P. E. Hunt, a representative of the business interests of Paxton, is well known as a gardener and farmer. He was born in La Salle county, Illinois, February 12, 1848, his parents being Cornelius and Elizabeth A. (Sidel) Hunt, the former a native of New Jersey and the latter of Pennsylvania. They were married in Ohio, to which state they had gone in early life with their respective parents. In 1828 they removed to Putnam county, Illinois, at which time there were only two or three families living in the county. The journey was made in a wagon drawn by ox-team over roads that were little more than a trail and they had to go to Chicago for supplies. Previous to taking up their abode in Illinois, they had resided for a time in Indiana on the Wabash river, east of Danville, Illinois, and had raised a crop there, bringing with them to this state supplies almost sufficient for one year's sustenance. There was no mill nor market near and the settlers had to depend upon their own labors and devices for everything. The method employed by Mr. Hunt to grind his com into meal was primitive in the extreme. Having cut down a large oak, he smoothed the top, bored holes in the stump some eighteen inches and set fire to it so that each hole was burned in the shape of a bowl. He then arranged a heavy sweep or hammer made of iron to pound his corn into meal. Neighbors came from fifteen to twenty-five miles to use this improvised mill, each man doing his own pounding and frequently remaining all night awaiting his turn. All around was the unbroken prairie or the uncut timber and the Indians were far more numerous than the white settlers. During the Black Hawk wai- Mr. Hunt took his wife back to Ohio, after which he returned to Illinois and assisted the white settlers in prosecuting the war and subjugating the savages. Purchasing land, he remained upon the farm for two years after his wife came to Illinois and later he purchased a farm on the prairie, where they lived until his death May 12, 1874. Thus passed away one of the honored pioneer settlers whose worth in the community was widely acknowledged, for he proved an able assistant in reclaiming this region for the purposes of civilization.
He and his wife were the parents of twelve children, all of whom reached adult age, namely: Mary, who first married John Moore and later became the wife of Harry Crawford but is now deceased; John, a retired farmer living in Melvin, Illinois; Caroline, the deceased wife of Ephraim Frazee; Sarah, who became the wife of Joshua Polin but is now deceased; Ann, who has also passed away; Enoch, a retired farmer making his home in Melvin; Ruth, the widow of Andrew Miller; Jane, the widow of James Dickson; Elizabeth, the widow of George Dickson; William, who served in the United States army for two years during the Civil war and is now living retired in Melvin; Jacob, who served as a soldier of the Civil war and was wounded at Altoona Pass, Georgia, his injuries resulting in his death; and P. E., whose name introduces this review.
The last named was educated in the country schools of LaSalle county and in youth became familiar with the arduous task of developing new land and carrying on the work of the farm. At the age of twenty years he was married to Miss Alice Campbell, a daughter of Joseph and Mary (Blakely) Campbell, who came originally from Kentucky to Illinois. In their family were eight children, as follows: William, who makes his home in Mattoon, Illinois; Louisa, the deceased wife of John Longnecker; Alice, now Mrs. Hunt; Sarah, the widow of James W. White; Laura, the wife of Douglas Conrad; Wallace, who is editor of a newspaper at Anderson, Indiana; Hilary, who is now serving as postmaster at Roberts; and Lawrence, who resides in Paxton.
Through the period of his early manhood Mr. Hunt carried on agricultural pursuits but on the 17th of June, 1889, removed to Paxton and became one of the founders of what is now the Paxton Hardware Manufacturing Company. In 1891 he sold his interest to his partner, F. E. Bonney, and purchased his present place at the edge of Paxton, consisting of twenty-four acres of land. Here he devotes his time and attention to the raising of garden produce, for which he finds a ready sale on the city market. His business is carefully conducted and is bringing to him well merited and gratifying success. He raises about five hundred chickens each year, making a specialty of brown leghorns and Rhode Island reds.
Unto Mr. and Mrs. Hunt have been born four children: Jacob W., now deceased; Murray E., who is engaged in the grocery business in Paxton; Frank, a veterinary surgeon of Gibson City; and Gertrude, the wife of John Waldron, a cabinet maker of this city.
Mr. Hunt has never aspired to office, although he has served as school commissioner and road commissioner. His wife is a member of the Methodist Episcopal church, and they are both highly esteemed in the community, their good qualities of heart and mind bringing to them the warm friendship of many with whom they have come in contact.

Extracted 16 Oct 2016 by Norma Hass from History of Ford County, Illinois, From Its Earliest Settlement to 1908, author E. A. Gardner, Volume 2, pages 497-499.

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