Family History

Two distinct Harris families are interrelated in one line of Nansemond Hunters. These are Harris of Granville Co., N. C. and Abbeville Dist., S. C., and Harris of Warren Co., Ga., and Baldwin Co., Ga. Possible links of the two have not been determined. Elizabeth Harris, daughter of John Harris and Rachel Milly Kittrell (Granville and Abbeville), was the mother of James Alston Hunter. Martha P. Harris, daughter of Thomas Harris and Sarah Gardner (Warren and Baldwin) was James Alston Hunter’s wife.

The Nansemond Hunters from 1685 to 1900

A map of Hunter's settlement around Albemarle Sound. Click the image to enlarge it.
A map of Hunter’s settlement around Albemarle Sound. Click the image to enlarge it.

William Hunter of Nansemond Co., Va., to Silvanus Gardner Hunter of Webster Co., Miss.

In this line of American Hunters the earliest is William Hunter of Nansemond, the immigrant ancestor. In 1685, during the reign of James II, he arrived in the upper parish of Nansemond County in the colony of Virginia. This land in the coastal Albemarle region was the aboriginal homeland of the Nansemond, the Meherrin, and the Chowanac Indians. It would become Chowan and Gates Counties of northeastern North Carolina, and today the old Hunter tracts are near the town of Sunbury.

In 1704 William’s plantation included eight hundred acres. To the south, the town of Edenton would be established late in his lifetime. By trade he was a weaver, but he also became a “magistrate,” or clerk of the court, and a captain in the militia. Few records survive to give details of his experiences as a loyal subject in the British colony, for most of the Nansemond County documents that could relate his history, including his will, are lost or were destroyed in fires in 1734, 1779, and 1866. What is known about him surfaces in a handful of land patents, a tax roll, family wills, and allusions in the deed records of his children and grandchildren. His original tracts on Bennetts Creek and Meherrin Swamp remained the property of his descendants through several generations. His sons William and Isaac owned water mills. Isaac’s passed to his son Jacob, and it remained productive for more than a century. A township in present-day Gates County is named Hunters Mill.

William sired four sons and two daughters—Nicholas, William, Isaac, Robert, Alice, and Sarah. Within a hundred years, their many descendants had migrated throughout North Carolina. Within two hundred, the Nansemond Hunters were spread through the southeastern United States and beyond. The favored family names—William, Nicholas, Isaac, Robert, Elisha, James, Jesse, Ann, and Martha—reappear time and again in sometimes baffling array. Because the name Isaac recurs so often in the Nansemond genealogy, some researchers are challenged to keep Isaac of Chowan, Isaac of Northampton, Isaac of Warren, Isaac of Gates, Isaac of Wake, Tavern Isaac, Isaac of Duplin, and other Isaacs distinct and individual. Into the twentieth century the name Isaac Hunter continued to proliferate both in Nansemond descendants and in freedmen.

Pattern of Hunter settlement, from North Carolina to Mississippi. Click the image to enlarge it.
Pattern of Hunter settlement, from North Carolina to Mississippi. Click the image to enlarge it.

Through William’s son, the first Isaac, the following chronology traces six generations of a single descending male line of this family, as follows: William Hunter of Nansemond to his son Isaac Hunter (Huntor) of Chowan Co., N. C., to Isaac’s son Isaac Hunter of Chowan and then of Bute/Warren Co., N. C., to Isaac’s son Solomon Alston Hunter of Bute/Warren, N. C., Liberty Co., Ga., Wilkes Co., Ga., and Abbeville Dist., S. C., to Solomon’s son James Alston Hunter of Abbeville Dist., S. C., Baldwin Co., Ga., Crawford Co., Ga., Talbot Co., Ga., Meriwether Co., Ga., and Choctaw Co., Miss., to James’s son Silvanus Gardner Hunter of Baldwin Co., Ga., Crawford Co., Ga., Talbot Co., Ga., Meriwether Co., Ga., Choctaw Co., Miss., and Webster Co., Miss. Mentioned within this family chronology are milestones in American history that convey the passage of time and the impact of events upon the Hunters.

1685 William Hunter is among seven persons Charles Rountree transports to “Up. Par. of Nanzamund . . . by the Scypress Sw.” The record, 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 is 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 are William and Nicholas’s respective spouses. Nicholas Hunter’s will (Carteret County, N. C., 1749) mentions his wife, named Rebecca. Joane, therefore, may be Nicholas’s mother.

1695 On 21 April William Hunter, “weaver,” is “granted 200 acres on the eastward side of the main cypress swamp that runs out of Bennetts Creek” for the importation of four Negro slaves (“Alla, Harry, Shor[illegible], Rod”) into the colony (Virginia Patent Book, Vol. 8, p., 432. Microfilm, Virginia State Land Office, Patents 1 – 42, reels 1- 41).

1699 On 8 June William Hunter is listed as clerk of Nansemond County (Virginia Magazine of History & Biography, I, June 1894, p. 232).

1702 William Hunter is granted 240 acres adjoining his tract in Upper Parish on southeastern side of Meherrin Swamp. The record is dated 25 April. 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 transports five persons: himself, his wife, his daughter Alice, his son Nicholas, and Mary Cohone (Virginia Patent Book, Vol. 9, pp. 309-310).

William Hunter is listed among magistrates and militia officers of Nansemond County (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).

1702 – 1714 William Hunter is mentioned as a clerk, or justice of the peace (Virginia Magazine of History & Biography, I, June 1894, p. 368).

1704 Capt. William Hunter is enumerated in A Compleat List of the Rent Roll of the Land in Nansemond County in anno 1704, with 800 acres (The Quit Rents of Virginia, compiled and alphabetized by Annie Laurie Wright Smith, 1957).

1714 -1719 The earliest known record of William’s son Isaac shows him to be a single man with one slave. “Personally appeared Mr. Isaac Hunter and made oath that his family consisted of two persons, videlicit Isaac Hunter and one negro called London. Issued” (Chowan Minutes of the Court of Pleas and Quarter Sessions, 1714 – 1719, p. 104). Isaac will marry Elizabeth Parker, a daughter of Richard Parker and his wife Hannah of Chowan (Parker’s Will, Chowan, April court, 1752, mentions his daughter “Elizabeth Hunter”).

1722 On 6 April William Hunter (either the immigrant father or his son) acquires 335 acres on the east side of the Chowan River on the head of Hell Pocoson (swamp), joining Cabin branch (Virginia Patent Book 3, p. 98).

1729 William Hunter dies before 1729. His will, now lost, is mentioned in a Chowan deed Thomas Rountree, attorney for Nicholas Hunter and his wife Rebecca, transfers from Nicholas of Carteret County to his son William Hunter on 27 March 1729, the land having been a bequest to Nicholas by his father: “. . . one hundred & twenty acres more or less being part of 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).

1729 When William Byrd’s new survey of Virginia and North Carolina abolishes the old ill-defined boundary between the two colonies, the Hunter land is designated in northeastern North Carolina (Chowan County) rather than in Nansemond, Virginia.

1732 Through two decades Isaac Hunter serves as a vestryman of St. Paul’s Parish, from 1732 until his death. “The vestry were generally the most conspicuous and influential members of the community” (The History of Nansemond County, Va. by Jos. B. Dunn, Richmond: Virginia State Library, p. 33). In the precinct the vestry is composed of twelve men elected to administer community services not assumed by the courts of law. Their ususal term is one year, and their duties, mainly secular, include levying and collecting an annual poll tax from tithers, accounting for parish moneys, paying the salary of the minister, paying parish bills, contributing to the support of widows and indigents, controlling vermin (wolves, wildcats, and squirrels), setting property boundaries, and approving the standards of weights and measurements within the precinct. From their number two church wardens are elected. Through the years Isaac Hunter serves as vestryman, warden, and, in the absence of the minister, reader. His brother Robert, his sons Elisha, William, and Jacob, Elisha’s son Thomas, and Isaac’s son-in-law William Walton and grandson Thomas Walton periodically serve on the vestry Vestrymen are required annually to take an oath that they disavow any belief in transubstantiation and give allegiance to the Test Act, which upholds the authority of the Church of England and excludes Roman Catholics and nonconformists from office. The central church in Chowan is St. Paul’s (ca. 1722, 1736) in Edenton. Vestry meetings alternate from St. Paul’s to the Chowan courthouse and to Costen’s Chapel (also called Constens), near Isaac Hunter’s home north of Edenton (Vestry Minutes of St. Paul’s Parish, Chowan County, North Carolina, 1701 – 1776, transcribed by Ramond Parker Fouts, GenRec Books, 1983).

An Accurate Map of North and South Carolina with Their Indian Frontiers by Henry Mouzon and others (London: Robt. Sayer and J. Bennett, May 30, 1775) shows the location of the chapel and the church in Edenton and affords a glimpse of the vicinity of Isaac Hunter’s land along Bennetts Creek and the Meherrin Swamp.

1732 On 19 October 1732 in the Chowan court Isaac Hunter and Robert Hunter give their oaths at the proving of their brother William’s will (Chowan, 1733).

1737 Isaac Hunter of Chowan purchases 640 acres in Bertie County from John Perry and his wife Sarah of Chowan, £55, 13 June 1737 (Bertie Deed Book E, p. 193).

1738 Isaac Hunter of Chowan purchases 320 acres in Ahoskey Woods of Bertie County from James Henderson, £60, 4 August 1738 (Bertie County Deed Book E, p. 281).

1741 Isaac Hunter helps initiate the construction of Costen’s Chapel on land donated by James Costen. It is situated near Isaac’s plantation. The vestry records show Isaac was paid £15 annually for “reading the Divine service” (Vestry Minutes of St. Paul’s Parish).

1744 Isaac Hunter petitions to buy John Rice’s water mill. The purchase is made final in April court 1745 (Chowan County Court Minutes, Court of Pleas and Quarter Sessions, Book One, p. 104, 111).

1748 In 1748 and 1749 William Hunter, a grandson of William Hunter of Nansemond, represents Nansemond County in the Virginia House of Burgesses. Serving with him is Lemuel Riddick (The Colonial Virginia Register, compiled by William G. And Mary Newton Stanard. Albany, N. Y.: Joel Munsell’s Sons, Publishers, 1902, pp. 51, 124, 125). William the Burgess dies in 1750 (will proved Chowan court, April 1750).

1753 Isaac Hunter of Chowan dies in April 1753. In his will he is called “Isaac Huntor.” In May 1753, his son Elisha, the executor, makes a meticulous inventory of the extensive estate and apportions his father’s chattels to himself and his siblings. Included not only are household furnishing (eight bedsteads) and utensils, farming implements, livestock, and food stores, but also “7 wheals” and an abundance of linen, cotton, holland, broadcloth, “silk poplar,” and other fabrics that imply that Isaac, like his father, may have been a weaver in addition to being a planter. The will bequeaths slaves (Duke, Tobe, Toney, Hager, Cate, Venes, Lace, Treas, and Pender) and money to his children, the water mill to Jacob, and to his son Isaac “all my land in Bartea [Bertie] County, as by a patent dated the twenty-eighth day of February 1744-45 for one hundred and fifty acres. Also a deed of sale for 179 acres, dated April 20, 1745 and joining to Elisha Huntor’s lands, I say to my son Isaac Huntor and his heirs and assigns forever” (Will, Chowan, 1753).

