Esther Hunt

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Esther Hunt
Esther Hunt signature.jpg
Born Esther Roberts
September 4, 1751
Burlington County, New Jersey, United States
Died February 2, 1820(1820-02-02) (aged 68)
Burlington County, New Jersey, United States
Spouse(s) Joshua Hunt (1778–1792)
John Collins (1807–20)
Children Elisha (born October 7, 1779)
Enoch (born August 17, 1781)
Aaron (born March 9, 1783)
Nathan (born April 12, 1784)
Caleb (born October 28, 1786)
Stacy (born April 21, 1789)
Rachel (born October 24, 1791)
Parent(s) Enoch Roberts
Rachel Coles

Esther Hunt (September 4, 1751 – February 2, 1820) was a pioneer who lived on America's frontier as a wife, a mother and a leader in her Quaker faith.[1][2]

Early life at Moorestown[edit]

Born Esther Roberts, she was the youngest of five children of Enoch Roberts (1717–1782) and Rachel Coles (c. 1715 – 1758).[3] The Roberts family lived at Evesham Township, New Jersey.[4] Esther's mother died when she was about seven years old.[5] Esther Roberts and Joshua Hunt were married on November 19, 1778 in the Friends Meetinghouse at Moorestown Township, New Jersey. He was a teacher in the Moorestown Friends School. While living there Esther and Joshua had six children.[6]

In September 1790, Esther and Joshua and their five children, "with two wagons, seven horses, one cow, and provisions", began a three-week journey to Fayette County in southwestern Pennsylvania.[7][8] Their destination was a small, but growing, community located on the east bank of the Monongahela River in close proximity to Fort Burd. In those days it was called Redstone Old Fort, or simply Redstone. Later, the name was changed to Brownsville.

Life at Brownsville[edit]

1803 map showing Brownsville and Redstone Creek

In early October, the tiny caravan reached the new home where the Hunt family would live in a log cabin during the winter season.[9][10][11] On July 27, 1791 Joshua purchased a property, consisting of a dwelling and 195 acres (0.79 km2) of land, from John and Sarah Cadwallader.[12] Located on the south bank of Redstone Creek, Hunt's farm was about two miles (3 km) east of the creek's confluence with the Monongahela River and slightly to the west of Colvin Run.[13] Their homestead, which they named "Hunt Pleasant", consisted of a log dwelling nestled amidst walnut trees and steep hills.

Rachel Hunt, Esther and Joshua's seventh child and only daughter, was born October 24, 1791.[14]

After returning from a trip back home to Moorestown, Joshua Hunt died February 26, 1792.[15] He was 39 years old. Esther Hunt wrote about her husband and her concerns:[5]

He was one endowed with the savor of Truth, a good neighbor, a tender father, able to instruct his children, temporally and spiritually; except the Lord help we shall perish. My loss is inexpressible, having my dear companion taken from me by death, and I left in this strange land with six children, the youngest about four months old. I can but mourn under a sense thereof, though not as one without hope.

Esther decided to remain at Hunt Pleasant. The ages of her children ranged from Elisha, who was a little over 12 years, to Rachel, who was just four months. Now a widow, Esther continued to run the farm and raise her children alone, without her "dearest companion and bosom friend".[16] Nevertheless, in June 1794 she was appointed an elder in the Redstone Monthly Meeting, a reflection of the high esteem that she was held by the men and women of her faith.[5][17][18]

She traveled extensively, always on horseback. In October and November 1796 she visited Moorestown and Evesham.[19]

Later life at Moorestown[edit]

On June 3, 1807, Esther Hunt married John Collins, a Quaker minister from Moorestown, in the Redstone Meetinghouse.[20] She had previously conveyed an equal portion of Hunt Pleasant to each of her children.[21] Then Esther and her daughter, Rachel, removed to her husband's home in her previous hometown.[22]

