The following is a document compiled by noted HUNT researcher William M. Hunt, and provided to the attendees of the 1995 HUNT Researchers Conference held in Jonesboro, Tennessee in 1995.
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JESSE HUNT of “The 14″
Washington County, North Carolina/Tennessee, State of Franklin
& Simpson County, Kentucky
William M. Hunt
JESSE HUNT was born January 29, 1755, according to a list of fourteen Hunt siblings found pasted in a Jackson family Bible by Miss Jewell Eubank of Franklin, Kentucky, sometime in the 1950′s. His birth place is unknown, but he had a younger brother named Esli Hunt, b. 1759, a pensioned Revolutionary War soldier of Virginia and North Carolina who stated he was born in Bedford County, Virginia. The circumstantial evidence this Jesse was the identical Jesse Hunt who lived about 36 years in Washington County, North Carolina/Tennessee, is inferred from his age, the names and ages of his brothers, and the name of one sister Sene [aka Asenath], who married Richard Humphries and left records in Washington Co., Tennessee.
Between 1755 and 1780 there is no known record which identifies the same Jesse Hunt without question. He was of typical age to have served in the Revolution but no document has been found proving military service. The first appearance of Jesse in public records of Washington County, North Carolina, is in land entries, more or less coincident with entries for his brother Uriah, born 2 March 1757. [Another source gives 3 March 1755 as his date of birth.]
There is this deed of 1792 from which I inferred the three witnesses named Hunt were three of the 14 Hunt siblings:
10 August 1792. Wm McBee of Washington County, State of Franklin, to Wm Brown of Pendleton Co., SC, for £100, 400 acres on both sides of Raven’s Fork of 12 Mile River, granted Wm McBee by Wm Moultrie, Governor, 6 June, 1784. Signed: William (M) McBee. Witnesses: Uriah Hunt, Jesse (+) Hunt, Thomas (x) Hunt. Uriah Hunt made oath to Bayley Anderson, J. P., 27 October, 1792. Recorded: 24 January 1793. [Willie, Betty, Pendleton Dist. SC Deeds, 1790-1806, p. 42; of the Court Book, p. 120]
To learn exactly when Jesse Hunt first settled in North Carolina/Tennessee seems impossible. The numerous publications on Washington County history illustrate, without any doubt, that Jesse entered land that had originally been part of the Watauga Purchase of 1775. A noteworthy settler from Bedford County, Virginia, was Matthew Talbot (b. 1729 per Bristol Parish Register, p. 374), who had an original purchase, abstracted as follows:
5 Sept. 1775: This Office To Matthew Talbot, 640 acres on the Wataugh River between Buffalo & Gap Creeks, entered by Joshua Barton, 4-1-1775. [Watauga Purchase - Old Book A, p. 7]
In general, history of the area indicates few, if any, white settlers before 1769 and one article stated the combined population of the Watauga & Nolichucky settlements c1772-1775 was eighty households. Prior to the Indian treaties and the Watauga Association, the first settlers could not obtain titled land ownership. This condition prevailed in western North Carolina for many years prior to the Revolution for lands owned by Earl Granville. Given these conditions the precise date when most settlers first established residence may be obscured. The North Carolina Assembly acknowledged the situation in 1777: ….”and whereas many of the good people of this State, during the discontinuance of land offices therein, have settled and improved lands, with intention to become lawful proprietors thereof, and by reason there was no method for ascertaining the bounds of their respective claims, it may happen that disputes may arise respecting bounds and priority of occupancy….” [Haywood, John, Civil & Political History of State of Tennessee, pp. 67-68, orig. publ. 1823]
In November of 1777, the Assembly of North Carolina erected the district of Washington into a county….and opened the land office. The law was so worded as not to oblige the Watauga people to enter and pay for their occupancies till January, 1779.” [Haywood, pp. 69, 70]
In 1777 the North Carolina General Assembly also enacted Land Laws which, among other acts, called for settlers to appear in person, take an oath of allegiance to the state and provide in writing to the Entry Taker, a description of the land claimed. No surveys for land were made without chain carriers – to be paid by the claimant. [Whitney, Henry D., Land Laws of Tennessee, publ. 1893, pp 66-79]
