Robert Hunkins – Continental Army Officer – Massachusetts


Captain Robert Hunkins (January 14, 1738 – April 1, 1818) was a British American soldier in the French and Indian War under Moses Hazen, and later a commander in the Revolutionary War.


Hunkins was the son of John Hunkins and Edna Hastings, born January 14, 1738, in Haverhill, Essex, Massachusetts.

While Robert was still young, his father moved the family to Hampstead, New Hampshire. After the move both John and Enda died, leaving their five children without caretakers. Robert, who was the oldest, went to live with General (then Captain) Moses Hazen.

Around age 17, Hunkins followed Hazen into the French and Indian War. Their regiment was to hold Fort William Henry, but the French, led by Commander Louis-Joseph de Montcalm, took the fort in 1757. Seeing Hazen being carried off by two “Indians”, Hunkins attacked them, enabling Hazen to escape. Hunkins was then captured by the Indians who held him and another soldier captive for an undetermined amount of time, though it is believed to be over six months. Hunkins eventually escaped with his comrade, stealing a canoe and running across the countryside in nothing but a shirt with one missing sleeve.

During the Revolutionary War, Hunkins sided with the colonists against the British. He was promoted to Captain and during the war was never taken prisoner. He commanded a militia and served in the Burgoyne campaign and was in the Battle of Stillwater and the Battle of Saratoga.


Hunkins and his first wife, Phebe Emerson, had:

* John, who married Mary Norris of Newbury. John died in 1844 in Fletcher, Franklin County, Vermont.
* Sarah, who married Nicholas Stevens of Bradford. Sarah died in March 1857.
* Betsey, who married Samuel Miller of Hampstead, New Hampshire. Betsey died in 1839 in Johnson, Lamoille County, Vermont.

Hunkins and his second wife, Lydia Chamberlain, had:

* Moses, who married Hannah Seagel of Newbury.
* Lydia, who married Nathan Atwell. Lydia died in January 1846 in Vermont.
* Robert II, who married Hannah Emerson of Hampstead, New Hampshire, on November 15, 1798. Robert died in 1853 in New Berlin, Wisconsin. Both are interred at the Hazen Hastings Hunkins plot, Prairie Home Cemetery, Waukesha, Wisconsin. Hannah was a cousin of Ralph Waldo Emerson.
* Phebe, who remained unmarried. She died in September 1861 at age 84.
* Asher, who married Jane Emerson of Boscawen, New Hampshire.


John Lee, alternately spelled Leigh, of the “ancient and honorable [Lee] family”, immigrated from England and married Anne Hungerford, also an English immigrant, in 1638. One of their daughters was Sarah Lee, who married John Hunkins.

John Hunkins and Sarah had son Robert Hunkins (b. ∽1674), Captain Robert Hunkins’ grandfather. Robert Hunkins married Abiah Page May 1, 1706. Abiah Page was the first cousin once removed of John Greenleaf Whittier, the influential Quaker poet.

Robert Hunkins and Abiah Page had son John Hunkins. John Hunkins married Edna (or Ednah) Hastings December 30, 1736. John Hunkin and Edna Hastings had son (future Captain) Robert Hunkins.