More on Scots-Irish Migration

The has an interesting hsitory of Scots-Irish migration into the colonies. It makes a good short but fact-filled read.

It’s interesting in that in the last wave it mentions the Charleston, SC connection. Part of some of the versions of the Hunt immigrant ancestor is that he landed at Charleston and moved up into North Carolina from there.

A Scots-Irish Route from Pennsylvania

The Great Philadelphia Wagon Road through Virginia, North Carolina, and on to Georgia was the main road that thousands of Scots Irish who landed in Philadelphia used to spread southward to settle that back country including the North Carolina Piedmont and especially to our search that portion that was Granville County and then Orange County. The map here is a 1751 map by Fry and Jefferson sourced from Wikimedia ( )with the route superimposed as crooked red line. Place names and arrow in red were added later for this post. This is one of the possible routes of our ancestors into Orange County. Possibilities are that they made the trip from Pennsylvania straight to North Carolina or perhaps briefly settled in some of the Virginia counties in the valley along the way..


Orange Co NC Flat River Cluster

Interactions between families of interest in our research in North Carolina, Orange County, Flat River region are shown between surnames of male lines of the four main Hunts (brothers?) in Rutherford County, North Carolina in the late 18th and early 19th centuries. They are William Wat Hunt (Veasey and Brackett), Absalom Hunt (Veasey and DeVinney), William Kinchen Hunt (Duke), and our Thomas Hunt (McFarland). Nothing was found for Brackett in Orange County. Veasey and DeVinney were both among surnames in the FamilyTree DNA study of Veasey.

In this post is the Flat River area mind map created from research findings. (The map is so large that it cannot be read here, but you can download a PDF file by clicking on this link: Flat River Cluster.

Flat River Cluster.11


Grandad Was Right Updated

Updated 6 December 2015

As with all genealogy as you connect with other researchers and compare information new things are discovered.

Since the “Granddad was right” article was written in 2013 we have met several Hunt researchers including Miles Philbeck, who is a descendant of William “Wat” Hunt a “supposed” older brother of  Thomas Hunt Sr. Since meeting Miles extensive DNA testing has been done on the male “siblings’ of Thomas Hunt Sr. (The article “Granddad was right” is appended to the end of this update.) 

Miles Philbeck discovered some interesting documents in the State Archives of North Carolina that pertain to William Thomas Hunt Sr born about 1787 in North Carolina. It seems in 1784 and 1785 in Orange County North Carolina there were two court cases of interest.

It seems that “John Hunt legal husband of Elizabeth Hunt charged his wife Elizabeth with adultery with William McFarland legal husband of Elizabeth McFarland”. At some point Elizabeth Hunt and William McFarland had even left the state of North Carolina together.

It appears from these records that Thomas Hunt Sr was a product of the adultery cases. The ironic part is there is not any Hunt DNA in Thomas Hunt Sr., as his mother was not a Hunt. As always with genealogy the answer to his parentage only generated many more questions that need to be answered.

The questions include is the John and Elizabeth Hunt mentioned in the documents the John Hunt who married Elizabeth Tyus? Is the William McFarland mentioned Senior or Junior (we believe it was Junior)?
If Thomas’ parents left the state and were together, how is it that William McFarland Jr came back and had several more children with a different wife? Did Elizabeth and John Hunt raise Thomas Hunt Sr?

In another ironic twist it seems that, none of the “brothers” of Thomas Hunt Sr., Absalom Hunt, William Wat Hunt, Kinch Hunt, and Thomas Hunt have any male line Hunt DNA. Every one of the descendants tested for a different family surname in the area. It seems that Elizabeth and John Hunt lead interesting lives. A descendant of Madison Hunt was also tested as he is in this area at the same time and to date only matches one other person in the ftdna database who also has the last name of Hunt.

William Wat Hunt descendant’s match males with the surname of Veazey and Brackett.
Absalom Hunt descendant’s match males with the surname of Veazey and DeVinney.

(William Wat and Absalom could be brothers and it may be that Elizabeth had a long term relationship with their father or that John Hunt may have been a Veazey himself)

William Kinch Hunt descendants match males with the surname of Duke.

Madison Hunt descendant’s matches a male with the surname of Hunt.

Many intriguing possibilities are still to be learned about these Hunts in Orange County NC / Rutherford County NC in the late 1700’s. Stay Tuned.
Granddad was Right (The original article)

When I was a child, my grandfather told me the story about how a McFarland child in England was orphaned, adopted by a Hunt family and how 200 years or so later, I was the result. The oral history had been passed from generation to generation with a few variations, but with several elements of the story being fairly consistent. There were some variation on the name. Some had the adoption happening in England, Wales, or as the result of parents dying at sea. Most all versions of the story had the child at 18 or so being given a new suit of clothes, $100 and being told that he was welcome to stay, or to find his own way in the world.