On 28 August 1780, Jesse Hunt was listed with Entry #2621 for 80 acres in Washington County, Tennessee, by John Carter & Landon Carter. This 80 acres was described in subsequent Survey & Plat as, “formerly Henry Rice’s on Sinking Creek, on or near Samuel Shipley’s line….between this Survey and another Survey of said Hunts…“ signed: George Vincent, D. S. It was finally surveyed for Jesse Hunt 20 December, 1790. with Moses Hunt and Esley Hunt as chain bearers, and grant issued in 1791. [North Carolina Secty of State Land Grant Office, Warrants, Plats for Washington Co. #311-1095] [Entry Taker's Book 8, #2621] [North Carolina Grant Bk 4, p. 718]
(Entry #2620 on 19 Aug was to Benjamin Holland for 160 acres)
Esli Hunt was probably living in Washington County, North Carolina, in 1780 when Jesse made the above entry. In 1832, 1833, & 1834, Esli applied for and eventually received a pension in Greenville County, South Carolina, and stated he “was residing in Washington County, North Carolina, now Tennessee, in 1781…. and marched to the Battle of King’s Mountain….served under Capt. George Russell.” Esli’s pension was approved on the basis of his North Carolina service, but historical records that the Battle of King’s Mountain took place in October of 1780, not 1781. The pension file [S 7054] contains an affidavit from Joel Callahan, testifying to Esli’s service and character, including the comment, “Esli Hunt was a true friend to his country.” Gallahan applied for his own pension about the same time in Greenville County, SC Court.
In the Battle of King’s Mountain, the regiment from Washington County, North Carolina included Capt. George Russell and Capt. Joel Callahan. [Ramsey, J. G. M., The Annals of Tennessee, 1853, p. 241]
“….The State of North Carolina began enacting legislation for the payment of her soldiers and settling of war claims in 1780. In April of 1782 an Act was passed to provide that all claims now due and unsettled shall be liquidated in specie by the district auditors….for Washington & Sullivan Counties – Anthony Bledoe, Edmund Williams and Landon Carter are named as auditors….the list which follows is confined to those soldiers who were paid by Bledsoe, Carter, and Williams, indicating that they were living during the time of their active service in the counties of Washington and Sullivan, North Carolina….These payments began June 12, 1782, and continued until August 15, 1783….”
Four of the men on the list with their North Carolina Archives references were:
Esly Hunt Vol I p. 13 Folio 4
Moses Hunt Vol VI p. 20 Folio 4, Vol I, 82, Fol. 2
Thomas Hunt Vol VI p. 16 Folio 4
Richard Humphries Vol VI p. 4 Folio 2
[Allen, Penelope Johnson, Tennessee Soldiers in the Revolution, 1935, p. 23]
NOTE: Esli Hunt’s certificate was #565 dated 12 June 1783 for 17 pounds, 2 shillings; Interest of 6 shillings, 10 pence to 23 October, 1783. [certified copy from North Carolina Archives to SMH 1986]
After 1780 and through 1785 no specific references to Jesse Hunt has been found. Jesse did not appear on the first tax list for 1778, although Uriah Hunt did. In 1779 only two lists were found by Mary Hardin McCown but neither Uriah nor Jesse Hunt were listed. Mrs. McCown stated, “Lists of the mid-1780′s, and those during the years of the hectic and turbulent State of Franklin, 1784-1788, are missing, with one exception – that for 1787 of Capt. John Fain’s Company…” [McCown, Mary Hardin, Stickley Jones, Nancy E., Burns, Inez E., Washington County Lists of Taxables, 1778-1801, 1963, pp. vi, vii]
Further mention of the identical Jesse Hunt in TN was probably by Worth S. Ray in Tennessee Cousins, 1950, p. 35, which states, “Jesse Hunt, a native of Virginia located in Washington County on Boone’s Creek, where Daniel Boone is supposed to have ‘chilled the bar’”. The location was mentioned earlier by Dr. Jacob Calvin Leonard, D. D., in his 1929 History of Davidson County, North Carolina, Chapter XI on Daniel Boone, p. 191:
“…constantly hunting and going farther west, making trips through the mountains of North Carolina and East Tennessee into the Watauga country, where, till recent years, near Jonesboro, Tenn., an old beech tree was still standing with the inscription on it: ‘D. Boone “chilled a bar” on this tree in the year 1760″. Note: Other historical writings, including a memoir by Boone himself, imply Boone did not get to eastern Tennessee until 1769, but that’s a challenge for Boone addicts!.