1754 Isaac’s sons Elisha and Jesse are serving in Capt. John Sumner’s company of the Chowan militia,

1757 After their father’s death Isaac Hunter Jr. and his brothers Jesse and Daniel leave the Albemarle region and move to Granville County, west of Bertie and Edgecombe Counties. Elisha and Jacob remain in Chowan / Gates County. Daniel buys property along Fishing Creek, and Isaac and Jesse settle nearby along Shocco Creek, purchasing adjacent lands in a part of Granville later designated in Bute County.

“One of the most prosperous sections of the county,” writes Catherine W. Bashir, “lay in the southeastern area, which was watered by Shocco Creek and Fishing Creek and known for its good land and healthy air. Much of this land was part of an early grant to Edward Mosely, a prominent Colonial official, but in the late eighteenth century it had been acquired by members of the Alston and Williams families, among others.

“Extending from the confluence of Shocco and Great Fishing Creeks known as the Fork, the neighborhood was dominated not by a single great planter, but rather by several families of roughly comparable wealth.” Bashir notes that tobacco surpassed corn and grains as the most profitable crop and that planters relied on slaves for its cultivation. By 1790 the majority of the county’s population was black. “Forming a rural aristocracy,” the planter families intermarried and “developed a way of life that, if modest compared to the planter elite of Virginia and South Carolina, was opulent by North Carolina standards” (The House Marina Built: Cherry Hill, a Plantation and Its Family, Warrenton, N. C.: Cherry Hill Historical Foundation, Inc., 2004, p. 7).

“Until Methodist evangelizing began around 1810,” Bashir says, “the county was lacking in churches.” In 1771 Rev. Saunders Walker, a Baptist preacher, moved to Bute, described as “a place notorious for wickedness and ignorance of religion. . . , [but] in a short time a considerable church arose under his ministry.” He remained in the county until 1782. (David Benedict, General History of the Baptist Denomination in America, Boston: Manning and Loring, 1813, p. 393).

On June 1 for £120 / 4, Isaac Hunter acquires 404 acres from William Hurst. The tract, situated between Fishing Creek and Shocco Creek, is “on Alston’s line to Moseley’s line, being part of a tract bought of William Little, Esq., Dec. 3, 1729.” The witness of Isaac’s purchase is his brother Jesse, mistakenly recorded as “Jos.” (Granville Co. Deed Book C, pp. 586-587). On the same day Jesse also purchases land. For £98 / 10, he acquires 327 acres from Hurst. The tract, located in the fork of the two creeks, is, like Isaac’s acquisition, acreage once belonging to Little and a parcel of Little’s tract patented in 1728. The witness of the sale is Isaac Hunter. (Granville Co. Deed Book C, p. 244-245). The Hunter brothers are settled near the Alstons and the Joneses along Shocco. Jesse and Isaac will marry the Alston sisters. Daniel will remain a bachelor.

1758 Isaac sells the Bertie County land granted to him in his father’s will. “Tract of land in Bertie on the west side of Chowan River granted by patent to Isaac Hunter, father of said Isaac, dated 12 Apr. 1745 – 150 acres beginning on the said river pocoson called Pugh’s or Caleb Services Line, and also 149 acres contiguous to the aforesaid tract and binding on Ephraim Hunter’s line and Robert Sumner’s line.”

On 20 June “with her father’s consent” Jesse Hunter marries Ann Alston (born in Chowan, 29 March 1738 (The Alstons and Allstons of North and South Carolina by Joseph A. Groves, 1901, p. 190), daughter of Solomon Alston and Ann Nancy Hinton (North Carolina Marriage Bonds, 1741 – 1778, from The North Carolinian, III, June 1957, p. 308).

1760 On 18 April Isaac Hunter marries Ann’s sister Martha Alston (born in Chowan, 25 May 1745 (The Alstons and Allstons of North and South Carolina, p. 191. See also, “Marriage Bonds at Oxford, Granville Co., N. C.,” William and Mary Quarterly, XIII, July 1904, 23-24). Isaac and Martha will become the parents of seven children: Solomon Alston Hunter, James Alston Hunter, Jacob Hunter, Ann Alston Hunter, Martha Patsy Hunter, Sacky Clark Hunter, and Sarah (Sally) Alston Hunter.

1761 Solomon Alston Hunter, Isaac and Martha’s eldest child and first son, is born (The year is surmised from dates on Solomon’s enlistment papers. See below).

1768 The Minutes of the Bute County Court of Pleas and Quarter Sessions first mentions Isaac and Jesse Hunter in February 1768. Both are serving on a grand jury. In the following years, through 1779, when Bute became Warren County, the minutes document the brothers’ civic participation and notable presence in the community. The records show their frequent appearances on county juries, their overseeing the maintenance of district roads, their serving as witnesses to land transfers and wills, and Jesse’s making repairs and building a bookcase at the courthouse.

1769 On 15 May, Isaac Hunter increases his holdings by buying former Little land from Elisha Battle of Edgecome County. For this he pays “£210 Proc. Money. All his right & title to one tract of land in Bute County containing 326 acres, being part of a purchased patent which was granted to Col. William Little dated Dec. 5, 1728, lying on the north side of Shocko Creek beginning at a white oak Thos Sumner’s corner on the bank of said creek, to a small red oak, to a sweet gum, to Horsepen Branch, down the branch to Shocko Creek. Test: Wm Battle, Jacob Battle, Jethro Battle, Philip Alston, Dan’l Hunter. Proved Aug Court 1770 by Daniel Hunter” (Book 39, p. 121).

1769 Isaac Hunter is enumerated on the Bute County tax list.

1771 On 14 Nov. 1771, Isaac sells a parcel of the Little land to his brother Jesse. “£133, 6 shil. & 8 pence Proc. money. The tract comprises 100 acres of the parcel of the 1728 Little tract that Isaac had purchased from Battle. It is described as “lying on the north side Shocko Creek, beginning at a white oak on Shocco Creek, Thomas Sumner’s corner, up the crook to the mouth of Horsepen Branch, up said branch to a white oak at the head of said branch, by a line of marked trees to a post oak in Sumner’s line, all his estate right title & interest. Isaac Hunter. Ack’d Nov Court 1771.” (Bute County Will Book 3, p. 351).

1771 On 15 February Isaac is commissioned as a militia captain. “Cap’t John Hawkins Jun’r, Cap’t Isaac Hunter, Cap’t John Bradley, Christopher Foster Lieut & Joseph Shearin Lieut each of them produced a commission from under the hand of his Excellency the Governor, took the oaths appointed to be taken by publick officers, repeated & subscribed to the Test [Act] &c.” (Bute Co. N. C., Minutes of the Court of Pleas and Quarter Sessions, 1767 – 1779).

1773 Boston Tea Party

1774 First Constitutional Congress, Philadelphia.

1775 Beginning of the American Revolutionary War

1776 Declaration of Independence

1776 Isaac Hunter, Jesse Hunter, and Solomon Alston are identified as Masons (Bute County Safety Committee Meeting Minutes).

1777 The North Carolina Assembly includes Bute (with a population of no more than 5,000) in the Halifax Military District. All able-bodied men between sixteen and sixty are enlisted in the county’s regiment of militia (The County of Warren, North Carolina, by Manly Wade Wellman, Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1959, p. 44).

1778 Before Justice of the Peace Young McLemore, Isaac Hunter, his brother Jesse, and Isaac’s son Solomon (aged 17) put their names to the Oath of Allegiance. Signing is required for voting in elections. (“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 are among signers swearing on “oath to support the measures taken by the general Congress in Philadelphia.” (Bute County Committee of Safety Minutes, 1775-1776, p. 25).

1778 Isaac Hunter serves as an assessor of property in Robert Temple’s District. On 13 August he, John Pinnell, and Richard Ward “returned into court an amount of their said assessment amounting to £162,846 / 7 / 5″ (Minutes of the Court of Pleas and Quarter Sessions, 1767 – 1779).

1778 On 3 September in Halifax District, Isaac’s son Solomon Alston Hunter enlists in the Continental Line. “We the subscribers balloted men and volunteers from the county of Bute do hereby bind and oblige ourselves to serve as Continental soldiers for the term of nine months after the first day of March inst. and do each of us bind and oblige ourselves to meet our officers at whatever place in the state may be appointed for our rendezvous on the aforesaid first day of March next, and in case we or either of we do fail to appear at the said place of rendezvous on the said first day of March next, sickness or other accidents as may be deemed sufficient by a board of officers excepted, we each of us so failing do oblige ourselves to serve as Continental soldiers for the term of three years from the date hereof or during the present war and as such to obey the lawful commands of the officers that may be placed over us and in all things to demean ourselves as good and faithful soldiers.” The enlistment papers state that Solomon Hunter is ranked as sergeant and that he resides in Bute County, was born in North Carolina, is five feet, ten inches, is seventeen years of age, and has light-colored hair and grey eyes. (“Continental Soldiers for Nine Months from Bute County, N. C., 1779,” The North Carolina Genealogical Society Journal, February 1989, p. 108. The original documents are filed at the North Carolina State Archives: Military Collection: Troop Returns, Box 4, Continental Line, 1778, “Drafts and Enlistments,” Folder 35, Bute Co., N. C., North Carolina State Archives). Solomon will be credited for eighty-four months of service.

1779 Bute County is renamed Warren County.

1780 – 81 On a roster of thirty names headed “A return of Capt [Robert] Temple’s Comp. of New Levie, joined ye 1st March agreeable to Furloe,” the name of Solomon Hunter appears third, after “Robt. Temple Capt.” and “James Williams Sergt” (The State Records of North Carolina, collected and edited by Walter Clark, Vol. XV, 1780-81, Goldsboro, N. C.: Nash Bros., 1898, p. 739). “Resolve, That every officer in the North Carolina Continental Troops . . . shall be entitled to receive half pay, during seven years after the termination of the present war, the half shall be continued during the life of said officer. . . .” Signed by J. Glasgow, Sec. State of North Carolina in the General Assembly, May 15, 1779.

1780 Solomon Alston signs his will. Among his many bequests to his children and grandchildren is a slave to his daughter Martha (wife of Isaac Hunter) and land to his grandson Solomon Alston Hunter (Warren County Will Book 4, p. 70).

“Solomon Hunter is appointed constable in Edward Jones, Esq.’s district, and that he be sworn before Justices of the county before he enters the execution of the said office” (Minutes of the Court of Pleas and Quarter Sessions, 16 Feb. 1780, p. 8).

In the minutes of 16 August: “Ordered that Solomon Hunter, Constable, be allowed seventy-five dollars for his services” (p. 37).

In the minutes of Friday, May 11: “Ordered that Edward Jones, Esquire, take the list of assessable property in Capt. Peter Cox’s District and that Solomon Hunter summon the inhabitants in the said District to give in the same, and ordered William Johnson, Esquire, take the list of assessable property in Capt. Thomas Christmas’s District, and that Thomas Jinkins be appointed Constable in the said District to give in the same, and that Isaac Hunter, James Johnson, and Hugh Hayes be and they are hereby appointed assessors in the above District (p. 31).

