Biographies of Six Generations of Nansemond Hunters

William Hunter through Silvanus Gardner Hunter

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William Hunter of Nansemond

In 1685, during the reign of James II, William Hunter, the immigrant ancestor in this line of American Hunters, arrived in the upper parish of Nansemond Co., Va., possibly from Alnwick, Northumberland. The land on which he settled was in the coastal Albemarle region and the native homeland of the Nansemond, the Meherrin, and the Chowanac Indians. It would become Chowan and Gates Counties of northeastern North Carolina. Today the old Hunter tracts are near the town of Sunbury.

In 1685 William was among seven persons Charles Rountree transported to “Up. Par. Of Nanzamund . . . by the Scypress Sw.” Rountree’s land patent, dated 4 November, lists “Willm. Hunter, Nicho. Hunter, Joane Hunter, Rebecka Hunter, Charles Rountree, Robert Rountree, John Sayer” (Virginia Patent Book, Vol. 7, p. 487). Later records prove that Nicholas was William’s son. The order of the listings in Rountree’s original patent (father and son, then woman and woman) suggests that Joane and Rebecka were William and Nicholas’s respective spouses. Nicholas’s will (Carteret Co., N. C., 1749) mentions his wife, named Rebecca. Joane, therefore, may have been Nicholas’s mother. Rountree was granted fifty acres for each of these persons he  brought to the royal colony.

On 21 April 1695 William Hunter was granted a headright of his own, “200 acres on the eastward side of the main cypress swamp that runs out of Bennetts Creek” for having imported  four Negro slaves (Virginia Patent Book, Vol. 8, p. 431).  On 8 June 1699 William was listed as a clerk of Nansemond County (Virginia Magazine of History & Biography, I, June 1894, 232).

On 25 April1702 he was granted an additional 240 acres adjoining his tract in Upper Parish on the southeastern side of Meherrin Swamp. To this land “beginning at a white oak standing on a small branch or corner tree of a patent formerly granted to ye sd. Hunter” he transported five persons: “Wm. Hunter & his wife & his daughter Alice & his son Nicho. Hunter. Mary Cohon” (Virginia Patent Book, Vol. 9, pp. 309‑310).

In 1702 William was listed among magistrates and militia officers in Nansemond (Cecil Hedlam, ed. Calendar of State Papers, Colonial Series. Vol. 20: America and West Indies, Jan.‑Dec. 1, 1702, Preserved in Public Record Office [Vaduz: Kraus Reprint Ltd., 1964], first published in London: HMSO, 1912, pp. 155‑160).  In 1702‑1714 William was a clerk, or justice of the peace in Nansemond (Virginia Magazine of History & Biography, I (June 1894), 368).
Captain William Hunter was enumerated in A Compleat List of the Rent Roll of the Land in Nansemond County in anno 1704, with 800 acres (The Quick Rents of Virginia, compiled and alphabetized by Annie Laurie Wright Smith, 1957).

William sired four sons—Nicholas, Isaac, William, and Robert—and two daughters—Alice and Sarah.

His lost will, destroyed perhaps in courthouse fires that burned the Nansemond records, was signed before 1729. It is mentioned in a Chowan deed that Thomas Rountree, attorney for Nicholas Hunter and his wife Rebecca of Carteret County, transferred from Nicholas to his son William Hunter, the land cited as a bequest to Nicholas from his father William Hunter on 27 March 1729: “. . . one hundred & twenty acres more or less being part of a patent formerly granted to Wm. Hunter, late of the Upper Parish of Nansemond, deceased, father of the afsd. Nichs Hunter, party to these presents as by patent from the authority of Virginia bearing date the 25 of April 1701, doth & may appear, & by the last will & testament of the afsd Wm. Hunter deceased descended to Nics. Hunter” (Chowan Deed Book C 1, pp. 599‑601). The lost will is mentioned also in an indenture made 16 February 1742 in which Robert Hunter sold his brother Isaac a tract Robert had been willed by their father: “the said land being part of two patents the first being a patent formerly granted to William Hunter late of the upper parish of Nansemond deceast being lawful father of the aforesaid Isaac Hunter and Robert Hunter both the parties for the quantity of two hundred acres as by a patent being dated the twenty first day of April which was in the year of our Lord Christ sixteen hundred and ninety five both and may appear and by the last will & testament of the said William Hunter deceased to his son Robert Hunter” (Chowan County, N. C., Deed Book A, pp. 257‑259).

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Isaac Hunter of Chowan

Isaac Hunter was one of four sons of William Hunter, a weaver, magistrate, and freeholder in Nansemond Co., Virginia. When the state boundary was surveyed in 1728, the Hunter land on the southeastern side of Bennett’s Creek fell south of the state line and was therefore in northern Chowan Co., N. C.  Although a history of the Hill family states, probably incorrectly, that “Isaac Hunter moved from Lancaster Co., Penn., to Chowan, N. C., c. 1720,” Isaac likely was born before 1700 on his father’s plantation in Virginia. The name of his mother has not been determined.

The earliest known citation reporting on Isaac appears in Minutes of the Chowan Court of Pleas and Quarter Sessions, 1714‑1719, p. 105: “Personally appeared Mr. Isaac Hunter and Made Oath that his family consisted of Two Persons Videlicet, Isaac Hunter and one Negro called London.” After 1719 he married Elizabeth Parker, a daughter of a Chowan landowner Richard Parker and Elizabeth King. Isaac and Elizabeth were parents of eleven children—Elisha, Jesse, Isaac, Daniel, Jacob, Alee, Joan, Rachel, Sarah, Hannah, and Elizabeth. Although Isaac was an Anglican and a devoted vestryman, the Biblical names of nine of his children are remarkably Puritan or Quaker.

Isaac amassed property in the upper Albemarle, buying land from his brother Robert Hunter in 1742 and from Thomas Morris in 1744. In 1739 he purchased a piece of his father’s original Nansemond grant from his nephew and namesake Isaac Hunter of Northampton Co., N. C. This consisted of “384 acres, part of a patent to William Hunter, late of Virginia, and given by him to his son Nicholas [brother of Isaac] and sold by him to his son [Isaac Hunter of Northampton] on Meherrin Swamp issuing out of Bennett’s Creek.” In 1744‑45 Isaac bought a water mill from John Rice. In 1746 he bought 300 acres at Pitch Landing from William Pugh. In 1748 he bought 312 acres on the Chowan River (Bertie County) from Thomas Hansford. In 1750 he sold his son Elisha 140 acres of the Pitch Landing tract on the south side of the Chowan River. The transaction was witnessed by Isaac’s sons Jacob and Jesse.

From 1732, the vestry records of St. Paul’s Parish in Chowan document Isaac’s twenty‑years of service as a vestryman and church warden. In 1741 the parish ordered the construction of Costen’s Chapel at Meherrin near Isaac’s land, and he served the chapel as a lay “reader of the Divine Service.” Henry Mouzon’s map of North Carolina, 1775, notes the location of Costen ’s. For two decades and until his death in 1752 Isaac remained a faithful member of the vestry. Many times the parish minutes mention him, his sons, brothers, and nephews.

