The Hunter family, Jessamine County's founding family, was honored recently on a farm in eastern Jessamine County where a small crowd gathered for a cemetery rededication ceremony and historic marker unveiling.
"This site is significant because the Hunter brothers were the first permanent white settlers in what is now Jessamine County," Ernestine Hamm said. "This would have been about 1779." Hamm is cemetery committee chair for the Jessamine County Historical and Genealogical Society.
"One of the children, Joseph Hunter, was the first white child born in Jessamine County and one of the first four white children born in Kentucky," Hamm said.
Following the brothers
Although some historic details have yet to be filled in, Hamm has put together a time line of the Hunter family based on oral histories, family Bibles, courthouse records and the little that can be found in local history books.
In 1778 brothers John, Jacob, and Samuel Hunter came to Kentucky and made a stop at Boonesboro, where they were employed by Elias Hite, who was engaged in surveying lands. The brothers worked for him as chain carriers, also known as surveyor's assistants.
John and Jacob Hunter had been Revolutionary War soldiers and as such were entitled to government land grants in return for their military service. The brothers were awarded a tract on Hickman Creek where they settled with their families in 1779.
Their settlement was known as Hunter's Station, a pioneer outpost in what was then Fayette County.
The Hunter cemetery is the 55th cemetery restoration that Ernestine Hamm has been involved with in Jessamine County.
"They can be anywhere from two graves to a large family," said Hamm. "Some are restored in full and some only in part. We have over 320 cemeteries identified in Jessamine County. We try to first take care of the worst of those like the ones with cattle running through."
The Hunter project was the first by the Jessamine County Historical and Genealogical Society that was restored with a Kentucky Cemetery Preservation Grant. The Kentucky Department of Local Government provided $1,250 for the restoration that included the erection of an historic marker. This was supplemented by more than $600 of donations from Hunter family descendants.
"There's been a lot of work that went into this, and I appreciate everyone who has helped," said Jessamine Circuit Judge Hunter Daugherty, a descendant. "I think all of us really have great respect for what these people had to do to settle this country. To be able to bring my children here and grandchildren here means a lot. It's a beautiful spot."