1781 General Cornwallis surrenders at Yorktown.

On the List of Taxables, Warren County, Capt. Benjamin Ward’s District, Isaac Hunter’s taxable assets are valued at £16,205, Jesse Hunter’s at £9,869 /12, and James Alston’s at £17,892. General Thomas Eaton is the county’s richest man, with a fortune of about £80,000. Herbert Haynes is second richest, with £48,069. Next is Jethro Sumner, with £43,614. The combined assets of the Alston family, who whose plantations are near the Hunters’ land at the fork of Shocco and Fishing Creeks, total more than £90,000, and the Jones family of Shocco, with whom the Alstons are closely allied, have a combined fortune of some £40,000 (The County of Warren, North Carolina,by Manly Wade Wellman, Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1959, p. 56).

1783 The signing of the Treaty of Paris ends the Revolutionary War.

1784 – 87 Isaac Hunter is listed in the North Carolina state census as a householder in Capt. Ward’s District of Warren County, 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.

1784 The war having ended, Solomon Hunter, aged twenty-three, chooses to migrate to Georgia with his Uncle Jesse. It is apparent that money to finance his travel will come from his grandfather. Accordingly, by a codicil Solomon Alston transfers the land bequest in his will directly to the grandson. On 1 April 1784, he deeds it thus: “For consideration of two shillings current money of to me in hand paid by the said Solomon Hunter . . . a tract purchased by me of Joseph Montford Esqr beginning for the same, to wit, at the head of the Lower Redneck Branch near where Robison’s path turns off of the road, thence down the old road near the Bison Lick, thence by my line 51 degrees east to a black oak a corner, thence No. 140 poles to a white oak, thence north 42 degrees W 58 poles to a Spanish oak in Poor Creek, thence up the creek S 60 degrees E 46 poles to the mouth of Sackery’s Branch, thence up the said branch 20 degrees west to the head of the said branch, thence the same course as continued to McCollock’s line to a post 132 poles there by his line up this branch to the beginning” (Warren County Deed Book 8, pp. 129-130).

On 11 April James Alston, son of Solomon Alston and uncle of Solomon Hunter, purchases the tract for £200 current money (Warren County Deed Book 8, p. 160). Alston also purchases a tract and its premises from his brother-in-law Jesse Hunter, “lying in Warren County in the fork of Fishing Creek and Shocco, it being part of the tract of land granted to Wm. Little. . . .” He pays Jesse £400.

Jesse, his wife Ann Alston Hunter, and their children (Philip Hunter, Elisha Hunter, Ruth Hunter Green, and Nathaniel Hunter) travel to Georgia, evidently lured to bounty land east of the Ogeechee River in former Creek territory. Jesse and his son Philip each is granted a headright on 7 May 1784. Jesse’s grant is 268 acres. (See Georgia Revolutionary War Bounty Land Claims, 1783-1785, transcribed by Nicole M. O’Kelley and Mary Bondurant Warren, Athens, Ga.: Heritage Press, 1992, p. 151).

Solomon does not remain in Wilkes. He travels south to the seacoast town of Sunbury. In prewar years Sunbury, a port rivaling Savannah, had been a flourishing community, the site of Fort Morris, and the home of two of Georgia’s signers of the Declaration of Independence. After British forces occupied Sunbury, the town fell into decline. The reason for Solomon’s sojourn to Sunbury is not known, but within a year he has married a widow there. After his departure from home, there is no known documentation of further contact with his immediate family in Warren County.

Solomon Hunter receives specie payments for his past military service: “North Carolina, No. 454 / Agreeable to Act of Assembly, passed in May, one thousand seven hundred and eighty-four, the state of North Carolina is indebted to Solomon Hunter Sgt of the Continental line of this state Forty six pounds nineteen shillings & four pence specie, on account of his pay [illegible] August 1779 with six per cent interest from the first of August, 1783. Dated Halifax, the first of September, 1784. / B MCullock, H. Montforth, Commissioners.” Specie certificates serve as money and when circulated must be endorsed by each who takes the certificate as payment. The endorsement on this certificate states: “Presented on the 30th day of September 1791 on Loan to the United States and Since Rejected / W Skinner, Commis’r. / Interest to Jany 1788″ (Treasurers and Comptrollers Papers, Vol VII, pp. 105, Reel 59). “No. 9410 North-Carolina, Halifax Dist. This may certify, That Solomon Hunter of Warren county, is allowed the sum of Thirteen pounds Ten shillings specie, as by report of the board of auditors. Dated this 9th December [date illegible] / J Bradford Dist. Aud. / Wm Wootten Clk” (Vol. VII, Reel 101, frame 796-797). “No 1714 North Carolina Halifax District / This is to certify that Solomon Hunter was allowed Eighteen pounds fifteen shillings Specie as by Report of the Board of Auditors / Sept [day illegible] 1791 / Wm Green / J Mason [?]” Endorsement: “[illegible] of / James Moore – Hiram [?] £18.15 / Jas Moore Part £ [illegible] / E. Moore 8.18.1 / 16:19:8 / owe 1.15.4 / Lewis Merideth / to / J. Brown £18.15 / No. 535 / £18.15″ (Vol. VII, Reel 101, frame 794-795).

The North Carolina state census (1784 – 1787) enumerates Isaac Hunter of Warren County with two white males 21 – 60, two white males under 21 and over 60, four white females all ages, 14 blacks 12 – 50, and 14 blacks under 12, over 50 (State Census of North Carolina, 1784 – 1787, transcribed and indexed by Mrs. Alvarette Kenan Register, second ed., revised, n. d.)

Location of Hunter property in Hillsborough. Click the image to enlarge it.
The Dickinson property in Sunbury, sold by Solomon and Jane  Hunter. Click the image to enlarge it.

1785 On 25 June 1785, Solomon Alston Hunter marries Jane Mahan, the widow of Stephen Dickinson, with Charles White as bondsman. On the same date White marries Mary Coit, with Solomon Hunter as his bondsman (Liberty County, Ga., Ordinary, Marriage Licenses and Bonds, 1785 – 1926, Drawer 308, Roll 107, Georgia Archives).

Georgia} Know all men by these presents that we Solomon Hunter and Charles White both of the Town of Sunbury in Liberty County, & State aforesaid are held and firmly bound & obliged unto Thomas Baker Register of Probates for County & State aforesaid, in the full & just Sum of five hundred pounds, lawful money of the state aforesaid, to be paid to the said Thomas Baker or his successors in the said office, or their Assigns. To which payment well and truly made and done, we bind our selves, and each by himself, our, and each of our heirs, Executors, & Administrators, and every of them, for and in the whole, firmly by these presents, sealed with our Seals, and dated the 25th Day of June in the year of our Lord one Thousand seven Hundred & Eighty-five, and in the ninth Year of the Independence of the United States of America.

The condition of this obligation is such, that if it doth not hereafter appear that there is any lawful Impediment, neither by the Word of God, nor the Laws of this Country, why the said Solomon Hunter, and Jane Mahan of the aforesaid town of Sunbury, widow, may not be joined together in Holy Matrimony, then this obligation to be Void, and of none effect, or else to remain in full Force and Virtue. Signed, sealed and delivered in the presence of Wm. Spencer.

S Hunter Charles his X mark White (The original marriage bond is filed in the Liberty County courthouse at Hinesville, Ga. ).

Solomon undertakes the profession of carpentry. In less than a month after his marriage he is assailed by his bride’s debts. Jane Mahan’s former husband Stephen Dickinson, a ship’s carpenter, died intestate. “Solomon Hunter to John Baker both of Liberty County. Deed to secure debt dated July 12, 1785, conveying slave for security. Witnesses: Artemus Baker and John Hardy, J. P.” (Liberty County Deed Book A, p. 15). In that same year the tax list of Sunbury District includes Solomon Hunter among “persons in default.” In attempting to liquidate the debts, Solomon hires a lawyer. “Solomon Hunter and Jane his wife, on July 28, 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 the Superior Court of Liberty County at the suit of John Baker, merchant, vs. said Hunter, suit on Account” (Liberty County Deed Book A, p. 25). “Solomon Hunter and Jane his wife to Peter Donworth of Liberty County. Security deed dated May 1, 1786, conveying slave as security” (p. 139).”Jane Hunter, lately Jane Mahan, Admx. of estate 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” (p. 170).

1786 While on a visit in Wake Co., N. C., Jesse Hunter falls ill, makes his will, and dies. The witnesses to the signing are his wife’s nephews, John and James Kimbrough. Ann Alston Hunter’s late sister Mary had been married to Nathaniel Kimbrough of Wake. The will states that Jesse’s residence is Wilkes Co., Ga., and that “being sick and weak in body” he has written his will. His son Philip comes from Wilkes to be the administrator (Wake County Record Book Two, p. 105).

Secretary of State James Glasgow of North Carolina and Captain Moses Shelby fleece

North Carolina veterans of bounty lands in the scheme known as the Glasgow Land Fraud. The state has retained claim to a huge reserve in the center of what has become the state of Tennessee. This land is exclusively for North Carolina soldiers who served in the Revolutionary War. Shelby forges signatures on documents that show Solomon Hunter has been awarded one thousand acres of bounty land in Tennessee County (Davidson County). Solomon will never receive this bounty, although it is due him as a former sergeant who served eighty-four months in the Continental Line. The land transaction states: “273. Warrant 3353; location 3410; Nov. 2, 1787 Joseph Brock, assignee of Solomon Hunter’s heirs transferred to A Hart to Seyborn Jones, 1,000 ac on a branch of Blooming Grove [Cr] and runs up the branch; A Foster; surveyed by Wm Crutcher; no location (signed) J Willis.” On page 52 of Glasgow Land Fraud Papers, 1783-1800, North Carolina Revolutionary War Bounty Land in Tennessee by Dr. A. B. Pruitt, 1988: “File 47, 3353. Soldier: heirs 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; remarks: first assignment [David Hunter and Joseph Brock] forged by Moses Shelby.”

1787 The tax list for Sunbury District assesses Solomon Hunter for one poll, for one male above 16, for one female above 16, for one male slave above 16 and for one female slave above 16. (Solomon and Jane appear to be childless after two years of marriage.)

1788 “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 1 ½ 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, &c” (Liberty County Deed Book A, p. 208). Also in 1788, as reported in the Georgia Gazette on 24 July, the name Solomon Hunter appears on the list of “Defaulters of Sunbury District,” signed by “Artemas Baker, Receiver of Tax Returns.”

1789 George Washington becomes President.

On 27 November Solomon Alston Hunter’s brother James Alston Hunter, who is not a veteran, buys a bounty land patent of 640 acres from the heirs of William Hitchcock. The tract (file number 1493, grant number 1046, Book 74, p. 47) is situated in Davidson Co., Tenn., “on waters of Spencer’s Creek.” Later, as Davidson is divided, this land will be designated in Wilson County. In the same volume Solomon Hunter’s patent for a thousand acres in Tennessee County (“on N side of Cumberland River”) is assigned to Seburn Jones on 10 December 1790 (file number 66, grant number 1304, Book 74, p. 367). The fraudulence of transaction is obvious, for Solomon is alive in the year the record states the patent was transferred by his “heirs.” (Earliest Tennessee Land Records & Earliest Tennessee Land History by Irene M. Griffey. Baltimore: Clearfield, Co., Inc., 2000, p. 241).

