Monday, December 29, 2008

Offending George Hunt

I spotted the following from the Evening Star of 6 July 1876, and wondered what lay behind George Hunt's offended ire:
We regret that our reporter made an error in stating Mr. Hunt, of Albertland, to be an "hotel-keeper" instead of an "undertaker"; but it is difficult sometimes to distinguish words of witnesses in the Supreme Court. Mr. Hunt writes:- "Sir, -- Had I been a Hunter, as you named me in your last night's issue, I should have hunted you up last night, and perhaps upset the manufacture of your next leader. The idea of calling a settler from Albertland an hotel-keeper is a monstrous slander. You might have gone a step lower, and called me an editor. Bad enough to be summoned to town by a miserable Government without funds, without being slandered. -- TRY AGAIN."
Actually, the mistake was a rather silly one to make. Right from 1863, when the Albertland settlement was first established (and Thomas George Hunt himself arrived at the beginning, it would appear, on board the Matilda Wattenbach on 8 September 1862), it was noted as being pro-temperance, with nary a hotel to be had.

George Hunt appears to have been a man of decidedly and strictly non-conformist principles. Even at the trial, he had problems with swearing an oath, having "conscientious scruples", and made an affirmation instead. The trial referred to was that of gum-digger Jeremiah Payne who got into a heated argument on 3 June 1876 with fellow digger John Hewson, who struck Payne in the face. Payne retaliated by sticking his gum-spear into Hewson's left side. Hunt was called to Hewson's whare to help do something about the wound (an undertaker probably as close to a doctor as could be found at that point), and outside the whare made Payne give up the gum-spear weapon.

I can't find any further mention of George Hunt, but if anyone out there has further information, I'd love to hear it.

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