Isaac was a witness at the signing of his brother William’s will in 1732. His own he  signed “Isaac Huntor” in 1752 and sealed it with his signet of a dragon. He died in Chowan in 1753. The will and the inventory of his possessions detail a large estate of land, chattels, and slaves to be divided among his children and grandchildren. He left the mill to Jacob, the tract in Bertie County to Isaac, the tract bought from Morris to Jesse, and the plantation where he lived in Chowan to Elisha, his executor. The map of North Carolina created by Edward Moseley in 1733 locates the Hunter land at Bennett’s Creek near Meherrin Swamp. Today it is in Gates County near the town of Sunbury.

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Biographies of Isaac Hunter, Jesse Hunter, and Daniel Hunter

About 1757, Isaac, Jesse, and Daniel, the unmarried sons of Isaac Hunter and Elizabeth Parker, left Chowan County, migrating west to Granville County. Their brothers Elisha and Jacob remained in Chowan, although a Hunter also named Elisha would surface in the records of Granville and Bute. Jacob married Sarah Pugh Hill, became an officer in the Revolutionary army, served, like his brother Elisha, as a vestryman of St. Paul’s Parish, and in 1777 represented Chowan in the North Carolina General Assembly. Elisha was executor of his father’s estate (1753) and was married to Ann Walton. Their  home was called the Brick House Plantation (Mona Armstrong Taylor, Deeds of Gates Co., N. C., 1776‑1803, Greenville, S. C., Southern Historical Press, 1987, p. 183).

In 1754 Isaac was a private in the regiment of Lt. Col. John Harvey of Perquimans County. In the same year Jesse was a soldier in the Chowan militia. His name appeared on the rosters of both Captain James Farlee’s and Captain John Sumner’s company. Sumner’s territory covered the settlements between the Virginia line and Bennett’s Creek, an area comprising the Hunter plantation.

After the brothers settled in Granville, Jesse married Ann Alston, in 1758. She was a daughter of Solomon Alston and Ann Nancy Hinton of Granville, formerly of Chowan and Edgecombe Counties. In 1760 Isaac married her sister Martha. Daniel remained a bachelor.

In 1764 Granville was subdivided, and Jesse and Isaac were settled in the section designated as Bute County. Daniel was in Granville on land he acquired on Fishing Creek. Isaac and Jesse bought tracts in Bute along Shocco Creek in a prospering area that was populated by the county’s most prominent families—the Alstons, the Joneses, the Sumners, and others. The Warren County deed books document Isaac’s holdings. On 15 May 1769 he paid Elisha Battle of Edgecombe County£210 in proclamation money for 376 acres in Bute on the north side of Shocco Creek and Horsepen Branch, land which was adjacent to Thomas Sumner and part of a grant made to William Little on 5 December 1728. Witnesses were Jacob Battle, Jethro Battle, Philip Alston, and Daniel Hunter, who proved the transaction in Bute’s August court 1770 (Bute Book 3, p. 121). On 14 November 1771 Isaac Hunter sold a segment of this tract to Jesse: “Isaac Hunter to Jesse Hunter, both of Bute County,  £133, 6 sh., 8 d. proclamation money, part of a grant, 5 December 1728 to Col. William Little, on NS Shocco Creek to mouth of Horsepen Branch & a branch of same, adj. Thomas Sumner. Acknowledged by Isaac Hunter in Bute November court 1771″ (Bute Book 3, p. 352).

Jesse and Ann had four children—Philip Alston Hunter (b. 1759), Elisha Hunter (b. 1764), Ruth Alston Hunter, and Nathaniel Hunter. Isaac and Martha had seven children—Solomon Alston Hunter (b. 1761), James Alston Hunter, Jacob Hunter, Ann Alston Hunter, Martha Patsy Hunter, Sacky Clark Hunter, and Sarah (Sallie) Alston Hunter.

In 1771 Isaac was elected a militia captain, and with other officers he took the oath in Bute County August court, subscribed to the Test Act, and received a commission signed by the governor. Isaac and Jesse’s names were recorded frequently in the minutes of Bute quarterly court for serving on committees, overseeing the laying of roads, and sitting on grand and petit juries. In 1770 the court paid Jesse  £1,10 sh. Virginia money for making repairs at the courthouse and “making a bookcase therein.” In 1774 the court entered an order for Jesse to install two windows in the east end of the courthouse.

In 1776 Isaac Hunter, Jesse Hunter, and their father‑in‑law Solomon Alston were listed as Masons (Bute Safety Committee Minutes). With the rumblings of revolution and war, Jesse, Isaac, and Isaac’s son Solomon sided with the patriot cause and signed North Carolina’s Oath of Allegiance in 1778 (“Miscellaneous County Records, Bute and Warren, 1774‑1804,” Thomas Merritt Pittman Papers, PC 123.9, North Carolina State Archives).  Isaac Hunter, Jesse Hunter, Solomon Alston, and James Alston also were among signers swearing on “oath to support the measures taken by the general Congress in Philadelphia.”

In 1777 Isaac Hunter served as a tax assessor in Robert Temple’s District of Bute. With Robert Hightower and John Lanier he inventoried property totaling a worth of  £88,296,16 sh,1d in  proclamation money to be collected by Robert Jones.

In1779 Bute was renamed Warren County. In 1781 the List of Taxables, Warren County, Isaac Hunter, a resident in Capt. Benjamin Ward’s district, was taxed on assets valued at £16,205 and Jesse on £9,829 (The County of Warren, North Carolina, by Manley Wade Wellman, Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1959, p. 56). The 1784 state census listed Isaac Hunter as a householder in Capt. Ward’s district, with two white males 21‑60, two white males under 21 and above 60, four white females, fourteen blacks 12 to 50, and fourteen blacks under 14 and above 60.

After the war Jesse and some in the new generation of Warren County Hunters were lured to newly opened lands in Georgia and Tennessee. In April 1784 both Jesse and Isaac’s son Solomon sold their properties to James Alston (Jesse’s brother‑in‑law and Solomon’s uncle) and headed to Georgia. In 1789 Isaac’s son James purchased a veteran’s land patent and moved to Davidson (later Wilson) Co., Tenn. After their marriages, Isaac’s daughters Ann, Martha, Sacky, and Sarah settled in Maury Co., Tenn. Isaac and his son Jacob remained in Warren County.

In May the state treasurer issued Jesse a specie certificate for £6 / 12 / 2, possibly as  militia pay or remuneration for supplies Jesse furnished to troops (North Carolina Revolutionary Army Accounts: Treasurer’s and Comptroller’s Papers. Vol. XII, part XI, no.3605). On 17 May 1784, a month after arriving in Georgia, Jesse and his son Philip were granted bounty land in an area of Washington County that became part of Wilkes County and thereafter Greene County. In Jesse’s will (Wake Co., N. C., Book Two, pp. 105‑107) this land is noted as “250 acres lying between Little River and Sherrill’s Creek.” In “Certificates of Bounty Land Warrants Issued 1783‑84 to Refugee Citizens and Soldiers or the Revolutionary War,” the listing for Jesse is 268 acres, for Philip unspecified acreage. Isaac’s son Solomon migrated farther south to Liberty County and married. In 1786 Jesse and his wife Ann were back in North Carolina, apparently visiting the Kimbroughs, her late sister Mary’s family in Wake County. Jesse fell sick and died. His will, signed in Wake, was witnessed by his wife’s nephews James and John Kimbrough. His widow Ann returned to Georgia and died there after 1791. Her name appears on the Wilkes County tax roll that year.

