The History of The Hunt Family
The Hunt Family- 1730 to 1900
The Hunt Family- 1730 to 1900
The Hunt Family- 1901 to Present
The Hunt Family- 9 Generations Outline
Hunt, Samuel L 1872-1941
Descendents of Mary Borden Hunt 1869-1957
The Lockwood Family of Greenwich CT
The Ferris Family of Greenwich, CT
The Palmer Family of Greenwich CT
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A History beginning in Haverstraw, New York, 1730

Haverstraw, New York 1776

The Beginnings

Some handwritten notes dated 1930 and prepared by Mabel Hunt, claim that our ancestors came from Holland, and were allied with the Duke of Orange, House of Nassau. In these notes our ancestor’s name is given as Samuel Lemuel Humendore Hund or Hundt. It is also claimed in these notes that he owned Blackwell’s Island (later Welfare Island) in the East River. I have not been able to find any hard evidence of these claims- and it is actually more likely that our ancestor was Thomas Hunt for whom Hunt's Point in the Bronx was named. I am still trying to determine the correct facts
The first verified and documented history of the Hunt family is in Haverstraw New York. Haverstraw is located on the western side of the Hudson River, about 40 miles north of Manhattan. The town was actually founded in 1666 as Haverstroo (which means Oat Straw) by the Dutch.
It is probable that the Hunts came to Haverstraw from Hempstead on Long Island- but again this is still being researched.

Our first documented Hunt ancestor, Gilbert Hunt was born in approximately 1730. In 1774 he was a farmer in Haverstraw, Orange County, New York. Gilbert Married Elizabeth. Possibly her maiden name was L'Homidieu- which would explain the origin of a traditional middle name in the Hunt family for over 100 years. 

Gilbert and Elizabeth had 4 sons that we know of: Samuel1 (1756-1829), Reuben (1765-1820), Gilbert (dates unknown) and Joseph (1755-?).

The four Hunts made history on April 20th, 1775 as signors of a petition, the Orange Agreements, supporting the Continental Congress

"The men met on April 20th, 1775 at the home of Yoast Mabie in Haverstraw , where a petition was signed pledging to carry out “whatever measures may be recommended by the Continental Congress….. And opposing the execution of the several arbitrary and oppressive acts of the British Parliament until reconciliation between Great Britain and America on constitutional principles (which we most ardently desire) can be obtained” (This is from the History of Rockland County, Green, 1886)

Signors to this petition included Samuel Hunt1, Gilbart (Gilbert) Hunt, Joseph Hunt, and Reuben Hunt.

All four sons enlisted in The Orange County Militia, Second Regiment under Col Ann Hawk Hay.  Joseph Hunt was a quartermaster. The others were simply enlisted men. 

In the 1790 census, Hunts living in Haverstraw (only heads of families were listed until the 1850 census) were Gilbert Hunt, Samuel Hunt, Elizabeth Hunt (widow), Joseph Hunt and Reuben Hunt. By 1800, only Reuben remained in Haverstraw.

Samuel Hunt (Son of Gilbert) had 3 sons that we know of: Samuel Hunt2 (1780-1838), Gideon Hunt (1775-1839) and Joseph Hunt (177?-?).

Samuel l'Homidieu Hunt, Our Great x3 Grandfather was born January 15, 1799 in Haverstraw, son of Samuel2.

Samuel had a younger sister- Cornelia, born in 1825. She married James (Uncle Jim) McGowan in 1848 (Father of the system of paramutuel betting and Secretary of the Brighton Beach Race Track in Brooklyn). He also had a brother, Richard, born in 1804.

In 1800, Reuben remained in Haverstraw, while the rest of the Hunts moved into New York City. In the 1808 Longworth Directory, Gideon is listed at 13 Doyer. He was a mason.  In the early 1820s, Samuel3 became a butcher, working at the Fulton Market.

