Abby Pearce Casey Hunt
Abby P. Casey was the oldest daughter of Lt. Col. Silas Casey. Living with her family at Ft. Steilacoom, beginning in 1856, Abby was a familiar fixture on the social scene at the post.
Admired and pursued by several bachelor officers, Abby won the interest and affection of Captain Lewis Cass Hunt. At age 22, Abby married Captain Hunt in November 1860, taking up residence on the post. At the wedding, Lt. August Kautz wrote that, “Capt. Hunt was evidently very nervous and quite feeble in his responses. Miss Casey was much more self proposed.”
One year later, she joined her husband and his company as they were transferred to the East to fight in the Civil War. Abby bore the couple’s first child, Bessie Perry Hunt, on November 28, 1861 while awaiting transport via steamer in San Diego.
During the war, Abby would follow her husband through the war, including an extended stay in New Bern, NC while her husband served as occupational commander. It was at New Bern that Abby’s second child, Lewis Casey Hunt, was born on April 17, 1863.
On June 21, 1865, the couple had a third child, Robert Herrick Hunt while stationed in New York at 48 Bleeker Street, NYC. After the war in Michigan in 1867, the couple had a fourth child, Thomas Goodale Hunt; unfortunately, this child did not survive. By 1869, the Hunt family celebrated the birth of a fifth child, Henry Jackson Hunt on February 11, 1869 in New Orleans, Louisiana.
With the Hunt family growing ever larger, the couple decided to establish a permanent home in Ann Arbor, Michigan, with Lewis traveling alone to his varied duty stations throughout the west. Abby saw to the education and raising of the family, keeping a diary of her experiences. Her diary entries in 1884 reflected her concern for her husband’s declining health, nicknaming him the “Genr’l.” in her entries.
She also noted that same year the successes of her children in school as three attended college while Henry attended High School. In 1884, Abby also reported her own suffering from great pain and “a kind of bilious attack.” This may have foreshadowed her own illness, that of cancer.
Her last diary entry was on December 31, 1884; Abby Hunt would die from cancer on February 25, 1886 in Ann Arbor, Michigan. She was buried at the Casey’s ancestral home in Rhode Island. Her husband, Lewis, would die six months later.
Abby’s youngest child, Henry Jackson Hunt would later command the 6th Infantry Regiment and see action in the Spanish-American War, the Philippines, and WWI.