On 26 May1790, Isaac and his son Jacob posted a bond of £250 as surety when Jacob was nominated to be constable in Capt. Bilbroe’s district of Warren. In the federal census of 1790 Isaac, head of household, was listed with two males of 16 or more (himself and his son Jacob), two males under 16 (identities not known), four females (his wife Martha and his daughters Patsy, Sacky, and Sally), and thirty‑three slaves, for a total of forty‑one.

Daniel Hunter died intestate in Granville County in 1797, leaving his lands and other property. Isham Kittrell, husband of Isaac’s daughter Ann, was Daniel’s executor, but the settlement remained in controversy for more than thirty years as the children of Daniel’s siblings and their children came forward to claim parts of the estate.  (See the Daniel Hunter papers, Roll # 2169, North Carolina State Archives.)

The federal census of 1800 reported Isaac Hunter (45 and over), a daughter 10 through 15 (Sarah “Sallie” Hunter), and eighteen slaves. Since there was no listing of a female around fifty, the wife and mother Martha Alston Hunter had died. Also in Warren, Isaac ’s son Jacob was listed as a householder of 26 through 44, his spouse (Patience Williamson) in the same age group, one white male of 16 through 25 (son William), three females under ten (Martha Green Hunter, Mary Hunter, and Ann Alston Hunter), and sixteen slaves.

In 1801 Isaac Hunter sold Jonathan Kittrell, Sr., of Granville County two tracts of land. The second of these had belonged to the late Daniel Hunter (Warren County Deed Book Q, p. 450).

In 1805 “in Warren County on Tuesday the 24 ult. Miss Sarah Hunter, [youngest] daughter of Mr. Isaac Hunter of the former county,” married Lyddal Bacon Estes of Northampton County. (Marriage bond in Warren County, 15 November; announcement in the Raleigh Register on 6 January 1806, p. 3, col. 5).

In the 1810 federal census, Isaac Hunter, a widower, was living alone and the owner of one male slave. His son Jacob, the only one of of his children still residing in North Carolina, lived nearby. Isaac’s daughter Ann (Mrs. Isham Kittrell and later Mrs. Lewellen Jones), Sacky (Mrs. Osborne Pope Nicolson and later Mrs. Garrett Daniel Voorhies), and Sallie (Mrs. Lyddal Bacon Estes and later Mrs. Beaufort Turner) were living in Maury Co., Tenn. In Warren, Jacob’s household included one male of 16 through 25 and one male 26 through 44 (Jacob), one female under 10, two females of 10 through 15, and one female 26 through 44 (Jacob’s wife Patience). There were twenty‑five slaves.

The 1811 tax list of Shocco District included Isaac Hunter, 670 acres, and his son Jacob, 110 acres (Warren Co., N. C., Will book 16, pp. 158‑161). In this year Isaac signed his will. It named his son James A. Hunter ($350.00), his son Jacob (“all my lands lying in the county” and two Negro men Bobb and George), his daughter Ann Alston Kittrell ($300.00), his daughter Patsy H. Williamson (one Negro named Will and $200.00), his daughter Sacky Nicholson (one Negro Hardy), and daughter Sallie Alston Estes (two Negroes Poncy and Patty) (Original will in North Carolina State Archives, also Family History Library microfilm 1,692,862, frame 408. Inventory: Family History Library microfilm 2,294,835, frame 1740).

In 1815 Isaac Hunter died, and Jacob, his executor, made an inventory. It included  $400.00 personal debt, more than $1440.00 in promissory notes due him, and $51.42 “cash in hand.” His chattels included one mare, two cows, one yearling, one calf, sixteen sheep, one walnut chest, two small trunks, four iron pots, two pairs of iron hooks, two Dutch ovens, a parcel of old books, one saddle, one rifle, one pine chest, one loom, two pewter dishes, three pewter basins, two cotton wheels, two flax wheels, one broadaxe, one butter pot, two crocks, three old bedsteads, fifteen old rag‑bottomed chairs, five Negro men, and one Negro woman.

After Isaac’s death, Jacob remained in Warren County for about ten years, then sold the Hunter land, and, like his sisters, moved to Maury Co., Tenn.

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Solomon Alston Hunter

Solomon Alston Hunter, the eldest child of Isaac Hunter and Martha Alston Hunter, was born in 1761, the year following their marriage. His date of birth is determined by his stated age of seventeen in 1778, when he enlisted in the North Carolina Continental Line. On September 3 with a group from Bute County he swore to the oath that “we each of us . . . oblige ourselves to serve as Continental Soldiers for the term of three years from the date hereof or during the present war . . . and to demean ourselves as good and faithful Soldiers.” He was enumerated as “Solomon Hunter, Sergeant, Place of Abode, Bute, Where Born, No. Carolina, Height, 5 feet 10, Age, 17, Hair, Light, Eyes, Grey” (Military Collection: Troop Returns, Box 4, Continental Line, 1778: “Drafts and Enlistments,” Folder 35, Bute County, N. C., North Carolina Archives).

His younger brothers and sisters were James Alston Hunter, Jacob Hunter, Ann Alston Hunter, Martha Patsy Hunter, Sacky Clark Hunter, and Sarah Alston Hunter. All were born at their father’s plantation on Shocco Creek. A stream issuing from Shocco was designated as Hunter’s Branch.

In 1778, along with his father, his uncle Jesse Hunter, and his grandfather Solomon Alston, Solomon signed North Carolina’s Oath of Allegiance, siding with the patriot cause and against the Crown (“Miscellaneous County Records, Bute and Warren, 1774‑1804,” Thomas Merritt Pittman Papers, PC 123.9, North Carolina State Archives). A second source documents Solomon’s enlistment, which occurred at Halifax, the military district headquarters, and his rank of sergeant in Captain Robert Temple’s Company (“A Return of Capt. Temple’s Comp. of New Levie, joined ye 1st March agreeable to Furloe,” The State Records of North Carolina, collected and edited by Walter, Clark, Vol. XV, 1780‑81, Goldsboro, N. C.: Nash Bros., 1898, p. 739).

In 1779 Bute County was renamed Warren County, and in February 1780 Solomon was appointed to be constable in Edward Jones’s district at a salary of $75 (Minutes of the Court of Pleas and Quarter Sessions, Bute County, pp. 8, 37). Summoning inhabitants to report their assessable property was among Solomon’s duties (Ibid. p. 31). In the same year Solomon Alston signed his will, bequeathing a tract of land to his grandson Solomon Hunter (Warren County Will Book Four, p. 70).