Flash forward 40 years. Long after my Grandfather died, DNA testing would come to be a reliable form of identification. Also, I would go through a marriage of 24 years, and shortly afterward, meet up with a retired engineer that happened to be a darned good genealogist. Susan took an interest in my story and decided to follow it to see where it went. One of the first things she did was to have me take a “YTDNA” test. After confirming positive for “human”, it also confirmed that somewhere along the line, a McFarland had been in my parentage. At least one element of the story Granddad told me was correct.

We know from Census and other records, that I’m related to a Thomas Hunt Sr. (born abt 1787 and died 28 July 1856). He is first found in Rutherford County NC with an William “Wat” and Absalom Hunt in the 1820 census. His first child is born in 1810 in North Carolina but what county is unknown.

The DNA test has Thomas Hunt an exact 37 match to the Orange County North Carolina McFarland’s. One record so far at least ties the Hunts to both counties. Absalom Hunt married his wife Patsy White in Orange County.

Thomas Hunt Sr moved to Blount County TN in 1828 and then to Rusk County Texas in 1851.

Thomas Hunt Sr named his children after both the Hunt and McFarland lines:

1. Elizabeth Betsey Nancy Hunt (1809) married James Madison Bedford (William “Wat Hunt was married to Rebecca Bedford)

2. Absalom (1811) Absalom Hunt was both in Orange and Rutherford Counties

3. James (1812) There is both a James Hunt and a James McFarland in Orange County NC. The McFarland married Nancy Matterson. The 1812 James Hunt married Pretia Rose in Blount County TN. One of my exact McFarland DNA matches ancestors also married into a Rose family in North Carolina.

4. John (1815) Both a John Hunt and John McFarland, the McFarland married Elizabeth Maddeson

5. William Marshall (My Line) (1816) After William Wat Hunt who was in Rutherford County. The Cain family also married later on into the McFarland’s and named one of their children William Marshall Cain

6. Stephen (1819 ) There are no Hunts or McFarland’s by this name. There is Stephen Wilson who signed petition and took in a Thomas Hunt (son of a Elizabeth Hunt)

7. Thomas Hunt Jr (1821)

8. Martha Cassandra (1822) No Martha (but there was a Martha Patsey Matterson marriage to Larkin McFarland) No Cassandra’s in either family.

9. Maddeson (son) (1828) Named after Maddeson family all four McFarland / Maddeson marriages took place before his birth

10. Mary Mahala (1830) No Mahala in either family that can be found at this time

11. Samuel (1832) There is a Samuel Hunt but no McFarland’s by this name

Through records in Orange County we have learned that a Henry Hunt lived about 3-4 miles from the Orange County McFarlands (William, Peter, and Thomas (the DNA match McFarlands)) however no connection has been found between Henry Hunt and my Hunt line. From the Family Finder DNA test I do match a person researching a Susannah Hunt born 1715 in England married John Palmer in New York in 1738 and dies in Orange County NC in 1760. Whether this is the same Hunt family is unknown. With the family finder test it is just as likely there is a match with unidentified ancestor.

Not much is known about Thomas Hunt Sr. wife but that her name was Lucy. Although several of their grandchildren were named Louvica, Louvisa, and Louisa it is highly likely this was her name. Interestingly enough that same unique spelling also is in the Rose family.

We are though looking for information on the extended family lines of Hunt, Palmer, Rose, Maddeson (Madison, Mattison), Cain, Ray, Allen, Horton, and we are sure several that we don’t even know yet.

At this point we still have several open questions. Was there an adoption as family legend holds? Am I the result of a chance encounter, a “paternity lapse”, or a “lucky neighbor”? In an ideal world, perhaps we’ll find a record in a 200-year old book that tells of an adopted child. Or maybe, as Ernest Gann said “the complete answer may only be revealed when it can no longer serve those most interested”. I’d like to hope that Granddad was right, and that Ernest Gann will be wrong, and with any luck at all, there’s a record out there that can definitively tie the two families together. The DNA test is irrefutable.

I am related to the McFarlands of Orange County NC from the late 1700’s. Like all of us, I am the child of many fathers. I’m proud of my deep roots in East Tennessee and North Carolina (from both my paternal and maternal sides). I’m also proud of my Scottish roots and the heritage that comes with it. It only took 40 years or so, but at this point, we’re confident that Granddad was right.

