(June 6, 1801 - November 10, 1871)


(May 6, 1801 - Augustl5, 1895)

By Stella H. Day


How does one write about an ancestor whom one has never met? This question has confronted me since I began thinking about this book. Eventually, I began doing research on my ancestors, and as I pieced together the bits of information gleaned from letters, from old records of the Latter-Day-Saints Church, from census records, deeds, wills, and other records, definite images began taking shape, especially if I had a portrait of the ancestor. Perhaps my impressions will not correspond with yours, however, I shall report my conclusions as I picture them. James Huntsman son of James Huntsman and Catherin Huntsman, was born June 6, 1801, probably in Northumberland County, Pennsylvania, and moved with his parents to Perry, Richland County, Ohio. Here James met and married Mary Johnston, November 19 1822. From a letter written to Heber G. Gearhart.-Researcher, Sudbury, Pa., we quote "James Huntsman, 3rd, born June 6, 1801, married Mary Johnston, born June-6, 1800, the daughter of Samuel and Elizabeth Johnston. There is family tradition that Samuel Johnston came f om New York.

We do not know just how many brothers and sisters James had; but from a journal kept by Gabriel Huntsman. son of James and Mary, who served two missions for the Latter Day Saints Church, we find references about the relatives Gabriel visited as follows: "Arrived at William Huntsman's June 14, 1857 (a cousin), stayed four days; visited an aunt and uncle, Jacob and Catherine Huntsman Potts, June 18, 1857 stayed with Alfred Huntsman ( a cousin) These two cousins and his Aunt Catherine lived in Iowa. "July 27, 1857, arrived at Dallas Illinois, at the home of my sister Loviria and her husband, Nelson Lofton." Gabriel stayed at his sister's home until Aug. 4, then left for Toronto, Canada, where he served a missionary until all missionaries were called back to Salt Lake because of Johnston's Army arriving in the valley,

On the way back to Utah, Gabriel again visited his sister Lovina at Dallas, Illinois, from Oct . 7, to Nov. 3, 1857, working at odd jobs on the farms until he could earn enough money to take him part of the way.

Gabriel arrived at the home of William Huntsman, his cousin, in Fnierson, Iowa, on Nov. 13, 1857. Although he had another cousin, Alfred Huntsman, and an Aunt Catherine in Fairbank, Iowa, Gabriel seemed lo prefer to stay with his Cousin William in Emerson, Iowa.

From Nov. 13 to January 17, 1858, Gabriel worked in Crescent City, Council Bluffs, and the surrounding area, to earn money to get back to Utah, preaching the gospel whenever he had the opportunity,

Dec. 2, 1871, Gabriel left Ogden by train for his second mission, but the train became bogged down in the snow and it took eight days to get from Ogden to Emerson, Iowa, where he preached on, January 10, 1872. From the 10th of Jan. 1872 to Jan. 13th, Gabriel d missionary work in Council Bluffs and the surrounding area. He met a Mr Garner who belonged to the Mormon Battalion and knew Isaiah Huntsman, Gabriel's brother, who was also a member of the Mormon Battalion. From Jan. 13 to Jan. 19, Gabriel was traveling through Iowa and Illinois and on January 19, Gabriel arrived in Brimfield, Illinois, and saw Israel Huntsman, a second cousin of James. Gabriel visited with the family and had many opportunities to preach the gospel.

Gabriel stayed with Washington Potts, a brother to his Uncle Jacob Potts, and his family until Jan. 20 when he went to visit his Uncle Jacob Huntsman and family who lived six miles from Brimfield.. Jan 22 Gabriel visited with another uncle, the Jeremiah Huntsman family, who lived three miles from the Jacob Huntsman family near Brimfield, Illinois. On Jan. 25 son-in-law of Jeremiah Huntsman named Alfred Grey, died of lung fever and was buried Jan. 26, 1872.

Jan. 24, 1872, Gabriel preached at the home of his Uncle Jacob, at the invitation of Jacob's son, Porter Huntsman. Gabriel also said "I visited with George Huntsman and family and got a record of their family." Beliville, Illinois Gabriel visited with George Weirick , the son of Peter a Deborrah Huntsman Weirick, who was a cousin of Gabriel.

From Jan 31 to the night of February 1, Gabriel was on the train going to Ohio to continue his mission, and arrived at the home of Peter and Deborrah Weirick on the night of Feb. 1, 1872. Deborrah was the oldest sister of James Huntsman. Gabriel mentions that "Zelbv Weirick, his wife and three children live with his father and mother." He also mentions cousin Deborah who married Eligah Rule.