There was a statement attributed to Goodspeed in his 1887 publication that a Jesse Hunt immigrated from Virginia to Tennessee and had a son, Samuel M. Hunt, born Buffalo Ridge in 1810. (I’ve lost this reference) This Samuel was well-documented in his own lifetime and he married Elizabeth Ellis, and died 14 March, 1868, in Washington County, Tennessee. If Goodspeed was referring to the Jesse Hunt, born 1755, there is no readily apparent record to show that particular Jesse had a son named Samuel, primarily because no Samuel was listed as Jesse’s heir in 1824. A son born 1810, would have been a minor in 1824, and one could presume he lived with his parents. Jesse Hunt, Sr. left a widow in Kentucky when he died, as this paper will show. If need by, more research could be done on this puzzle because Jesse Jr., born c1782, and Jesse, born 1798, son of Uriah Sr., continued to live in Washington County long after Jesse Hunt, Sr. had moved to Kentucky. Another piece of the same puzzle might be the fact that Thomas Hunt Sr., born 1762, had a son John Hunt (married Elizabeth Crouch), who died by November of 1815, and left a minor son named Samuel.
Another reference to Jesse Hunt & Uriah Hunt appeared in Early History of Carter County, 1760-1861, by Frank Merritt, 1950, and on page 181 Jesse Hunt, Uriah Hunt and Joseph Crouch, are listed as, “some original grantees..land of Sinking Creek”. Perhaps the only appropriate comment would be to observe that Carter County historians were also honoring old Jesse & Uriah as original settlers.
According to later census reports and various types of family documents, Jesse Hunt was raising a family in Washington County, North Carolina, and had married by 1778 or perhaps earlier. His wife’s name was not found in any public record, but a daughter, Mary (Polly) Hunt, born 18 Jan, 1784, married Abram Wood in 1802. In the Wood family Bible it’s written that Mary Hunt Wood was the daughter of Jesse Hunt and Nancy. Additional notes say they were of Washington County, Tennessee. and of Simpson County, Kentucky. Another note written in pencil reads, “brother & his wife..Jesse and Elizabeth. Sister..Mrs. Lane, the mother of Mrs. Nancy Williams.” [Bible was publ. in 1827, and contents copied & reported by Mr. & Mrs. William Wood of Strafford, MO, in 1994].
When Jesse Hunt died in Simpson County, Kentucky, by July of 1824, his widow is never mentioned in the numerous court documents until 1826 when the Chancery Court stated, “upon examination of the decree heretofore rendered and an inspection of the papers it is discovered that the decree is erroneous in not providing for the widow’s portion of the personal estate of Jesse Hunt Deceased and in other respects. It is therefore ordered with the consent of the parties to said suit that the admrs. pay to the widow of said deceased $200.15 cents and they be permitted to retain that sum in their hands.” [Simpson Co. Kentucky Order Book C, page 38]
Nothing further has been learned of Mrs. Nancy Hunt. It would appear she was the mother of all Jesse’s children who were named as his heirs because they were all adults with families when he died and their birth dates (however determined) are compatible with the birth of Mary Hunt Wood, taken from her own Bible.
Elizabeth Hunt, daughter & heir of Jesse Hunt, Sr., may have been child #1. She married Samuel Lane 24 February 1783, in Washington County, Tennessee. They removed to Warren County (Simpson), Kentucky, 1816, and in the 1820 census, Samuel’s presumed wife was over 45. In 1830 she was a widow, age 50-60, making her birth date 1770-1780. Samuel Lane was a co-administrator of the estate of Jesse Hunt, deceased, by July 19, 1824, according to Simpson Co. court records.
Peter Hunt was a son & heir of Jesse Hunt, Sr., and according to his 1850 census in Jefferson County, Tennessee, he was age 71, born in Tennessee, thus his birth date was 1779. Peter married his cousin, Delilah Hunt, born 1783, daughter of Uriah Hunt Sr.
Jesse Hunt Jr. was a son & heir of Jesse Hunt Sr., and according to his 1850 census in Washington County, Tennessee, he was age 68, born in Tennessee, thus birth date of 1782. His wife’s name, in 1850, was Elizabeth, age 67, born in Virginia.
