Lee County Biography


Of the pioneer farmers who have played so important a part in the making of Lee County and are still contributing to its material prosperity, not one is more worthy of representation in this work than Deacon Isaac Hunt, who is pleasantly passing the declining years of a life well spent in all that goes to make a good man and a true citizen on the well-ordered farm in Wyoming Township upon which he located nearly forty years ago when it was a tract of wild, unimproved land.

A pioneer himself, our subject comes of a family that from generation to generation has sent out pioneers into the wilderness to help subdue the forces of nature and settle the frontiers of the country. He was born in a pioneer home, on a farm, five miles from Liberty, Union County, Ind., November 11, 1819. His father, William H. Hunt, was a native of North Carolina, and a son of Charles Hunt, who, so far as known, was born in the same State, and was there reared and married. In the early years of the settlement of Indiana, when it was under Territorial government, he migrated thither, and became a pioneer settler of Wayne County. The remainder of his life was spent there on a farm that he cleared from the primeval forests.

The father of our subject accompanied his parents to their new home in the wilds of Indiana, and was married in that State to Elizabeth Esteb, a native of North Carolina, and a daughter of Isaac and Ruth (Moore) Esteb. She survived her husband some years.and in the latter part of her life came to Illinois, and died in the home of her youngest son in Lee County. She reared ten children to honorable and useful lives. Both she and her husband were steadfast Christians and members of the Baptist Church. When the father of our subject began life for himself, he located on a tract of forest-covered land that he bought in Union County, and became actively identified with its pioneers. For many yean after his settlement there, there were no railways, and the settlers had to go with teams to Cincinnati, sixty miles away, to market their grain and obtain their family supplies.

Mr. Hunt cleared quite n large tract of land in Union County, and made it his home until 1836, when he sold it, and removed to La Porte County, where he bought land that was part prairie and the remainder Umber. At that time that section of the country was sparsely settled, and deer and other kinds of game abounded. For a time Michigan City was the nearest market. The father of our subject dwelt in La Porte County the rest of his days, making himself useful as a pioneer and a citizen. And winning the regard of his neighbors by his conduct as an upright man.

Our subject grew up under the invigorating influences of frontier life in his native State, receiving a careful training in right principles at the hands of pious parents His education was conducted in the primitive schools of the time, which were held in log houses, that were provided with home-made furniture, the seals being made of oak slabs, with wooden pins for legs. As soon as large enough, he had to help on the farm, and he assisted his father in its management until he Was twenty- three years old. At that age, he settled on land of his own in La Porte County, and was busily engaged in farming it for several years. In 1852 he sold his property in Indiana, as he had decided to try farming on the fertile soil of Lee County. He made the journey hither overland, accompanied by his wife and three children. He bought a tract of wild land in Wyoming Township, which is included in his present farm, and buying lumber at Aurora, then the nearest railway station, he erected a frame house and barn, and then devoted himself to the pioneer task of developing the rich agricultural resources of his land. He now has a farm of one hundred and niuety-four acres of finely tilled land, amply provided with improvements of a good class, everything about the place giving evidence of his practical skill as a farmer. Deacon Hunt has been twice married. His first marriage was with Miss Eliza A. Patterson, and they wero wedded February 20, 1844. She was born in Kentucky, and died in Lee County, Ill., in 1858, leaving three sons: George W., William H. and James L., the two latter of whom live on the home farm. In February. 1859, our subject's marriage with Miss Ann E. McBride was solemnized. Of the children born to thorn three arc now living, namely: Martha E., wife of Dr. Alfred Owens, of Dover; Frederick, a successful physician practicing his profession at Earlville; and Milton, a farmer in Cerro Gordo County, Iowa.

Throughout the many years of his life in this county, the Deacon has always borne the same high reputation as a man of sound integrity, exemplary in his habits, and strictly just and fair, kind and neighborly in his relations with his fellowmen.

For many years a consistent and valued member of the Baptist Church, he has worked earnestly in its upbuilding, and has contributed to its usefulness as a religious organization at Paw Paw. In politics, Mr. Hunt is a Republican; Mrs. Hunt is a Prohibitionist.

Portraits and Biographical Lee County IL 1892


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