1790 On 26 May, Isaac Hunter and his son Jacob Hunter post a bond of £250 as surety when Jacob is nominated as constable in Capt. Bilbroe’s District (Warren County Record of Wills and Accounts, Book Five, p. 157).

In the federal census of Warren County Isaac Hunter, head of household, is listed with two males of 16 or more (himself and his son Jacob, who will marry Patience Williamson), 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. His son Solomon’s appearance in a federal census is lost, for Georgia’s census reports for 1790, 1800, and 1810 were destroyed in a fire.

1791 The Bill of Rights is signed.

Solomon Hunter’s wife Jane evidently has died. He has returned to Wilkes Co., Ga., and is residing temporarily in Capt. Gresham’s District near his Uncle Jesse Hunter’s sons Elisha and Philip (“Wilkes County, Index to Georgia Tax Digests, 1789-1799, Vol. I. Atlanta: R. J. Taylor, Jr., Foundation, 1986, p. 18).

Location of Hillsborough Township. Click the image to enlarge it.
Location of Hillsborough Township. Click the image to enlarge it.

1792 Solomon Hunter leaves Wilkes, moves across the Savannah River to Abbeville District, S. C., and lives in Hillsborough, a 20,000-acre township of farmlands at the fork of Long Cane Creek and Little River (In Robert L. Meriwether’s The Expansion of South Carolina, 1729-1765, Philadelphia: Porcupine Press, 1974, a map of Old 96 District, p. 116, shows the situation of Hillsborough). In Abbeville Solomon marries a second time, to Elizabeth Harris, the young widow of Cornelius Collier, Jr., of Hillsborough, who died in 1790 (Abbeville Probate Court, Box 20, Pack 442). In the federal census of Abbeville in that year she is enumerated as “Elizabeth Collyer,” head of the household. Elizabeth’s parents are John Harris and Rachel Milly Kittrell (Abbeville Probate Court, Box 43, Pack 960), formerly of Granville Co., N. C. (Deed Book Eye, Granville, p. 167). Rachel Milly’s brother Isham Kittrell is the husband of Solomon’s sister Ann Alston Hunter (Will of Jonathan Kittrell, Granville, 1811, 1812). John and Rachel arrived in the Long Cane Creek settlement shortly before the outbreak of war, and John Harris served in the 1st Regiment of the South Carolina Continental Line. One of his early tracts is acquired after the war: “John Harris as a citizen 86 acres of land situate on a branch of Little River bounding NW on land laid out for Daivid Black & Andrew Keet, E end and laid out for John Dickey. Surveyed by Thomas Findley D. S. on the 30th of May Inst. as per plat thereof recorded this 29th of May 1785. Robert Anderson C. L. B. O. (Deed Plats: Plat Book A, Ninety Six District, South Side of Saluda River. Commissioner of Locations, 1784-1785). In the light of the Harris-Kittrell-Hunter connection, it is probable that Solomon knew the Harrises back in North Carolina.

1796 James Alston Hunter (also known as James A. Hunter), son of Solomon and Elizabeth Hunter, is born in Hillsborough. His birthplace is determined by the location of his grandfather John Harris’s farm on Bold Branch and Long Cane Creek in this community (See Land Plats Index, Series No. S213190, Vol. 0005, p. 00275, date: 1784, plat of 300 acres on branch of Long Cane Creek, Ninety-Six District, surveyed by Patrick Calhoun) and by the place names of Longmires and Double Bridges that appear in James’s military history. Longmires is the location of the community postoffice and the militia’s drill field, just to the south of Hillsborough and in northern Edgefield County. The residence of the regimental commander, Col. William Youngblood, is in Edgefield, and the Roger Company in which James A. Hunter serves is comprised within Youngblood’s troops. Double Bridges, the farm community in which James Hunter perhaps resides, is a site on Long Cane Creek. The year of James’s birth is derived from dates on his service reports. (He enlists in the militia in 1813 at the age of seventeen.) His is a recurring name in this line of Nansemond Hunters: James’s uncle, Solomon Hunter’s brother, is James Alston Hunter of Wilson Co. Tenn. His great-uncle is the late James Alston of Shocco District, Warren Co, N. C. Solomon’s grandson, to be born in Mississippi in 1850 (the son of Leonidas W. Hunter and Nancy Woodruff Hunter), will be the third James Alston Hunter.

1797 Presidency of John Adams.

Daniel Hunter dies intestate in Granville County, leaving land, money, and valuable chattels (Court Minutes of Granville County, N. C., 1746-1820, February court, 1798, p. 290; May court, p. 232; May court 1802, p. 370). His nephew Solomon, one of his heirs, is not included in the list of kinsman who will petition and give depositions for the division of the estate.

1799 On 30 January Solomon Alston Hunter is granted 640 acres of bounty land in Georgia. Although there is no other documentation of his service, this entry alludes to his having been a militiaman during the “Indian Wars,” probably in Liberty County: “No. 388, Date 1-30-1799 / In favor of whom issued: Solomon Hunter / For how many acres: 640/ Value in $ and ¢ at 31 1/4 ¢ per acre: $200.00″ ( See Mary Boudurant Warren’s The Georgia Genealogist, p. 6,”State Records, Bounty Land Warrants, Creek Indian Wars, Burnt Records, State Troops, Bounty Warrants.” At the Georgia State Archives see also the Treasurer’s Books, from which Warren cites this information).

In September Solomon dies at the age of thirty-eight. His son is a child of three. Solomon’s burial site is not known, although his unmarked grave is likely among the graves of his widow’s family in the Harris-Wideman graveyard (now designated in the Sumter National Forest, McCormick Co., S. C.). On 13 September Solomon’s estate is jointly administered by his widow and her brother William (Will) Stoutly Harris. By surety bond Joseph Barksdale is bound to Andrew Hamilton, ordinary of the probate court, to cover the liabilities of the estate up to the sum of $10,000.00. Inventory of Solomon’s chattels is made on 11 November by thee men appointed by the court—Capt. William Collier, Edward Collier, and Major Uel Hill. The Colliers are former brothers-in-law to Elizabeth. Hill is a neighbor of the Harrises and the brother of Joshua Hill, who is married to the Collier brothers’ sister Nancy (Old Families of McCormick, S. C. By Willie Mae G. Wood, 1982). All are residents on farms in Hillsborough (Abbeville census 1790, 1800, 1810, 1820).

Solomon’s meager possessions include 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. No land is mentioned in the estate papers. The foot adz and the drawing knife suggest that Solomon’s trade while in Abbeville has been carpentry. The total value of his assets, estimated at $8.68½, is deeply below the amount of the surety bond. The sale that follows is held at the dwelling of the late Robert Terry, which, as a letter among the estate papers indicates, is situated a far distance from the Abbeville courthouse (in the town Ninety Six, located in the northeast section of the county.) Will Harris petitions the court to permit his sending his father John Harris as his proxy to fetch the court’s authorization for the estate sale since John Harris will be traveling to town. Since Robert Terry’s death notice (1794) was posted at Hopewell Church, located in southern Abbeville, the Terry home is in the Hillsborough township. Solomon and Elizabeth Hunter may have been tenants in Terry’s former home. There are indications that Will Stoutly Harris resides a distance away in Edgefield County, although he is listed in Abbeville County in a later census. At the sale Solomon’s widow buys all her husband’s possessions except the drawing knife. It is purchased by William Terry. Court costs total $11.18 3/4 (Abbeville Probate Court, Box 47, Pack 1063).

1800 Elizabeth Hunter is not enumerated in the 1800 federal census of Abbeville District. Possibly she and her son are residing with her parents.

In North Carolina, the federal census of Warren County reports that Isaac Hunter (45 and over), a daughter 10 through 15 (Sarah “Sallie” Hunter) and eighteen slaves are in the household. Since there is no listing for a female of around fifty, the wife and mother Martha Alston Hunter has died. Also in Warren, Isaac’s son Jacob is listed as a householder of 26 through 44, his spouse (Patience Williamson) of the same age group, one white male of 16 through 25 (perhaps a ward or an apprentice), three females under ten (Martha Green Hunter, Mary Hunter, and Ann Alston Hunter), and sixteen slaves.

1801 Presidency of Thomas Jefferson.

In North Carolina Isaac Hunter sells Jonathan Kittrell, Sr., of Granville County two tracts of land. Kittrell is the father of Rachel Milly Kittrell (Mrs. John Harris of Abbeville) and of Isham Kittrell, husband of Isaac’s daughter Ann. The second of these tracts had been purchased by Daniel Hunter, Isaac’s late brother, from William Finch and wife Molley, on Feb. 3, 1794 (Warren County Deed Book Q, p. 450).

1805 Martha Harris, future wife of James A. Hunter, is born 20 March in Baldwin Co., Ga. (Silvanus G. Hunter’s Bible). Though it is surmised, there is no known documentation that Martha is a cousin of James’s mother Elizabeth Harris.

“In Warren County on Tuesday the 24 ult.” Miss Sarah Hunter, [youngest] daughter of Mr. Isaac Hunter of the former county,” marries 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).

1809 Presidency of James Madison.

1810 The Abbeville census of 1810 lists Elizabeth Hunter as head of household. Residing with her are two males of ten through fifteen, one male of sixteen through twenty-five, three females under ten, one female of ten through fifteen, and two females of twenty-six through forty-four. Possibly Solomon Alston Hunter’s son James Alston Hunter, who would be about fourteen in 1810, is one of the adolescent boys enumerated in this household.

In Warren County, N. C., Isaac Hunter, a widower, is living alone and the owner of one male slave. His son Jacob, the only one of his children still residing in North Carolina, lives nearby (1810 census). Isaac’s daughters Ann (Mrs. Isham Kittrell and later Mrs. Lewellen Jones), Sacky (Mrs. Osborne Pope Nicholson and later Mrs. Garrett Daniel Voorhies), and Sallie (Mrs. Lyddal Bacon Estes and later Mrs. Beaufort Turner) have migrated to Maury Co., Tenn., and his son James and his wife Ann Walker to Wilson Co., Tenn. Jacob’s household includes one male of sixteen through twenty-five and one male of twenty-six through forty-four (Jacob), one female under ten, two females of ten through fifteen, and one female of twenty-six through forty-four (Jacob’s wife Patience Williamson). There are twenty-five slaves.

1811 The 1811 tax list of Shocco District, Warren Co., N. C., includes Isaac Hunter, 670 acres, and his son Jacob, 110 acres (Warren Co., N. C. Will Book 16, pp. 158 – 161). In this year Isaac Hunter signs his will. It names his son James A. Hunter ($350.00), his son Jacob Hunter (“all my lands lying in the county” and two Negro men named 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 Williamson (one Negro named Hardy), and daughter Sally Alston Estes (two Negroes Poncy and Patty). There is no mention of his late son Solomon or Solomon’s heirs (Original will is in North Carolina Archives, also Family History Library microfilm 1,602,862, frame 408. Inventory: Family History Library microfilm 2,294,835, frame 1740).

