Thomas C. Hunter, p. 52

THOMAS C. HUNTER (deceased) was extensively engaged in the milling business in connection with farming, and was a worthy representative of the prominent citizens in Hanover township. His father, John Hunter, was born in Maryland, where he learned the tailor trade, and then joined an expedition to western Pennsylvania, his worldly goods consisting of a pair of scissors and a tailor's goose.

After his arrival in Washington county John Hunter married Rachel, daughter of David Cumley, a pioneer of Hanover township. When her father was obliged to leave home, Rachel would take her younger brothers and sisters into a neighboring thicket for safety from the Indians, who were then numerous. Mr. and Mrs. Hunter first settled near Cross creek, in Brooke Co., W. Va., where he followed his trade and worked on the farm. Some years later he opened a tavern in West Middletown, Penn., in which he was very successful, and finally moved to the home place in Hanover township, continuing his farm work in connection with milling. At one time he owned and operated three mills, one near Bavington, on Raccoon creek, one near Dinsmore Station, in Hanover township, and the third situated on Cross Creek, Brooke Co., W. Va. The product of these mills was taken by river to New Orleans, and although beginning the business without previous experience, he realized an immense profit from this traffic. In 1818 he moved to Brooke county, where his wife died, leaving the following children: Nancy, Nathaniel (who was first a farmer in Smith township, then in Brooke county, finally moving to Ohio), Rachel (wife of John McCombs, a farmer of Brooke county, died at Allegheny, Penn.), John (a merchant and manufacturer of Steubenville, Ohio, died at Wheeling, W. Va.), Frances (wife of Campbell Tarr, a member of the Legislature from Brooke county), Ellen, William, Thomas C. and Eliza (Mrs. William Fleming of Wheeling, W. Va.). All are now deceased. For his second wife John Hunter married Mrs. Jane (Trimmer) Hunt, a widow lady, who bore him one daughter, Clara (Mrs. William Jester, New Cumberland, W. Va.). After his second marriage Mr. Hunter returned to Hanover township. He was a self-made man, winning success by earnest effort and giving his children a liberal allowance. He died suddenly in 1840 and was buried by the side of his first wife in Wellsburg, W. Va., their remains afterward being interred at Steubenville, Ohio. His widow then married one Johnston and died in New Cumberland, W. Va. Mr. Hunter was an active, earnest Democrat up to the date of his death.

Thomas C. Hunter was born March 4, 1816, in Hanover township. He was but a child when his parents removed to Brooke county, W. Va., where he attended the subscription schools, then entered Frankfort Academy, afterward assisted his father in the milling business, and made several trips to New Orleans with cargoes of flour made in the mills. He took charge of the mill in Brooke county W. Va., finally returning to the home farm in Hanover township, this county. On March 10, 1844, he was united in marriage with Sarah J. Watts, who was born February 15, 1817, at Steubenville, Ohio, daughter of John and Mary (Andrews) Watts. Her father was an old river trader, and made several trips to New Orleans with merchandise. Four children were born to the union of Thomas C. and Sarah J. (Watts) Hunter, viz.: Mary Ella (wife of Dr. George T. MacCord, Pittsburgh, Penn.), John R. (clerked for the leading houses of Pittsburgh, Penn., then became traveling salesman for Lally & Collins, of Boston, being one of their best men. He died in 1891), Lizzie H. (wife of R. E. Horner, editor and proprietor of the Parkersburgh, W. Va., Sentinel) and Fanny M. (wife of Frederick S. Drake, a prominent oil producer of Pittsburgh, Penn.). Mr. Hunter continued to follow the milling business after locating on the home farm in Hanover township, making frequent trips to New Orleans, which were always profitable. He lost a large amount of money by his implicit faith in the honesty of others, and on one occasion was obliged to pay $18,000 bail for a friend. Notwithstanding these losses his family never wanted a comfort which money could procure or love provide. Politically he was a Democrat. He was a warm friend of education, doing all in his power to promote every movement of progression. On August 8, 1890, he passed away, his death having been caused by the kick of a horse. His remains were first interred in the Burgettstown cemetery, but will be removed to Steubenville, Ohio. Mrs. Hunter has resided on the home farm since the death of her husband.

Text taken from page 52 of:
Beers, J. H. and Co., Commemorative Biographical Record of Washington County, Pennsylvania (Chicago: J. H. Beers & Co., 1893).

Transcribed April 1997 by Neil and Marilyn Morton of Oswego, IL as part of the Beers Project.
Published April 1997 on the Washington County, PA USGenWeb pages at

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