William T. (McFarland) Hunt and Susan Kromer Hunt

A page in the Hunt Archives displays the information above formatted a bit differently, but it is the same information and sources. The link:

Finding Specifics of Hunt/McFarland Surname Change

The quest for the parents of Thomas Hunt has taken on the search for the who, what, where, when, why, and how of the switch from McFarland/McFarlin/MacFarlane to the Hunt surname.

Well-known genealogy blogger, Judy G. Russell, in her “The Legal Genealogist” blog entitled “Y no Surname, The downside of DNA testing” ( offers the following reasons why a surname might occur.

  1. At the time individuals in an ancestral line first adopted surnames, there is no guarantee that siblings would have adopted the same surname.
  2. An illegitimate child would be given or take the surname of the mother rather than the father.
  3. An orphaned child might take the surname of the family that raised him.
  4. A young child might take the name of a stepfather.

There were certainly geographical, family, and extended relationship possibilities of such events in Orange County, North Carolina in the middle to late 17th and early 18th centuries that could stand more research for possibilities such as these. Hunts and McFarlands/McFarlins interacted in these areas in numerous family and public events as did associated families. Anyone turning up such interactioins is encouraged to share them here.
If you would like to see more of the article by Judy G. Russell, click the Legal Genealogist link above in this article.

Thomas Hunt, the Distiller

I found interesting the following quote (from the Jstor Daily email I received today) considering the stories of Thomas Hunt Senior and his Tennessee to Texas move of his still and our y-dna finding of relationship to and descent from the McFarlands

Scotland’s first large-scale vertically-integrated company was not part of the “holy trinity of coal, iron, and textiles,” usually seen as the drivers of Scotland’s entry into the Industrial Revolution, but a distillery.” 12

It is not clear if Thomas Senior actually operated a tub mill to grind his own corn and grain (and maybe that of family and neighbors) or simply owned land where a tub mill had once operated, but family tradition is that he operated a distilling operation so special that he transported it to Texas in his last westward movement. (Tub mill operators often were also distillers using the product as trade goods or for sale. For example, one distiller in Blount County sold his still and twelve tubs with the pay to be in whiskey at 33 & 1/3 cents per gallon.13 However, distilling operations were not as profitable as the years went by and in 1846 it was reported that “whiskey was not as popular that season.”14 In 1860 only five distilleries were in operation in Blount County.)15

Hilda Hunt Tucker, after a 1967 trip to Blount County wrote to W. T. Hunt (William Thomas Hunt I), “ Mr. Endsley said you had written him since your visit about the actual land boundaries of the Hunt property. He showed them to me and showed me the spring on the Rose property where he said Thomas Hunt was supposed to have had his wonderful still. He told me the Hunts and the Newberrys had built a houseboat in the next county and had floated down the Tenn. River with horse and cow and still and all of their children to the Mississippi, on to New Orleans, and over to Rusk County, Texas.”16 Family tradition is that the still passed on to the Thomas Hunt Junior family in Rusk County. Mary Frank Deason Dunn, a descendant of Thomas Hunt Junior, wrote to W. T. Hunt in 1967, “Hilda mentioned the still of Thomas Hunt, Sr. which he is supposed to have brought to Texas with him. I thought this was so interesting since the estate papers in the court house in Henderson for both Thomas Junior and Thomas Senior list a still.

Mother said the still was in front of the house she grew up in (Grannie Rushton – where Joe Cliff lives now) that was Thomas Junior’s home originally. Great Grandpa Joe (Josiah Murphey- ed.) Hunt would weave a hat from straw while he watched the still. That was the way he timed the cooking.”17 Katie Hunt, writing a history of the family, reported, “They moved from Tenn. to Texas in wagons and along with the other things they brought a “still” for making “spirits. Thomas Hunt Junior used this still for making brandy from the apples and peaches they gathered from their orchard. He sold this brandy for 25 cents a gallon…. Mrs. Theo (Propes) Hunt, Gordon Hunt’s wife and my husband’s mother, told us that she could remember playing with the old still with the copper pipes and the kettles. Mr. Lobel Hunt says that a man who lived on the Angelina River came with a wagon drawn by oxen and bought the old still from Thomas Hunt and hauled it away.”18

12Source:, viewed 06/04/2015 at 5:45 p.m. cdt

13 Burns, Inez E., History of Blount County, Tennessee from war trail to landing strip, 1795-1955, Whipporwill  Publications, Evansville, IN, 1988, p. 243.

