By Curtis Anders
Both the James Magruder Hunter, Sr., and Everette Talmadge Hunter families settled in Sampson County, North Carolina in the early 1900’s. Like many of the families that settled in Sampson, they came from England to Virginia, then to North Carolina and Sampson County. Prior to coming to England, this Hunter line lived in France, and moved to England and Scotland when William the Conqueror conquered England in 1066. This line goes back to France and, before that, it may be traced to Germany. William (The Hunter) Ventor came to England with William the Conqueror. William Venator’s father is referred to as Gulielmus Venator, (Latin meaning “The Hunter”). Venator’s father was the Earl of Blois (France), as was his grandfather, Ewdo. Ewdo’s father, Odo, was the 11th Count of Blois. This line continues to go back in time, from one Count to another, and on to other noblemen. William “The Hunter” Venator’s name was changed to William Le Huntar, and, around 1350, it finally evolved to the English name, Hunter.
After the French took over Great Britain, William “The Hunter” was given a large amount of land in Ayrshire, Scotland. He became the 1st Laird of Hunterston, Aryshire, Scotland. Laird, as a designation, was given to large landowners by the Crown, and they were, therefore, entitled to attend Parliament. Lairds reigned over their estates like princes, their castles forming a small court. In the 16th and 17th centuries the designation (Laird) was applied to the head of highland clans, and the Lairds of those clans had obligations to the larger community. The designation in these cases was not “personal property” per se, but the laird may have possessed certain local or feudal rights. A laird was said to hold a “lairdship”, which carried voting rights in the ancient pre-Union Parliament of Scotland. However, such voting rights were expressed via two representatives from each county. They were known as Commissioners of the Shires, they came from the laird class, and they were chosen by their peers to represent them. A certain level of landownership was a necessary qualification (40 shillings of old extent). A woman who held a lairdship in her own right was styled with the honorific “Lady.” Although “laird” is sometimes translated as “Lord” and historically signifies the same, “laird” was not a title of nobility, like the English term “lord of the manor”. The designation was a “corporeal hereditament”, i.e., an inheritable property that had an explicit tie to the physical land. The designation could not be held in gross, and could not be bought or sold without buying or selling the actual land with which it was associated. The designation did not entitle the owner to sit in the House of Lords. It was the Scottish equivalent to “English Squire”, in that it was not a noble title but more of a courtesy designation, simply meaning “landowner”. No other rights were assigned to it.
A laird possessing a Coat of Arms registered in the Public Register of All Arms and Bearings in Scotland was a member of Scotland’s minor nobility. Such a person could be recognized as a laird (if not a Chief or Chieftain, or descendant of one of these) by the formal recognition of a territorial designation as a part of their name by the Lord Lyon. The Lord Lyon is the ultimate arbiter in determining entitlement to a territorial designation. His right of discretion in recognizing these designations (be it a name, dignity, or title) has been confirmed in the Scottish courts. Today, the Hunter “corporeal hereditament” is a well established area located on the western side of Scotland. The Hunter Castle, or Manor is still standing. Records show the 16th Laird of Hunterston, Kentigern Hunter, may have been the last recorded Laird.
Descendants of this Hunter line came to the New World; some to Massachusetts, some to Baltimore who eventually settled in Pennsylvania, and some others to Jamestown, Virginia. It was around 1673 that William Hunter arrived in Virginia. (He had been born around 1654 in Alnwick, Northumberland, England.) After his arrival, he married Joanne Norsworthy. One of their children was Isaac Hunter, Sr., who was born around 1690 in Nansemond, Virginia, and died around 1752 in Chowan, NC. Isaac married Elizabeth Walker Parker. Their son, Theophilus Hunter Sr, was born around 1735 in Nansemond, Virginia and died around 1798 in Raleigh, Wake County, NC. He married Jane Smith, the granddaughter of Col. John Smith, the founder of Jamestown. One of their daughters was Mary Smith Hunter who was born around 1773 in Raleigh, and who married the 21st Governor of North Carolina (1821-1824), Gabriel Holmes. Holmes was born in 1767 in Clinton, Sampson County, NC, and died in 1828 in the Little Coharie River area of Sampson County, where he and Mary lived. Both are buried in Clinton. Their first son, Theophilus Hunter Holmes, served in Civil War as Lt. General.
Another son of Theophilus Hunter, Sr. and Jane Smith was Isaac Hunter. He opened a tavern (Isaac Hunter’s Tavern) in 1770 on Wake Forest Road, Raleigh. An historical land marker is located there today. Strategically placed alongside a major travel artery through North Carolina, Hunter’s tavern became a landmark for locals and travelers alike, and earned a reputation for quality food and spirits. It was so well known that, in 1788, the Constitutional Convention met in the restaurant and mandated that the new state capital be built no more than ten miles away. Raleigh’s location, therefore, was determined not by topography or climate, but rather by its proximity to a popular tavern in what was then Johnston County. Raleigh is among the few capital cities in America to have been designated as an historical district.