Samuel lived in the 17th ward of Manhattan, at 29 1/2 First (a block north of Houston and just east of Bowery) In the late 1820s he married Phebe Lyon Palmer, daughter of Oliver and Deborah Palmer (Of Greenwich, CT). Oliver was a Cartman. Together Samuel and Phebe  had 5 children: Maria Harriet born April 1, 1828, Joseph Sarles. born in February 1830, Deborah A born in 1832, Samuel L. born in April 1836, and Cynthia L. born on  Dec 22nd 1839.


In 1829, our ancestors living in Manhattan included:

Gideon Hunt, lived at 29 ½ First. He was a mason and was married to Mary Roberts.

Oliver Palmer (our great x 3 grandfather) lived at 171 Eldridge. He was a cartman and was married to Deborah Sarles.

Samuel L Hunt and his family lived at 29 1/2 First.

In 1839, the New York City Directory still shows the family clustered together in Ward 17:

Gideon Hunt Mason 56 Third

Samuel L Hunt, Butcher 83 Third

Richard Hunt Butcher 78 Third (Possibly a brother of Samuel)

Oliver Palmer Cartman 83 Third


Mary Palmer Barker

The Palmer and Hunt families were very close!  In fact, so close that Oliver Palmer's daughter Mary was long thought to be the daughter of Samuel Hunt.

Mary was born in 1827. In 1845 she married Titus Barker, a Hell Gate Pilot. They lived at 333 Cherry St, which is at the tip of Manhattan, then later on Cheever St in Brooklyn.

There is a tragic story in this family. Of their 7 children (that I know of), 3 died in 1860: Clara, age 15, Richard, age 13, and Mary Frances, age 4. 

The only written information found so far about this tragedy is this New York Times obituary dated March 27, 1860:

"Barker- In this city, on Sunday morning, March 25, while on a visit at the residence of her uncle, Isaac V Briggs, Clara w, daughter of Titus and Mary Barker.

The relatives and friends of the family are requested to attend the funeral, on Tuesday morning, March 27, at 9 ½ o’clock, at No.225 East Broadway without further notice. The remains will be taken to East Chester for interment."

Did the other 2 die in the same incident, or was the family struck multiple times in that year?

Titus died in 1880, Mary in 1896. The Barkers are buried At St Paul’s Churchyard, East Chester NY

76 Third- in 1839 Hunts lived at 78 and 83 Third

Phebe Lyon Hunt died on January 7, 1843 at the age of 32. She became the first Hunt buried at the Sound Beach Cemetery of the First Congregational Church of Greenwich, Ct. This was the ancestral church of the Palmer, Lockwood, Ferris, Huested and other Connecticut families with which the Hunts became close due to Samuel's marriage to Phebe Palmer. The title to lot # 49 of the cemetery had been deeded to Samuel L Hunt by the First Congregational Society in 1841. I actually found the original 1841 deed with the signatures of our ancestors when I visited the First Congregational Church! Phebe's headstone (below, showing how I had to etch it in order to bring out the worn inscription) reads
In The Memory of Phebe Lyon Hunt
Who Died on January 7, 1843
Aged 32 Years, 4 Months and 9 Days


On October 14, 1842- all of the Hunts who were butchers participated in the Croton Water Parade. Butchers on horseback made up a whole contingent, all in white aprons with their arms covered with traditional checkered sleeve protectors. Cynthia Hunt rode in a chariot. The Croton Water Parade was a huge event celebrating the completion of New York City's first water system.

In 1844 or early 1845, Samuel re-married. He married Ann Lydia Palmer, Daughter of Oliver and Deborah Palmer and the sister of Samuel's first wife Phebe. On November 14, 1845 my Great Great Grandfather, James Austin Hunt was born. Ann also gave birth to a daughter, Cornelia E Hunt, in 1846. During this time, George Bennett came to live with the Hunts. He was born about 1839. His relationship to the Hunts is a mystery yet to be solved! He is found living with various Hunts up until the 1880s, when the trail goes cold.


In 1850. Samuel  and Ann still lived at 29 First Street, which is between Houston and Second St.  I found an advertisement from the Allan Hay Soap and Candle Works, 35 First Street, dated 1858. The house pictured next door is very possibly the Hunt house!  The buildings in this picture were demolished and replaced in the 1880s. Below is a photograph of a building still standing nearby that is from the 1830s-1850s. McSorley's Ale House, established in 1854, is around the corner. Perhaps Samuel was a customer. Samuel was employed by Charles Cooper as a butcher at 29 Fulton Market. The Fulton Market is a major tourist attraction today.