On Feb. 5th Gabriel visited his second cousins, James, William, and Amorah Huntsman. Gabriel said "We got in the sleigh and went over to home of James W. Huntsman and took dinner."

We therefore learn from the journals of Gabriel Huntsman that he only visited two brothers and two sisters of James, these are: Jerimiah and Jacob Huntsman, within three miles of each other near Brimfield, Illinois. Catherine Potts who married Jacob Potts and lived in Fairbank, Iowa, and another sister, Deborrah, who married Peter Weirick and lived near Darlington, Ohio. There were relatives scattered between Ohio, Illinois and Iowa, and Gabriel also mentions his Uncle Jesse's place where visited his old home in Ohio.

LaReah Huntsman Toronto, a great-granddaughter of Isaiah Huntsman, son of James, sends me the following information: "James and Mary lived in Richland County most of the time that they lived in 0hio, however, they did live in Lake County for a short time while James worked on the Kirtland Temple and contributed to its building, according to records in the Church Historian's office. He was in Nauvoo and his name picked up as the head of the house in the 1840 census.

James Huntsman married only once but according to the journal of Ira Ames, James would have taken more wives, except Mary wouldn't give her consent. Sarah Johnston, a sister of Mary's lived with them, and when the wife of Ira Ames died, Ira asked Sarah to be his wife.

While in Nauvoo, James took his six year old son, Peter, to the building of the Nauvoo Temple and when Peter became afraid of the oxen, Joseph Smith took Peter in his arms and let him touch the oxen and explained to him that the oxen were not real.

James is recorded as being closely associated with both Joseph Smith and Brigham Young; he is listed to be a man of great means and generous when called upon."

James and Mary had the following children: Lovinah, who married Nelson Lofton, was born April 1, 1823; Catherine, was born Sept. 27, 1824; Isaiah was born Sept. 14, 1826; Isaic was born Aug. 19, 1828 and died of cholera in Potauattamie County, Iowa, July 15, 1850. Isaiah was baptised July 10, 1850, by Jacob Bigler. Gabriel was born October 5, 1830; William, born July 28, 1832; Jacob, born July 5. 1834; Jesse, born September 19, 1836; Peter, born February 18, 1839, Sarsh, born June 5, 1841; Kisiah, born Septernber 21, 1843.

'They lived on a big farm near the town of Perry, Richland County, Ohio, but sold the farm when the Saints decided to move west. The James Huntsman family moved slowly west with the Saints, building homes and planting crops wherever the Saints lived until they were driven out. While they were living in Ohio, James was called on ' a mission to Tennessee, and left Mary with a large family to support while he served his mission, Since there were many Huntsman's in Ohio at this time, Mary probably had the help of many of the brothers and sisters of James, to assist her in taking care of the family while James was away.

According to Peter Huntsman, a son of James and Mary, his father, James had the following brothers and sisters: John, Jeremiah, Peter, Jacob, William, Samuel, (which would make seven boys in the family counting James); Peter could not remember the names of the two girls, however Gabriel visited both of them on his missions, and we know they were Deborrah, the oldest member of the family, who married Peter Weirick and lived near Darlington, Ohio; and Catherine, who married Jacob Potts and lived in Fairbaink, Buchanan County, Iowa. Gabriel records many incidents of his visits with these two aunts and their good husbands, of whom he was genuinely fond. He mentions that his Aunt Cary went with him to visit his uncle Jerimiah, who was very sick. "Uncle Jerry", as Gabriel called Jeremiah, related a vision to them which he had had, and Gabriel concludes, "Uncle Jerry looks bad, very bad. He reminds me of father." James (Gabriel's father) had died in May, 1871 and Gabriel left for his second mission in December of 1871. Gabriel also said, "Aunt Cary gave me a pair of socks."