A third son of Theophilus and Jane was Henry Hunter who was born around 1776 in Raleigh, and died there in 1820. He married Nancy Sewell. Their son, Thomas Hunter, was born around 1810 in Wilsonville in the New Hope District of Chatham County, North Carolina, and died 1845 in Broadway in Lee County, North Carolina. He married Isabella Thomas. Their son Benjamin Wesley Hunter was born in 1834 in Wilsonville, and died in 1899 in Broadway. He married Elizabeth Douglas. Their son, James Magruder Hunter, Sr., was born in 1862 in Wilsonville and married Susan Avent of Avent Ferry, Chatham County. Around 1915 they moved their family from Wilsonville to Turkey in Sampson County. James worked as a logger and saw miller. James Magruder Hunter’s line is referenced in the Heritage Book of Sampson County (703). James and his wife Susan are buried at Ebenezer United Methodist Church in Wilsonville, and they were founding members of First Methodist Church in Turkey. Most of their issue lived in Broadway, east of Sanford, in Lee County. In Broadway they attended Memphis Methodist Church. The Hunter family members were followers of John Wesley, founder of the Methodist Church. James’s brother, Everette Benjamin Hunter, also moved to Turkey. He married Sallie Doris Thomas of Chatham County.
Yet another son of Theophilus Hunter Sr. and Jane Smith was Andrew Hunter, who was born around 1765 in Raleigh and died around 1831 in Orange County, North Carolina. He married Susannah Hogan. Their son Samuel Hunter was born in 1812 in Wilsonville and died around 1885 in Lonoke, Arkansas. He married Margaret Audra Bonhrig and was married a second time to Margaret Knight. Samuel moved to Arkansas with his daughter Emily and her husband. Their son John Reeves Hunter was born in 1842 in Lower Regiment, Chatham County, and died on 27th of October, 1916 in East Sanford in Lee County, North Carolina. He and his wife, Rebecca Jeames Huckabee, are buried in the Poplar Springs United Methodist Church Cemetery, in Sanford. Their son Everette Talmadge Hunter was born on the 24th of February, 1879, in Jonesboro, Moore County, North Carolina, and died on the 11th of March, 1948 in Halls Township, Sampson County. He is buried with his wife at the Poplar Springs United Methodist Church Cemetery in Sanford. He married Martha (Mattie) Shepherd Mansfield, daughter of Sion Thomas Mansfield and Susan Ann Bobbitt. He moved his family from Popular Springs to Hunter Road, Halls, Sampson County around 1915. There in 1919, he bought 68 acres of land from E.C. William on the west side of Hoe Swamp.
Records show the two men, James Magruder Hunter and Everette Talmadge Hunter, were 3th cousins. Because the Hunter family Groups were all living in the New Hope area of Chatham County and in Sanford area of Lee county area, they stayed very close to each other. Everett was also a logger and ran his own saw mill, which he maintained beside this home on Hunter Road. Everette and Martha are buried in the Poplar Springs United Methodist Church Cemetery along with her father and mother. Everette and
Martha’s children were Jentry Reese Hunter, born in 1906, who married Mary Rose Honrine, and Lynn Hucklebee Hunter, born in 1907, who married Lucy Irene Hornine. Another child, Laure Hunter, was born in 1909 but died in 1910. Samuel Talmadge was born in 1910 and married Rosa Bell Bass. Eunice Kathrine Hunter, born in 1913, married William Earl Weeks. Herman Tyree Hunter was born in 1916 and married Sallie Jane Coley. Next was Mattie Christine Hunter, born in 1920. She married Vass Tew. Lastly, Everette Pordice Hunter was born in 1923 and married Dorothy Hollman.
Jentry Reese Hunter and Mary Rose Honrine had eight children that they raised on a small 62 acre farm off of Hunter Road in the Halls area. Jentry purchased this land in 1946 from Paul Sinclair and Rossie Bass. Rossie had procured the land from her father, William Bass at the time of her marriage. Jentry and Mary Rose’s children were (1) Floyd Reese Hunter, born in 1929, married Slivia Corbett, (2) Mary Evelyn Hunter, born in 1931, married William Harmon Fowler, (3) Alice Shirley Hunter, born in 1935, married Elmon Jarvis Anders, (4) Max Carlton Hunter, born in 1938, married Lettie Melvin, (5) Alton Ray Hunter, born in 1940, married Lois Moore, (6) Jack Ronnie Hunter, born in 1941, married Edith Best, (7) Rebecca Arlene Hunter, born in 1944, married Sanford Victor Turlington, and (8) Jimmy Lee Hunter, born in 1948, married first to Devone Butler and later remarried to Patricia Spivey.