Archive for February, 2019

I discovered the name discrepancy a couple of years ago. Since then, I’ve been searching. Searching for Elizabeth, searching for Julia. No marriages for an Elizabeth Hunt. No Julia Hunts on a census. Incredibly frustrating.

But I did find one thing: there was an Elizabeth Hunt, the right age, in Georgia in 1870. She was in the household of a Mary Surratt, born Georgia, several Harper children, born Arkansas, a Surratt child, born Arkansas, Elizabeth, born Georgia and 10 year old Martha Hunt, born Arkansas. (And before you say anything, this was NOT the Mary Surratt who was hanged in Baltimore as a Civil War spy.)

This census record does not generate any record hints on Ancestry. Nothing that links these people to previous censuses. Nothing that would tell me anything about them. I came up with a hypothesis about them, however: Mary and Elizabeth were sisters, Mary was first married to Mr. Harper, had those children, then married Mr. Surratt and had that one child. Elizabeth was the mother of Martha, according to my made-up story. I know literally nothing about Elizabeth Cox Hunt. I found one 1860 census, with a David Cox and Elizabeth Cox, right age, born Georgia. They had two little boys. But they were in Hot Spring county which is quite a ways from Cross county. It seemed unlikely. Because she was about 34-35 years old when she married John/Jehu, I figured she had to have been married to Cox as opposed to it being her maiden name. Because of that, I concluded this family┬áhad nothing to do with my family. After all, Martha was too old to have been John/Jehu’s child unless she was born out of wedlock and it took him all those years to marry her mother.

So I’d put it down and come back to it later. Finally, a breakthrough of sorts: There is a Jehu Hunt, the right age, the wrong birthplace, on the 1870 Mortality Schedule in Fayetteville, Fayette county, Georgia who died in June 1869 of smallpox. The people on the mortality schedules are cross-referenced to their families on the corresponding population schedules and he is linked to the household of Mary Surratt, those Harper and Surratt children, Elizabeth and Martha Hunt.

Could it be? How could it be? Fayetteville, Georgia is a long way from Cross county, Arkansas. The only details here that match are Jehu Hunt, the right age and Elizabeth Hunt, the right age.

So I put it down and came back from time to time to try and find out more about Mary, her children, Elizabeth and Martha.

Yesterday, everything fell into place. Sometimes that darn Ancestry search engine will show you records it hadn’t shown you before, using the same search terms.

I found Mary on the 1850 census with her husband John HOPPER and oldest daughter, Nancy. They lived in Smith Township, St. Francis county, Arkansas. Where John/Jehu would live and buy land nearby in 1858. I found Mary and John HOPPER again in the same place in 1860. In their household was her presumed (by me) sister, Elizabeth Dearing and her daughter Martha J. Dearing. Mary’s daughter Elizabeth’s death certificate states her mother’s maiden name was Dearing.

I have come up with another hypothesis: Martha was born out of wedlock. She was Julia. John/Jehu gave her his name to give her legitimacy.

I went on to find Mary’s children in census/marriage/death and burial records. I found her grandchildren’s records. I couldn’t stop finding records. Except for Martha/Julia. And Elizabeth. ­čÖé

Being mindful of confirmation bias, I have another made-up story: John/Jehu, Elizabeth and Martha/Julia went to Georgia to visit her sister and possibly other family. For whatever reason. Maybe a health emergency. Maybe a death in the family. Farmers didn’t just up and go on vacation back then. John/Jehu contracted smallpox while there and died. Because his property and estate had to be probated in Arkansas, it took her some time to travel there from Georgia and that’s why she didn’t appear at the probate court until January.

My next steps are to track down living descendants of Mary. Find out if the family name was Hopper or Harper. The records have been about even for both spellings. See if they know what happened to Elizabeth. And Martha/Julia. Find out if they know where Jehu is buried. See if I can figure out if he was my GGGF Hunt. I’m not related to any of them, so DNA won’t help.

I’d like to put the finishing touches on his story.


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GGGF Hunt probably died before the end of June 1870. He is not to be found on the 1870 census in Cross county, Arkansas which was enumerated as of July 1, 1870 . But neither is his wife, Elizabeth. Was she dead, too? Actually, he probably died before the end of June, 1869 as he is not found on the Mortality Schedule of the 1870 census (deaths recorded from 7/1/1869-6/30/1870) for Cross county.

I took it a step further and went looking for a will and/or probate records.

And I found them.

The documentation is not as complete as I would expect, but at least enough of it survives (thank you so much Familysearch for microfilming the will books). The probate court of Cross county, Arkansas convened a few times a year, from what I can tell. The records are in two separate book filmings.

