By Barbara Emery Moseley
NOTE: This series chronicles the generations of Vernon’s Hunt family, all related to Jonathan Hunt of “Governor Hunt Road” fame. If you’ve missed any installments in this series, you can catch up here!
The first child of Jonathan and Levinah Hunt was born August 12, 1780, ad name for his father. However, the infant died at three-and-one-half months. Following the custom of the day, the name of a baby boy who did not live to be a year old was given to the next male born to the family. Consequently, the Hunts’ fourth child, born May 12, 1787, was named Jonathan. He became politically prominent, like his father, and established a distinguished family of his own.
Two girls, Ellen and Fanny, followed, in 1781 and 1783, then the “second” Jonathan and, lastly, Arad.
Ellen and Fanny were known as great beauties, in their day. In 1801, when she was twenty, Ellen married the Hon. Lewis R. Morris, congressman from Vermont.
She once accompanied her husband on a venture to recover some property in upper New York State. She made such a favorable impression during the visit that the town of Ellenburg was name for her. The Morrises had six children, including son Richard, a naval officer who died young.
Fanny was nineteen when she married Charles Blake, M.D., and moved across the river to Northfield, Massachusetts. He had done naval service as a surgeon mate on the U.S.S. Constitution, know as “Old Ironsides.” Even today, it is moored at the Charleston Navy Yard, the oldest commissioned warship afloat in the world.
Dr. Blake had been injured during his service and returned to Northfield, to practice medicine. Except for larger cities, there no hospitals, and country physicians provided care over large areas, reaching their patients on horseback or in a horse drawn buggy or sleigh.
The Blakes had two children. Son Jonathan Hunt Blake, commonly called Hunt Blake, was lighthearted and a bit reckless. He once lighted his cigar with a rolled-up five-dolalr bill. However, that rash act did not prevent the townspeople from electing him as Town Treasurer. He outlived his close kin and the family fortune, dying at an advanced age in the Northampton hospital for the insane.
In 1832, the Blakes’ talented daughter, Frances, married Dr. Marshal Mead, from Chesterfield, New Hampshire, described as “the kindliest imaginable of country doctors, who gloriously neglected to collect his bills.”
The last child of Jonathan and Levinah was Arad, born September 22, 1790. He married Sally Newell of Colrain, Massachusetts, fathered eight children, and died at the age of 43, from an unknown, incurable malady. During the last nine years of his life, he was confined almost exclusively to his bed. “A high sense of honor, a scrupulous love of truth and justice formed the basis of his character,” was noted in his obituary.
‘Hunt’ing Down History has almost grasped its quarry, despite its fleeing to Washington, DC, then to Paris, and finally coming home to the USA. Here, a Hunt “creation” daily cheers the hearts of thousands, as it has for 130 years.