1813 James A. Hunter, aged seventeen, enlists in the company of Captain Peter Bayard Roger, a unit in the regiment of light infantry militia commanded by Colonel William Youngblood of Edgefield (“Alphabetical Roster of Soldiers in War of 1812,” National Archives M652, He-L, roll 4). He volunteers either at Longmires or Double Bridges. An 1813-14 payroll roster of the Peter Roger Company includes the name of James Hunter, a private. His pay is recorded as $8 / $8 / 53½¢. His name follows that of William Harris, probably a cousin and the son of John Harris Jr. and Milly Link (Military Department, War of 1812, Accounts, Company of Capt. Peter Roger. Location 233E05, South Carolina Department of Archives and History). Captain Roger and most of the other soldiers enumerated in this company are from the Hillsborough communities along Long Cane Creek. Three muster stubs detailing dates and James Hunter’s activities are preserved in his file in the National Archives. The earliest states that his pay commenced on 10 December 1814 and continued through 10 January 1814. For this period he received $8.53½. The 53½¢ is “2 days pay from home to rendezvous.” Another stub, showing his activity from 10 January to 15 March 1814, states his enlistment was for three months. “Remark: From place of discharge to place of Company rendezvous, 165 miles.” The third stub dates the expiration of his service as 15 March 1814 and his term of enlistment as two months, five days, with pay at $8 per month. His total pay was $20.26. “Remarks: $2.93 for 11 Days pay from pl. Discharge to Com. Rendez 165 miles.”

1814 In Warren Co., N. C., Jacob Hunter becomes the guardian of Alfred L. Maclin, Henry Maclin, and Littleton Maclin, children of John Maclin, deceased. He takes into his household an orphan girl named Alee D. Cooke, aged seven, to be an apprentice and servant until the age of twenty-one, with training to be a spinster (Warren County Record of Wills & Accounts, Book 18, 23 May 1814).

1815 Isaac Hunter dies, and his will is proved in Warren County. Jacob’s inventory of Isaac’s estate made on the first day of August includes $400.00 of personal debt, more than $1440.00 in promissory notes due him, and $51.42 “cash in hand.” His chattels include one mare, two cows, one yearling, one calf, sixteen sheep, one walnut chest, two small trunks, four iron pots, two pair 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.

1817 Presidency of James Monroe.

1818 In the estate sale of the late Henry Barksdale (Abbeville Probate Court, Box 8, Pack 148) James Hunter buys a horse ($150) and 100 bushels of corn (81¢).

1820 Solomon Hunter’s brother Jacob has left Warren County, and like his siblings (Ann, Patsy, and Sacky), is residing in Maury Co., Tenn. He will die there in 1823. The federal census of Maury in 1820 enumerates his household with one male over 45 (Jacob), one female 10-16 (Alee D. Cook, his ward and apprentice), one female 16-26 (Eliza Hinton Hunter), one female 26-45 (Jacob’s wife Patience Williamson Hunter), twenty-one male slaves, eighteen female slaves, and two free black females over 45. Jacob’s son William, with his wife Sarah Jones Hunter, four children, and fifteen slaves, have remained in Warren County but later will migrate to Maury County. With other Hunters, William and Sarah are buried in the Jacob Hunter/Kittrell Graveyard, “east of Mt. Pleasant, past Porter’s Chapel” (They Passed This Way: Maury County, Tennessee, Cemetery Records by Marise P. Lightfoot & Evelyn B. Shackelford, 1964, p. A-62). Sacky Hunter’s error-filled reminiscence (“Family Record of Sacky Hunter, Historic Maury, July-September 1972, p. 99) states that her brother Jacob Hunter “moved to Memphis where he died”; however, although there is no tombstone, it is probable that he is buried beside his wife Patience in the Jacob Hunter/Kittrell Graveyard that bears his name.

1821 James A. Hunter leaves Abbeville (Martha Hunter’s application for a widow’s pension. See below).

1822 On 10 January 1822, James A. Hunter marries Martha P. Harris (b. 1805) in Jones Co., Ga. (Marriage license, 16 May 1821, Jones County courthouse, Gray, Ga). She is the daughter of the late Thomas Harris of Baldwin Co., Ga., and Sarah Gardner (Baldwin County Will Book A, p. 117).

1823 Silvanus Gardner Hunter, son of James and Martha, is born on 28 April in Baldwin Co., Ga. (Silvanus G. Hunter’s Bible).

1824 James A. Hunter is appointed guardian of his wife’s brother Thomas, aged twelve (Baldwin County Minutes Book C, p. 24. Through 2 November 1829 the minutes show postings of “annual return” and, as James A. Hunter and his family move to other counties, “transfer security”). During the 1820s and early 1830s the Hunters will migrate through Georgia, settling temporarily in Crawford, Talbot, and Meriwether Counties before moving to Mississippi (See Martha Hunter’s pension application below).

A tax receipt in the Hunter family papers shows the following: “Recd of Jas A Hunter his tax for 1824 $..93 3/4 J. Wootan” (Family Papers of Leo Hunter, Mantee, Miss.)

A second son, James W. Hunter, is born in Baldwin County (Family papers).

1825 Presidency of John Quincey Adams.

1826 A third son, John Hunter, is born in Crawford Co., Ga., and will die in childhood (Family papers).

A tax receipt in the Hunter family papers: “Recd of James A. Hunter his Tax for 1826 $82 3/4 M. W. Perry” (Family papers of Leo Hunter).

In North Carolina, twenty-nine years after Daniel Hunter’s death, his frustrated heirs petition the Granville court to make a final settlement of his estate. Tracts of Daniel’s land have been snarled in litigation since1797. “In Equity, March term 1826. The petition of Jas. Hunter, Jacob Hunter [sons of late Isaac Hunter of Warren County], Lowellin Jones and his wife Anne [daughter of Isaac Hunter], Green Williamson and his wife Patsey [daughter of Isaac Hunter], Garrot Voorhees and his wife Sukey [Sacky, daughter of Isaac Hunter], Beaufort Turner and his wife Sarah [daughter of Isaac Hunter], Elisha Hunter [son of late Jesse Hunter], Ruth [daughter of Jesse Hunter] Green, Robert McCullock and his wife Elizabeth [daughter of Daniel’s brother, the late Jacob Hunter of Gates Co., N. C.], Timothy Walton, Isaac Walton, William Walton [sons of the late Rachel, Daniel Hunter’s sister], Mart Cherry, and Celia Jones [all being known heirs at law of the late Daniel Hunter]. It appearing to the satisfaction of the court that there are other persons entitled to a distributive share in the said lands, it is ordered and decreed that the clerk and taster take account of the persons who are tenants in common of the land sold, and heirs of Daniel Hunter, decd, and that he give to the persons interested an opportunity of showing their title therein, by advertising in one of the public prints in the city of Raleigh, when and where he will take the accounts: and that after ascertaining who are the tenants in common of said land, and to what proportionable part each of them is entitled, he make report to this court at next term.” (Raleigh Register, 8 August 1826, p. 6, col. 3). The advertisement brings forth numerous depositions from claimants representing three generations. Although the information the court assembles makes the dispute more complex, protracted, and unresolvable, the clear documentation is a boon for the genealogy of the Nansemond Hunters. The following is the court’s summary:

The clerk of master who was directed by this Honorable Court to take an account of the persons who are tenants in common of the land sold, & heirs at law of Daniel Hunter Decd, & to make publication in the Edenton Gazette, to give to other persons interested an opportunity of shewing their title therein, & to what proportionable part each of them is entitled—begs leave to report that he has caused the publication to be made accordingly, & by the affidavit of Henry Walton Sen.

It is shewn that Daniel Hunter left four brothers, viz. Elisha, Jacob, Jesse, & Isaac, and five sisters, viz. Hannah, Jane, Elizabeth, Rachel, & Sarah, who are the heirs at law of the said Daniel.—

By the affidavit of William Berriman it is shewn that Elisha (the brother of Daniel) left nine children viz. Thomas, Mary, Christian, Celia, Milly, Elizabeth, Rachael, Asenith, & Sarah—that Thomas (the son of Elisha) left three children viz. Nancy, Christian & Isaac—that Mary (daughter of Elisha) intermarried with Benjm Saunders & left one Daughter Nancy (now White) as appears by the affidavit of John Hudgins—that Christian (daughter of Elisha) intermarried with Jonathan Roberts, by whom she had two children viz. Nancy, who intermarried with Wm. W. Riddick, & Celia, who intermarried with Miles H. Jernigan—as appears by the affidavit of John Roberts & Moses Sumner—Celia (daughter of Elisha) intermarried with David Harrell—their issue not certain—Milly (daughter of Elisha) intermarried with — Sumner – their issue not known – Elizabeth (daughter of Elisha) intermarried with Neadham Jernigan by whom she had three children, viz. Milly, Miles H. & Seth—as appears in the affidavit of George Holloman—Rachael (daughter of Elisha) intermarried first with Aaron Blanchard, by whom she had three children, viz. Milly, Mary and Easter—afterwards she intermarried with Demsey Bond by whom she had five children, viz. Elisha, Nancy, Celia, Demsey & Thomas—as appears from the affadavit of John Roberts & William W. Riddick—Asenith (daughter of Elisha) intermarried with Abraham Easom—their issue not known—Sarah (daughter of Elisha) intermarried with Amos Freeman & their issue not known.—

Jacob (brother of Daniel) left three children, viz. Isaac, Leah, & Elizabeth—of Isaac & Leah, who intermarried with Seth Riddick, their issue is not known—Elizabeth intermarried with Robert McCullock one of the petitioners—

Jesse (brother of Daniel) left two children, viz. Elisha & Ruth who intermarried with — Green, two of the petitioners–

Isaac (brother of Daniel) left seven children, Anne, Solomon, James, Jacob, Patsy, who intermarried with Green Williamson, Sacky, who intermarried with Garrett Voorhes, & Sarah, who intermarried with Beaufort Turner—all of whom are Petitioners except Solomon whose issue is not known.—

Hannah (sister of Daniel) intermarried first with Joseph Riddick by whom she had two children, viz. Joseph & Mary. She afterward intermarried with Benjamin Perry by whom she had two children, viz. Benjamin & Drucilla—Joseph Riddick (son of Hannah) left seven children viz. Reuben, Hannah, Isaiah, Avis, Esther, Nathan & Mabel—Mary Riddick (daughter of Hannah) intermarried with Thos. Trotman & left two children, viz. Lovey & Quintin—Benjamin Perry (son of Hannah) left three children viz. Polly, James & Benjamin—Drucilla Perry (daughter of Hannah) intermarried with—Hinton & left two children viz. Benjamin & Mary—as appears by the affidavit of Seth Riddick–

Jane (sister of Daniel) intermarried with Philip Perry & left four children, viz. Jesse, Philip, Sarah & Rachael.–

Elizabeth (sister of Daniel) intermarried with Joseph Perry and left three children, viz. Elisha, Hannah & Susan—Elisha left [space] children, viz. Absalah, Hannah intermarried with Lambert—her issue not known—& Susan intermarried first with — Howard, then with Baker.

