Jefferson Hunt

Jefferson Hunt (January 22 1804May 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.

Early years

Hunt was born in Bracken County, Kentucky in 1804. Some sources believe that his full name was Charles Jefferson Hunt.

He married Celia Mounts in 1823. In 1834 they both converted to Mormonism.

Mormon migration

He later migrated with the Mormons to Far West, Missouri.

He served as a Major in the Volunteers (which later became the Nauvoo Legion), and participated in the Battle of Crooked River.

Later, in Nauvoo, Illinois, he was an early participant in plural marriage when he married Matilda Nease.

Mormon Battalion

In 1846, while encamped at Council Bluffs, Iowa, he joined the Mormon Battalion, which was formed at the request of the U.S. government for participation in the Mexican-American War.

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.

California expeditions

After being discharged from the Mormon Battalion, Hunt and his family settled in Salt Lake City, Utah in 1847.

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.

California years

In 1851 he was called by his church to help create a Mormon colony in San Bernardino, California. This colony was the first American settlement in California after Statehood.

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.

Later years

In 1860 he founded the town of Huntsville, Utah.

He served as a representative to the Utah Territorial Legislature in 1863, representing Weber County.

He died in 1879 in Oxford, Idaho.


Hunt has a number of noteworthy descendants:

See also

External links/sources

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