We will turn to Gabriel's Journal and let him tell us his impressions of his Uncle Peter Weirick and his Aunt Deborrah:

" Friday, Feb. 2, 1872: Safe at Uncle Peter and Aunt Deborrah Weirick's in Richland County, Ohio. I am now at my father's oldest sister home. She is a hale old lady of seventy-eight years. Also Peter Weirick is a healthy but common-sized man, who looks about fifty years old, however he was born July 25, l794 and looks as though he might live fifty year longer. Aunt Debby does her own housework; they are a clever and very nice family. One of the girls heard that I had come so she came over to visit with me and stayed all night. This is the cousin I tried to find in Mansfield she is a very nice woman. The folks are very kind to me. Uncle Peter address is Darlington Post Office, Richland Co., Ohio. My cousin Zelby lives here with his father. He has a wife and three children. My cousin Deborah who is here to visit with me married a man by the name of Eliga Rule. They live in Mansfield, Ohio.

"Sunday. Feb. 4, 1872. Uncle Peter proposes to go with me to Father old place. His son, Zelby, hitched the horse to the sleigh and we soon arrived at the place of my birth, I found a clever family living on the old home, by the name of Edward Streby, and the man that lived on Uncle Jesse's place is named James Strome. The folks treated me very kindly and the woman of the house said that we must stop and take dinner with them. She got a variety of things which she said were raised on the place, and she wished we would taste them all so I could tell my mother about them. I visited the old milk house, and the meadow, and it all looked very natural to me, although it has been 33 years since I left here. The Streby's said thay paid $3650 for the old home."

From this item we learn that Gabriel was only eight years old when the family left Perry, Richland Co., Ohio, which means that Peter, Sarah, a Kesiah were not born at the old home. Peter tells us he was born in Jackson County, Missouri. Gabriel also mentions his Uncle Jesse's place which identifies one more of the brothers of James. This journal entry also probably explains why Peter could not remember the names of the sisters of James, since he was born while the family was traveling west with the Mormons and Peter probably never did see either of his Aunts, since we find from Gabriel's Journal that he hadn't seen them since he was eight years old.

Peter also tells us that John, oldest brother of James, was stabbed by an Indian on the Mississippi River in 1846 (John was probably travel with the Mormons). Peter continues, "Uncle Peter, the one that I was named after, died in Iowa, and Samuel also died in Iowa. William moved with the Mormons from Illinois to Iowa, and then to Salt Lake City later settled in Cache Valley where he died."

From the writings of Gabriel and Peter, sons of James and Mary, can conclude that James had six brothers and two sisters, making nine children born to James and Catherine Weirick Huntsman.

From the Messenger and Advocate, Vol. 3, P. 415, we learn "At a conference held in Perry Church, Richland County, Ohio, Sept. 4, 1836, it was voted that James Huntsman, a Priest in the Perry Church, then off on a mission in the Southern States, be ordained an Elder."

From the journal of Joseph Smith: "Oct. 7, 1842: This day the teachers for the school of the prophets met and organized in Nauvoo, Ill., with Elish Averett, President, James Huntsman, First Counselor, James Hendricks, Second Counselor."

Friday, July 17, 1846. Pleasant Morning, Camp Israel, Council Bluffs, Journal of Church History. "President Brigham Young selected the brethren to act as Bishops: James Huntsman...... (Then follows many other names.)

When the Saints were driven from Missouri, among the claims listed for property loss recorded were: James Huntsman $1250.00; Jacob Huntsman, $725.00; John Huntsman, $200.00; James W. Huntsman, $100.00; Lydia Huntsman, $140.00; Peter Huntsman $700.00, (Nov. 29, 1839.) (James, Jacob, John, and Peter Huntsman were brothers.)

Petition for a post office at Potawattamie, Iowa, Jan. 20, 1848; signed by inhabitants of the township: "James Huntsman, Chandler Holbrook, Orson Holbrook, Joseph Holbrook, Jacob Huntsman, Noah Bartholomew, Lewis Bartholomew, Willis Bartholomew, Levi H. McCullough...... and many other names which I did not copy; however, these men all came to Fillmore, Utah.

March 17, 1846: "James Huntsman of the Nauvoo Legion in Camp."

July 11, 1846: "Some men were out harvesting wheat, when a mob surrounded them. They were then taken and whipped severely and sent back to Nauvoo with oaths, and told to stay there. Among these men was James Huntsman."

Gabriel Huntsman tells of three of his family who were at Hauns Mill during the massacre. Gabriel was then just sixteen years old, very agile and fleet of foot. The three hid under some logs and thus escaped being murdered. One boy ten years old had hidden in the blacksmith shop, and the mob dragged him out and blew off the top of his head, saying, "It is no worse to kill a Mormon than it is to kill an Indian. It is no worse to kill an Indian than it is to kill a wild animal. He would have grown up to be a Mormon and it is better to kill him now." Thus the mob justified the killing of nineteen people murdered at the settlement of Hauns Mill, where about thirty families of Mormons were living.