House at left- the Hunts?

McSorley's- Established 1854

The Fulton Market, 1850

New York, about 1850

1820-1860 Period Building still standing

On March 15, 1859 Cynthia Hunt died at the age of 19. Samuel died of liver disease on November 15, 1859.  Both were buried in Greenwich at the First Congregational Church.
This was a devastating time. Short of funds- James and Cornelia were temporarily sent to live with an uncle in Brooklyn, while Ann took in two boarders-Emeline Patterson age 19 and Eliza Boyd age 23.
The headstones of Samuel and Cynthia are pictured below- still legible after over 150 years.

Samuel L Hunt 1799-1859

Cynthia L Hunt 1839-1859


We next visit the Hunt family in the early 1860s, shortly after Samuel's death. James, now 14, begins an apprenticeship as a printer at the New York Sun. Cornelia is 12 and attending school.  James A Bennett  is 20 and still living with the Hunts. He  works as a stone cutter.

The nation is now engaged in the Civil WarSamuel L (James older half brother) joins the 8th regiment, New York infantry, serving in a unit known as Varian's Battery.

Samuel survived the war and on April 20th, 1869 married Amanda Matilda Mcginnis. Amanda bore 13 children. Sadly, she outlived at least 8 of them. On their marriage certificate, Samuel's middle name is mis spelled "Lumdue" instead of L'Homidieu. I have traced the ancestors of Amanda Matilda and Samuel L to the present day, in Guilford, Connecticut.

Cornelius V Borden and his family lived nearby at 13 Second Avenue. In 1860, he was 46 and his wife Mary was 41. Mary's maiden name was Castine, and her father, Frederick Castine was born in France. Mary and Cornelius had 2 sons and a daughter. Frederick F. Borden was born in 1839. He served in the Civil War, in the 82nd NY Infantry. He was injured and died later in 1866 of a leg injury sustained in the war.  The Bordens also had a son, Richard Borden born in 1845. We are very fortunate to have photographs of Mary, Frederick, and Richard.

The V stands for Velsor. Cornelius was probably a grandson of Cornelius Van Velsor, father of the mother of Walt Whitman, and a direct ancestor of our ancestor Lillian Velsor.

Mary Borden (Castine), Mother of Maria Borden

Richard Borden, Brother of Maria Borden

Frederick Borden, Civil war Veteran, Brother of Maria

The Borden’s daughter Maria Velsor Borden, was born in 1848. The Hunt and Borden families were friends and work acquaintances.  (Cornelius was a Butcher at 7 Fulton Market). Young James and Maria were married sometime around 1868. They took up residence in Ward 13 (East side bounded by E. Broadway, Clinton, Rivington, and Norfolk Streets). James began working at the McGowan and Slipper Co, Magazine and Book Publishers, where he was to be employed for 51 years!  He worked there from its first day of business till the day the firm closed its doors. He was the primary compositor for the Scientific American in it's earliest days.

Maria Velsor Borden

James and Maria had 3 Children: Mary (Mae) Borden Hunt was born in 1869. Samuel L’Homidieu Hunt was born October 1st, 1872. Richard Austin Hunt (my Great Grandfather) was born July 6, 1876. The Hunts moved to Brooklyn and resided at 188 Leonard Street.

Mary Borden Hunt

Richard Austin Hunt age 6 (1882)

Richard Hunt age 17 (1893)

In February 1877, Maria came down with consumption. She was treated by Dr. Young. Maria Died at home in Brooklyn on September 22, 1877. She had been sick for 8 months. She was buried in Greenwich. James was now alone with 3 children ages eight (Mary), 5 (Samuel) , and one (Richard).

Grave of Maria Borden Hunt Greenwich, CT

On September 11, 1879, James married his second wife, Ida Lansing Devoe.  Ida was the daughter of George and Eliza J Devoe. They were married at St Paul's Lutheran Church in Brooklyn. Ida was born in New Jersey in 1862.  

