Jonathan Hunt (Vermont lieutenant governor)

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For the U.S. representative from Vermont, see Jonathan Hunt (Vermont congressman)
Jonathan Hunt
Lieutenant Governor of Vermont
In office
1794–1796
Governor Thomas Chittenden
Preceded by Peter Olcott
Succeeded by Paul Brigham
Personal details
Born (1738-09-12)September 12, 1738
Northampton, Hampshire County, Massachusetts, U.S.
Died June 1, 1823(1823-06-01) (aged 84)
Vernon, Windham County, Vermont, U.S.
Citizenship US
Spouse(s) Lavinia (Swan) Hunt
Relations John Webster
Benjamin Swan
Timothy Swan
Lewis R. Morris
Children Ellen Francis Hunt
Anne Hunt
Lavina S. Hunt
Jonathan Hunt
Parents Samuel Strong Hunt
Ann (Ellsworth) Hunt
Residence Vernon, Vermont
Profession Pioneer
Landowner
Politician

Jonathan Hunt (September 12, 1738 – June 1, 1823) was an American pioneer, landowner and politician from Massachusetts. He served as Lieutenant Governor of Vermont and was a member of the prominent Hunt family of Vermont.

Early life[edit]

Rural Guilford, Vermont, where Jonathan Hunt began clearing land in 1758

Hunt was born in Northampton, Massachusetts, the son of Captain Samuel Strong Hunt of Northampton and Ann (Ellsworth) Hunt of Windsor, Connecticut.[1] He was one of the earliest settlers of Vermont, and he began clearing land at Guilford, Vermont in 1758.[2]

There are indications that the Hunt family had ties to Vermont even earlier, when Hunt's grandfather Jonathan witnessed a 1687 Massachusetts deed conferring land in what was later Vermont by several Native Americans.[3] Hunt's father, Captain Samuel, had himself been the proprietor named in the charter of many New Hampshire towns.[4]

Hunt and his associates were granted extensive tracts of land by New Hampshire Governor Benning Wentworth, as well as by patent from New York State and by purchase.[5]

Political career[edit]

Hunt held various political positions in Vermont, and served as sheriff of Windham County in 1781. He was high sheriff in 1782, and judge of the Windham County Court in 1783.[6] He served as Lieutenant Governor of the state of Vermont from 1794-1796.[7] He was the last lieutenant governor under the independent Vermont Republic. In 1800 Hunt served as presidential elector for Vermont.[8]

Hunt is considered one of the founders of Vermont as well as one of its earliest pioneers and largest landowners. He lived in Vernon, Vermont, the name suggested by his wife Lavinia (Swan) Hunt, a Massachusetts native and former pupil of President John Adams.[9]

Vernon, Vermont[edit]

When Hunt was instructed by the Vermont General Assembly to change the name of the town he represented from Hinsdale to Huntstown in his honor, he demurred. He asked his wife, who suggested Vernon instead, making it the only Vermont town said to be named by a woman.[10][11] The Governor Hunt house, built by Hunt in 1789, and once featured in Herbert W. Congdon's "Old Vermont Houses," is now on the grounds of the Vermont Yankee Nuclear Power Plant. Hunt's son, also named Jonathan, served as a U.S. Congressman from Vermont.(See Jonathan Hunt (Vermont Representative).[12]

Death and legacy[edit]

Hunt died in Vernon on June 1, 1823.[13] Governor Hunt Road in Vernon, Vermont is named for Hunt.[citation needed]

Family life[edit]

Hunt was the great-great-grandson of Jonathan Hunt and his wife Mary Webster, daughter of Governor John Webster of the Connecticut Colony.[14][15]

Hunt's brother General Arad Hunt, who also lived in Vernon, was general of the Vermont militia, a member of the Westminster Convention of 1777, and a prominent early backer of Middlebury College, to which he donated over 5,000 acres (20 km2) of land in Albany, Vermont.[16] He and his brother were among the largest speculators in Vermont lands, owning tens of thousands of acres across the state.[17]

Hunt marred Lavina Swan on August 12, 1749. They had four children: Ellen Francis Hunt, Anne Hunt, Lavina S. Hunt and Jonathan Hunt.[18] Their son was a U.S. Congressman from Vermont,[19] and their daughter Ellen was married to Lewis R. Morris, U.S. Congressman from Vermont and nephew of statesman Gouverneur Morris.[20]

Hunt's brother-in-law Benjamin Swan served as Vermont's State Treasurer for many years. His brother-in-law Timothy Swan was an eccentric composer and poet who lived at Suffield, Connecticut.)[21] His family would go on to be one of the most prominent in the entire state.

