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

A Quick Summary of MacGregor History From

S’RIOGHAL MO DHREAM” (Royal is my race) is the claim of this, one of the most famous of Highland clans, and the principal branch of the Siol Alpin.  The clan claims descent from King Grig, the last 100% Pict to rule Albann, in the ninth century.
The ancestral home of the clan was the western highlands of Perthshire, including Glendochart, Glenstrae, Glenlyon and Glengyle.  Their earliest possession in  Argyll, was Glenorchy,  which was bestowed on the MacGregors for services rendered to Alexander II in his conquest of Argyll.  For a long time the MacGregors maintained possession of their lands by right of the sword, as was the ancient Scottish tradition.  The Campbells, by political clout and treachery, obtained grants of Loch Awe and other MacGregor lands.  Royal Commissions of Fire and Sword were issued against the MacGregors in 1488, 1563, 1589, and 1603.  Finally, in 1604, the name MacGregor was banned,  and efforts were made to annihilate the clan.  Nevertheless, Clan Gregor  supported the Stewart cause in the 17th and 18th centuries.   Charles II, because of their support, repealed the acts against Clan Gregor. This was confirmed by Cromwell, but  upon the accession of William of Orange, upon Campbell pressure, the acts of proscription were renewed due to appeals by the 7th Duke of Argyll.  One of the most
horrific acts of revenge on behalf of the Campbells during this renewal, was the death by sustained torture of Lt. Colonel Donald Glas MacGregor, father to Rob Roy MacGregor and chief of the Glen Gyle MacGregors. It was not until 1775 that the penal statutes against the MacGregors were finally repealed, and not until 1784 did the British government bureaucracy finally enforce this edict..   In 1822, Sir Walter E. Scott arranged for clan Gregor to form the official bodyguard for King George IV when he visited Scotland, and in that same year, the clan Gregor Society was formed.  A meeting of the clan was held, where John Murray of Lanrick, afterwards Sir John MacGregor, Bart., descended from the house of Glenstrae, was recognized as chief.

There has never been any apology or recognition of universally recognized criminal acts against the MacGregor extended family by the British authorities.

Not only a McFarland but a “Hidden McGregor”

The DNA testing not only confirmed the family legend it also yielded another surprise. It seems William Thomas Hunt Sr born 1787 might have known he was a McFarland but what it seems he didn’t know was that he was a McGregor also.

The DNA testing has matched the McGregor Clan.  The McFarland’s who are by DNA McGregor’s are called hidden because of what occurred in history in 1603.  With the results of Bill Hunt’s and Earl McFarland’s – Big Y – DNA test, we are also actively working with the McGregor Clan Societies to try and map where off the McGregor Tree Branch we fall.

It seems this Hunt family were McGregor’s to about 1600, then McFarland’s to 1800, then Hunts.  Since it has been 200 years since the last surname change the Hunt family should be ready for a new surname about now. 🙂

Here is a brief history lesson on why the McGregor’s changed to McFarland.  I am stealing Earl McFarland’s history lesson that he sent me.  Thank you Earl.

As a result of the Glen Fruin Battle (often referred to as a Massacre by the side that lost). Proscription allowed that if any person saw a group of 3 or more MacGregor males standing in a group he was allowed to shoot on sight, as many as he could hit, and not be charged with murder (he may have been able to claim the property of the deceased) , the women were branded (rumor has it some of their children were removed and put in foster homes). As a direct result of the Battle of Glen Fruin, the then Chief of the MacGregors and 11-12 of  his close associates were hanged…but the Chief was hanged exactly one foot higher “as befitting his station”.  by Earl McFarland

Many of the McGregor’s adopted new surnames our ancestor went with McFarland.  This proscription lasted about 200 years. Our McGregor ancestors were one of the lucky ones that survived this time period.

DNA Testing – Done at FTDNA – If you are considering doing DNA testing – USE FTDNA

The DNA Testing done to date William Thomas Hunt III (Bill)

Y-DNA markers to 37, 67, and 111 markers

The closest match to Bill is Ray McFarland a perfect match at 67 markers and 2 off and 111 markers

Family Finder Testing

Big Y Test

Several YSEQ SNP’s have been tested separately

Email for more details about the results

Click on this link to go to the DNA testing site 

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.