Finding Theodore and Ariminta: Love, Loss and Settling the American West


This is the story of Theodore and Ariminta Hunsaker Burmester. It follows the paths that each took and the people they encountered along the way, giving readers a detailed look at the hard work, hazards, hardships, joys, and tragedies of American life during the mid to late 1800s.

This story "has many facets. Some are bright and clear like that of Ariminta mortally wounded, a modern-day Lucretia, whose first thought was not of herself but of her baby that she believed was still in the burning house. Other facets are dark like Theodore's pointless duel with Judge Morford. Other parts of the story shine simply because the participants struggled and fought through incredible hardships."

The book covers many more years for Theodore (1837–1895) than for Ariminta (1843–1869). Tragically, the life of this young wife and mother of two young boys was cut short at the hands of a farm worker.  Ariminta’s murder turned Theodore's life upside down and his behavior turned reckless for a time. Six months later, he married Jemima Humphies but their union did not last. A year after that marriage ended, Theodore married Maria Finch.

Theodore led an eventful life: he crossed the Isthmus of Panama on foot, practiced law, was involved in a deadly duel and resultant murder trial, and later found time in his collections practice to assist in the legal defense of Brigham Young Hampton, accused of opening a brothel in order to trap federal officials during the polygamy prosecutions.

Several vintage photographs, a bibliography, and an index to full-names, places and subjects add to the value of this work.

Byron Burmester

2020, 5½x8½, paper, index, 278 pp.

ISBN: 9780788459504