14 Burns, , History of Blount County, Tennessee, p. 220.

15 Burns, , History of Blount County, Tennessee, p. 243.

16 Hilda Hunt Tucker to W. T. Hunt, Trip Over To Blount County, September 1, 1967, Correspondence, Papers of Deason Hunt, Holly Lake Ranch, Texas.

17 Mary Frank Dunn to W. T. Hunt, Still of Thomas Hunt Sr., September 10, 1967, Correspondence, Papers of Deason Hunt, Holly Lake Ranch, Texas.

18 Thomas Hunt And His Descendants, Typescript of an article by Katie Hunt, Henderson, Texas, Vertical File, Henderson Public Library, Rusk County, Texas.


The information above including footnotes concerning Thomas Hunt’s distillery is taken from Thomas Sr. and Lucy Hunt and Their Children and Descendants, 1787-2002

® September, 2002, by Deason Hunt, 402 Evening Shadows Trail, Holly Lake Ranch, Texas 75765

Our Research Collaborators

We did not start the search for our Hunt ancestors nor are we the only ones involved. When I (Deason Hunt) started genealogy research in the late 1970’s, I found a trail which had been blazed by others. My parents (Deason L. Hunt Sr. and Ozie Mae Moody Chadwick Hunt), who shared what they knew, got me in contact with my cousin, Jean Hunt Branch. It was she who pointed to the first group of Thomas Hunt researchers.

They were William Thomas Hunt I, my Uncle Willie, and my cousin Mary Frank Deason Dunn. They were the hubs of the first group of researchers reaching out to and responding to others. That first group also included Gene Hunt Thomas, Hilda Hunt Tucker, Lois Hunt McIntyre, and Adele Gorsch. Some I met, some I corresponded with, and some I only learned about from correspondence between Mary Frank Dunn and Uncle Willie which was made available to me by several sources. We also had research help in the form of information primarily to the these early researchers efforts of my grandmother Annie Fears Hunt Propes, Col Hunt, Homer Hunt, Lobel W. Hunt, T. Luther Hunt, Otis and Edna Hunt, Bill Ensley, and Abbie Irene Rushton.

About the year 2000, I was involved with cousins in preparing (and researching) for a Thomas Hunt family book. This was a group undertaking with myself as chief writer of the volume but with some chapters depending heavily on information from some of the others. They included myself, Mary Frank Dunn, Lynda Tillison Jones, my wife Martha Shipman Hunt, Benny Britton, Kay Hunt Dawson, John Dulin, Robin Hunt, Walt Hunt, Walter B. Hunt, Walt Leonard, Betty Phillips, Lovey Smitham, Ken and Betty Stevens, Melvin Vinson, Lydia Wade, Lola Wilson, and Rebecca Wilson.

As this was not only a book about Thomas Hunt Sr. but also his descendants, we also corresponded briefly with others by postal mail and email in gathering information. This was, however, those who got us to the book publishing and that point in our research.

In 2013 cousin William Thomas Hunt III (Bill Hunt) and Susan Kromer Pavlech  began actively researching including dna analysis. This indicated that our ancestral line runs through McFarlands and as McFarlands who were in Orange County, North Carolina in the 1700’s. Various threads now have Thomas Hunt descendants and McFarland researchers sharing information as well as genealogists for the Rutherford County, North Carolina Hunt family lines. That makes four generations of the family involved in the search.

Puzzle: Other NC-Rutherford Hunts

A part of the puzzle of parents and ancestors of Thomas Sr. is an as yet undetermined relationship to other Hunts in Rutherford County North Carolina in the 1800-1820 time period. They include Absolom “Ab” Hunt, William “Wat” Hunt , William “Kinchen” Hunt, and Catherine Hunt, all of whom appear as heads of household on the 1800, 1810, and/or 1820 Rutherford County, North Carolina census. All lived within about a four-square mile area of Rutherford County, according to veteran Rutherford County historian Harold Rollins who also has a connection with one of the Hunt families. These locations are confirmed by a study of maps and deed information for these individuals.

One published family history for the Taylor-Hunt and allied families in the area states that Thomas Hunt of the 1820 census is a brother of Wat Hunt.[1]  However, there is no documentation in the book to support the claim. The book emphasizes that Absolom Hunt and Wat hunt are not related, however, another book featuring Haw-Hunt families, states just the opposite: that Ab and Wat are brothers.[2]

A study of the 1800 census shows one male in the Wat Hunt household older than any of his known children.[3]