After the war ended, Solomon, aged twenty‑three, chose to migrate with Jesse Hunter and other Warren County citizens wanting headrights in lands newly opened in Georgia. In May 1784 Solomon Alston amended his will with a codicil that granted his bequest outright to his grandson. The sale of this land enabled Solomon Hunter to go to Georgia. On April1, he deeded it to James Alston, his uncle (Warren County Deed Book Eight, pp. 129‑130). Jesse Hunter also sold his lands to James Alston, and the Hunters set out for Georgia. In May Jesse was assigned a headwright, and his family settled in Wilkes County. Solomon traveled farther south to Sunbury in Liberty County. The coastal town was the site of Fort Morris. Before the war Sunbury had been a flourishing seaport rivaling Savannah.

Within a year Solomon had married Jane Mahan, the widow of Stephen Dickinson, who had died in 1783. The Hunter‑Mahan marriage bond was signed on 25 June 1785 with Charles White as bondsman. White was married on the same day to Mary Coit with Solomon as bondsman (Liberty County Ordinary, Marriage Licenses and Bonds, 1785‑1926, Drawer 308, Roll 107, Georgia State Archives. The original marriage bonds are filed in the Liberty County courthouse at Hinesville).

Solomon undertook the profession of carpentry. In less than a month of marriage he was assailed by his bride’s debts. Her former husband, a ship carpenter, had died intestate and in debt. He had owned two residential lots in Sunbury, a tract outside town, and two slaves. Accordingly, these assets, along with Dickinson’s debts, became Solomon’s when he married Jane Mahan. In July 1785 Solomon conveyed a slave as security in promising to clear Dickinson’s indebtedness to John Baker of Sunbury (Liberty County Deed Book A, p. 15). In 1785 Solomon’s name appeared on the tax list of “persons in default.” In attempting to liquidate the debt to Baker, Solomon needed legal help. “Solomon Hunter and Jane his wife, on July 18, 1785, gave Power of Attorney to Samuel Stirk, James Jackson, and William Stephens or any other attorney‑at‑law to appear to plead for said Hunter and/or wife in Superior Court of Liberty County at the suit of John Baker, merchant, vs. said Hunter, suit on Account” (Ibid., p. 25).

Jane also owed money to another resident of Sunbury. The court record states: “Solomon Hunter and Jane his wife to Peter Donworth of Liberty County. Security deed dated May 1, 1786, conveying slave as security (Ibid., p. 139). Inventory of Dickinson’s estate included four slaves—”an old Negroe fellow Joe, an old Negroe wench Laddy, a young fellow Jem, an old fellow Little Joe.” A memorandum attached to the inventory describes Jem and two additional slaves not listed in the inventory—Tom and Jacob: “Jem is in the hands of Wm. Shaw, considered by him as appertaining to the estate of Thomas Parkins. A fellow Tom on St. Johns in East Florida, and a fellow Jacob in South Carolina, captured by the British American Galleys” (Stephen Dickinson estate papers, Liberty County Probate Court, Hinesville, Ga.). The 1787 tax list of Sunbury, however, reveals that Solomon and Jane still had two slaves. Solomon was assessed for one poll (himself), one male above sixteen (himself), one female above sixteen (Jane), one male slave above sixteen, and one female slave above sixteen (Laddy).

Continuing to address Jane’s financial liabilities, they sold Dickinson’s property in Sunbury. “Jane Hunter, lately Jane Mahan, Admx. of Stephen Dickinson, dec’d, and her husband Solomon Hunter, of Sunbury, to John Hardy of Sunbury. Deed dated April 17, 1787, for lots 101, 102 in Sunbury, owned by dec’d. Public sale” (Ibid., p. 170). In 1788 they sacrificed a piece of land on the outskirts. “Jane Hunter, admx., the estate of her deceased husband Stephen Dickinson, late of Sunbury, shipcarpenter, and her present husband Solomon Hunter, carpenter, to John Dollar, Esq., all of Sunbury. Deed dated June 15, 1788, for one‑half of 500 acres situated about 1½ miles from Sunbury, belonging to deceased at his death. Public Sale. It is recited that she had obtained an order as admx. from Liberty Superior court, authorizing her to sell said property” (Ibid., p. 208). In 1788 the tax list itemized Solomon as “44. Solomon Hunter, 250 acres pine, 2 slaves, 1 poll” (John McKay Sheftall, Sunbury on the Medway: A Selective History of the Town, Inhabitants and Fortifications. National Society, Daughters of the American Colonists, Georgia State Society, 1977).

In 1788, as the Georgia Gazette reported on July 24, Solomon was late in paying his taxes. His name appeared on the list of “Defaulters of Sunbury District” signed by Artemas Baker, Receiver of Tax Returns.” Although stripped of most of Dickinson’s holdings, Jane and Solomon still owned 250 acres outside Sunbury.

Details of their lives in the three years following 1788 are left in mystery.

As a veteran Solomon continued to receive periodic payments from North Carolina. In September 1791 he was paid £18 / 15 in specie. This certificate was endorsed by each sequential recipient who accepted it and then was returned to Raleigh for collection (Treasurer’s and Comptroller’s Papers, Vol. VII, p. 105, Reel 59, North Carolina State Archives).

Georgia law stated that every male resident over twenty‑one must serve in his district’s militia. The Creek Indians were a continuing threat even to such fortified settlements as Sunbury. Skirmishes flared periodically. Property was destroyed, and livestock, women, and children were stolen, never to be recovered. There is no known roster specifying Solomon’s militia service, but as the law required of all male newcomers, he had to register with the militia captain within one month of settling in a district. The militia was called out to fight in the unrelenting Indian attacks that would peak in the Creek Indian War of the early 1800s.

Like other Revolutionary War veterans from his state Solomon had applied for bounty land in North Carolina’s vast military reserve. In 1799 this western region of North Carolina would become the central section of the new state of Tennessee. A grant in his name was awarded in 1787. This was a tract of one thousand acres in Tennessee County (later renamed Davidson County). It was due him as a noncommissioned officer who had served eighty‑four months in the Continental Line. The land transaction states “273. Warrant 3353; location 3410; Nov. 2, 1787.” The record includes an ink drawing of the plat after the survey.

However, Solomon would never own or occupy this property. It was stolen in the notorious Glasgow Land Fraud. Secretary of State James Glasgow of North Carolina and Captain Moses Shelby fleeced a large number of the state’s veterans from their bounty lands by forging names on documents and pocketing the fees. They reported Solomon Hunter as deceased: “File 47,3353. Soldier: heirs of Solomon Hunter. 1,000 ac. Assignments: By David Hunter to Joseph Brock. Witness: Jno Brown. Mesne assignments: Brock to Anthony Hart, Hart to Seburn Jones. Drawn by M. Shelby. Survey for S. Jones.” A later hand added: “First assignment [David Hunter and Joseph Brock] forged by Moses Shelby” (A. B. Pruitt, Glasgow Land Fraud Papers, 1783‑1800: North Carolina Revolutionary War Bounty Land in Tennessee, 1988, p. 52. Files of the fraudulent assignments are preserved in both the Tennessee State Library and the North Carolina State Archives).

