as I calmly go on to the reason for today’s post…

He is Doug Hunt and we do share our Hunt line back to Dr. Thomas. Like researchers before him, Edgar Hunt, Jean Hunt, Allen Hunt, Jimmy Hunt, Jr., Doug wants to get the many disjointed pieces to the Hunt 14 progenitors life right. He wants to get it right and get it “out there” for all researchers to access. He and I are working on that and I am as giddy as a school girl just asked to prom by the cutest boy in school.

What made you want to do this, go to Richmond for the LVA and Durham for Duke University and do the research?

Basically, I’ve been fascinated with the idea that for so many years our family has run into a dead end finding the origins of the 14 beyond a few bits and pieces about Thomas Hunt. At first, I started by looking up various Hunt families (like the famous Westchester, NY one at Hunts Point) to try to find a link, but often there are too many Thomases and too few facts! I also started to compile facts on what was already known, but I kept finding incomplete or inconsistent information…like did he live in Bedford or Franklin? Was he a Doctor? How do we know? Was he in prison, when and where? Why do people keep saying he is “Thomas Elwood Hunt IV” (probably wrong)…I figured the best way to solve the origin question was I had to find everything that it is possible to know about Thomas Hunt and that hopefully that would lead to a link or discovery. Also, doing that would help me sort through the various rumors (which had turned into several disorganized text files at the time).So I started systematically citing all sources, pulling original documents, and transcribing / interpreting the records. It turned out that by doing so I was able to discover more an more leads into other possible research. Not only did I gain a clearer picture on the life story of Thomas and his family in Bedford / Franklin, but also I began to discover the historical context of some of the events too.I have not yet made the significant breakthrough I was hoping for…to find some clues to his origin…but I still have more research to do, and I feel the information I have gathered will help as a reference in the search, not just for me but for all researchers.

Your Dad and you went together?

Yes we did, back in January. The reason we went was actually the John Hook papers. I had discovered several documents linking the two of them, suggesting a close business or personal relationship. The key findings were (1) in Hook v Hancock 1808 Augusta County, there is mentioned a letter written by Thomas to John Hook (relating to a debt) that was marked “exhibit D”…but when I searched through all the documents (90 pages) there was A, B, C, …. then E, F!!!! It was rather frustrating that the document was missing. I figured it would be really cool to find a letter written by Thomas, but then (2) shortly afterwards I discovered that John Hook and his company had kept a ton of letters and documents (7000+ pages) and they were available at Duke University. I figured there was a high probability of finding a letter to or from Thomas considering their other shared records. So I booked a flight (cheapest time of year, January) and invited my father to come along (he had actually started all this research a few years ago, discovering we were related to Esli and taking a trip to Mississippi). We also made a plan to visit the LVA since it contained a vast repository of county / state records on microfilm.

Unfortunately I didn’t find a letter like i was hoping, but the worst part was I didn’t plan enough time there. My dad and I probably went through 20 or so boxes in an 8 hour period, but I had reserved 46 of them, so we might have missed something. I am hoping to go back someday.

We did, however find other things that were unexpected. I was able to document the land rolls from John Hook’s estate, which showed his land obtained from Hunt. Also my dad found several signed documents from Benjamin Hunt (as witness), and records from him at the “Hailsford” store. I believe (based on handwriting) that Benjamin was actually a clerk at the store (would make sense considering he was a teenager at the time) and later worked for John Hook…though I wouldn’t say with 100% certainty that it was Benjamin of the 14 (probably but not 100%). We also found that Jesse, Uriah, Joel, Thomas, and Benjamin were all customers of Hook at one point or another, and the sequence of indexes indicated that Thomas, Uriah, Joel and Jesse were earlier customers, probably before 1790, then Thomas and Benjamin 1790 to 1795ish…then later only Stephen Hunt appears. It seems to fit with the ages of the 14 and the suggestion that Stephen did not come to Bedford until later.

By the way, my next goal is to pinpoint exactly on the map where Thomas’ land was. I have the surveys, but i need to request the full survey microfilm from the LVA to try to puzzle piece the exact location…

Who is the family Historian, you or your dad?

At first my Dad, but I have taken over more and more as I get older (I’m 32 now). I got my interest from my Grandma from her stories about the family and her as a kid. Also, my Dad has a cousin, Marsha, who basically knows everything about our more recent genealogy.

I love stories, and i feel that ancestry is made whole by them (dates and names only give so much). I also feel like a story can come from simple facts, that can be expanded to more by researching the historical context…

What is your Day job?

I am an engineer…hence the desire to systematically organize things!

Thank you Doug for taking the time to answer my questions and thank you for wanting to get this all organized and accessible. Your Grandma is mailing you a Blueberry pie today…

Migration As A Genealogical Tool

Had a question come up today about a US Southern Family living in Mississippi, “When and from where did my family come from when first arriving in America?” WikiTree G2G

The pattern of Immigration to the North American Continent in the early days of colonization was to the absolute East Coast. From Nova Scotia to Saint Augustine to New Orleans. When our ancestors arrived they settled pretty close to the coast. It was the safest place because there were few other colonists and staying together was the obvious thing to do for safety. Continue reading “Migration As A Genealogical Tool”

Esli Hunt – The Impetus To My Search

I sometimes think I was born into Genealogy. Was my grandmother standing at the end of the birthing table waiting to catch me and swaddle me in some heirloom quilt? No, but she might as well have been.

Growing up I spent and incredible amount of time at my grandparents home. It was the place we went on the weekends and sometimes during the week or maybe just for a visit. Once I got a drivers license I burned-up the road between my city and their town. All of my grandparents lived in the same small town so one trip always included them all.

As a Child, my grandmothers would often tell me about my family. Who we were, where we came from and how our family came to be. MaMa (my maternal grandmother) would sit with a scrapbook she had made showing all sorts of pictures from her family, the Dillard’s and the Lords, and tell stories about Uncle Bede (pronounced beedy) or Uncle Albert who was the “sheriff”. Uncle Albert’s sweat stained hat hung on the wall rack in their Den. Other items were carefully placed through-out the house. MaMa would often say this person or that person was related through this person or that person and I could never keep up with it all.

As a teen I was given some unpublished papers by a Hunt cousin. I scanned them, as teens do – I kept them – but I never really did anything more than look at them occasionally thinking osmosis would occur and my ability to recall and recite our family lines would miraculously be like my grandmothers ability.

The information in the papers was typed, sourced, had transcribed records and a beautiful, meticulously drawn Family Tree leading back to my…

Relationship Trail:

1. Mags is the daughter of [private mother] proven with DNADNA confirmed 2. [Private] is the daughter of Thomas Cleland Hunt
3. Cleland is the son of Bert Eugene Hunt
4. Bert is the son of Harvey Clay H. Hunt
5. Clay is the son of John Wesley Hunt
6. John Wesley is the son of John Hunt
7. John is the son of Esli Hunt
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fifth great grandfather Esli Hunt, Sr., b. February 10, 1759 in Bedford County Virginia. He was one of 14 children born to Englishman Thomas and (no origination known for her) Anne Hunt. Big Families were a big deal then. Every family needed a large brood to help on the farm, or the shop or whatever business kept the family afloat.

Elsi himself had 18 children, 16 of whom survived birth. All those kids made that beautifully and meticulously drawn tree even more stunning to me. I spent years looking at it, enjoying it, before I asked the cousin who had given it to me, who had done it.

Long after my mother had died, long after the years of looking at that tree the answer was…”You don’t know who did the tree? It was your mother.” My search began with Esli’s family tree. I have Genealogy in my DNA alright.
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