Jason Henderson Hunter
A younger picture of William and Emaline Ray Hunter
(notice the eyes following you? This picture kept me out of mischief more than any parental lecutres I was subject to)
While on the Hunter subject, William's bastard father Jason H. Hunter deserves some type of mention for pasting through a big section of history and helping stock the young United States with more citizens.
Jason was the son of John Hunter. He was one of seven children. In about 1835, Jason moved with his parents from Burke County, North Carolina, to Union County, Georgia. The family's primary business was distilling whiskey. A tax was imposed on liquor makers in North Carolina, so the family moved to Georgia to avoid the taxes. A few years later, about 1838, Jason was part of the militia that guarded the Cherokee Indians while they were cruelly transferred to Oklahoma on the infamous "Trail of Tears".
After that, he moved to Franklin, Macon County, North Carolina. There, not only was he sued for bastardy by Rebecca Trammell, but also he was sued for the same offense by Catherine Davis. Catherine sued him twice. Once for her son Seth Davis and another time for her son Jason Davis. Seth and Jason both lost their lives in the Civil War in Virginia. During all three bastardy cases Jason was married and had was the father of three children, and maybe four before he left Macon County.
And another outside marriage relationship may have occurred under his own roof. Jason had a female slave about 30 years old. Once he applied for a loan and put his female slave up for collateral. But, not only her, but her 2 year old daughter was listed as collateral as well. The assessors had to visit his home and list what was up for collateral, and when the daughter was listed, the assessor made a notation "of skin of light yellow" - which I'm sure he made that notation with a hidden smirk.
Jason and his family was in Macon County for the 1850 Census but on the 1860 Census he and a new wife, his older kids plus some new ones appear in Cape Giraldo, Bollinger County, Mo. There he became a state representative.
And just a couple of years later he organized a Confederate unit and apparently commissioned himself Colonel Jason H. Hunter. His unit fought under the command of Jeff Thompson, the famous Missouri Swamp Fox. The did a lot of fighting against Yankee ships and boats on the Mississippi.
After the war, he was involved in some type of land scandal and decided to hurriedly move out of state. he moved to Greene County, Arkansas, where again he became a state reprenative. On the 1870 Census he is not married. On the 1880 Census he is married and had a step-daughter, tht belonged to his new wife. Interesting enough, the daughter was born only 10 months before her mother and Jason had a child. I don't think you have to count your fingers on that one.
I have a copy of a letter Jason wrote his brother Johnson Hunter in Blairsville, Georgia in the mid 1880s. He said it looks like he will probably run for office again, because his neighbors wanted him to. He also mentioned his young wife, and how their son looks a lot like Johnson. I think, between the lines, Jason was saying "see what I can do in my late seventies?"
He had at least 15 children through at least three wives and two lovers.
Last year I went with Anna on a business trip to Memphis. After she went off to her meeting one morning I drove to Greene County, Arkansas and visited several cemetaries. I found Jason's youngest son Andrew's grave and Andrew's family graves nearby, and a mystery Hunter, also there, that has the dates of possibly Jason's children, but I can not find that one listed. Oh well, time isn't over with yet, something will show up, as always.
Recently I was looking over the route of the "Trail of Tears". It just about started in and around Cherokee, North Carolina, and worked its way down through Macon County, where Jason settled for a while, and then made its way to Chattanooga, where the Indians were loaded onto ships on the Tennessee River and transported to Cape Giraldo, Mo., and from there marched through Greene County, Ar. Do, you think it is just a coincidence Jason settled at these three places?