By 1791 Jane possibly had died and Solomon had left Sunbury for Wilkes County, traveling north along the old Sunbury Road that connected Wilkes and Liberty Counties. In that year his name appeared on the Wilkes tax list. He was enumerated for one poll in Captain Gresham ’s district, where his first‑cousin Elisha Hunter resided. Elisha’s father (Solomon’s uncle Jesse Hunter) had died in 1786 while on a visit in Wake Co., N. C., and Elisha farmed an inherited parcel of Jesse’s land near Whatley’s Church, Sherrill’s Creek, and Little River. This district of Wilkes, later a part of Greene County, was a settlement of several former North Carolina families that had migrated from Warren and Granville Counties, including the Greens, the Whatleys, the Nelmses, and the Hunters. Elisha’s brother Philip was a militia captain nearby.

Although Solomon had settled near his cousins, he still owned 250 acres of Dickinson’s land in Liberty County. The dispersal of this property is another mystery. Possibly Solomon sold it to Thomas Nelms, a Wilkes neighbor, although no deed has been traced. The administrator column of the Liberty estate records shows the administratrix Jane Mahan’s name entered in the year of Dickinson’s death, 1783. Below appear the names of Nelms’s sons, Thomas and John W., entered in1802, with names of their securities Thomas Mill and James Roberts. This entry may be a signal that the land had been transferred to them or their father while Solomon was residing in Wilkes County.

However, in Liberty County the Dickinson estate was in question, though by rights it belonged to the husband of Jane Mahan. Yet the Liberty tax digests of 1806 and of 1807 list this property for taxation as the estate of Stephen Dickinson. Liberty County records of 1770 include the name of Samuel Nelms, a packer, culler and inspector of lumber. He was married to Elizabeth Dickinson, daughter of Paynter Dickinson, presumed to be the brother of Stephen. Samuel Nelms’s descendants may be the claimants and heirs. In 1814 a notice in the Darien Gazette announced that “nine months after date [of July 12] application will be made to the honorable the court of ordinary, of the county of Liberty, for leave to sell all the real estate of Stephen Dickenson, deceased, for the benefit of the heirs. John Kell, adm’r.” Solomon Hunter’s name is not mentioned. In 1822 the settlement remained incomplete and apparently in controversy. The editor of the newspaper deposed to the justice of the peace that the announcement had been published in 1814, and a copy of its printing was attached.

Since Georgia’s federal census records before 1820 were destroyed, there is no existing  enumeration of Solomon Hunter. After 1791 there are no known documents for him until 1799. As was required of all male citizens, he served in the district militia, but around 1792 he left Georgia and crossed the Savannah River into Abbeville District. S. C. He settled in the Hillsborough community that surrounded the fork of Little River and Long Cane Creek and married a second time. His wife was Elizabeth Harris. Her parents were John Harris and Rachel Milly Kittrell, originally from Granville Co., N. C. (See John Harris’s will, Box 43, Pack 959, Abbeville Probate Court). Elizabeth’s uncle Isham Kittrell was Solomon’s brother‑in‑law and the husband of his sister Ann.

Solomon and Elizabeth’s only known child, James Alston Hunter, was born in 1796.

On January 30, 1799, Solomon was granted 640 acres of bounty land for his militia service in Georgia. The tract was valued at $200. His entry is No. 388 in the original Treasurer’s Record Book, Georgia State Archives (A transcription is published in “State Records, Bounty Land Warrants, Creek Indian War,” The Georgia Genealogist, Book I, Part 2, p. 1). Fourteen years later, on October 29, 1813, the official roster of troops who received grants was certified, and the original papers (applications and documentation) were burned (Ibid., p. 16). The Governor’s act established a huge reserve on the western side of the Oconee River, extending from the Chattahoochie River in the northwest, to the Flint River in the west, and to the St. Mary’s River in the south. Veterans’ bounty grants were earmarked for this vast tract that doubled the size of Georgia. Solomon’s assignment could have been in environs of territory that became Baldwin County in 1805. The act required recipients to settle in the reserve and within twelve months to prove the cultivation of “at least one acre for every hundred acres” (Ibid., p. 14). Although it prohibited any settlement until Creek hostilities had ceased, the rogue general Elijah Clarke attempted to establish his Trans‑Oconee Republic in the north of disputed region in 1794. In retaliation Creeks raided settlements on the eastern side of the river. In 1797 they burned the Greene County courthouse.

In September 1799, nine months after receiving the grant, Solomon died intestate at the age of thirty‑eight. (See Solomon Alston Hunter, Box 47, Pack 1063, Abbeville Probate Court). His widow and her brother Will Stoutly Harris jointly administered his estate. His meager possessions included a “foot adz,” six pewter plates, a bedstead and furniture, a drawing knife, a pewter basin, a cotton wheel, a prayer book, and a weeding hoe.” The sale of these items was held at the the home of the late Robert Terry. The Terrys were former residents in Bute County.

Solomon Alston Hunter very likely is buried in a now unmarked grave among his wife’s family in the Harris‑Wideman Cemetery, McCormick County, S. C.

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James A. Hunter

To distinguish himself from other James Hunters whose paths he would cross in South Carolina and Georgia, James Alston Hunter almost always identified himself as “James A. Hunter.” In the 1840 federal census of Choctaw Co., Miss., the A, inserted with a caret between his given name and surname,seems added as an afterthought or as James corrected the enumerator.

He was born in the Hillsborough settlement of Abbeville District, S. C., in 1796 (National Archives, Widow’ s pension certificate 19993). A “Col. James Hunter” and his young son James M. Hunter also resided in the district, but they were not connections of James Alston Hunter. He was an orphaned boy who grew up at his maternal grandfather’s farm near Long Cane Creek.

James’s mother was Elizabeth Harris. She and Solomon Alston Hunter of Warren Co., N. C., later of Wilkes Co., Ga., married around 1792. In the 1770s Elizabeth’s parents John Harris and Rachel Milly Kittrell had migrated to Old Ninety Six District, S. C., from Granville Co., N. C., and claimed a land grant near the fork of Little River and Long Cane Creek. Their property there and another Harris tract on Bold Branch were  near the Huguenot settlement at New Bordeaux and within Abbeville District (established in 1785). It is probable that an old and secure North Carolina connection joined the Hunters and the Harrises. Solomon Hunter, a young Revolutionary War veteran and a widower, came from Georgia to marry someone he evidently knew already. His bride’s uncle in Warren Co., N. C., was the husband of Solomon’s sister Ann.

James could not have remembered his father, but he was made aware that the Hunters were North Carolinians. Only three when Solomon died in 1799, James would have little if any formal education. Lethe, the training school John de le Howe established near New Bordeaux, continued to prosper after the schoolmaster’s death in 1796. At Willington Academy nearby, the Reverend Dr. Moses Waddell was producing outstanding students. But James, a farmer boy, was not enrolled at either. In his teens he was still signing his name with X.

From the age of seventeen, he served as a private in the local militia. Captain Peter B. Roger of New Bordeaux commanded the company and drilled his troops at Shinburg Muster Grounds near Longmires Store, the postoffice in northern Edgefield District. The men of Hillsborough were a unit in the Seventh South Carolina Regiment of Col. William Youngblood of Edgefield, and in the War of 1812 the Roger company, under Youngblood’s command, were with troops defending the Carolina coast.