Ann Hunts Headstone Sound Beach Cemetery

In 1882 Ida gave birth to a daughter, Cora Hunt.  In 1888 the Hunt Family lived at 1254 Bushwick in Brooklyn. This house is still standing (see below). Ida died on February 28, 1889. She is also buried at the First Congregational Church Cemetery in Old Greenwich, Ct. 
Ida's Last Ride 
Ida died after a surgery performed by Dr. Mary Amanda Dixon Jones went horribly wrong. The doctor, not wanting Ida to die in the hospital and thus impact her reputation, demanded that she be taken home. It was a cold and snowy night. James Hunt and George Devoe had to rent a carriage from an undertaker. Ida died the next morning. The Brooklyn Daily Eagle newspaper mounted a campaign against the doctor, who was subsequently indicted for manslaughter and medical malpractice. Her trial was front page news for many months, and the trial was the biggest in Brooklyn in the 1890s. A touching front page story, entitled Ida's Last Ride, details her last days and ride home. The trial is the subject of a book "Conduct Unbecoming a Woman" by REGINA MORANTZ-SANCHEZ

Headstone of Ida L Devoe (Hunt)

1254 Bushwick Ave Brooklyn- Hunt's home in 1888


In the early 1890s the Hunt family moved around the corner to a nicer home at 35 Eldert St in Brooklyn. This home also is still standing.  James still worked at Mcgowan and Slipper (30 Beekman, Manhattan). On November 12, 1890 Mary married Thomas Pierce Wilson. He was born in England. He was a steam fitter who aspired to be an actor. Mary and Thomas were known to everyone as Mae and Todd. Mae and Todd had 2 children- Mabel Wilson, born in 1895 and Austin Ferris Wilson, born October 13, 1896.

Samuel, James' half brother (the Civil War veteran) died on April 18, 1892. He is buried at Sound Beach, along with Amanda Matilda, who died on 30 Mar 1909.

35 Eldert St, Brooklyn- Hunt's home in the early 1890s

In the early 1890s, James began seeing Ida Ferris of Greenwich, Connecticut. He wanted the family to move to Greenwich, apparently even before he and Ida were married (In 1895).  Richard did NOT want to leave Brooklyn, so he stayed and was raised in the Borden household, by Mary Borden, his maternal Grandmother. Richard and his cousin Richard Howard Borden became lifelong friends. In later life Richard Howard Borden was  a captain in the New York Fire Dept. Richard A would always walk to the fire station after work to meet Richard H. They would then go have "a few" or so it is said!

On December 31 1895, James Austin Hunt married for the third time.  James married another Ida- Ida F Ferris of Greenwich Connecticut.  Ida was the daughter of Captain John Ferris. The Ferris family was among the first settlers of Greenwich in the early 1600s. James and Ida moved into the historic family home of her father, built in 1843 and located on Shore Road in Old Greenwich. This home still stands today and is on the Greenwich Register of Historical homes. Ida's mother was Mary E Husted. Ida's Great X4 Grandfather (James Ferris) is also my Great X7 Grandfather! Captain John was a "skipper extraordinaire" who was continually purchasing new boats and mortgaging his house and lands to do so. Celery and Strawberries for New York were his main cargo.

Graves of John and Mary Ferris, Parents of Ida and Lucy Ferris

Captain John Ferris House, Greenwich, CT

Richard Austin Hunt became a printer like his father.  On May 28, 1900 he married Lillian May Velsor of Oyster Bay, NY (Long Island). Family records always showed their marriage date as 1899. Probably because their first child, Ethel may Hunt, was born on 30 Jul 1900. The Velsor family has a long history which will be explored in the Velsor page of this website.
So we reach the end of the 19th Century. The family has begun it's split into 2 branches: Richard and the Hunt/Velsor/Borden branch in Brooklyn, and James and Samuel L in the Hunt/Ferris branch in Connectcut. It will be more than a century until the branches are reunited! 

james Austin Hunt