Rachel Hunt and David Roberts, the son of Joseph Roberts and Susanna Coles, were married February 15, 1815 in the Moorestown Meetinghouse.[23]

Esther and her close friend Ann Edwards drowned February 2, 1820 while attempting to cross the Delaware River in a horse-drawn carriage which broke through the ice.[24][25]


See also[edit]


  • Horn, W. F. [ed.] (1945), The Horn papers: early western movement on the Monongahela and upper Ohio, 1765–1795, volume 3, Scottsdale, PA: Herald Press
  • Roberts-Hunt Family Papers, Friends Historical Library of Swarthmore College, Swarthmore, Pennsylvania
  • The Friend (1873), "Esther Collins and Ann Edwards", The Friend, a religious and literary journal, Volume XLVI, No. 46 and 47, Philadelphia: William H. Pile, pp. 362, 370-373.
  • Hynes, Judy, et al. (1997), The descendants of John and Elizabeth (Woolman) Borton, Mount Holly, New Jersey: John Woolman Memorial Association, p. 23-24


  1. ^ Specht, Neva Jean (1997), Mixed blessing: trans-Appalachian settlement and the Society of Friends, 1780–1813, Ph. D. dissertation, University of Delaware
  2. ^ Specht, Neva Jean (2003), "Women of one or many bonnets?: Quaker women and the role of religion in trans-Appalachian settlement", NWSA Journal 15 (2): 27-44
  3. ^ Lamborn, Suzanne Parry (2006), John and Sarah Roberts, with many related families, Morgantown, Pennsylvania: Masthof Press, ISBN 1-932864-58-X, p. 49-52
  4. ^ Evesham Township during the 18th century was much larger than it is today.
  5. ^ a b c The Friend
  6. ^ Woodward, E. M. (1883), History of Burlington County, New Jersey, with biographical sketches of many of its pioneers and prominent men, Philadelphia: Everts & Peck, p. 270:
    Their children are Elisha, born Oct. 7, 1779, died July 23, 1873; Enoch, born Aug. 17, 1781, died July 4, 1802; Aaron, born March 9, 1783, died young; Nathan, born April 12, 1784; Caleb, born Oct. 28, 1786, died July 24, 1834; Stacy, born April 21, 1789; and Rachel, born Oct. 24, 1791, became the wife of David Roberts, of Chester township, N. J., and died in 1881.
  7. ^ Hunt Family Papers, "Biography of Joshua and Esther Hunt by their children", Friends Historical Library of Swarthmore College, Swarthmore, Pennsylvania:
    Our Parents [Joshua and Esther Hunt] removed to Redstone [Brownsville, Fayette Co., PA] in the 9th and 10 months 1790
  8. ^ Woodward, p. 270:
    Elisha Hunt, eldest son of Joshua, also removed with his parents to Redstone Fort, Pa., and being the eldest child, then eleven years of age, he remembered well the tedious journey, with two wagons, seven horses, one cow, and provisions, across the Delaware on scows, through Philadelphia, then not built above Fifth Street, across the Schuylkill on a raft, made of logs, and a three weeks' trip with its many interesting incidents, finally reaching their destination.
  9. ^ Hunt Family Papers, "Biography of Joshua and Esther Hunt by their children":
    …lived the ensuing Winter in a Log Cabin
  10. ^ Woodward
  11. ^ Ellis, Franklin (1882). History of Fayette County, Pennsylvania, with biographical sketches of many of its pioneers and prominent men. Philadelphia: L. H. Everts and Company. pp. 683-4.
    On October 6, 1790, in Redstone meetinghouse, Joshua Hunt signed the Quaker marriage certificate following the wedding ceremony of Abel Campbell and Susanna Dixon.
  12. ^ Deed Book A, p. 359–360; Recorder of Deeds, 61 E. Main St., Uniontown, Pa. 15401.