In manhood James was six feet tall and had dark hair, a fair complexion, and gray eyes (Ibid., National Archives). His war records report that he volunteered either at Longmires or at Double Bridges, a community on Long Cane Creek, for a term of three months. The Third Auditor’s Report of September 1, 1856, documents his service from December 10, 1813, to January 10, 1814, and again from January 10 to March 15, 1814. The company was demobilized at Beaufort, 160 miles from Hillsborough, and James was discharged at Longmires or Double Bridges (National Archives, Bounty land warrant # 89953 ‑160 ‑ 55). An 1814 payroll roster of the Roger company notes that James Hunter acknowledged receiving his month’s pay, $8.53 1/3, by marking X beside his name (South Carolina Department of Archives and History, 233E05).

For the next seven years he apparently remained near Hillsborough. A family legend survives in hazy recollection. A snow storm struck Baldwin County as James was passing through Georgia with cattle and slaves, possibly en route to Alabama. Given shelter and hospitality at the plantation of the late Thomas Harris, James remained about a month and fell in love with Thomas’s daughter Martha. She was too young to marry. Later James returned to claim her.

Thomas Harris, a militia captain in Baldwin County, had died in 1817, leaving his widow Sarah (née Sarah Gardner), eight orphans (Mary “Polly,” Elizabeth “Lizer,” Sarah, Martha, Frances “Fanny,” Drucilla, Pryor, and Thomas Jr.), and his plantation. In 1819 Sarah Harris remarried, to James Powell, legal guardian of one of her children.

In 1821 James left Abbeville for good, and on May 16, 1821, he and Martha P. Harris obtained a marriage license in Jones Co., Ga. On January 10, 1822, they were married there by Benjamin Weathersby. In 1823 their first child, Silvanus Gardner Hunter, was born in Baldwin County.

This may not have been a happy time for the Harris children, and James assumed an additional role in the fragmented family. In 1824 the court named him guardian of Martha’s sister Sarah and her brother Thomas. In  the same year, the Harris land consisting of two lots in Baldwin County was divided among the children and their mother. Although the land records and the courthouse were destroyed in Sherman’s march to the sea, an  abstract of the Thomas Harris’s  settlement survives in the family papers of Leo Hunter, Mantee, Mississippi. It shows that each of the ten heirs received an equal legacy of land, money, and slaves appraised at a total of $850. Martha’s portion was the northeastern corner of Lot 72 (the “woods next to Beckam”) @ $350,  and Hiram, a slave valued at $500.

As former Indian lands opened for development, James and Martha began thirteen years of migration through the Georgia counties of Baldwin, Crawford, Talbot, and Meriwether. An application Martha submitted in 1879 for a War of 1812 widow’s pension documents these sites in their strenuous treks to establish homesteads. During these years six of their ten children were born: Silvanus (“Sill,” born in Baldwin County 28 April 1823), James W. (Baldwin County, 1824), John (Crawford County, 1826), Leonidas W. (“L. W.” Crawford County, 21 January 1828), Marcilus Samuel (“Samuel,” Talbot County, 28 January 1830), and Gregory Turner (“Dock” or “Doc,” Talbot County, 4 May 1834).

In 1826 the Hunters and their two sons moved to Crawford County. Martha was pregnant again, with John. In each quarter of the year Milledgeville’s The Georgia Journal, routinely published a list of addressees whose mail had not been claimed. In the postoffice a letter to James Hunter was in the batch. There’s no evidence that he ever connected with it. James’ s tax receipts preserved in his old wallet document his family’s migration and taxation during their years in Georgia. Although undated, one of these states: “Received of James A. Hunter to pay his Tax one Jury ticket for $.8.40 cts and one Silver Dollar.” In 1824 (Baldwin) his tax was $.93 3/4. In 1826 (Baldwin) $.82 2/4. In 1827 (Crawford $1.56 1/4. In 1828 (Crawford) $1.12½. In 1829 (Talbot) $.96 3/4. In 1830 (Talbot) $1.18 3/4. In 1832 (Talbot) $1.76. In 1833 (Talbot) $1.84½. In 1834 (Talbot) $1.81 1/4. In 1835 (Meriwether) $3.25 (Ibid., Leo Hunter).

The book of bonds and guardianships in Talbot County shows that on 7 September 1829 James A. Hunter was reappointed guardian of Thomas Harris, still under twenty‑one. Standing as bondsmen with James for $1,000 were William B. Russell and John Bransford. The 1830 federal census locates the James Hunter family in Young’s Valley of Talbot with three males under 5 (John, Leonidas, and Samuel), two of 5 but under 10 (Silvanus and James W.), one of fifteen but under 20 (Thomas Harris), one of 30 but under 40 (James A.), one female of 10 and under fifteen (probably Sarah Harris), and one of 20 but under 30 (Martha).

On November 4, 1834 James paid $200 for 202½ acres in the second district of Meriwether, formerly Troup County. At the door of the courthouse he was the high bidder for this tract belonging to the orphan Henry Simmons, sold by Simmons’s guardian Richard Draughan (Book D . Superior Court, Meriwether, Ga., p. 118).

In 1835 James, Martha, their six young sons, and two slaves left Meriwether in a wagon train bound for former Choctaw and Chickasaw lands in north‑central Mississippi. In the caravan also were Martha’s sister Frances and her husband Westley Anderson. They proceeded west across central Alabama and, according to family legend, stopped to rest at the Tombigbee Settlement before crossing the Tombigbee River. Continuing their journey into central Mississippi, they turned north at the Natchez Trace and proceeded to their new home in Choctaw County.

In the deeply wooded hills to the south of Topashaw Creek and a few miles from the Natchez Trace James established what would be his last home. Martha was pregnant again, and Frances Caroline, the only Hunter daughter and the first of James and Martha’s Mississippi children, was born on June 22, 1836. She was called “Frank” and was named for Martha’s sister Fanny and possibly for James’s mother’s sister Caroline Harris.

In the next seven years three more sons—Henry Saunders (“Henry,” born 21 December 1838), Pinson Calvin (“Pint,” pronounced “Pinnt,” April 9, 1841), and Baldwin Whitson (“Whit,” 1843)—were born at the Hunter farm. The boys, according to Silvanus’s daughter’s chronicle written in 1950, became expert woodsmen. “Their sports,” she reported, “were going early in the morning for a turkey or squirrels. Henry at one time brought home two turkeys killed with one shot. Some days they would go for a deer hunt or drive” (Unpublished reminiscences of Martha Susan Hunter, family papers).

