Hunt's Lane

This street name stands as a memorial to Captain Jefferson Hunt, who has been called the father of San Bernardino County.1

Image of Captain Jefferson Hunt
Captain Jefferson Hunt

Hunt was born in 1805 in Kentucky. He and his wife joined the Mormon Church in Missouri in 1835. Hunt and two of his sons joined the Mormon Battalion, and after its discharge, they journeyed north to the gold fields in Colima. They were very successful in their mining operations, after which they continued to Salt Lake. The rest of his family joined him there, having migrated to that city with Brigham Young, and were, when he rejoined them, in a destitute condition. Hunt made two more trips to California, guiding parties, and in 1851 was one of three pilots for the main Mormon migration.

After the Mormon Fort was constructed, to guard against attacks by hostile Indians, it was Hunt, as senior captain, who was responsible for maintaining the establishment. He had about 150 able-bodied men at this command.

In 1852, when the church Elders decided they needed to construct a road up what is now known as Waterman Canyon, to reach timber stands in Seeley and Huston Flats, it was Hunt who was put in charge. In two and a half weeks, with one thousand days of labor, he and his men made a passable route up this difficult Canyon. Many area residents have noted the wagon wheel monument on Highway 18 enroute to Crestline, and not a few confuse this monument as one commemorating the original entry of the Mormons into the Valley. However, it marks the spot where this lumber road crosses the present highway.

In 1853, Hunt was elected one of two members to represent Los Angeles County in the State Legislature, and it was Hunt who was instructed to present a petition asking for a division of San Bernardino from Los Angeles County. The act was passed in April 1853, and Hunt was made representative of San Bernardino County.

After his return with the Saints to Salt Lake in 1858, Captain Hunt took a mail contract from Salt Lake to Humboldt. He also took up land in Utah and later secured a large ranch in Idaho. In 1860 he founded Huntsville, a flourishing agricultural settlement, near Ogden. He died in Oxford, Idaho, in 1866. Captain Hunt and his wife had eleven children, and the names of three of his daughters will be recognized as other San Bernardino street names. They were Mrs. Nancy Daley, Mrs. Harriet Mayfield, and Mrs. Jane Stoddard.

[According to historian Arda Haenszel, Hunt's Lane is named for Ambrose Hunt, not Jefferson Hunt. In her article on "Jumuba", Ms. Haenszel says:

"A party of English immigrants reached San Bernardino in June 1857, among them Ambrose Hunt and George Cooley. Hunt acquired the Benson property at Homoa [Jumuba] and proceeded to develop it as a successful farm. He and Cooley, who settled on the land immediately west, opened the Hunt-Cooley irrigation ditch from the Santa Ana River. By 1871, Hunt's taxable assets at Homoa including the land, stock, farm implements, furniture, and other personal effects, amounted to well over $154,000.

"An item in the San Bernardino GUARDIAN dated May 27, 1876, noted that 'the ruins of the fort are still visible near the house and on the ranch of Ambrose Hunt, Esq.' A red brick house, which stood on Hunt's Lane, is thought to have been built by Hunt in 1882, but it may well have been there earlier. The street, of course, derives its name from Ambrose, not Jefferson Hunt."]

1 Ingersol, op. cit. p. 149.

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