Mary Hunt was a daughter & heir of Jesse Hunt, Sr. and according to the family Bible she was born 18 January 1784. She married to Abram (Abraham) Wood on 20 April, 1802, in Washington County, Tennessee, near Jonesboro. They removed to Warren County (Simpson), Kentucky, 1813. They moved again in 1834 to Plainview, Illinois, in the County of Macoupin. Abram Wood was a co-administrator of the estate of Jesse Hunt, deceased, by July 19, 1824, according to Simpson Co. court records.
William Hunt was a son & heir of Jesse Hunt, Sr. and according to Kentucky census of 1820, he was 26-45, but he died late 1823 or early 1824, leaving a wife and six minor children whose ages indicated their father was likely born 1783-1788. His widow’s name was Martha, and she and children moved to Cass County, Missouri, within a year or so after William’s death.
In 1786 Jesse Hunt bought 100 acres from Benjamin Holland beginning at Christopher Cunningham’s corner to a line between Holland and John Rider, to Thomas Hardeman, being same granted 1874 to Benjamin Holland. Wit: Richard Haile, Thomas Chapman. 7 August, 1786. [Deed Bk 1, p. 115]
The 1787 Tax Lists for Washington County #689
Jesse Hunt, 306 acres, 1 White Poll
[Creekmore, Pollyanna, East Tennessee Taxpayers, 1980, p. 210]
Note: How and when Jesse obtained a title of 306 acres before 1787 has not been learned. The NC grant for 80 acres (above) had not been issued. The grant for 136 acres (below) had not been issued.
The 1786 Tax Lists for Washington County, North Carolina: Only nine lists of the eighteen companies survive, and among the names missing are Uriah Hunt, Jesse Hunt, Thomas Hunt, Benjamin Holland, Richard Humphries, Joseph Duncan, George Vincent, George Nowland, etal. [Creekmore, Pollyana, Early East Tennessee Taxpayers: second Series, Washington County, 1788, published in Tennessee Ancestors, Vol. 5, #1, 1989, page 26]
On 20 December 1790, Jesse Hunt obtained 136 acres on Sinking Creek, being land entered 1779 by John Baley, assigned to George Vincent, the District Surveyor, and then to Jesse. This land was bounded by Benjamin Holland and granted 26 December, 1791. Moses and Esley Hunt were (again) the chain carriers for this survey. [NC Grant Bk 4, p. 717]
By 1790 Esli Hunt (born 1759) was a resident of Greenville County, South Carolina, recorded in South Carolina deeds from 1785, and in 1790 South Carolina Census, but where the brother Moses Hunt (born 1771) lived in 1790 at age 19 is unknown.
On 10 August 1790: Jesse Hunt bought 206 acres on Sinking Creek, beginning at Christopher Cunningham’s red oak, being the same Holland purchased of Christopher Cunningham….including Hunt’s improvement. Wit: Joseph Britten, James Action. [Deed Bk 4, p. 114]
The Federal Census of 1790 for Washington County, Tennessee, was burned in 1921 due to a fire in the basement of the Dept. of Commerce in Washington, D. C. Most census for Tennessee for 1800 and 1810, and all for East Tennessee for 1820 were burned. [McCown, Mary Hardin, Strickley Jones, Nancy E., Burns, Inez E., Washington County Lists of Taxables, 1778-1801, 1963, p. ix]
Between 1790 and 1800, Jesse Hunt appeared on Washington County Tax lists in Capt. Shipley’s and Capt. Murray’s Company. The list for 1795 is enlightening because Jesse was listed with four separate tracts of land recorded as 206, 100, 80, and 36 acres – on Sinking Creek, 1 White Poll. In 1801 he was listed with 422 acres in Capt. Lane’s Company, 1 white Poll.
The Washington County Grantor/Grantee Index to Deeds has been published, and Jesse Hunt, and Uriah Hunt, have numerous entries; Uriah beginning 1783 and Jesse beginning 1786. By 1806 Jesse Hunt Jr. appears with a deed from Francis Shaw, and then another deed to Jr. from Jesse Hunt Sr. in 1814. Uriah made a deed to Jesse Hunt (presumed his son born 1798) in 1824.
