HUNTER, JOHN M.
HUNTER, JOHN M. (1821–1870). John M. Hunter, pioneer Fredericksburg merchant and first Gillespie county clerk, was born in Tennessee on September 2, 1821. He arrived in Fredericksburg and became a merchant in 1847. He married a German woman named Sophie Ahrens in 1848. That year he signed the petition asking the state legislature to establish Gillespie County and was elected the first county clerk; he kept the county's records in his log store. Hunter apparently had a violent temper that caused confrontations with the soldiers from Fort Martin Scott. Once he threw a soldier named Kingston out of his store and knocked him down with an ax handle; Kingston, in revenge, mistakenly shot and killed a German resident that night. The soldier was arrested and jailed, and an angry mob of Fredericksburgers broke in and lynched him.
Another incident, in 1850, cost the county all its earliest records. On the night of June 30 Hunter refused to sell whiskey to a soldier named Dole. Dole became abusive, and Hunter fatally stabbed him in the chest. The next night a mob of fifty angry soldiers returned, looking for Hunter, but found that the storekeeper had fled town. The soldiers then burned down his store, destroying all the county records up to that time. Several townspeople attempted to salvage the records, but the soldiers prevented them. Apparently neither Hunter nor the soldiers were punished; one report says that Hunter was charged with manslaughter but never indicted, while another account says he was tried and acquitted in San Antonio. Hunter later built a new store on the same block; it opened in time to be used by the district court on October 12, 1850. Hunter sold his business in 1868 and died on September 4, 1870.
Rudolph L. Biesele, The History of the German Settlements in Texas, 1831–1861 (Austin: Von Boeckmann-Jones, 1930; rpt. 1964). Gillespie County Historical Society, Pioneers in God's Hills (2 vols., Austin: Von Boeckmann-Jones, 1960, 1974).
Image Use Disclaimer
All copyrighted materials included within the Handbook of Texas Online are in accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107 related to Copyright and “Fair Use” for Non-Profit educational institutions, which permits the Texas State Historical Association (TSHA), to utilize copyrighted materials to further scholarship, education, and inform the public. The TSHA makes every effort to conform to the principles of fair use and to comply with copyright law.
For more information go to: http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/17/107.shtml
If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond fair use, you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.
The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this article.Handbook of Texas Online, Martin Donell Kohout, "Hunter, John M.," accessed February 20, 2017, http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/fhu34.
Uploaded on June 15, 2010. Modified on July 1, 2016. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.