On page 547 of probate volume A, we find, dated 1/4/1870 (look at that date) :

“Est of Jahue Hunt, decd, vesting order. (take note of that name, it is spelled that way on all the documents) Now on this day comes Mrs. Hunt into court and presents the court here her appraise bill of Personal Property–to wit: 1 cow and calf $30.00, 1 heifer $18.00, 1 yoke cattle $75.00. The right to which said property is hereby vested absolutely in the widow.” I don’t know what this means but it looks to me like she is claiming these items from the estate (maybe she brought them to the marriage) and the court agreed. This is the last we hear of Mrs. Hunt. If she died before the 1870 census was taken a few months after this, I haven’t found a record of it. She was only about 35 years old at this time, she could easily have remarried, but I have not found a record. This seems more logical to me than her death, but anything is possible.

On page 59 of administration and guardian and bonds letters volume A in Cross county, we find the first entry in the matter of Jahue Hunt who died intestate. “Letters of Administration to B. Rolison in the Jahue Hunt Est.” Britton Rolison was the local county assessor. On 2/10/1870, Mr. Rolison was appointed to administer the estate. It doesn’t use the word “executor,” but that was his appointment, from what I can tell. It doesn’t say when Jahue died, but we know it was before 1/4/1870.

On page 106 of the same book, we find Mr. Rolison, Thomas G. Stanley and J.J. Carnes putting up bond to administer the estate. This is also dated 2/10/1870. But this is all that I find. At the very least, I would expect to find an inventory and a settlement. There is another book of settlements from 1866-1911 (volume D) but I didn’t find the Jahue Hunt estate in it. These films are not indexed and it could be that I just missed them. I will go through them again.

But one thing I did find that was unexpected and surprising:

On page 610 of probate volume A, dated “January term, 1871:”

“C.S. Hunt pet[ition] for Guar[dianship] of Julia Hunt

Now on this day the petition of C.S. Hunt, heretofore filed praying for letters of guardianship, which petition for want of bond is not granted.”

Wait, what? Who was Julia Hunt and how old was she? Did GGGF Hunt and Elizabeth have a child together? Glenda’s book doesn’t mention Julia, but it also doesn’t mention the 1868 marriage to Elizabeth Cox.

So the mystery deepens. If Elizabeth was still living, and if Julia was her child, where were they in 1870?

The answer may be in Part III. To be continued…


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If the only things you know about my 2x great-grandfather Hunt come from Glenda Pagan Hibdon’s book,┬áThe Pagan, Hunt and Sanderson Genealogies, you might think he could have been related to the founder of Huntsville, Alabama if you didn’t read it very closely. Glenda (my mother’s first cousin) talks about the possibility, but she does not state this to be a fact.

She makes other claims that aren’t sourced, such as the notion that because she couldn’t find them in the 1870 census (she was looking in the wrong county), they must have gone back to Tennessee (the supposed location of GGGF and GGGM Hunt’s marriage) and that her grandfather (my great-grandfather) C.S. Hunt married his first wife, Nancy Huggins, there. This must have been a family story, because I haven’t been able to find a marriage in any state for C.S. and Nancy. They had 3 children together who were born in Tennessee according to Glenda, but nearly every census they appear on says they were born in Arkansas. There was a Huggins family living in the same county in Arkansas who had a daughter named Nancy who was the same age as C.S.’s first wife. She was married to a Mr. Robison first, having 3 children with him, and the oldest son was born in Arkansas. So the story about Tennessee doesn’t add up for me.

She gives details about John Hunt Sr., the supposed founder of Huntsville, stating that one of his sons, David, married Elizabeth Larkin. She refers to GGGF Hunt as John Hunt II, stating he named one of his sons Larkin (which is true) and that makes this a definite connection but one she couldn’t prove. But then she goes on to show an unknown generation between John Hunt Sr. and John Hunt II with no way to connect the two. So her story should have started with GGGF Hunt, instead he’s Generation 3.

You might also think his name was John. I know I did. He is listed by name on the 1850 census in DeKalb county, Alabama and on the 1860 census in St. Francis county, Arkansas.



He got married in 1868 to Elizabeth Cox. Again, he is listed as John.


So if you stopped there in your research, you’d come away with the satisfaction of knowing his name was John.

But let’s take it a step further. GGGF Hunt applied to purchase land in Cross county, Arkansas in 1857. His land patent was indexed by the Bureau of Land Management as:

Ok then, his name was John.

But if you find the purchase receipts and other documents related to that land sale you find this, dated 1861:

“I have carefully compared the within certificate with the original application in file in my office and have corrected the first name “Jehu” so as to agree with the application-instead of “John.”

Wait, what?

Sure enough, on that land patent, originally dated 1858, you can see that the name (in 5 places) was changed from John to Jehu and the date and other details changed to 1861. I wonder what brought that about? This was the first I heard that maybe I was wrong about his name.

So I took it another step further and found his 1866, 1868 and 1869 tax records for that land. While they don’t answer the question about his name, they do give me his middle initial, H.

So what do I do about this apparent name discrepancy? It’s true that GGGF Hunt named a son Jehu and he also had a grandson named Jehu. Could these be clues to the right name?

To be continued…


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