The Hubert-Hunt Duel

Monday marks the 158th anniversary of the Hubert-Hunt Duel, one of the now-forgotten ‘minor duels’ that is never mentioned except as a footnote. So overlooked is the incident that I wasn’t even able to find out what the substance of the disagreement was that drove the two “friends” to fight to the death.

What we know is this: In late 1853,  Numa Hubert was elected to the State Assembly, representing San Francisco County. The legislative session ended on May 15th, and (as seems to have been the custom) the members saved up their duels for after the end of session. On the morning of May 21st, a few days after arriving back in the city, Hubert met attorney George T. Hunt to settle a difference.

Little is known about the two. At the time of the duel, both Hubert and Hunt were 34 years old. Both held prominent roles in the community; Hunt was an attorney who had been active in city politics, while Hubert had (as noted earlier) just returned from Sacramento. In any case, the two met at 5:30 AM for a duel with “pistol at ten paces” at the Pioneer Race Course (now the approximate location of Garfield Square). The duel lasted three rounds before Hunt was mortally wounded.

After the duel, Hubert faded from California history with two exceptions; in 1862, he published the book “Reports of land cases determined in the United States District” and a decade later he died in Chicago.

No signs mark the site of this duel (unlike that of the nearby Broderick-Terry Duel). The only possible indication of the history of the site can be found in the name of a street (not there in 1854) that passes through the area; “Shotwell Street”.