Rachel (sister of Daniel) intermarried with — Walton & left nine children, Timothy, William, John, Isaac, Sarah, Rachael, Mary, Nancy & Celia—Timothy, William & Isaac are petitioners—John (one of the sons of Rachael) left [space] children, viz, William, Rachael (of Rachael) intermarried with Jesse Garrett by whom she had —children (names not known)—Sarah intermarried with —Lasiter—Mary intermarried with Easom, then with Cherry—Nancy intermarried with James Jones, & Celia intermarried with —Jones—issue not known.—

Sarah (sister of Daniel) intermarried with Charles Moore, by whom she had nine children, viz. Nancy, Isaac, Millicent, Elizabeth, Charles, John, Edwin, Leah, & Sally—Nancy intermarried with Edward Hall & left two children viz. Charles & Nancy—Charles left five children viz. Mary, Alfred, Lemuel C., William C, Augustus & Elizabeth—John left five children, viz. Sally, Edwin, Edward, Mary & John—Edwin is now living in the State of Tennessee—Leah intermarried with Curry & died without issue—Sally intermarried first with Skillings by whom she had no issue, then with Gregory by whom she had one child, viz. Elizabeth—she afterwards intermarried with Brittain Harvey by whom she had several children now living as appears by the affidavit of Joseph Barrow.— Respectfully submitted

Tho. B. Littlejohn, CMC. (Estate Records of Daniel Hunter, Granville Co., N. C., The Genealogical Society of Salt Lake City, Utah. Project No. 90200, Roll No. 2169).

The suit remains unresolved long after original petitioners are deceased. Having recurred consistently on the court docket for more than a dozen years and for some forty-eight terms, the suit remains at a standstill. In the March term of 1839 the Granville County judge throws up his hands and sends the case to the North Carolina Supreme Court. There is no evidence to suggest that James A. Hunter, one of many heirs dispersed from the North Carolina Albemarle through Tennessee and into Mississippi, has any knowledge of this legacy. James’s children will know generally of their father’s North Carolina forebears but have no contact with them. There is reverberating truth in Solomon, whose issue is not known, a phrase in Daniel Hunter’s settlement papers, for Solomon’s line in the Nansemond genealogy remains in long-lingering isolation from their North Carolina kin.

1828 A fourth son, Leonidas W. Hunter (called L. W.), is born to James A. Hunter and Martha Harris Hunter on 21 January in Crawford Co., Ga. The family moves to Talbot County (Family papers).

A tax receipt in Hunter family papers: “$1.12 ½ Recd of James A Hunter his tax in full for the year 1828 D. A. Penyman” (Family papers of Leo Hunter).

1829 Presidency of Andrew Jackson.

On 7 September 1829 James A. Hunter renews his guardianship of Thomas Harris, “orphan of Thomas Harris,” signing a $1000.00 surety bond with cosigners William B. Russell and John Bransford (Talbot County Bonds Administrative – Guardian, 1830-1865, p. 40).

A tax receipt in the Hunter family papers: “$1.56 1/4 Recd of James A Hunter his tax in full for the year 1829 David A Penyman”(Family papers of Leo Hunter).

1830 A fifth son, Marcilus Samuel (called Samuel), is born 28 January in Talbot County.

The U. S. census shows the James A. Hunter family living in Young’s Valley of Talbot. The household includes 3 males under five (John, Leonidas, and Marcilus), two males under ten (Silvanus and James), one male of fifteen but under twenty (Thomas Harris), one male of thirty and under forty (James A. Hunter), one white female of ten but under fifteen (perhaps one of Martha’s sisters), and one female of twenty but under thirty (Martha). There are two slaves, a male of ten and under twenty-four and a female of ten and under twenty-four (Polly).

A tax receipt in the Hunter family papers: “Recd of James A Hunter his Tax for 1830 $1.18 3/4 William Dupree” (Family papers of Leo Hunter).

1831 The Hunters move to Meriwether Co., Ga. (See Martha Hunter’s pension application below).

1833 On 4 November James A. Hunter pays $200.00 for a parcel of 202 ½ acres (“number two and thirteen in the Second District, originally Troup now Meriwether County”) from Richard Draughan, guardian of Henry Simmons. The land was “exposed to sale at the highest bid at the door of the courthouse . . . on the first Tuesday in November.” (Filing Docket and General Index to Realty Deeds and Mortgages, Vol. H – L, p. 29).

1834 Gregory Turner Hunter (called Dock), the sixth son, is born 5 May 1834 in Meriwether (Family papers and 1850 U. S. Federal census of Choctaw Co., Miss.)

1835 A tax receipt in Hunter family papers: “Recd of James A. Hunter $3.25 in full for his state & county tax for the year 1835. J[illegible] Puttam, A C.” Undated: “Received of James A. Hunter to pay his Tax one Jury tickets for $8.40 cts and one Silver Dollar” (Family papers of Leo Hunter).

Hunter land in Choctaw County, MS. Click the image to enlarge it.
Hunter land in Choctaw County, MS. Click the image to enlarge it.

James A. Hunter and his family migrate to Choctaw Co., Miss., formed from Indian lands in 1834. They settle on land James has acquired for $1100.00 from John D. Bradford (northern half of section sixteen in township twenty-one, range seventeen east of the Choctaw meridian; this is situated in present-day District 5 of Webster County). Within a year James has cultivated thirty acres (Early Records of Choctaw County, Mississippi, 1835 – 1850 by Hazel Crenshaw Garret and Louis Taunton, n. d.) The Hunter farm is situated to the east of Topashaw Creek and a few miles from the Natchez Trace. With other pioneers who have moved from Georgia, Tennessee, and the Carolinas, the Hunters help to build a thriving farm community that surrounds a village called Hohenlinden.

1836 Frances Caroline Hunter (called Frank), the seventh child and the only daughter, is born 22 June in Choctaw County (Family papers and 1850 federal census).

James A. Hunter is assessed $1.62 for 1 pol and 2 slaves over 5 and under 60 (Choctaw and Chickasaw Tax Records, Box 3610, Series 1202, Mississippi Department of Archives and History).

1837 Presidency of Martin Van Buren.

James A. Hunter listed on Choctaw County tax roll, with two slaves. His name continues to appear on the tax rolls in 1838, 1839, 1841, 1843, 1844, 1846. Thereafter the property is taxed in the names of Martha Hunter and Silvanus Hunter (Early Records of Choctaw County, Mississippi, 1835 – 1850 by Hazel Crenshaw Garret and Louis Taunton, n. d., pp. 10 – 15 passim).

The Mississippi state census of 1837 enumerates the James A. Hunter household with one white male 21-45 (himself), six white males under 18 (Silvanus, 14, James, 13, Leonidas, 9, Marcilus, 7, Gregory, 3, and Henry?), one white female over 16 (Martha), one white female under 16 (Frances Caroline), three males slaves (one of these is George, son of Polly), and one female slave (Polly) (Early Records of Choctaw County, p. 6).

1838 Henry Saunders Hunter (called Henry), the eighth child, is born 21 December in Choctaw County (Family papers and 1850 federal census).

1840 In the 1840 federal census of Choctaw County “James A. Hunter,” head of family, is enumerated with one male under five (Henry), one male of five and under ten (Gregory), three males of ten but under fifteen (James, Leonidas, and Marcilus), one male of fifteen but under twenty (Silvanus), one male of forty but under fifty (James A. Hunter), one female under five (Frances Caroline), one female of thirty but under forty (Martha), one male slave under ten, and one female slave of ten but under twenty.

1841 Presidency of William Henry Harrison.

Presidency of John Tyler.

The 1841 Mississippi state census enumerates the household to include head of household (James A. Hunter and Martha Hunter), six males (Silvanus, James, Leonidas, Marcilus, Gregory, and Henry), one young girl (Frances Caroline), three males slaves, and one female slave (Early Records of Choctaw County, p. 12).

Pinson Calvin Hunter (called Pint), the ninth child, is born 9 April in Choctaw County (Family papers and 1850 federal census).

1842 A receipt for payment of taxes is preserved in family papers: “Recd of Jas. A. Hunter by the hands of C. M. Holland Eight Dollars 78/100 in full for his State & county Tax for the year 1842. Jas. M. Williams” (Family papers of Leo Hunter).

1843 Baldwin Whitson Hunter (called Whit), the tenth and last of the Hunter children is born in Choctaw County, John having died in Georgia (Family papers of Leo Hunter and 1850 federal census).

1844 On 20 May James A. Hunter dies at the age of forty-eight (See Martha Hunter’s application for a widow’s pension below) and is buried on a corner of the Hunter farm. Since deed registrations, property transfers, and probate records were destroyed when the Choctaw County courthouse burned in 1881, there is no record of any James Hunter will. Silvanus, 21, is named administrator of his father’s estate and guardian of his sister and brothers, who are not of age (Family papers of Leo Hunter).

1845 Presidency of James K. Polk.

Martha and sons Silvanus (22) and Leonidas (15) are among the twenty founding members of Doubles Springs Baptist Church (Family papers of Martha Susan Hunter Cole). The church house will be erected about a mile from the Hunter farm.

Martha Hunter’s state tax on twenty-five cattle and three slaves is $1.85 (Choctaw and Chickasaw County Tax Records, Box 3910, Series 1202, Mississippi Department of Archives and History).

1846 James W. Hunter, the second eldest son, enlists as a private in Co. E., 1st Mississippi Regiment, for service in the Mexican War. At roll call (6 June to 30 September) he is declared absent with these remarks following: “Left at Carmago, sick, Sept. 7/46.” The roll call for 30 September to 31 October, declares him absent (Military Locater Guides: “Compiled Service Records, Volunteer Soldiers, Mexican War, 1st Infantry: H-O,” Mississippi Department of Archives and History, Roll 4838).

1847 James W. Hunter remains sick, and the company muster roll of January and February notes that he has been “left sick in Gen’l Hospital at Carmago, Sept 7/46.” The final roll lists “Jas. W. Hunter, Pvt. Co. E., 1 Reg’t Mississippi Inf. Mexican War/ appears on Co. Muster-out Roll, dated New Orleans, La., June 11, 1847. Last paid to October 31, 184– / Am’t for cloth’g in kind or money adv’ed $42. / due U. S. For arms, equipments, :&c $2 99/100 / Remarks: Stop for 1 blanket. Left sick at Seralvo, Sept. 7″ (“Compiled Service Records, Mexican War,” Mississippi Department of Archives and History, Roll 4838). James W. Hunter will never return home and will be considered as “lost in the Mexican War” (Family oral history).

Silvanus marries Mary Jane Spencer, who will die 14 June 1853 (Silvanus G. Hunter’s Bible).

1849 On 30 April Henrietta Hunter, the first of James and Martha Hunter’s grandchildren, is born to Silvanus and Mary Jane Hunter (Silvanus G. Hunter Bible).

1850 Presidency of Zachary Taylor.

Presidency of Millard Filmore.

Mt. Pleasant Baptist Church is organized, with Silvanus G. Hunter as its first deacon (The History of Mount Pleasant Baptist Church, Webster County, Mississippi, 1850-1957 by Larry Wells Kennedy, master’s thesis, Mississippi State University, 1970, p. 3). Silvanus will serve the church faithfully for fifty years, becoming known as the “Patriarch of Mount Pleasant” (Kennedy, p. 99).