A little information on Uriah Hunt Sr. may provide additional perspectives on “Who said What About Whom”:
A brief sketch on Uriah Hunt appeared in J. J. Burnett’s Tennessee’s Pioneer Baptist Preachers, 1919, p. 256, contributed by one W. A. Keen, containing a typographical error which gave Uriah’s birth date as 1775, not 1757, plus this puzzling comment: “He came from North Carolina to upper Tennessee at an early day….”. NOTE: We know Uriah was already in North Carolina long before his land became part of Tennessee. Burnett’s sketch also said Uriah was one of 11 children. It so happens that Uriah had 11 children, but of “The 14″ not one iota of information has ever been found to explain what happened to Peter, Benjamin, and Phebe Hunt. To speculate they died in infancy, would mean Uriah was one of eleven who lived.
The Entry Taker’s Book shows that Uriah Hunt obtained Entry #671, dated 9 Dec 1778, which was described as, “300 acres on Boone’s Creek, bounds Joseph Duncan”. Grant to this land was obtained by Uriah Hunt 23 October, 1782. [Washington County, North Carolina, Entry Taker's Book 8, #671] [NC Grant Bk 1, p. 596].
(Entries # 670 and 672 on 9 Dec were from Joseph Duncan for 300 acres each, and Entry #679, 9 Dec, was 200 acres to Matthew Talbot. Entry #669 on 9 Dec was to Col. John Sevier)
Uriah’s second Entry (#778) was for “250 acres on waters of Sinking Creek in Washington Couty bounded by Jesse Hunt’s line and down a branch….which is the dividing line between Uriah Hunt and Jesse Hunt to a corner sugar tree…” Survey was completed 18 December, 1790 and Grant was dated 26 December, 1791. [NC Grant Bk 4, p. 716}
NOTE: Uriah's son named Jesse was not born until 1798, died in 1873, and is buried in the old Hunt Cemetery in Sulphur Springs.
There are several more Entries, Surveys, and Grants to Jesse & Uriah Hunt in Washington County, some still filed in North Carolina, but those mentioned here strongly imply Uriah was a resident by 1778 and Jesse by 1780.
Uriah Hunt was the first and only Hunt to be listed on the first tax list for Washington County, Tennessee, in 1778. One researcher, who gave no source, reported that the first tax list was taken in August of 1778. In February of 1779, the 21 year old Uriah was, apparently, in some slight difficulty as shown by this record: "Uricha(sic) Hunt fined for insulting the court." [Minutes of the Court of Pleas & Quarter Sessions, Vol. 1, 1778-1779, Washington, County, Tennessee – North Carolina, p. 61, abstracted by Loraine B. Rae, 1988]
Thomas Hunt, b. 1762, is assumed to be the identical person who served in the Revolution and was living in Washington County, Tennessee, by 1782/3 (per Allen, 1935). This Thomas will be the subject of a future paper, but his presence in North Carolina/Tennessee, as well as his sister Sene (Asenath), is mentioned here but briefly because he owned some Land on Boone’s Creek, appears in numerous records for Washington & Carter Counties, and was also cited in the 1792 deed with Jesse & Uriah, plus he appeared in some public records with neighbors of Jesse & Uriah. He died intestate about 1827 and had (at least) these children:
Henson, born 15 Mayh, 1780. In 1850 Census of Carter County, birth place was Tennessee, married Mary Magdalene Pope.
Elizabeth, born 3 Sep. 1785, in Tennessee, married John Bayless.
John, born c1787, married Eliz. Crouch, died by 15 Nov, 1815.
Thomas Hunt, Jr., born 20 Feb 1790, in Tennessee, married Martena Bayless.
Cena, born c1795, married William Crouch.
Nancy, born c1796, married McClure (William?).