Thomas Hunt and Kinch Hunt seem to follow the child naming patterns of Wat Hunt. Wat’s known children, in birth order, are William, Elizabeth, Stephen, Sarah, James, Thomas, Lewis Tyas, Catherine, Mary, and John. Kinch’s children are Phoebe, Sarah, William, John, James Madison, Robert, Thomas B., and Martin J. Thomas Sr.’s are Elizabeth “Betsy”, Absolom, James, John, Stephen, Thomas, Martha Cassandra, Madison, Mary Mahala, and Samuel. In addition, Wat’s daughter Catherine married Joseph Grayson Devinney, grandson of Joseph Grayson, from whose original land grant Thomas Sr. sold his property in 1819 before moving to Tennessee. Likewise, Rutherford County Graysons were intermarried with Bedfords. Wat’s wife was Rebecca Bedford, and Thomas Sr.’s daughter Betsy married a James Bedford, a nephew of Rebecca and son of Stephen and Polly Bedford. When another of Rebecca’s brothers, Seth Bedford,  was married October 10, 1796, the bondsman was Wat Hunt.[4]

Descendants of Wat and Ab Hunt, and sister Catherine, all in Rutherford County by the early 1800’s and who would live out their lives there, have a similar situation in finding their parents and ancestors. They cannot prove the names of their parents. Speculation has led to a John Hunt who married an Elizabeth Tyas in Virginia and then came to western North Carolina, but there is no conclusive evidence. It is possible, but clearly not proven, that these three, Thomas, and Kinch are related in some way. If related, two possible scenarios are that  (1) Thomas Sr. and perhaps Kinch Hunt were raised by brother or Uncle Wat Hunt after the death or disappearance of Thomas’ Hunt parents (making him or both orphans) or (2) the same thing happened but that they were McFarlands and either were adopted or not legally adopted but took the Hunt name. Thus, as an adopted son(s), Thomas Sr. would have not shared in estate distribution in Wat’s will. It is also entirely possible that his relationship to other Hunts of Rutherford County is purely a coincidence of geography: they just lived near each other.

Thomas Sr.’s possible enumeration on the 1800 census in the household of William “Wat” Hunt of Rutherford County, North Carolina is based on a male child 10-16 years of age older than any known child of Wat Hunt and wife Rebecca Bedford.

1800 Census Rutherford County, North Carolina

Hunt, William, page 120

Male               0-10     10-16    16-18              16-26   26-45   45+                 

2          1            0                    1          1          0

Female            0-10     10-16    16-18              16-26   26-45   45+     

1          0            0                    0          1          1

Known children of Wat and Rebecca born by 1800 were Stephen born ca 1797 (age 3 in 1800), William born ca 1799 (age 1 in 1800), and Elizabeth born 1795 (age 5 in 1800). Thomas Hunt, Sr. would have been 12 or 13 in this census. William Kinchen Hunt, born about 1778, would have been 21 to 22.  Wat Hunt was 27 to 28 in 1800 and Rebecca Bedford Hunt 28 to 29.

By 1810, William K. Hunt appears on the Rutherford County, North Carolina census, page 108 with 1 male 26-45 and 1 female 26-45 (wife Rebecca Simmons) and no children. Thomas does not appear on the census, but he possibly was missed entirely or perhaps in the household of the parents of his young wife Lucy. Their marriage is estimated about 1809 with first child born estimated about 1810.

In 1820, Thomas appears on the Rutherford County, North Carolina census on page 387 and again on page 392. (The double listing is considered typical of a number of such in the early censuses.) Other Rutherford Hunts are enumerated on these pages: Absolom 327, Catharine 328, William (Wat) 328, William K. 328, and William Jr. 327 and 389. (Note the two listings for William Jr. are considered errors, as is a second listing on page 392 for Thomas Hunt.) Joseph Grayson, from whose land grant Thomas sold land in 1819, was listed on page 387.

1820 Census Rutherford County, North Carolina

Hunt, Thomas, page 358 or page 392

Male               0-10     10-16    16-18              16-26   26-45              

5          1            0                    0          1

Female            0-10     10-16    16-18             16-26   26-45  

1                       0                   0            1

(Page 358 listing is same as for page 392 except for females 0-10. Page 358 shows 2 and page 392 indicates 0.)

Thomas’s known children in 1820 were (males under 10: Absolom b. 1811, James b. 1812, John b. about 1815, William b. 1816, Stephen b. about 1819), (males 10-16: unknown male b. about 1810), (males 26-45: Thomas Sr. b. about 1787). (females 10-16: Elizabeth Betsy b. about 1810), and (females 26-45: Lucy b. about 1787).

An examination of North Carolina census records reveals no other Thomas Hunt who so closely matches the ages or birth places later indicated on censuses of the known children of Thomas and Lucy Hunt.

