Hunter of Nansemond

Sacky Hunter’s Version of Nansemond Hunter History

Sacky Hunter was the next-to-youngest child of Isaac Hunter and Martha Alston. She was born in Warren Co., N. C., in 1783 and died in Maury Co., Tenn., in 1873. Family information that Sacky recorded in a letter now owned by William H. Kittrell of Mt. Pleasant, Tenn., was published by Marise P. Lightfoot in Historic Maury (July-September, 1972, p. 99).

One wonders what sparked Sacky to recount this account of her genealogy. Since the date of the letter does not appear in Lightfoot’s article, Sacky’s age at the time is not known. Evidently she¬† was an elderly woman suffering from slips of memory as she wrote down family names and facts about marriages and kinships. Although her report is useful for documenting this Nansemond¬† line, she is not an entirely reliable witness. North Carolina deeds, wills and estate records, military histories, and tax reports refute some of her claims, while underscoring the truth of others.

For instance, she misidentifies her great-grandfather (William Hunter of Nansemond Co., Va.) as “Theophalus Hunter.” Theophilus Hunter of Northampton Co., N. C., and Wake Co., N. C., was a grandson of William’s eldest son Nicholas and son of Isaac Hunter of Northampton. Possibly the full name of the progenitor was “William Theophilus Hunter.” It may be the source name of later descendants named Theophilus, although all known documents report him as William Hunter or Captain William Hunter. Sacky states further that her great-grandfather “had learned the weaving business as a youth, but was a merchant at the time of his marriage to a Miss Clark.” It is true that William Hunter was a weaver, but it is more likely that it was Sacky’s maternal great-grandfather John Alston who was married to “Miss Clark.” “They settled,” Sacky continues, “in Perquimans Co., lower N. C., where he died.” William Hunter’s original tracts were in Nansemond Co., Va., before the state boundary was redrawn and re-established in 1728. Thereafter his land was mapped in Chowan Co., N. C. The historical Moseley map of 1733 locates the Hunter property on Bennett’s Creek in Chowan and shows it abutting Perquimans. Thus Sacky is nearly correct about the location.

She continues by stating erroneously that her grandfather was named Jacob. He was, instead, Isaac Hunter, of Chowan County. One of Isaac’s sons was named Jacob. Sacky remembers correctly Isaac’s wife as Elizabeth Parker, but she states that they settled in Gates County. Isaac’s will was probated in 1754. Not until 1778 did the portion of Chowan in which the Hunter land was located become the new county called Gates.

“My father Isaac [son of Isaac Hunter and Elizabeth Parker] and his brothers Jesse & Daniel,” Sacky continues, “moved to what was then Bute and is now Warren County, N. C.” This statement is true, although when the Hunter brothers arrived (ca. 1757), Bute was still a part of Granville County.

Sacky seems the first to leave written documentation of William Hunter’s immigration. She recalls that “about the same time that my great grandfather Hunter came from England my great grandfather Alsten [John Alston] came from Scotland and settled in Virginia, where he died.” John Alston, rather, died in Chowan in 1758. Sacky may have reversed the country origins of the two immigrant ancestors. The Alstons were English, not Scottish. “My grandfather Solomon [son of John Alston and Mary Clark] moved to Bute, now Warren Co., N. C., and settled near my father Isaac Hunter.” This is true, although Alston seems to have arrived first. Both families had plantations along Shocco Creek, in the southern part the county. Sacky states correctly that Solomon Alston’s wife was Ann Hinton, adding “Intermarriage of Hunters and Alstens – My father Isaac Hunter married Martha Alsten, and his brother Jesse married her sister Anne Alsten. Daniel, his other brother, never married.” This statement is true.

She next reports on herself and her siblings: “Isaac and Martha had six children.” Sacky’s numbering goes awry. Actually there were seven. Sacky omits two brothers. Solomon Alston Hunter, the eldest of the children, was born in 1761. He moved away in 1784, when Sacky was a year old, and thus she had no memory of him. He died in Abbeville Dist., S. C., in 1799. She also omits her brother James Alston Hunter, who married Ann Walker, left Warren Co., N. C., in 1789, and settled in Wilson Co., Tenn. The first sibling she mentions is her brother “Jacob, who married Patience Williamson, moved near Memphis Tenn., where he died.” Probate of his estate occurred there in 1823.

Next, she lists her sister “Ann Alsten who married Isham Kittrell, lived and died in Granville Co., N. C.” After Ann’s husband Isham died, she married Lewellen Jones. They lived in Sumner Co., Tenn.

“Patsy Hinton,” the next sister enumerated, was Martha “Patsy” Hinton Hunter. “She married Green Williamson lived and died in Maury Co., Tenn.”

The sixth in the list is “Sarah Alston [‘Sallie’ Alston Hunter, the youngest sibling], who married Ludnell B. Estes [Lydell Bacon Estes] lived and died in Maury Co., Tenn.” Later Sallie married Burford Turner.

Sacky lists herself last. “I Sacky Clark [Hunter], who first married Osburne Pope Nicholson, by whom I had three children, Maria, Calvin and Alfred and then [married] Garrett L. Voorhies, by whom I had three, Emily James and Wm Millin.”

She concludes with “My sisters Patsy, Sarah and I came to Maury Co. together. I am the sole survivor of my father’s family. The Hunter family.” Lightfoot notes that Sacky attached a final comment on a separate page. It implies a mystery: “I do not know they settled in Perquimans Co lower N. C., where he died.”