John H. Hunt, a prominent farmer and a well-known veteran of Hill, was born in Dorchester, N.H., January 8, 1826, son of Jonathan and Eliza (Holmes) Hunt. His grandfather, who was born in Lexington, Mass., kept a tavern at the time Washington took command of the Continental army. Jonathan Hunt was a carriage-builder, and also kept a lumber wharf at East Cambridge, Mass., until the Lowell railroad was built. He died at Hopkinton, N.H., at the age of eighty-four years. He first married Hannah Larkin, of Lexington, Mass. His second wife, in maidenhood Eliza B. Holmes, was the mother of John H. Hunt, who is the only child.
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As his father was living in East Cambridge during his son’s boyhood, John Hunt obtained his education in the schools of that town. After leaving school he went to sea, and when only twenty-three years old he was master of a vessel. Subsequently for five years he traded on the east and west coasts of Africa. During Mr. Hunt’s sea life he had some thrilling experiences. While sailing in the ship “United States,” Captain Calvin G. Worth, the ship was wrecked, and the crew were without food and water for two days and two nights. Finally they succeeded in making a landing on Tongataboo, one of the Friendly Islands, where they remained three months. They then went to Eoa, another island of the same group, and were at length taken off by a vessel and landed on Van Diemen’s Land, where for four months Mr. Hunt did not see a white man. On another occasion Mr. Hunt incurred the displeasure of the British government by assisting the political exile, William Smith O’Brien, in an attempt to escape from New Zealand. Nine years elapsed from the time at which he embarked from Boston before he set foot in that city again. During that period he was sailing vessels on the Pacific, going as far north as the Sea of Okhotsk and as far south as New Zealand.
At length, abandoning the sea, Mr. Hunt became proprietor of a store in Cambridge, Mass., which he kept for two years. He then sold out; and in 1858 he bought of Senator Austin F. Pike a farm in Franklin, N.H., near Shaw’s Corner. When the Civil War broke out, in 1861, Mr. Hunt enlisted as a private in Company A, Captain Sturtevant, of the Fifth New Hampshire Regiment. After being discharged from Davis Island Hospital on November 23, 1862, he returned home and stayed until 1863, when he joined the invalid corps. A member of Company E, Thirteenth Regiment, he was assigned for a time to the Beach Street barracks in Boston, and also served in the Provost Marshal’s office at Concord, Mass., receiving his final discharge in August, 1865. In 1863, while on a furlough, Mr. Hunt sold his farm in Franklin and bought the Jonathan Dickerson place in the town of Hill, near the Danbury line. Having repaired the buildings on the property, he has since made it his home.
Mr. Hunt has been twice married. His first wife, Harriet N. Hood Hunt, was the mother of two children-Elizabeth C. and Mary P. Elizabeth married Frank P. Hill, of Portsmouth; and Mary is the wife of George L. Batchelder and the mother of two children-Willie and Ora Bell. The present Mrs. Hunt was Miss Caroline T. Swett, of Hill, daughter of John and Sally (Sargent) Swett. In politics Mr. Hunt is an Independent. He is a member of the Nelson Post, No. 40, G. A. R., of Bristol; and he has been Selectman of the town for two years. His first Presidential vote was cast in 1856 for James Buchanan.