Peter, born 1801, married 4 times, 2nd to Lethy Bayless., moved to Missouri by 1840. (this Peter’s life deserves a separete paper)
Jesse Hunt, Sr. in Kentucky
As background, Peter Hunt, with wife Delilah, had moved to our bought land in, Simpson (Warren) County, Kentucky, before 1816 and they appear in Kentucky records and in Washington County, Tennessee, records selling this land in Kentucky to one Randolph Gibson by Power of Attorney to Jesse Hunt in Kentucky. Peter & Delilah appear in records as heirs of Uriah Hunt Sr. in Washington County records of 1824 and Peter also appears as a son & heir of Jesse Hunt, deceased, 1824, Simpson County, Kentucky. NOTE: Moses Hunt & John Hunt, brothers of Jesse, Uriah, and Thomas, etc., moved from South Carolina to Warren County, Kentucky, in company with Randolph Gibson about 1808, and they all appeared in 1810 census of Warren County.
Jesse Hunt, William Hunt, and Samuel Lane first appeared on Warren County, Kentucky, Tax Lists in 1816. They were not listed in 1815. In 1817, one Abraham Wood appeared. Simpson County was created, in part, from Warren County, in 1819. Kentucky Court papers illustrate that Jesse Sr. & son William were co-owners of at least one tract of land. So after Jesse & William both died c1824 and both leaving living heirs, the court system had to untangle and subsequently rule on legal inheritances.
In 1820 Federal Census, Jesse Hunt & wife lived alone, and both over 45. [Simpson Co. Historical Society, p. 28]
Jesse Hunt died early in the year 1824, and on 17 April 1824, his daughter’s husbands, Samuel Lane and Abraham Wood, were named administrators of his estate. In the estate settlement and ensuing suits, the named heirs were: Sons Jesse Hunt Jr. and Peter Hunt (both non-residents of Kentucky); daughters Elizabeth (wife of Samuel Lane) and Mary “Polly” Wood, (wife of Abraham Wood); and heirs of Jesse Sr.’s son William Hunt, deceased: Jesse, Samuel L., John, Minerva, Lee A., and William D. Hunt – all under 21 years of age, and the widow Martha Hunt. [Steers, Dorothy Donnell, Simpson County, Kentucky, 1819-1825, Circuit Court Orders, 1985, pp. 146-150]
NOTE: The above information was obtained for me in 1984 by the late Miss Mildred Eubank of Franklin, Kentucky, from Dorothy Steers & the published work used later by Mr. & Mrs. William Wood of Strafford, Missouri, in their 1988 History of Abraham Wood Family. I, more or less, quoted Mr. Wood’s summary statement because I thought he said it so well!
There are more Tennessee records concerning this same Jesse Hunt than have been used for this paper but some of them provide proof for his birth place, his family, or the names of his parents.
As of a final word on this particular set of people, it may be helpful to researchers who have interest in the Hunt-Lane connection to mention that several years ago I discovered a serious error was made by a professional genealogist searching the lineage of Brother Claude Lane of Mt. Angel Abbey in Oregon. Brother Claude’s family history, prior to his birth in 1949, gave his ancestors as Samuel & Elizabeth Hunt Lane of Simpson County, Kentucky, formerly of Washington County, Tennessee. The genealogist traced a Samuel Lane out of Wahington County, Tennessee, to Jefferson County, Tennessee, to c1850, but whose family lines showed not the slightest trace of Brother Claude’s forebears; suggesting a family lineage error. There was a Samuel Lane in Jefferson County, Tennessee, but he died prior to the 1830 census leaving the widow Elizabeth Hunt Lane. The elder Lane’s of Washington County were Tidence, John Fuller, and John Lane, perhaps an Isaac too, and any or all of them might have had a son named Samuel. I noticed in the Grantor/Grantee Index to Lane c1814, that Samuel was buying land in Washington County when I thought it more logical for him to be selling it if he planned to move to Kentucky. How many men named Samuel Lane lived in Washington County and were of the same generation?
Searching for the parents of the fourteen children:
Jesse b. Jan 29, 1755
Uriah b. March 2, 1757
Esli b. Jan 7, 1759
Mary b. Feb 18, 1761
Thomas b. Jul 5, 1762
William b. Dec 12, 1763
Sene b. Sep 15, 1765
Joel b. Dec 20, 1766
Peter b. Jun 15, 1768
Elizabeth b. Nov 20, 1769
Moses b. Mar 29, 1771
John b. Jan 30, 1773
Benjamin b. Aug 29, 1774
Phebe b. Jul 12, 1776
As Dessie Simmons Says,
“The Greatest Progress Comes When We Share”
William M. Hunt
Fairport, New York
May 15, 1995