Monday, May 21, 2012

Captain Jesse D. Hunter


In the early LDS publication Times and Seasons is the following letter written by Elder Hunter while on his mission in Tennessee.

Jackson County, Ill. Dec. 26th 1839
Dear brethren in the Lord, having a few leisure moments I have taken my pen in hand to write a few lines to let you know what I have been doing since I saw you. I left Far West, last January the 14th and after a few days travel fell in company with Elder Jeremiah Mackley; we held three meetings in the State of Missouri, in the neighborhood of St. Charles; from thence we steered our course for this State [Tennessee], and after a few days travel we found ourselves in Jackson County where we commenced publishing the gospel, and very soon the honest in heart began to embrace the truth, after we had introduced eight souls into the kingdom and a number more believing. Br. Mackley was warned to leave and return to his family; then the whole burden rested on me; but the Lord was with me and confirmed my words with signs following; the sick were healed, and that not a few, and devils cast out also. I kept up a regular march until I had baptized 28, when Elder Benjamin Clapp arrived; we then with united force, pushed forth the conquest until we baptized 10 more;l we then organized them into branches and departed to travel to the south. I have just returned from the south and have found the brethren still firm in the faith, except a few who have tumbled over to try the faith of others as is usual. we had very good success for the time I stayed in the south, we held 25 meetings in McNary[sic] County Tennessee, and baptized 14 persons; we held 5 meetings in Tishamingo county, State of Mississippi and baptized 6 persons, and left a number who were believing. Br. B. Clapp is still preaching in the State of Mississippi and desires other Elders to come to his assistance.
I have understood that you are publishing the papers again, and I have taken some names, and have recieved[sic] the pay for the same, and if you will send the papers you shall have the pay for them when I come; I will come by April conference if the Lord will; I desire an interest in the prayers of the saints. I feel to exhort the young Elders, who am young also, to gird on their armour[sic], walk out into the field and commence reaping, for the harvest is truly plentious[sic] and the laborers few.-The sooner we preach the gospel, the sooner we will have rest, for God cannot, in rightousness[sic], bring about the Millemium[sic] until all are warned. No more at present, only yours &c. J. D. HUNTER.

[Unrelated side note.How does someone spell so many words wrong and yet correctly spell "Tishamingo"
?]

Jesse Divine Hunter (1806-1877) was born in Hopkinsville, Kentucky in 1806. He married Keziah Brown in 1825 in Kentucky. I have not located a baptism date, but it must have been before 1838. He served a mission in 1838 and 1839 which included Jackson County, about half way between Nashville and Knoxville. After several months he  relocated to McNairy County on the Tennessee/Mississippi border. He and his companion crossed over into Mississippi becoming the first missionaries in that state, before returning to Nauvoo in the fall of 1839. He returned to Tennessee in the first four months of 1844 to collect tithing and donations for the completion of the temple in Nauvoo. After bringing the donations back to Nauvoo,  he was one of the men charged with the defense of the city following the death of Joseph Smith. When the temple was finished he married his second wife Lydia Edmonds in 1846.

He stayed with the saints and was among the first to journey across Iowa to Council Bluffs. There he joined the Mormon Battalion in 1847 as captain of Company B. His second wife, Lydia, accompanied the Battalion. In San Diego his wife Lydia died shortly after the birth of their only son Diego.

Captain Hunter stayed in southern California when he was discharged, and took a job as an Indian Agent for the US Government. His first wife Keziah joined him and they lived in the Mormon settlement of San Bernadino until it was abandoned, at which time they moved to Los Angeles where he opened a successful brick business. In 1855 he traded his brick home in Los Angeles for 1,200 acres called Rancho CaƱada de los Nogales. He died in Los Angeles County on 27 August 1877.

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