    The conveyance from John and Sarah Cadwallader to Joshua and Esther Hunt is nearly illegible. However, a few years earlier, in 1786, the Cadwalladers had purchased the same property from John and Ann Jones. And that conveyance, recorded on page 141 in Deed Book A, is legible. Comparing this conveyance with the Fayette County warrant map, which is located in the office of the Recorder of Deeds, reveals that the property the Joneses conveyed to the Cadwalladers had been all 151 acres (0.61 km2) of their "Union Green" property (previously owned by Thomas Downs, father of Ann Jones) plus 44 acres (180,000 m2) that was part of their adjoining "Mount Pleasant" property. Thus, the warrant map, which is also published in "The Horn Papers, Vol III", establishes the boundaries and precise location of the property purchased by Joshua and Esther Hunt.
  13. ^ The confluence of Colvin Run and Redstone Creek is located at 40°01′03″N 79°50′02″W / 40.0175°N 79.8339°W / 40.0175; -79.8339 and its elevation is 800 feet above sea level.
  14. ^ Hynes, p. 24
  15. ^ Hunt Family Papers, "Biography of Joshua and Esther Hunt by their children":
    …in the 9th mo of that year our Father returned to Moorestown to settle his business, was about 3 Weeks, and on the 26th of 2nd mo 1792 he died, aged about 39 years.
  16. ^ Specht (2003), p. 27
  17. ^ Comly, John and Isaac Comly (editors) (1839), Friends' Miscellany, Vol. XII, Philadelphia, Pa.: J. Richards, p. 338:
    Went home with Esther Hunt, an elder of Redstone monthly meeting;
  18. ^ Redstone Monthly Meeting Records, Friends Historical Library of Swarthmore College, Swarthmore, Pennsylvania
  19. ^ Hunt, John (1770–1824), John Hunt's journal, Friends Historical Library of Swarthmore College, Swarthmore, Pennsylvania 19081-1399:
    [October] 18 at our Meeting which I Believe was a favoured good Me Sister Esther Hunt from Redstone was there Bror: Joshuas Widow
    [November] 12 we went to upper Evesham Monthly Meeting Sister Esther Hunt from Redstone was with us
  20. ^ Roberts Family Papers, 1709–1937 Courtesy of Haverford College
  21. ^ Fayette County Deed Book G, p. 34, May 27, 1807
  22. ^ Hinshaw, William Wade and Thomas Worth Marshall (1936). Encyclopedia of American Quaker genealogy, Michigan, Ann Arbor: Edwards Brothers, p. 94:
    On July 31, 1807, a certificate was granted to Esther Collins and daughter Rachel Hunt by Redstone Monthly Meeting to Chester (Moorestown) Monthly Meeting.
  23. ^ Hynes, p. 24; Lamborn, pp. 41, 204
  24. ^ Purdy, James C. and Clayton Lipponcott (1886). Moorestown, old and new, including Chester Township, Moorestown, NJ: Historical Society of Moorestown, pp. 160-61
  25. ^ Burlington Mirror (9 Feb. 1820). "Melancholy accident", page 3, column 2:
    Moorestown, February 7, 1820. On February 5, 1820, saturday, about five o'clock P. M. as Henry Warrington, Jr. of Chester Township, in Burlington County, was in the act of crossing from Heaton's ferry to Hopkinson's ferry, on the Delaware, with a pair of horses and carriage, with three Ladies, viz. Mrs. Stokes, widow of the late Dr. Stokes, Hester [sic] Collins, widow of the late John Collins, and Miss Ann Edwards, daughter of the late Richard Edwards, deceased. The horses broke through the ice, and horses and carriage almost instantly disappeared; Mrs. Stokes and Mr. Warrington providentially escaped with their lives: but melancholy to relate Mrs. Collins and Miss Edwards, went down with the horses and carriage, and perished. Efforts have been made, and are still continued by their neighbors and friends, to recover the bodies of the unfortunate sufferers.

External links[edit]