References[edit]

  1. ^ The History of the Descendants of Elder John Strong of Northampton, Massachusetts, Vol. II, Benjamin Woodbridge Dwight, Joel Munsell, Albany, 1871
  2. ^ Memorials of a Century, Embracing a Record of Individuals and Events Chiefly in the Early History of Bennington, Vermont, Isaac Jennings, Gould and Lincoln, Boston, 1869
  3. ^ Vermont: Records of the Governor and Council of the State of Vermont, Vol. III, E.P. Walton, J. & J.M. Poland, Montpelier, 1875
  4. ^ There are indications that the Strong family's push into Vermont may have been spurred, as with many Vermonters, by an independent cast of mind. Captain Samuel, a highly opinionated individual, was not always comfortable with the ruling Puritan-influenced oligarchs of Northampton and the surrounding Connecticut River Valley. Northampton was a hotbed of religious fervor since the days of Reverend Jonathan Edwards
  5. ^ Jonathan Hunt, virtualvermont.com
  6. ^ Cabot, Mary Rogers (1921). Annals of Brattleboro, 1681-1895, Volume 1. Press of E. L. Hildreth & Company. p. 289. 
  7. ^ Proctor, Redfield, and Davenport, Charles H. (1894). Men of Vermont: An Illustrated Biographical History of Vermonters and Sons of Vermont. Transcript publishing Company. p. 148. 
  8. ^ Vermont: Records of the Governor and Council of the State of Vermont, Edited and Published by the Authority of the State, E. P. Walton, Montpelier, 1876
  9. ^ "About Vernon". Vernon Vermont. Retrieved May 14, 2014. 
  10. ^ History and Proceedings of the Pocumtuck Valley Memorial Association, Deerfield, Mass, 1901
  11. ^ Vernon, Windham County, Vermont Historical Gazetteer, Abby Maria Hemenway, 1891,
  12. ^ Annals of Brattleboro, 1681-1895, Mary Rogers Cabot, Brattleboro, 1921
  13. ^ Dwight, Benjamin Woodbridge (1871). The History of the Descendants of Elder John Strong, of Northampton, Mass. J. Munsell. p. 1175. 
  14. ^ Gov. John Webster, History of Hadley, Sylvester Judd, 1905
  15. ^ The History of the Descendants of Elder John Strong of Northampton, Massachusetts, Vol. II, Benjamin Woodbridge Dwight, Joel Munsell, Albany, 1871
  16. ^ Grant of land to Jonathan and Arad Hunt, Green Leaves from Whitingham, Vermont: A History of the Town, Clark Jillson, Worcester, Mass., 1894
  17. ^ Arad Hunt to Middlebury College grant, The American Quarterly Register, American Education Society, Andover, Mass., 1829
  18. ^ Cabot, Mary Rogers (1921). Annals of Brattleboro, 1681-1895, Volume 1. Press of E. L. Hildreth & Company. p. 289. 
  19. ^ "Jonathan Hunt". Litchfield Historical Society. Retrieved May 15, 2014. 
  20. ^ Annals of Brattleboro, Mary Rogers Cabot
  21. ^ The History of the Descendants of John Dwight, of Dedham, Massachusetts, Vol. II, Benjamin Woodbridge Dwight, John F. Trow & Son, New York, 1874

Further reading[edit]

  • Vermont Place-Names: Footprints of History by Esther Munroe Swift

External links[edit]


Preceded by
Peter Olcott
Lieutenant Governor of Vermont
1794–1796
Succeeded by
Paul Brigham