Subsequent sources tell us that future Albany resident Abijah Hunt was born in Sussex County, New Jersey in March 1762. More than one set of parents is plausible for that birth date. The existence of same-named contemporaries advises caution in the assignment of qualitative information. First, we seek defining information on this Abijah's precise origins and path to Albany.
He is said to have served in the Continental army at Valley Forge in 1777-78 first as a substitute for his ailing brother. However, more focused and verifiable wartime information dates his initial service to 1776 and is much more detailed.
About 1782, he is said to have married Mary Ann Dunn (reputedly in Albany). The marriage may have produced seven to eleven children. In November 1799, his son Andrew was christened at the Albany Dutch church. In May 1799, Abijah Hunt paid the Dutch church eleven shillings for a pall and hearse for his mother. In April 1801, he was welcomed into the First Presbyterian church where he subsequently became an active member.
This individual probably did not live in Albany during the early 1790s. The first Federal Census, provides household head information for a number of Abijah Hunts in states from New Hampshire to Mississippi - but not in New York. At the same time, several Dunns headed households were found in greater Albany County. During the 1790s, his accounts (for advance payments to the army) were reimbursed by the US War Department. Putting such service behind him, we are reasonably certain that he was living in Albany by the end of the decade.
In 1799, his house and lot in the first ward was valued modestly. In 1800, his first ward household included seven members and set an approximate date for his birth. His was one of four "Hunt-named" households in the booming city. A decade later, the city census chartered the development of his family.
In April 1800 and 1801, he was identified as a "grocer" and was charged $10 for a license.
The first city directory in 1813 listed his address as 167 Court Street. For the remainder of the decade, he kept an "Ordinary" at 167 and then 572, South Market Street. His household was configured on the Albany census in 1820.
A descendant has noted that "During his time there [Albany], Abijah worked at various jobs from a law clerk to a dry goods storekeeper." In his sixties during the 1820s, he left Albany for the west.
Pension application: In 1833, he was living in the town of Sterling in Cayuga County when he submitted a pension application recounting his service during the Revolutionary War. It corroborated his birth information and stated that in 1776 he first volunteered then enlisted in a Jersey regiment for a period of three years. He also served with his brother on board an American ship taking prizes in the Atlantic. Captured by a British ship, he was imprisoned in Ireland then in Plymouth, England. After a year, he was exchanged and returned to New Jersey where he served in the militia. Afterwards he lived in the city of Albany for 30 years before moving to Sterling. Supporting affidavits further detailed his wartime ordeal and noted his life in Albany in 1800 when Hunt was said to have been in the "Mercantile Business." Abijah Hunt later was granted an annual pension of $100 - retroactive to 1831. It appears that he may have received a land bounty in central New York as well.
He is said to have operated a hotel in Cayuga County before returning to his New Jersey roots for the remainder of his life. His gravestone tells us that Abijah Hunt died in April 1852 and was buried in Warren County, New Jersey.
Sources: The life of Abijah Hunt is CAP biography number 8595. This sketch is derived chiefly from family and community-based resources. Internet-based information on this subject (and on other same-named contemporaries) abounds. However, much of it relates to his life before and after his time in Albany.
first posted 2/10/17; updated 6/16/17