Son Leonidas, who has married Nancy Woodruff (daughter of Gideon Woodruff and Philadelphia Bobo), has a son, James Alston Hunter (1860 Chickasaw Co., Miss., federal census). The 1850 U. S. Census of Choctaw County enumerates Martha Hunter, 49, female, $300.00 in property, born in Georgia; Samuel, 20, male, farmer, born in Georgia; Gregory, 16, male, born in Georgia; Henry, 11, male, born in Mississippi, Pinson, 9, male, born in Mississippi; Baldon [Baldwin Whitson], 7, male, born in Mississippi; Caroline, 14, female, born in Mississippi. The 1850 Slave Census enumerates Martha Hunter with four slaves.

A tax receipt shows “Recd Feby 27 1850 of Mrs. M. Hunter three Dollars 23 3/4 cts amt her State & County Tax for 1849 in the following land to wit [end of document]” (Family papers of Leo Hunter).

1851 Martha Hunter receives her share of her late husband’s estate: “Received of Silvanus G. Hunter six hundred and forty four dollars in full discharge and of my distributive shar or portion of the estate of J. A. Hunter deceased. This September 18th A. D. 1851. Martha Hunter” (Family papers of Leo Hunter).

1853 Presidency of Franklin Pierce.

1854 A promissory note among the Hunter records shows that Leonidas W. Hunter borrows money from his brother: “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” (Family papers of Leo Hunter).

Frances Caroline Hunter (Mrs. G. W. Womack) receives her share of the Hunter estate: “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” (Family papers of Leo Hunter).

1855 On 4 August Martha Hunter is living in the home of her mother (Mrs. James Powell) in Leake Co., Miss. As a widow of a veteran of the War of 1812, she applies for bounty land (available by Congressional Act of 3 March 1855). Her son Marcilus and her brother’s brother-in-law testify in her behalf. “We Marcilus S. Hunter and William C. Burks, residents of Leake County in the state of Mississippi, upon our oaths declare that the foregoing declaration was signed and acknowledged by Martha Hunter in our presence and that we believe from the appearance and statements of the applicant that she is the identical person she represents herself to be. We further depose that we were well acquainted with Martha Hunter and James A. Hunter in his lifetime, knew them both in Choctaw County in the state of Mississippi for many years and knew them to live together as man & wife and were so reputed by all who knew them, and the fact of their being husband & wife and having been legally married never was called in question by their neighbors and acquaintance. And that we have no interest in this claim, and we further depose that we know that said James A. Hunter, deceased, is dead, that he died about the time stated in the foregoing declaration, and that said Martha Hunter is now a widow, and the widow of said James A. Hunter (for the reasons above stated), and further these deponents say not.” In Bounty Land assignment No. 89953, Martha is awarded 160 acres in Louisiana (“Alphabetical Roster of Soldiers in War of 1812,” National Archives, M652, He-L, roll 4).

The widowered Silvanus is living in Mobile, Ala., where he works in a pharmacy (Family oral history, family tintype portrait of Silvanus taken in Mobile).

1856 Leonidas W. Hunter purchases a tract in the old Chickasaw homeland: “southwest quarter of the northeast quarter of section twelve in township 21 of range 10 east in the district of lands subject to sale at Pontotoc, Mississippi, containing forty-one acres and seventy-six hundredths of an acre” (Land warrant No. 23562, made final on 20 August 1856, U. S. Bureau of Land Management certificate).

1857 Presidency of James Buchanan.

1859 Gregory T. Hunter receives his share of the Hunter estate: “Received of S. G. Hunter Guardian nine hundred and thirty nine 43/100 dollars as payment on my distributive share in the Estate of J. A. Hunter Deceased. This May 17th 1859 G. T. Hunter” (Family papers of Leo Hunter).

1860 Eleven Southern states secede from the Union. Confederate States of America established.

Silvanus has returned to Mississippi, and on 3 January he marries the widow Sarah Bingham, née Sarah “Sallie” Hannah McMullen, a daughter of William McMullen and Susannah Scott, formerly of Abbeville Dist., S. C. (William McMullen Bible). Sarah is the mother of a daughter, Virginia Victoria (Vicky) Bingham (Silvanus G. Hunter Bible). Silvanus has acquired land across the boundary in Chickasaw County (1860 federal census, Chickasaw County). Nearby in Choctaw County, Martha Hunter is residing in the home of her daughter Frances Caroline (Mrs. George Washington Womack). Residing here too is Martha’s son Gregory, twenty-six, a school teacher (1860 federal census of Choctaw County).

Henry S. Hunter receives a portion of his share of 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” (Family papers of Leo Hunter).

1861 Presidency of Abraham Lincoln, USA.

Presidency of Jefferson Davis, CSA.

Martha’s mother, Sarah Gardner Harris Powell (widow of James Powell by her second marriage), dies in Leake County (1860 federal census of Leake Co., Miss.)

Henry receives another payment from the Hunter estate: “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” (Family papers of Leo Hunter).

War between North and South is declared.

In August Henry Saunders Hunter, Pinson Calvin Hunter, and Baldwin Whitson Hunter enlist in Company B, 15th Mississippi Infantry, at Knoxville, Tenn. (Confederate service records, Mississippi Department of Archives and History, Roll 5145). On 20 September Marcilus Samuel Hunter enlists in Company G, 17th Louisiana Infantry at Camp Polk, La. (Records of Louisiana Confederate Soldiers and Louisiana Confederate Commands, compiled by Andrew B. Booth. Vol, III. New Orleans, 1920, p. 392).

1862 In March Leonidas W. Hunter enlists in Company B, 29th Mississippi Infantry, at Grenada, Miss. (Confederate service records, Mississippi Department of Archives and History, Roll 2537).

Silvanus pays his Chickasaw County taxes: “Recd of S. G. Hunter Three 31 1/4 /100 Dollars on act. Of his Military Tax on for the year 1861 in Chickasaw county inclusion of the following Land East ½ Sect 21 T 15 R2 March 21st 1862 J. L. Flainkin [illegible] Shf.” (Family papers of Leo Hunter).

On 13 March at Persimmon Springs, Miss., Silvanus Gardner Hunter enlists in Company H, 31st Mississippi Infantry for a period of three years or the duration of the war. He is ranked as sergeant (Confederate service records, Mississippi Department of Archives and History, Roll 1537). Silvanus’s slave George Hunter serves with him (Family legend).

In April Gregory Turner Hunter and George Washington Womack (Frances Caroline’s husband) enlist in this same company at Persimmon Springs (Confederate service records, Mississippi Department of Archives and History, Roll 1537). In April Pinson is wounded in the left forearm at the Battle of Shiloh, Tenn. (Confederate service records, Mississippi Department of Archives and History, Roll 5154).

Frances Caroline’s husband, aged thirty, dies “of measles and exposure” at Tupelo, Miss. “G. W. Womack, late a private of Capt. G. L. Jennings Co. H, 31st Regt, Miss. Vol., born in the state of Georgia, enlisted by Col. J. A. Orr at Persimmon Springs on the 26 day of April 1862 for the period of 3 years, twenty seven years of age, five feet ten inches, of dark complexion, black eyes, black hair and by occupation a farmer. Died June 8th 1862. Never paid. . . . He was indebted to C. S. [Confederate Service] nothing. Private effects, have no knowledge of them as he died away from the command” (Copy of army report in family papers of James A. Womack).

On 16 August Baldwin Whitson Hunter, aged nineteen, dies in Tennessee (Confederate service records, Mississippi Department of Archives and History, Roll 5145).

1863 Leonidas Hunter writes his wife Nancy from “Camp near Shelbyville, Tennessee, February 27″: “It does pester me almost to death to think I can’t help you but I am here and I shall have to stay here, for I see no chance to get home. There has been some that have gone home without leave and some of them have been shot and others . . . by having a hole cut in the head of a barrel and slip the barrel down over them and let their head com out through the head of the barrel. . . . I am remaining your affection husband until death.” In the upper lefthand corner he writes “Preserve Forever.” This his is last letter home (Copy in family papers).

1 April, Silvanus is in the hospital at Castillian Springs, Miss. On 5 April he is sent to the hospital in Yazoo City, Miss. From September through December, reduced in rank to private, he is “absent sick”(Confederate service records, Mississippi Department of Archives and History, Roll 1537).

On 4 July Marcilus is a prisoner of war in Vicksburg. In November at Enterprise, Miss., he is paroled as an exchange prisoner (Records of Louisiana Confederate Soldiers, p. 392).

On 24 November Leonidas, thirty-four, is killed at Lookout Mountain, Tenn. (Confederate service records, Mississippi Department of Archives and History, Roll 2537).

1864 Sergeant Gregory Hunter performs an act of valor: “November 30 they followed Schofield to the strong entrenchments in front of Franklin, on the Harpeth [River in middle Tennessee], and suffered frightful losses in the assault. Out of the 250 men in the Thirty-first Regiment, forty five were killed and about one hundred wounded. The Thirty-first advanced to the attach across the railroad and through an abatis, under heavy fire, and then fixed bayonets and charged. One after another ten color bearers had been shot down until color Sergeant Spence Neal carried the flag. When he was shot, he gave the flag to Colonel Stephens, who, with the few able to advance, charged up to the trenches and was in the act of planting the flag on the works when his thigh was shattered by a rifle ball and he fell into a ditch. He gave the flag to Sergeant Hunter, who was shot as he took it, but managed to obey the order to carry the colors to the rear (from The Military History of Mississippi, p. 289, in the files of Richard P. Furr).

1865 The war ends, and the surviving Hunter sons return to their homes. In Louisiana Marcilus marries a woman named Olive. Gregory, Henry, and Pinson marry and reside in Calhoun and Yalobusha Counties (U. S. Census, 1870). Gregory moves on to Arkansas (Family papers). Silvanus is in poor health.

Presidency of Andrew Johnson.

1866 Silvanus settles an old debt of his late brother Leonidas: “Woodard & Therell 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 full of Indebt Int & cost in the above stated case. Sept 1st 1866 / T. M. James Shff / Chickasaw Co.” (Family papers of Leo Hunter).

Pinson receives his share of his father’s 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 and on account of my brother Baldwin W. Hunter Nov. 4th 1866 P. C. Hunter” (Family papers of Leo Hunter).

1867 “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 owning me as Guardian on my own account and my share in the Estate of my brother B. W. Hunter ec. This Jan. 3rd. 1867. H. S. Hunter” (Family papers of Leo Hunter).

On 4 February Silvanus and Sallie Hunter’s daughter Martha Susan (Sudie) is born at Silvanus’s farm in Chickasaw County. There are three additional children, James William (Willie), b. 1864, Thomas Edwin (Tom Ed), b. 1868, and Iva Nora, b. 1872 (Silvanus G. Hunter Bible). Their home is “a big split-pine log house of two stories with four rooms, with windows on the sides and one on each side of the native-rock chimneys at each end, with a wide hall between the rooms and a long porch on the front facing the east, with a big creek and swamp lands and farms for a front view, with a ravine on each end of the house running out of the mountains and forest on the west side” (Manuscript of Martha Susan “Sudie” Hunter Cole, 1952).

