Biography of Benjamin F. Hunt


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BENJAMIN F. HUNT, the greater portion of whose active business life was spent in other counties than Jefferson, was a native of Rodman, born in 1810, and was the son of Simeon Hunt, the latter being one of the pioneers of that town and also of the Black River country. Simeon Hunt was born in Coventry, Conn., in. 1773, and in 1798 was married with Roxalina Moody. In 1803 the young couple came to Rodman, traveling with an ox team and with all their worldly goods packed on the wagon. Arrived in Rociman, Pioneer Hunt built a log cabin, and as travel through the town was then constantly increasing, his house was soon turned into a tavern, and was so conducted by him for many years, although the old log building was soon replaced with a more substantial structure of frame. When the town of Adams (which originally included Rodman) was organized Simeon Hunt was one of its first town officers, and in later years, after Rodman had been set off from Adams, he was frequently. elected to important positions, while the town meetings were generally held at his tavern. In 1805, when the Congregational society in the town was formed, Mr. Hunt was one of its founders, and also one of its first trustees and chief supporters. The few remaining sons of old settlers reniember Simeon Hunt as an ardent lover of music, whose fame asa violin player was known throughout the region. However, an accident happened him while felling a tree in the woods, after which he was deprived of the free use of his bow arm.

With his own hands Simeon Hunt cleared a hundred acre tract of heavily timbered land in Rodman, and developed an excellent farm in this once wild region. Indeed, during the first year of their family life in the town, wolves and other wild animals were almost nightly visitors about the cabin, and for more than six months after her arrival Mrs. Hunt did not so much as see another white woman. Thus it is seen that the lives and energies of this young couple were wholly devoted to building up a comfortable home in the new region, and later years their toil was rewarded. Mr. Hunt was an enterprising man and in addition to his farm and hotel he owned a good grist mill and a saw mill. But neither he nor his wife attained advanced years. Mrs. Hunt died in May, 1831, from injuries received in a runaway accident, and in the fail of the same year her husband followed her to the grave.

Benjamin F. Hunt, son of this worthy pioneer couple, spent his young life on the old home farm, working during the summer season and attending district school in the winter. At the age of sixteen years he began teaching winter school, still doing farm work in the summer, and so continued until he was of age, when the death of his parents threw upon him the responsibility of maintaining the farm and other property. At the age of twenty five years he married with Sarah R., the daughter of Daniel Talcott, one of the pioneers of Adams. Of this marriage four children were born, of whom two are now living: Daniel Talcott Hunt, of Chicago, and Benjamin F. Hunt, jr., of Boston.

In 1832 Mr. Hunt embarked in mercantile business in Kingston, Canada, but on account of the cholera epidemic of 1832 and ‘34 he was obliged to leave that locality, hence returned to this county and purchased a large farm in Rutland. It was one of the best farms in the town, having excellent buildings. Mr. Hunt proved a successful farmer, but soon after the death of his wife (in 1844) he sold out and removed to Rodman, where he went into mercantile business with Robert S. West. Here he lived about thirteen years, when, in 1857 he removed to Monroe county, and for many years afterward was the Canadian agent for the famous seedmen, Briggs Brothers, of Rochester. However, in 1873 Mr. Hunt went to Bridgeport, Conn., and entered into a mercantile partnership with his son, F. S. Hunt, and successfully carried on business until the fall of 1894, when he retired from active life to enjoy the fruits of his well spent years. The second wife of Mr Hunt was Louisa L. Greenleaf, of Watertown, who died in Bridgeport in 1893. In October,. 1897, Mr. Hunt married with Mrs. Julia A. Sherman, widow of the late John Avery Sherman, one of Watertown’s most influential and honored men for many years. This marriage was one of the most notable events in social life in Watertown, and one which drew attendance and congratulations from all over the land. However, the period of pleasant married life of this aged couple was brief. Mr. Hunt, notwithstanding his advanced age, apparently enjoyed excellent health, yet on April 7, 1898, the destroyer invaded the household and bore him away to eternal rest.

Our County and it's people
A descriptive work on Jefferson County, New York
Edited by: Edgar C. Emerson
The Boston History Co., Publishers 1898

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