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” (http://www.legalgenealogist.com/blog/2012/04/08/y-no-surname/) offers the following reasons why a surname might occur.
- At the time individuals in an ancestral line first adopted surnames, there is no guarantee that siblings would have adopted the same surname.
- An illegitimate child would be given or take the surname of the mother rather than the father.
- An orphaned child might take the surname of the family that raised him.
- 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.
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: http://daily.jstor.org/whiskys-550th/?utm_source=internalhouse&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=jstordaily_06042015&cid=eml_j_jstordaily_dailylist_06042015, 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
“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.
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.
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 email@example.com for more details about the results
Click on this link to go to the DNA testing site www.familytreedna.com
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.
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. 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.
A study of the 1800 census shows one male in the Wat Hunt household older than any of his known children.
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.
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.
 Taylor, Wilson A., Genealogy Of John Langford Taylor And Elizabeth Martha Ann Esther Taylor, St. Louis, Missouri, 1937, p. 174.
 Haw, Joseph L., The McSpad(d)en Family Ancestry, Augustums Printing Service, Lincoln, Nebraska, 1982, p. 164.
 Taylor, Genealogy Of John Langford Taylor And Elizabeth Martha Ann Esther Taylor, p. 170.
 Marriage Records of Rutherford County, North Carolina, Seth Bedford to Mary Francis, October, 10, 1796.