[1] Taylor, Wilson A., Genealogy Of John Langford Taylor And Elizabeth Martha Ann Esther Taylor, St. Louis, Missouri, 1937, p. 174.

[2] Haw, Joseph L., The McSpad(d)en Family Ancestry, Augustums Printing Service, Lincoln, Nebraska, 1982, p. 164.

[3] Taylor, Genealogy Of John Langford Taylor And Elizabeth Martha Ann Esther Taylor, p. 170.

[4] Marriage Records of Rutherford County, North Carolina, Seth Bedford to Mary Francis, October, 10, 1796.

Thomas Hunt Ancestry by Tradition

The issue of the parents and lineage of Thomas Hunt, Sr. is clouded in the mists of time and made difficult by the lack of records, loss of those records, or simply the passage of years. What little we know, we know from oral tradition handed down from parent to child which is subject to the possible distortions of each re-telling. The story told here is oral history and has not been verified by credible documents or evidence.

Two descendants report having heard the story directly from their grandfathers, sons of Thomas Sr.  W. T. “Willie” Hunt related the story to his daughter and attributed it to his grandfather, William Marshall Hunt. “… he remembers his grandfather, who lived with them and died at age 97, tell him this story many times when he was a child.”[1]  Lobel Watson Hunt reported hearing his grandfather, Thomas Hunt, Jr. tell the story. Edna Hunt wrote in 1965 that on a visit to see Uncle Lobe and Uncle Col (Colquit J. Hunt) that Uncle Lobe remembers his grandfather “telling of it many times.”  In his correspondence[2] Willie Hunt said there was an agreement in these parts of the story from Horace Hunt of the Absolom Hunt family, William Marshall as told to Willie, Lobel Hunt, Tommy Hunt of the Steve Hunt (son of William Marshall Hunt) family, Homer Hunt of the James Hunt family, and “Mr. Ensley” (a relative in Blount County by marriage) “who went with me on the Blount County trip”: “the elder Hunt and wife arrived at Charleston, South Carolina port of entry and first settled near Charlotte, N. C. before moving to Blount Co., TN.”

The versions below are from letters, interviews, and published materials and indicate the common themes but with variations as noted.

Version 1 –  “Daddy believes that Thomas Hunt was adopted by a Hunt family in North Carolina and that his last name was either McFarland or MacFarlain. He supposedly came from Scotland to Wales and entered into America by Charleston, S. C.  This Dad has never been able to verify but he says he remembers his grandfather, who lived with them and died at the age 97, tell him this story many times when he was a child. “[3]

Version 2 – “Tradition said he was one of seven boys – that the rest of the family had gone to Texas and that they had a Scotch background and had come from North Carolina….  Mr. W. T. Hunt also told me of a family tradition I had not heard. That the original Hunt had been an orphan named McDonald who had taken the Hunt name in gratitude for their care. He had come with them from Scotland to France, married in Hamburg, Germany, and come into the United States at Charleston, S.C.”[4]

Version 3 – “A ten- year-old boy surnamed McFarland was adopted by an old couple named Hunt in Wales. They reared him until he was 21 years old, then took him to town, bought him a suit of clothes, gave him some money, and told them he was free to leave them if he wanted to, but was welcome to stay if he would. He stayed a while and then crossed over into France and then to Germany where he married a full-blooded German Dutch named Finley.  They boarded a sailboat at Hamburg, Germany for America. They were six months en route because a storm blew them off course and they were lost. Finally landed at Charleston, South Carolina – went to North Carolina and afterwards to Blount County, Tennessee. There were 17 children, fourteen boys and three girls. Five boys and three girls came to Texas. …Nine boys stayed in Tennessee. Two later went to Illinois, and two went back to North Carolina.”[5]

Version 4 – “Last Sunday we went to see Uncle Lobe and Uncle Col Hunt, and there is a lot of information in those two folks.

They seem to still be clear thinking and can talk for hours on interesting events of the Hunt family. One thing we must tell you about that you haven’t mention and Eldon said he hadn’t heard was of the first Hunt’s coming to America. Uncle Lobe says it was Thomas Hunt Sr. who was born in 1787. He says he remembers his grandfather telling it a many of times. It seems as if a tragedy of some kind came to the family by the name of McFarland. A little 10-year-old boy was all that was left. A Mr. and Mrs. Hunt took this little boy as they had no children, but wanted a child. They adopted the boy, so that is how the Hunt name started. They were a happy family of three. When this boy was 21 years of age at the breakfast table that morning, the Hunts told the boy that now he was a man of his own. They loved him and they would be glad to have him forever, but he could choose his own vocation as they had fulfilled their mission by raising him to be a man of his own.  For a birthday gift, they took him to town and fitted him in the best suit of clothes they could afford and gave him $100 in cash. He stayed there a while, but decided later to seek adventure. All this took place in Wales. He sailed to Hamburg, Germany after deciding to travel. While there, he married a German girl. They worked hard for enough money to come to America. Having accomplished this, they sailed to America on a sailboat as in those days ships traveled by sails and canvas. They were on the water six months or more. Much longer voyage than they expected as they got lost and in storms, etc. They arrived at Charlotte, North Carolina. Then as time went on they went to Blount County, Tenn.”

