Recent news stories of authorities taking away children who don’t match their parents, especially those who appear to have been “kidnapped by gypsies” reminded me of an account from my own family history.
My grandmother, Nellie Hunt Collings’ grandparents,
Thomas Hunt and
Were born and spent the early years of their marriage in Derbyshire
. There they joined the Mormon Church (Church of
Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints) in 1848. England
, or Rone, (my great grandfather) was born
in 1852. He had jet black hair and dark
eyes as did his mother and most of the Moons.
His older sister, Sarah Ellen, took after the Hunts and was very fair. Moroni
Hannah’s family had rejected her because they thought she had disgraced the family by joining the Mormons. Her mother went so far as to say, “If thou were not my own child and I did na know that thou were ever truthful, the fact that the children are so different and that thou art a Mormon would prevent me from believing that they are brother and sister.”
In 1855 Thomas and Hannah took their three children, Sarah Ellen,
and Frederick Nephi and sailed on the ship, Juventa,
to the .
They ended up in United States Alton, Illinois,
just south of the abandoned city of .
In 1862 Thomas Hunt was made a Captain of Ten in a wagon train of pioneers that traveled west to
Utah. By then three more children, Ruth, Fanny and Thomas Alvin had joined the family.
I remember my grandmother telling the story of the wagon train traveling through a town before reaching the plains where ten year old Rone was seen peeking out under the wagon cover. Some people there noticed the boy with coal black hair and eyes and sent word to the officers of the town that, “Them there Mormons had kidnapped a little Indian boy.” Officers stopped the wagon to search it, but as soon as the officers saw Rone and Hannah together they were convinced that the black-haired boy was Hannah’s son.
They were also glad to cease the search and not molest the train further when Hannah, her eyes flashing with a mingled expression of humor and annoyance sharply criticized them for the insolent manner in which they had conducted the search.
and Emily Casto
Hunt Story compiled by Ina Hunt Tuft and Cherril Payne Ogden Moroni
Thomas Hunt and Hannah Moon Life Sketch—Garrett Bohman Masek Keeley Genealogy