The domain on which the Hunters settled, although untamed, was not virgin territory. It was a parcel in lands ceded fifteen years earlier in the Treaty of Dancing Rabbit Creek. Choctaw County was established in 1834. The setting of the Hunter farm (UTM coordinates NAD 27 Datum, UTM code 16, Easting 301150, Northing 3729738) was some five miles south of the ridge that divided Choctaw and Chickasaw Counties of that time. James purchased this acreage—the northern half of section 16 / township 21 / range 17 east of the Choctaw meridian—from John D. Bradford, a speculator who had scooped up vast tracts from the Chickasaw (Copy of sales agreement in family papers of Leo Hunter. See also the Bradford land entries in Bureau of Land Management’s www files). The farm, on the Chickasaw side of the boundary, was sixteenth‑section land that by federal law should have been reserved for the public schools. However, government agents had failed to safeguard sixteenth sections in north Mississippi counties within the ceded lands, and these were assigned to speculators and pioneers. To remedy the error, the state legislature would establish lieu lands and tax them to benefit public education.

A township is six miles square and is divided into thirty‑six square sections, each being 640 acres. Thus James Hunter’s farm, covered by dense pine and poplar forests, comprised 320 acres. Bradford carried the Hunter mortgage for an estimated $1,100. The 1837 Mississippi state census reported that in 1836, one year after the Hunters settled in Choctaw County, James had thirty acres in cultivation. With other pioneers migrating from Georgia, Tennessee, and the Carolinas the Hunters helped build a thriving farming community that surrounded a village called Hohenlinden. The closest postoffice was several miles distant at Cumberland. The Hunters’ neighbors, in addition to Martha’s sister Fanny and brother‑in‑law Westley Anderson, were families named Womack, Wofford, Henley, Glasson, Arnold, Ross, and Skelton.

The placement of their names in the 1840 federal census indicates that James Hunter and Westley Anderson were enumerated as neighbors. James’s household included one male under 5  ( Henry), one of 5 but under 10 (Gregory), three of 10 but under 15 (James W., Leonidas, and Samuel), one of 15 but under 20 (Silvanus), one of 40 but under 50 (James A.), one female under 5 (Frances Caroline), and one female of 30 but under 40 (Martha). The son John had died before the family left Georgia.

In 1830 while in Talbot, Ga., the Hunters owned two slaves—a man between 25 and 35 and a woman between 10 and 24. The 1837 Mississippi state census enumeration of the Hunters shows 9 free white inhabitants, 3 male slaves, and 1 female slave. The 1840 federal census shows that James’s slave roll had changed. There is one female between 24 and 35 and one male under 10, presumably Polly Hunter (b. 1820 in Tennessee) and her son George (b. 1838 in Mississippi). The 1841 tax list of Choctaw County preserved at the Mississippi state archives reports that James was taxed on two slaves over 5 and under 60. Evidently these are Polly and George. If the older male slave enumerated in Georgia is Polly’s husband and George’s father, he was no longer with the Hunters in 1840. This census reports that in the vicinity of Hohenlinden another Hunter was in residence. The householder was named Robert Hunter, perhaps a kinsman of James’s, although such a person is unknown in the family history.

The 1840 census shows too that as settlers flooded into the county the population had quickly risen to 6,032, including 1,500 slaves. There were 15 schools, 303 students attending school, and 293 known illiterates above the age of 20. This population was spread over many square miles of forests and new farmlands. Choctaw County comprised a significantly larger land mass in 1840 than in the coming decades of the century, when it was carved up to form Sumner and then Webster County.

But James lived hardly long enough to witness the growth and prosperity of Hohenlinden. Although brief, his life span was ten years longer than his father’s. On 20 May 1844, nine years after settling in Mississippi, he died at the age of forty‑eight. He was buried on a corner of his property.

In widowhood, Martha was matriarch of the family. With her sons, her young daughter, and her servants, she managed the farm. Evidently James died unexpectedly. If he left a will, it was destroyed in the Choctaw County courthouse fire in 1881. Silvanus, twenty‑one was named guardian of the underage children—Henry, Caroline, Pinson, and Baldwin. Allusions to the official  guardianships appeared in receipts preserved in James’s old wallet.

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Silvanus Gardner Hunter

“Silvanus Gardner Hunter, the eldest son of James and Martha Harris Hunter, was my father,” Martha Susan (“Sudie”) wrote in proud recollection of him. “He raised six children to be grown, three sons and three daughters. He bought around 260 acres of land in early manhood and lived in a big hewn‑pine‑log, two‑story house with big rock chimneys at each end.” This Hunter farmhouse was in northern Webster County. It had a “long piazza, as we called it, on the front and two side rooms on the back.” Her father’s table was situated in the corner by the fireplace, and he made continuing study of the three volumes always placed there—his Bible, a law book, and a Webster’s unabridged dictionary.

“We had family prayer at night,” she recalled in emphasizing her father’s devotion both to his religious faith and to education. “He was a charter member of Mt. Pleasant Baptist Church and worshiped in a log house with a rock chimney for heat.” In her childhood, “Reconstruction days,” he helped build a new church, a framed building. There were no free schools, and on the boundary between the Hunter property and Mark Womack’s her father supervised the raising of a log structure with a rock chimney. It was called the Hunter School House, and Silvanus taught the children of the community from the Blue Back Speller and Davies’ Arithmetic. An improved building, erected later, was known as the Henrietta School House in honor of Silvanus’s eldest daughter. “For ten or fifteen years, that is where I and all the children of the community got our meager educations.” Sudie named H. H. Womack, Sammy Scott, J. W. Wright, Tom Griffin, Fait Arnold, and A. J. Womack as some of the first pupils. All grew up in the vicinity of Hohenlinden and married.

Silvanus was born in Baldwin Co., Ga., on 28 April 1823, the son of James Alston Hunter and Martha P. Harris. His family was in a caravan that traveled from Meriwether Co., Ga., to Choctaw Co., Miss., in 1835. The Hunters established a farm of 620 acres east of Topishaw Creek, and Silvanus and his eight brothers and one sister grew up there. A younger brother, named John, had died before the Hunters moved to Mississippi, and three brothers and their one sister were born at the new Mississippi home a few miles south of a village called Hohenlinden.

James A. Hunter died in 1844, when Silvanus was twenty‑one, and Silvanus became his father’s executor and the legal guardian of his brothers and sister. After reaching the age of majority, each would receive a share of the estate, dispensed by Silvanus.

In 1845 Silvanus, his brother Leonidas, and their mother were among the twenty charter members of the Baptist Church of Christ at Double Springs, erected about two miles from the Hunters’ farm.

In 1847 Silvanus, 23, married Mary Jane Spencer, 16, but their marriage would last only six years. She died 14 June 1853, leaving a daughter Henrietta (born 1849) and a son Henry (born 1852).

In 1850 Mt. Pleasant Baptist Church was founded, and a building was constructed just south of the Chickasaw County line. Silvanus was the first deacon. He would serve faithfully for fifty years and be recalled as the “Patriarch of Mount Pleasant” (Larry Wells Kennedy, The History of Mount Pleasant Baptist Church, Webster County, Mississippi, Master’s Thesis, Mississippi State University, 1970, p. 5).

The 1850 U. S. Federal Census of Chickasaw County, Miss., enumerated Silvanus’s household as Number 326, listing him as a farmer, aged 27, with real estate valued at a thousand dollars, a wife Mary Jane, 19, born in Alabama, a daughter Henrietta, aged one, and Mary Spencer (mother‑in‑law), 45, born in Georgia. The Slave Census of Chickasaw County, 1850, shows that Silvanus owned one black female, 24, one black female, 6, and one black male, 2.