[Then Edna switches from Lobel and Col’s account to an incident of her own -ed.]: “In the early 1930’s I met a man by the name of McFarland that asked me if I was from the Hunt line that came to America from Wales settling in North Carolina and later came to East Texas. He told me of this event and that he was some of the same McFarlands. At that time, I mentioned this to some of the younger Hunts, but no one seemed to know anything about it. So Hadn’t though any more about it.”[6]

Version 5  – “Edna Hunt … said she went down last weekend and visited Carl (ed. Probably Col) and Lobe and the Hunt Cemetery. She will write you soon. Carl and Lobe gave them some information that was news to me. The story is Thomas Hunt, Sr. was born in Wales as Thomas McFarlin and came to the U.S.A. at about the age of ten. He was adopted by a Hunt family in North Carolina. This was in or near Charlotte, NC. On his 21st birthday, the Hunts gave him a suit of clothes and $100 and told him he was on his own. He went to Germany, got married, and later came back to North Carolina then to Blount Co. Tenn. and then to Rusk Co. Texas. The story is that he also had some brothers that moved into Pennsylvania and Illinois.”[7]

Version 6  – “Thomas McFarland was born in Wales, 1789. When he was about ten years old his parents died. A couple by the name of Hunt asked Thomas McFarland if he would like to come live with them and be their son. As there was no one else, he went to live with them and loved them very much. He grew up as Thomas Hunt.

On his twenty-first birthday his foster mother told him they had something planned for him to do like (he) thought there was some work they wanted done so he asked what they wanted done. She said, “You know, this is your twenty-first birthday.” He said, “Yes, I know. Then she told him they were going to town, and were going to buy him the finest clothes they could find. And they did, from the finest hat to the best shoes, and gave him one hundred dollars in gold. Then they told him he was of age and could do as he wished, but they still wanted him to stay with them for as long as he would.

He stayed a few more months and then decided that he would go to Germany. His parents asked if he was coming back. He told them that he would be back. He wanted to see what it was like in Germany.

After a few months in Hamburg, he met a girl named Mary Finly, married her and took her to Wales to visit his foster parents. They went back to Hamburg. After a short time they decided they would go to America. They boarded a sail ship and set sail for America. On the way a storm caused them to get off course, and they were lost for awhile. The Captain had to ration the water and the food. After six months they landed at Charleston, South Carolina.

They moved to Blount County, Tenn. where they settled and stayed for many years. His family was grown and married and had children of their own when Thomas Hunt, Sr. and his sons decided they would move to Rusk County, Tex.

On March 30, 1851, Thomas Hunt, Sr. and five sons with their families arrived in Rusk County. Thomas Hunt Jr., William (Bill) Hunt and Sam Hunt remained here in Rusk County or near here. Ab Hunt bought what was known as the Jeff Armstrong place.[8]

Version 7 – “Seems there was a McCauley family and a Hunt family at sea coming to America. They settled in Charleston, South Carolina and were thought to have changed their names from McCauley to McFarland. Anyway, the family became ill and died leaving behind the two boys that the Hunts adopted and finally gave them their name, thus making them Hunts, and reared them as their own. The brothers grew up and one came to Texas and the other one to Illinois.”[9]

Version 8 – “serious research began when Ken related the family lore of William L. Hunt’s identification with the James Hunt family. Supposedly, according to the passed down information, William’s mother died when he had to be less than two years, and the father was either neglectful or unable to care for a young child, and the James Hunt family took him. William was so grateful for the kindness shown him that he took the Hunt name for his own.”[10]

Obviously, some elements of the stories mix the immigrant Hunt and Thomas Hunt, Sr. The 1850 census showed Thomas as born in North Carolina. Thus he could not have been the ancestor born in Wales. However, Thomas lived near Charlotte, North Carolina, moved to Blount County, Tennessee, and then on to Rusk County, Texas.  Essential elements common to all or most versions are an orphaned child named McFarland, Wales, either a visit to France or Germany or both, arrival at Charleston, South Carolina, and living near Charlotte North Carolina before the family went to Tennessee and then Texas.



