Puzzle: Other NC-Rutherford Hunts

A part of the puzzle of parents and ancestors of Thomas Sr. is an as yet undetermined relationship to other Hunts in Rutherford County North Carolina in the 1800-1820 time period. They include Absolom “Ab” Hunt, William “Wat” Hunt , William “Kinchen” Hunt, and Catherine Hunt, all of whom appear as heads of household on the 1800, 1810, and/or 1820 Rutherford County, North Carolina census. All lived within about a four-square mile area of Rutherford County, according to veteran Rutherford County historian Harold Rollins who also has a connection with one of the Hunt families. These locations are confirmed by a study of maps and deed information for these individuals.

One published family history for the Taylor-Hunt and allied families in the area states that Thomas Hunt of the 1820 census is a brother of Wat Hunt.[1]  However, there is no documentation in the book to support the claim. The book emphasizes that Absolom Hunt and Wat hunt are not related, however, another book featuring Haw-Hunt families, states just the opposite: that Ab and Wat are brothers.[2]

A study of the 1800 census shows one male in the Wat Hunt household older than any of his known children.[3]

Thomas Hunt and Kinch Hunt seem to follow the child naming patterns of Wat Hunt. Wat’s known children, in birth order, are William, Elizabeth, Stephen, Sarah, James, Thomas, Lewis Tyas, Catherine, Mary, and John. Kinch’s children are Phoebe, Sarah, William, John, James Madison, Robert, Thomas B., and Martin J. Thomas Sr.’s are Elizabeth “Betsy”, Absolom, James, John, Stephen, Thomas, Martha Cassandra, Madison, Mary Mahala, and Samuel. In addition, Wat’s daughter Catherine married Joseph Grayson Devinney, grandson of Joseph Grayson, from whose original land grant Thomas Sr. sold his property in 1819 before moving to Tennessee. Likewise, Rutherford County Graysons were intermarried with Bedfords. Wat’s wife was Rebecca Bedford, and Thomas Sr.’s daughter Betsy married a James Bedford, a nephew of Rebecca and son of Stephen and Polly Bedford. When another of Rebecca’s brothers, Seth Bedford,  was married October 10, 1796, the bondsman was Wat Hunt.[4]

Descendants of Wat and Ab Hunt, and sister Catherine, all in Rutherford County by the early 1800’s and who would live out their lives there, have a similar situation in finding their parents and ancestors. They cannot prove the names of their parents. Speculation has led to a John Hunt who married an Elizabeth Tyas in Virginia and then came to western North Carolina, but there is no conclusive evidence. It is possible, but clearly not proven, that these three, Thomas, and Kinch are related in some way. If related, two possible scenarios are that  (1) Thomas Sr. and perhaps Kinch Hunt were raised by brother or Uncle Wat Hunt after the death or disappearance of Thomas’ Hunt parents (making him or both orphans) or (2) the same thing happened but that they were McFarlands and either were adopted or not legally adopted but took the Hunt name. Thus, as an adopted son(s), Thomas Sr. would have not shared in estate distribution in Wat’s will. It is also entirely possible that his relationship to other Hunts of Rutherford County is purely a coincidence of geography: they just lived near each other.

Thomas Sr.’s possible enumeration on the 1800 census in the household of William “Wat” Hunt of Rutherford County, North Carolina is based on a male child 10-16 years of age older than any known child of Wat Hunt and wife Rebecca Bedford.

1800 Census Rutherford County, North Carolina

Hunt, William, page 120

Male               0-10     10-16    16-18              16-26   26-45   45+                 

2          1            0                    1          1          0

Female            0-10     10-16    16-18              16-26   26-45   45+     

1          0            0                    0          1          1

Known children of Wat and Rebecca born by 1800 were Stephen born ca 1797 (age 3 in 1800), William born ca 1799 (age 1 in 1800), and Elizabeth born 1795 (age 5 in 1800). Thomas Hunt, Sr. would have been 12 or 13 in this census. William Kinchen Hunt, born about 1778, would have been 21 to 22.  Wat Hunt was 27 to 28 in 1800 and Rebecca Bedford Hunt 28 to 29.

By 1810, William K. Hunt appears on the Rutherford County, North Carolina census, page 108 with 1 male 26-45 and 1 female 26-45 (wife Rebecca Simmons) and no children. Thomas does not appear on the census, but he possibly was missed entirely or perhaps in the household of the parents of his young wife Lucy. Their marriage is estimated about 1809 with first child born estimated about 1810.

In 1820, Thomas appears on the Rutherford County, North Carolina census on page 387 and again on page 392. (The double listing is considered typical of a number of such in the early censuses.) Other Rutherford Hunts are enumerated on these pages: Absolom 327, Catharine 328, William (Wat) 328, William K. 328, and William Jr. 327 and 389. (Note the two listings for William Jr. are considered errors, as is a second listing on page 392 for Thomas Hunt.) Joseph Grayson, from whose land grant Thomas sold land in 1819, was listed on page 387.

1820 Census Rutherford County, North Carolina

Hunt, Thomas, page 358 or page 392

Male               0-10     10-16    16-18              16-26   26-45              

5          1            0                    0          1

Female            0-10     10-16    16-18             16-26   26-45  

1                       0                   0            1

(Page 358 listing is same as for page 392 except for females 0-10. Page 358 shows 2 and page 392 indicates 0.)

Thomas’s known children in 1820 were (males under 10: Absolom b. 1811, James b. 1812, John b. about 1815, William b. 1816, Stephen b. about 1819), (males 10-16: unknown male b. about 1810), (males 26-45: Thomas Sr. b. about 1787). (females 10-16: Elizabeth Betsy b. about 1810), and (females 26-45: Lucy b. about 1787).

An examination of North Carolina census records reveals no other Thomas Hunt who so closely matches the ages or birth places later indicated on censuses of the known children of Thomas and Lucy Hunt.

[1] Taylor, Wilson A., Genealogy Of John Langford Taylor And Elizabeth Martha Ann Esther Taylor, St. Louis, Missouri, 1937, p. 174.

[2] Haw, Joseph L., The McSpad(d)en Family Ancestry, Augustums Printing Service, Lincoln, Nebraska, 1982, p. 164.

[3] Taylor, Genealogy Of John Langford Taylor And Elizabeth Martha Ann Esther Taylor, p. 170.

[4] Marriage Records of Rutherford County, North Carolina, Seth Bedford to Mary Francis, October, 10, 1796.

One Comment on “Puzzle: Other NC-Rutherford Hunts”

  1. Lana says:

    This is simply awesome research you have compiled!! Thank you for sharing this. My father is a Grigg(s)/DeViney/Hunt and grew up in the Maggie Valley area. He is still sharp and recalls fairly well his family history.
    He is 86. This research for me is a labor of love honoring him. I was hoping to close some gaps in the Hunt side for him.
    Appreciate your hard work here and will be sharing it with him soon, CoVid19 allowing.


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