32. Whipple (Boston). Emma Hunt Flint, 1865. From a carte de visite (source undiscovered).
Emma C. Hunt, born in 1843, was the youngest of a large family of children born to Punkatasset farmer Daniel Hunt and his wife Clarissa Flint Cutter Hunt, who were married in 1825. Life was hard for the Hunts. They had many children to feed, clothe, and educate, and insufficient means to improve upon Daniel's increasingly outdated methods of farming. Moreover, they did not have enough sons to ease the burden of farm work and to generate surplus for market. Daniel Hunt spared what he could to educate some of his children beyond Concord's district schools, but he was cash poor. His resources simply did not stretch far enough to nurture the capabilities of his thoughtful, intelligent youngsters.
Their circumscribed situation was difficult for all of the Hunt children, but especially so for the girls, whose prospects—even with the educational advantages available to some of them—were limited to marriage, teaching school, domestic positions, work in the mills of nearby Lowell or Lawrence, or spinsterhood within the family circle.
Several of the Hunt sisters—Martha Emmeline the best known among them—became casualties of their limited opportunity. In 1845, nineteen-year-old Martha was a teacher in Concord's district school system. Disheartened by the struggle to control her pupils, she longed for an intellectual life that could only be sustained with a social and economic independence that she did not have. In despair, she drowned herself in the Concord River. (Nathaniel Hawthorne, who helped search for her body, wrote about the incident in his journal and later incorporated it into his Blithedale Romance.) A second Hunt sister later also drowned herself, as did a female cousin who lived nearby. A third (a half sister by their mother's first marriage) drowned accidentally—or so the record states.
Emma Hunt was able to forge a life of her own by marrying farmer Lewis Flint in 1865. She was one of only two of the six Hunt sisters (seven including the half sister) to wed. She appears in this photograph in her wedding finery. The determined young woman shown here lived longer than any of her sisters. She died in 1909, at the age of sixty-six. Her equally determined brother William Henry (see #39) became a pillar of Concord community life and lived to eighty-six.