“Silvanus Gardner Hunter, the oldest son of James and Martha Harris Hunter, was my father. He raised 6 children to be grown, 3 sons and 3 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, with a long piazza, as we called it, on the front and 2 side rooms on the back, with his study table in the corner of his room by the fireplace, with his Bible and a law book of the Code of Mississippi laws, Webster’s Unabridged dictionary lying on it. We had family prayer at night. He was a charter member of Mt. Pleasant Baptist Church and worshiped in a log house with a rock chimney for heat until my childhood. They built a framed building in Reconstruction days (Manuscript of Martha Susan “Sudie” Hunter Cole, 1950).

1869 Presidency of Ulysses S. Grant.

As James A. Hunter’s executor and as former guardian to his younger brothers and sister, Silvanus confers with Caroline and corresponds with his brothers about the sale of the Hunter farm. On 7 November Marcilus replies from Lind Grove, Louisiana: “As to the selling of the old homestead, I am willing to be governed entirely by the rest of you, though I think it best to sell. If you sell, you will hand my interest in it to Sister [Frances Caroline]. And as to Brother Whit’s [the late Baldwin Whitson Hunter] estate, I can’t tell anything about it or at least I can’t say any different sum, but I am in hope you will be as liberal as you can be in the matter when you hear what I want done with the money. I want you to pay it to Sister, and she is to spend it in education of hers and [late] Brother L. W.’s [Leonidas W. Hunter’s] children [Frances Caroline was rearing his orphans]. She will give you receipts for all moneys you pay his for me and sign my name when and wherever necessary” (Family papers of Leo Hunter).

1876 “There was no free school system. They built a log schoolhouse, with rock chimney, on the line between him and Mark Womack’s land. It was called the Hunter School House, and Father taught the children of the community Blue Back spelling, Davies Arithmetic, and grammar, as we used to say. Later on they built a framed building and called it Henrietta School for his daughter Henrietta. And for 10 or 15 years that is where I with all the children of the community got our meager educations in about 1890. Some of the first pupils had grown up and married, who were H. H. Womack, Sammy Scott, J. W. Wright, Tom Griffin, Fait Arnold, A. J. Womack, and the community at large in cooperation built a more up to date modern building (Manuscript of Martha Susan “Sudie” Hunter Cole,1950).

The citizens of the community build a schoolhouse, “a big room schoolhouse on the west side of Topishaw Creek, cut trees into logs ten of twelve feet long, split them open, made them smooth with a drawing knife, bored holes in each end, and put peg legs on them for seats. It had shutters to keep the wind out and a big rock chimney to heat it. The state constituted the free school system, and that is where Martha spent her school days” (Manuscript of Martha Susan “Sudie” Hunter Cole, 1952).

1877 Presidency of Rutherford B. Hayes.

1879 On 25 January, Martha, as a veteran’s widow, applies for a pension. (Claim number 34553, Cert. No. 19,993, National Archives). Her address on the “Service Pension” forms is stated as “Post Office: Cumberland, County of Sumner, State of Mississippi. “Alleged service: James Hunter served as a private in Capt Peter R [sic] Rogers Co S C Mil in the war of 1812; volunteered at Double Bridges or Long Myres about the 15 Oct 1814 for the term of 3 mo & was honorably discharged at Double Bridges of Long Myres last January 1815. / Record evidence of service: 3d. Aud: Rep. Of Septr 1, 1856 shows that James Hunter served in Capt P R Rodgers Co SC Mil from Dec 10, 1813 to January 10, 1814 and again in same company from Jany 10th to March 15th 1814. / Length of service: 96 days. / Proof of identity: Identifying witnesses of 39 & 40 years acquaintance; allegation as to service in BLC corresponds, also place of residence. / Admitted: February 19th, 1879, to a pension of Eight Dollars per month from March 9, 1878, the date of Act of Congress. / No previous pension applied for. / Bounty Land claim No. 89953, 1-[?]-55 issued.”

“Marriage: Summary of Proof” Date: January 10th 1822, of James A. Hunter to Martha Harris; alleged in declaration; Evidenced by verified copy of Family Record in Bible, dated Aug. 13th 1855 in B L Claim and as to fact by identifying witnesses in B L C. / Proof as to capacity to marry: No previous marriage shown by claimant in declaration. / Death of soldier: Date May 20th 1844, alleged in declaration corroborated as to fact by William C. Burks and Marcilus S. Hunter in B. L. Claim. / Widowhood: Claimants allegation of non-remarriage.”

Her answers in a questionnaire give information about her late husband’s early history and about their periods of residence in Georgia and Mississippi.

War of 1812 / Claim of Widow for Pension, under the Provisions of Sections 4736 to 4740 inclusive Revised Statutes, and the Act of March 9, 1878.

State of Mississippi )

) ss.

County of Sumner )

On this 6th day of January, A. D. one thousand eight hundred and 79 personally appeared before me, Tom M. Gore Chancery Clerk, the same being a Court of Record within and for the county and State aforesaid, (1) Martha Hunter aged 74 years, a resident of Sumner County in the state of Mississippi, who, being duly sworn according to law, declares that she is a widow of (2) James A. Hunter deceased, who was the identical (3) James A. Hunter, who served under the name of (4) James Hunter as a (5) private in the company commanded by Captain Peter R. Rogers, in the regiment of Infantry, commanded by Col. Youngblood in the war of 1812; that her said husband (6) volunteered at Double Bridges or Long Mires on or about the 15th day of Oct., A. D. 1813, for the term of 3 months and continued in actual service in said war for the term of (7) 3 months, and whose services terminated, by reason of (8) an honorable discharge at Double Bridges or Long Myres, on the last day of January, A. D. 1815. She further states that the following is a full description of her said husband at the time of his enlistment, viz: (9) the said J. A. Hunter aged 17 years, born in Abbeville Dist. South Carolina Height 6 ft Hair dark eyes Grey – Complexion fair a farmer boy. She futher states that she was married to the said James A. Hunter, at the city (or town) of [blank], in the county of Jones, and in the State of Georgia, on the 10 day of January A. D. 1822, by one (10) Benjamin Weatherby, who was a (11) a Minister of the Gospel. and that her name before her said marriage was Martha Harris; and she further states that (12) She has not remarried since the death of said Jas. A. Hunter and that neither has nor her said husband had been married previously to their intermarriage and that her said husband (13) James A. Hunter, died at Choctaw County, in the State of Mississippi on the 20 day of May, A. D. 1844, and she further declares that the following have been the places of residence of herself and her said husband since the date of his discharge from the Army, viz: (14) Said Jas. A. Hunter resided about Abbeville in S. Carolina until about A. D. 1821 moved to Georgia to Baldwin County we married 1822 in Jones County resided in Baldwin 1823 to 1826 in Crawford 1826 to 1828 – in Talbot to 1831, in Meriwether to 1836 thereafter to Choctaw County Miss until the present She makes this declaration for the purpose of obtaining the pension to which she may be entitled under the provisions of Sections 4736 to 4740 inclusive Revised Statutes, and the Act of March 9, 1878, and hereby constitutes and appoints with full powers of substitution and revocation William Conard & Co. Of Washington, C. C., her true and lawful attorneys, to prosecute her claim, and she further declares that she has heretofore made her application (15) for bounty land and received a land warrant about the year 1860 as well as she recollects and that her residence is No. blank, street, city (or town) of blank county of Sumner, State of Mississippi, and that her post-office address is Cumberland Sumner County (formerly Choctaw) Mississippi

Claimant’s Signature Martha Hunter

Attest: Nancy H. Womack

Samuel H. Scott [illegible word follows]

Martha is awarded a pension of $8.00 per month (certificate 19993), paid by the U. S. agency in New Orleans.

1879 On 15 February Martha, seventy-four and stricken by palsy, dies in Sumner County, formerly part of Choctaw (Silvanus G. Hunter Bible), and is buried beside James (“Abandoned cemeteries certified as historic to Mississippi, The Webster Progress-Times, 18 May, 2006, p. 1B).

Silvanus’s wife Sallie, losing her eyesight, is taken to Union City, Tenn., for treatment. The children remain in the care of Aunt Polly, the Hunter’s former slave (Manuscript of Martha Susan “Sudie” Hunter Cole, 1952).

Silvanus is the patriarch of the family. “Father was never well after the war,” his daughter recalls, “and his spirits were broken at giving up his servants, the best set of Negroes in all the country. The old [slave] mother Polly’s life has been an inspiration to me through my lifetime. Father was a law-abiding, progressive-minded man. He taught, and loved education. He was the first to have a cook stove, sewing maching, John Deering grain harvester, or reaper, a McCormick hay mower. He like to raise stock and was the first to bring Jersey cattle into the country, as well as Poland China hogs and Marino and Cutwool sheep. He had his own work and repair shop and took the overhead ceiling form the hall of his residence and made caskets for his neighbors who had not prepared for burial of their families—all without cost” (“A History of the Hunters,” a manuscript of Martha Susan “Sudie” Hunter Cole, 1949).

1881 Presidency of James Garfield.

Presidency of Chester A. Arthur.

1883 Silvanus writes an essay entitled “What are the Duties of a Deacon to His Church and Pastor?” and read it aloud at a meeting of the Baptist association. “Nearly all the territory in the bounds of this association,” he writes, “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, p. 100).

Martha Susan Hunter, sixteen, is courted by Jefferson “Jeff” Davis Chandler, an orphan boy boarding in the home of Frances Caroline Hunter Womack. He has a small inheritance of land and money and, before marrying, has cultivated his fields and built a house for his bride.

1885 Presidency of Grover Cleveland.

On 21 January Martha and Jeff are married (Silvanus G. Hunter’s Bible).

On 16 December their daughter Jeffie is born (Silvanus G. Hunter’s Bible). On Christmas Day Jeff falls violently ill (Manuscript of Martha Susan Hunter Cole, 1952).

1886 On 5 January he dies (Silvanus G. Hunter’s Bible), and within a year Martha has been a bride, a mother, and a widow. After selling her stock and renting her farm, she retreats to her father’s to recover. She remains there, studying medical books in his library, and becomes a nurse practitioner in the community (Manuscript of Martha Susan Hunter Cole, 1952).

1889 Presidency of Benjamin Harrison.

1893 Second presidency of Grover Cleveland.

1896 Martha, twenty nine, is courted by Seborn McKelva Cole, a Confederate veteran, a Baptist minister, and a widower twenty-one years her senior. On 14 April they are married at her father’s house by the Rev. Wesley Davis (Seborn McKelva Cole’s Bible).

1897 Presidency of William McKinley.

1900 Silvanus’s letterhead stationery is imprinted “S. G. Hunter / Farmer and Dairyman / and Raiser of High Grade Jersey Cattle / Hohenlinden, Miss.” (One sheet in collection of Hunter McKelva Cole).

About 3 July Silvanus, seventy seven, suffers a broken hip when his buggy overturns. On 4 July he signs his will, leaving his estate in control of his widow, with the provision that after she is no longer able to manage the farm, one tract of land will go to their son Willie and another will be divided among their other children (Will, Webster County, Miss. 1900). On 14 July Silvanus dies. He is buried in Mt. Pleasant Cemetery.

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