A few family receipts survived to document Silvanus’s dispersal of funds from James A. Hunter’s estate. In 1851 his mother acknowledged hers: “Received of Silvanus G. Hunter six hundred and forty four dollars in full discharge of my distribute share or portion of the estate of J. A. Hunter deceased. This September 18th A. D. 1851.” A promissory note, never repaid, shows that Leonidas W. Hunter borrowed money from Silvanus: “On or before the first of January next I promise to pay S. G. Hunter or bearer the sum of twenty five dollars for value received this Oct. 4th 1854. L. W. Hunter.” Doubtless, Leonidas received his part of the estate, but no record survives. Silvanus apportioned a share to his sister Frances Caroline in 1854, perhaps as a second payment, the first receipt being lost. Her husband signed acknowledgment: “On final settlement received of S. G. Hunter four hundred and fifty five & 89/100 Dollars in full discharge and satisfaction of my Distributive share in my father James A. Hunter deceased. This Nov. 3rd 1854. G. W. Womack.”
In 1855 Silvanus was living in Mobile and working in a pharmacy. An ambrotype portrait of him dates from that year.

In 1859 Gregory Turner Hunter signed a receipt to Silvanus: “Received of S. G. Hunter Guardian nine hundred and thirty nine 43/100 dollars as payment on my distributive share of the Estate of J. A. Hunter Deceased. This May 17th 1859. G. T. Hunter.”

Silvanus had returned to Mississippi, and on 3 January1860 he married the widow Sarah Bingham, née Sarah “Sallie” Hannah McMullen, a daughter of William McMullen and Susannah Scott, like James A. Hunter formerly of Abbeville Dist., S. C. In the 1850 federal census of Chickasaw County the McMullens were enumerated as household No. 327 (next to Silvanus’s home). When Silvanus married Sallie McMullen Bingham, he became father to her little daughter Virginia Victoria “Vicki” Bingham, who was four.

In 1860 Silvanus gave his brother Henry Saunders Hunter, 21, a payment from the Hunter estate: “Received two hundred & sixty one dollars of my guardian S. G. Hunter it being part of my distributive share in the estate of James A. Hunter deceased. This Feby. 11th 1860. H. S. Hunter.”  A second payment was made in 1861: “Received of S. G. Hunter my Guardian on the Estate of my father J. A. Hunter Dec. Five hundred and eighty four dollars in part payment of what he is owing me as Guardian Jan 1st 1861 H. S. Hunter.”

In the Hohenlinden community the Hunters were devoted and close‑knit although living in separate households. With the outbreak of war in 1861, the brothers were stirred to enlist in the Confederate army.  Henry, Pinson, and Whitson, the three youngest, quickly joined a company originated in Carroll County. Samuel enlisted in Louisiana, and in 1862 Leonidas enlisted at Grenada. After paying his taxes and setting his home in order, Silvanus, 39, enlisted at Persimmon Springs. George, one of his slaves accompanied him and would serve him throughout the war. While on furlough in 1863 Silvanus engendered a son, William Edwin “Willie,” born in 1864. Gregory and Frances Caroline’s husband joined Silvanus’s unit. Two of the seven soldiers would die in battle (Leonidas and Whitson), one would die of sickness (George Washington Womack), two would be wounded (Pinson and Henry), and Silvanus would be hospitalized. Their military service is documented in microfilm files at the Mississippi Department of Archives and History.

After the surrender in 1865, the survivors returned to Hohenlinden and attempted to reestablish their farms. Silvanus, still presiding over the family, settled a lingering debt for his late brother Leonidas: “Woodward & Therrell vs. Alias Trustee / L. W. Hunter / Gideon Woodruff [father‑in‑law of Leonidas] & S. G. Hunter / 31st day of March 1860 for 95.12 / Int. 6% for 6 years & 5 mon. 36.85 / Cost of suit 22.91 / Shff Com. 4.00 / $159.58 / Recd of S. G. Hunter one hundred & fifty nine & 58/100 Dollars in ful of Indbt Int & cost in the above stated case. Sept. 1at 1866 / T. M. James Shff / Chickasaw Co.” In 1866 Silvanus gave Pinson, 26, a share of the Hunter estate: “Received of S. G. Hunter my Guardian on the Estate of J. A. Hunter deceased Seven hundred and Seventy five dollars as a compromise in full Satisfaction for what he (Hunter) was owing me on my own account an on account of my [late] brother Baldwin W. Hunter Nov. 4th 1866. P. C. Hunter.” In 1867 Henry acknowledged a payment due him from the estate: “Received of S. G. Hunter my guardian on the Estate of my father J. A. Hunter Dec. Two hundred and fifty Dollars as a Compromise in full Satisfaction of what he is owing me as Guardian on my own account and my share in the Estate of my brother B. W. Hunter dec. This Jan. 3rd 1867. H. S. Hunter.”

In 1867 Sallie gave birth to Martha Susan, in 1868 to Thomas Edwin “Tom Ed,” and in 1872 to Iva Nora Boyd.

In 1869 Silvanus conferred by mail with his brothers and with Caroline about selling the family farm. Since the family had dispersed and their mother was living with Caroline, all agreed to sell. James Bradford, from whom their father had bought the land in 1835, agreed to purchase it.

In her later years Martha Susan wrote down her memories of her father. “Father was never well after the war, and his spirits were broken at giving up his servants, the best set of Negroes in all the country. . . . Father was a law‑abiding, progressive‑minded man. He taught, and loved education. He was the first to have a cook stove, sewing machine, John Deere grain harvester, or reaper, [and] a McCormick hay mower. He liked to raise stock and was the first to bring Jersey cattle into the community, as well as Poland China hogs and Marino and Cutwool sheep. He had his own work and repair shop and took the overhead ceiling from the hall of his residence and made caskets for his neighbors who had not prepared for burial of their families—all without cost.”

In 1883 Silvanus prepared a talk titled “What Are the Duties of a Deacon to His Church and Pastor?” and read it at a meeting of the Baptist association. “Nearly all the territory in the bounds of this association,” he said, “is supplied with the gospel of Christ, yet this should not satisfy the lovers of Jesus while there are, in other bounds, fields ripe unto harvest, but the laborers are few and means insufficient. We would suggest that every member of the different churches of the association contribute something to the cause of missions every year, as it is the duty of every Christian to do so” (Kennedy, ibid., p. 100).

Sallie Hunter had become blind and severely bent by arthritis. Silvanus hired a woman  named Pearl Hogan to be her nurse.

In July 1900 Silvanus, 77, suffered a broken hip when his buggy overturned. On 4 July he signed his will, leaving his estate in control of his widow, with the provision that after she was no longer able to manage the farm, one tract of land would be deeded to their son Willie and another be divided among their other children (Will, Webster Co., Miss., 1900). On 14 July Silvanus died. He was buried at Mt. Pleasant Cemetery.

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