Jefferson Hunt (January 22 1804 – May 11 1879) was a U.S. western pioneer, soldier, and politician. He was a captain in the Mormon Battalion, brigadier general in the California State Militia, a California State Assemblyman, and a representative to the Utah Territorial Legislature.
He married Celia Mounts in 1823. In 1834 they both converted to Mormonism.
He was commissioned as a Captain, and was placed in command of Company A. Two of his sons also enlisted, and served under his command.
He temporarily commanded the entire battalion when its commander died, until a replacement arrived.
His entire family journeyed with the battalion as they completed what is to this day the longest march in U.S. Military history, ending in San Diego, California.
Soon thereafter, Hunt proposed traveling back to California to bring food and supplies for other recent Utah arrivals. Mormon authorities approved this proposal, and Hunt undertook this journey with Porter Rockwell, several former Mormon Battalion members, and two of his own sons.
Later he guided several parties of gold prospectors from Utah to California.
One of the groups he led to California became impatient at his slow progress, and many of the party members elected to abandon Hunt's group, and follow their own route to California. They became the infamous Death Valley '49ers. Those staying with Hunt made the journey without serious incident.
He briefly represented Iron County in the Utah Territorial Legislature in 1851. He was not a resident of Iron County, but he happened to pass through the county as elections were held, and he was chosen by the locals.
In that settlement he organized the building of a log fort which is the largest log fort ever built in California history.
From 1853-1857 he served as a member of the California State Assembly. Elected to represent Los Angeles County, he introduced legislation in his first year in office to create San Bernardino County, which passed. Upon the creation of San Bernardino County he became the county's first Assemblyman. He is honored as the "Father of San Bernardino County," which is the largest county in the contiguous United States.
In 1856 he was appointed as a Brigadier General in the California State Militia.
He died in 1879 in Oxford, Idaho.