The James Huntsman family crossed the plains with the Mormons in 1851 and lived in Salt Lake for one year, before being sent to Fillmore by Brigham Young in Oct. 1852. For more on James and family in Utah read [HUNTSMAN"S IN FILLMORE]

In addition to the brothers and sisters of James mentioned in the journals of Gabriel Huntsman, we have an account of John Huntsman, hunting deer with his brother-in-law, Peter Weirick. Peter was the husband of Deborrah Huntsman, oldest sister of James Huntsman. The following article was written by Mary E. Simons, a granddaughter of Peter and Deborah Huntsman Weirick. (Morrow County, Ohio, History, Pages 826-27.)

"Peter Weirick, oldest son of John and Elizabeth Weirick, was born in Washington Co., Pennsylvania, July 25, 1794. His parents were of German descent and reared to manhood and womanhood nine children. His father was a farmer and millwright, and left his native state when Peter was a small child, settling in Belmont Co., Ohio. Here he learned to read and write and cipher, which is all that was taught in the schools of his time. He never attended school after he was twelve years old. When Peter was 12 years old his father again sold his property and moved to Guernsey County, Ohio, where they lived for about six years. Being of a roving nature, never satisfied, the father again sold out and moved to Richland County, Ohio, settling on the stream known as Mohican. Here he entered land, and as he had not been able to obtain the money from the sale of his land in Guernsey County, they were compelled to live very poorly, indeed for some time their clothing, warp and woof, was manufactured by their own hands.

By this time Peter had reached his eighteenth year, and had never worn ought but home-spun. This was in 1812 and the unbroken forest contained every variety of wild game, and Peter developed a passion for hunting, which seemed to be innate and has characterized him from that day to this.

He, being the oldest son, ranged the forest that the family might have meat, while his father labored in the mill and in various ways labored to keep the wolf from the door. In the years following 1812, the Indians gave the settlers much trouble, and they built forts under the command of Samuel Watson, erected a block house on the site of Bellville which consisted then of just a few dwellings. In this place of refuge they spent most of the summer, but late in the fall they returned to their homes.

Just after his 22nd birthday, Peter married Miss Deborrah Huntsman, Aug, 5, 1816. Deborrah was the daughter of James and Catherine Weirick Huntsman (sister of James Huntsman, who married Mary Johnston Huntstiian). The marriage ceremony was performed by Squire Amarrah Watson. Deborrah's parents were from Pennsylvania and settled in Richland County, Ohio. Soon after their marriage, Peter Weirick entered land near Beliville; it was then a wilderness , full of deer and wild game, which Peter delighted in hunting. Here the family resided for seventeen years, and at that time thirteen children were born, nine sons and four duuqhters as follows:

James, born April 3 , 1817; John, born March 29, 1818; Jacob, born July 31 1819; Peter, born Oct. 11, 1820; Marv Ann, born Dec. 3, 1821; George, born January 24, 1823, William, born Sept. 20, 1824; Catherine A., born Sept. 16, 1826; Daniel, born Feb. 8, 1828; Jesse, born Aug. 10, 1829; Washington, born May 13, 1831; Elizabeth, born 1833; Deborah, born Sept. 5, 1834.

Peter sold this land for $1000.00 and purchased his present home, near Darlington, Richland County, Ohio, 94 acres of land for $800.00. At the new home three more sons were born: Jeremiah, born July 16, 1840; Harrison, born Nov. 25, 1838; Zelby, born Dec. 17, 1940. Making 16 children in all, of which eleven are living and in prosperous condition, all having familes except one son and one daughter.

The parents were members of the Disciples of Christ Church for many years, but drifted away and at present the father's sympathies are with the Universalist Church; he has been a Republican since the organization of the party, and formerly wore the name of Whig.

He was the finest marksman in his day and was ever ready to join in hunting party and spend days and even weeks in the forest. He spent the autumn months for eighteen years in hunting, and killed during his lifetime over 600 deer.