[1] Branch, Jean Hunt  to Deason Hunt, McFarland Adoption, 12/17/1977,Correspondence, Papers of Deason Hunt, Big Sandy, Texas.

[2] Hunt, W. T. to _________, Correspondence 1960’s, Papers of Deason Hunt, Big Sandy, Texas. (A page without address or date or other pages of the letter but in the handwriting of W. T. Hunt)

[3] Branch, Jean Hunt to Deason Hunt, McFarland Adoption, 12/17/1977.

[4] Tucker, Hilda Hunt, Scotch Orphan, 9/17/1959, Correspondence, Papers of Deason Hunt, Big Sandy, Texas.

[5] Hunt, Lobel, Interview by Lynda Tillison Jones, March 15, 1964.

[6] Hunt, Edna to W. T. Hunt, First Hunts To America, 1/24/1965, Correspondence, Papers of Deason Hunt, Big Sandy, Texas.

[7]  Hunt, Eldon to W. T. Hunt, McFarlin Wales,  Jan.25, 1965, Papers of Deason Hunt, Big Sandy, Texas.

[8] Thomas Hunt And His Descendants,  Typescript of an article by Katie Hunt, Henderson, Texas, Vertical File, Henderson Public Library, Rusk County, Texas.

[9] Hunt, Floyd, Interview by Lynda Tillison Jones, June 1976.

[10] Stevens, Betty, My Introduction, December 9, 2001,  News Posting to Thomas Hunt Sr. Family Association Website at, Hunt, Deason, ed.

Thomas Hunt Sr. — What We Know

Thomas Hunt Sr. was born about 1787 in North Carolina according to information posted (age 63) to the 1850 census enumerator in Blount County, Tennessee and his calculated age as oldest male in the 1820 census in Rutherford County, North Carolina and the 1830 and 1840 censuses of Blount County, Tennessee. He died about 1856 (certainly by December 2, 1856 when a court filing contained this testament: “Thomas Hunt formerly of Rusk County… but now dead” in Rusk County, Texas. The gravestone at the center of the Hunt Cemetery east of Henderson in Rusk County which is a native stone marked with the letters TH has been passed down through the years as the burial site of Thomas Hunt Sr.

A Land transaction in Rutherford County, North Carolina (coinciding with his move through the mountains to Tennessee) in 1819, transactions in Blount County, Tennessee in the 1830’s, and 1840’s, and transactions leading up to and including the probating of his estate in the 1850’s in Rusk County, Texas document his presence in those areas and times.

Thomas’ wife was Louvisa but her surname and ancestry is unknown to us today. In the 1850 census of Blount County, Tennessee the wife’s name was written as Lucy when her age was 63 which makes her birth about 1787 like her husband. In January of 1858, a deed transaction in which she and sons sell all interests in some of Thomas’ estate land, she is described as “Louvisa Hunt widow of Thomas Hunt deceased.” Searches in the 1860 census or later census years turns up no one of that name and her age in her own household, that of any children in Texas, or as a Louvisa or Lucy of proper age to have remarried in Rusk County, Texas.

Children of THOMAS HUNT and LOUVISA  from census and other records are:

1) Elizabeth Betsy Hunt, b. Abt. 1810, North Carolina (estimate based on marriage date and census of father Thomas Hunt 1820 and husband James Bedford 1830-40); d. Bet. 1870 – 1879.

2) Absolom Hunt, b. September 10, 1811, North Carolina; d. November 20, 1866.

3) James Hunt, b. January 21, 1812, North Carolina; d. July 16, 1865, Blount County, Tennessee.

4) Unknown Male Hunt, b. est.. 1813.

5) John Hunt, b. 1815, North Carolina; d. Aft. 1860.

6) William Marshal Hunt, b. May 1816, North Carolina; d. August 02, 1906, Rusk County, Texas.

7) Stephen Hunt, b. 1819, North Carolina.

8) Thomas Hunt Jr., b. May 13, 1821, North Carolina; d. October 05, 1888, Rusk County, Texas.

9) Martha CassandraHunt, b. April 08, 1822, Tennessee; d. April 21, 1901, Texas.

10) Madison Hunt, b. est. 1825, Blount County, Tennessee; d. Abt. 1858, Prob. Texas.

11)Mary Mahala (Mahalie) Hunt, b. est. 1830; d. Abt. 1915, Charleston, Franklin County, Arkansas.

12) Samuel Hunt b. February 15, 1832, Tennessee; d. July 03, 1893, Terrell, Kaufman County, Texas.