The Jefferson Hunt Wagon Train
By far the largest party to set out from Salt Lake City for southern California in 1849 was the one led by Jefferson Hunt.
As Captain of Company A of the Mormon Battalion, Hunt had marched along the Santa Fé Trail from the Missouri River to New Mexico and across Arizona to California. After termination of his military service in California he returned to Salt Lake City, traveling the Humboldt River route. In the fall of 1847 he went with the Mormon party to southern California and returned to Utah with stock and seed grain. Having made a round trip over this southern route, and being an experienced western traveler, he was qualified to lead the gold seekers to California.
Jefferson Hunt was born in Bracken County, Kentucky, on January 20, 1803. He accepted the Mormon religion in 1834 and experienced the difficulties of the sect in Missouri and Illinois. After his experiences in the Mexican War and in leading the '49ers to California, Hunt lived in Provo until he joined the company that settled San Bernardino, California. He represented San Bernardino County in the California legislature. Hunt returned with the Mormons to Utah as a result of the Johnston Army episode, and settled at Huntsville (named for him) in Ogden Valley. He died at Oxford, Idaho, in 1879.