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: http://freepages.genealogy.rootsweb.ancestry.com/~tompkins/hunt-family-legends/GranddadwasRight.html
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.