The Hunters of Nansemond

The Hunters of Nansemond County are descended from William Hunter, a weaver and the immigrant ancestor of this extensive family. William Hunter’s lands, gained both by patent and by purchase, were situated in Virginia. After 1728, when the boundary line between Virginia and North Carolina was redrawn, they were designated in Chowan County, North Carolina. Today William’s original tracts along Bennett’s Creek and in Meherrin Swamp are within Gates County.

This web site focuses on James Alston Hunter and his lineage from William Hunter of Nansemond, James’s great-great grandfather. It includes this sequence of forefathers: William Hunter of Chowan, Isaac Hunter of Chowan, Isaac Hunter of Bute/Warren, N. C., Solomon Alston Hunter of Bute/Warren and Abbeville, S. C., and James A. Hunter of Abbeville and Choctaw Co., Mississippi.

The story of James Hunter and his wife Martha P. Harris begins in Georgia with a legend. It tells that while traveling through Baldwin County with slaves and a herd of cattle he stopped at the Harris plantation for shelter from a snowstorm.

Martha’s father Thomas Harris, a militia captain, had died in 1817, leaving a widow Sarah and eight children. James was from South Carolina. Near the fork of Long Cane Creek and the Little River, he was born in 1796 in the Hillsborough settlement of Abbeville County. At seventeen he served in the community militia that joined the Youngblood Regiment and fought in the War of 1812. Martha was born in Warren County, Ga., in 1805, and in 1821 James returned to Baldwin County to claim her hand and to become the guardian of Thomas and Sarah, Martha’s younger brother and sister.

James and Martha were married at the Jones County courthouse in 1822. Their first child Silvanus Gardner Hunter was born in Baldwin in 1823, and with their growing family of six boys (Silvanus, John, James, Leonidas, Samuel, and Gregory), the Hunters pioneered westward through the Georgia counties of Crawford, Talbot, and Meriwether, settling in 1835 in former Chickasaw lands of Mississippi. Along the way through Georgia, John died, and in Mississippi three more sons (Henry, Pinson, and Whitson), plus one daughter (Frances Caroline), were born. During his nine years in Mississippi James, with his sons and slaves, cultivated his 320 acres of farmland south of a village called Hohenlinden. He died in 1844 and Martha in 1879. They are buried in what was a corner of their land, known today as the Hunter Cemetery. It is a room-sized clearing in the dense woodlands of northeastern Webster County.

This Hunter genealogy is documented by research in the following resources and sites: family papers; the state archives of Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina, and Virginia; the National Archives; courthouses of Mississippi (Chickasaw, Choctaw, and Webster Counties); South Carolina (Abbeville and Edgefield Counties); North Carolina (Chowan, Granville, and Warren Counties); the Internet;,; correspondence with Hunter genealogists and family members; and the Mormon Family History Library.