HUNT, Joshua,* a native of the township of East Caln, and in which he spend his days, was in the years 1818-20 and 1823-25 elected a member of the House of Representatives of Pennsylvania, and in 1826 a member of the State Senate, in which he served four years. He was the son of Samuel Hunt, who was the son of Roger Hunt, who during the French and Indian war was a commissary in the service of George III., and his account-books of that service are still in the possession of his descendants. It is asserted by the descendants of Roger Hunt that he, in the capacity of surveyor, laid out the plan of the city of Lancaster, and owned a large part of the ground on which the city is built, but the family allowed it to be sold to satisfy the claims for taxes. Roger Hunt's wife was an Aston, and from them he came into possession, in the year 1739, of a tract of land on the west side of the Brandywine, now partly within the limits of the borough of Downingtown. This was mostly woodland, and known as "Aston Terrace," embracing an area of 500 acres. The family mansion, built in 1727-28, is still in fine preservation, and known as the "Hunt Mansion," though long since passed from the family name. It was built in the old English style, the various colored brick having been, according to tradition, imported from England; and its wide hall, sharp gables, and heavy wainscoting show that the owner was a man of no mean pretensions.
This estate passed to the heirs of Roger; Samuel, the father of Joshua, inheriting the family mansion and five hundred acres. Here Joshua was born, the third of a family of five sons and two daughters. One of the latter was the mother of George Fisher, who for many years was in the newspaper business in Chester County. The other was the mother of Samuel H., Cyrus, Pratt, and William B. Hoopes, of Londongrove. On the death of Samuel, Joseph and Joshua became joint owners, and occupied the family mansion. Both were men of more than usual ability. The former was a merchant for many years, afterwards an extensive railroad contractor in this State and Georgia, while Joshua devoted his time to study and statesmanship. He, as were all of the race, was a man of stalwart build, dignified and slow in all his actions, and a close observer, as well as a vigorous thinker; he acquired a fund of knowledge such as is possessed by few persons. He has often remarked to the writer of this sketch that his memory of what he had seen and studied was a positive burden to him, crowding out original efforts of the mind. He was highly esteemed by his neighbors, was a kind of oracle in the vicinity, and filled all the stations in the township from constable to school director; was the umpire to whom all resorted for the maintenance of order, and an authority on all questions of science, political economy, or general knowledge. As a member of the General Assembly, contemporary with Thaddeus Stevens, James Buchanan, and other political giants of the period, he was distinguished for the vigor of his judgment on public matters, and secured an honorable standing in those bodies. But for a constitutional love of ease, to which he gave way, it is claimed that he might have gained a high position in the civil service of the State. After retiring from office he, with his brothers, engaged extensively in the growing of improved breeds of sheep, notably the merinos; and there is evidence extant of their enterprise in this line in the fact that they paid for a single animal to improve their flock the large sum of $1000.
Though for many years a popular gallant, he never married. The only
descendants of Roger Hunt living who bear the name of Joshua and Joseph
Hunt, members of the Crane Iron Company of Catasauqua, and who were sons of
Thomas Hunt, Joshua's youngest brother. He died at the family mansion on
March 3, 1857, aged over seventy-two years, having been born Jan. 17, 1785.
*Furnished by Dr. John P. Edge.