On one occasion, Peter was out hunting with his brother-in-law, John Huntsman, on the "Craven Farm," when for some reason they became separated. Soon after this, Peter saw a large buck on whom he fired wounding it severely. He approached the animal, intending to knife it but found he had forgotten his knife. The deer was very angry an powerful, and Peter could only defend himself by striking the deer on the head with heavy blows with the muzzle of his gun, until blood flowed free from the animal's nose. The animal's fury increased until closing they both fell on the snow-covered earth, then stained with the blood of man an beast. Strength and courage were fast giving way, when with mighty effor Peter caught the animals neck and threw him on his side; but unfortunately with the deer ' s legs toward Peter, giving the deer the decided advantage which he was not slow in using. In this position he kicked and lashed Peter from head to foot. To use his own words "I was bruised from the crown of my head to the soles of my feet." Realizing that the struggle would be brief with such odds against him, Peter, with almost super human effort, threw the deer an its other side with his legs away from Peter, and seizing his neck with one limb across his body he thought to destroy the sight of the deer with his flint, which he usually carried in his shot pouch; but alas no flint was there. He next searched for a pen or piece of spice wood, to accomplish the work, but the splinter was of no use to him. Despair was about to seize him when he heard the report of his comrade's rifle, and his call brought John to the rescue. They dispatched their plucky antagonist by cutting his throat.

Peter Weirick is now 86 years old (1880), feeble and tottering on the verge of the silent grave, where he must soon follow his faithful companion to rest. She bore burdens which few mothers have suffered and endured. A strong determination and a powerful constitution sustained her through it all."

(Taken from the Morrow Co. History, published 1880.) Published by

O. S. Basken & Co. Historical Publishers, 186 Dearborn St., Chicago, Ill.

Another article taken from the History of Richland County Ohio, compiled by A. A. Graham, 1880 is as follows:

"Jonathan Huntsman, born Northumberland Co., Pa. March 8, 1792. Came to Richland Co., Perry Twp. in 1816. His wife was Nancy Wherry, whom he married March 14, 1816. She was born Nov. 30, 1794, and died Feb. 19, 1859. Jonathan died Jan. 30, 1866.


1. William, born Jan. 25, 1817, Lutheran Church Elder, Two, Trustee and Treasurer, married June 15, 1840, Catherine, daughter of Marin Betchel born July 14, 1819. Their children: Theodore, born Feb. 1, 1843, Nancy Jane, born July 14, 1844, Clancy, born Dec. 6, 1848; Mary E., born March 11, 1848; Lydia A., born May 17, 1851; Minerva C., born March 9, 1855; Catherine, born Feb. 12, 1858.

2. Israel, born Aug. 24, 1819, married Elizabeth Wilhelm, moved to Nlansfield, Ohio.

3. Josiah, born April 6, 1821.

4. James W., born May 5, 1824; married June 6, 1859, Catherine Baker who was born March 28, 1832, Their children: Warren A., born April 5, 1860; Lyndon H., born Feb. 2, 1868; Charles A., born Oct. 3, 1874.

5. John H., born April 1, 1826. Died real young.

6.Noah, born March 28, 1828; married Rachel Rule, Polk Co., Missouri. Died in 1879.

7. Amariah C., born June 26, 1830. Married Sept. 29, 1857, Mary, daughter of George Culp, who came from Maryland to Troy Township. Mary was born Sept. 9, 1833. Their children: Cassius, born Oct. 13, 1869; Wellington, born Feb. 22, 1864; Mary Culp Huntsman, died Jan, 11, 1879, and Amariah married Maggie Isenberg, Nov. 2, 1879.

8. Mary Jane, born Dec. 24, 1833, died Jan. 23, 1862.

9. Sarah Ann, born Dec. 30, 1837, died Jan. 25, 1860.

Jonathan Huntsman was one of 11 children. and helped to organize Richland Co., Ohio, in 1817 and was elected its first clerk, and afterwards held the office of Trustee and Treasurer. He taught school at Hatinawalts Mills among the first in the old Perry Township.

William Huntsman owns 300 acres of well improved land, the fruits of his labor. He is breeding a fine herd of shorthorn cattle from a full blooded animals. He is also raising a fine flock of sheep. Perry Twp., Morrow Co., Ohio, is a fractional Twp. At the time of its formation, it was Richland Co, and with Perry Twp. of that County formed a full Twp. But at the organization of Morrow Co. in 1848. the line passed through Perry N. to S. dividing it equally between the old and the new county."

From the account written by Mary E. Simmons, granddaughter of Deborah Huntsman Weirick, we get further proof of John Huntsman, oldest brother of James Huntsman. Mary Johnston had but one sister, Sarah, who lived with James and Mary until she married Ira Ames.