Col. William Leetch Hunter 
 1826 -  ?

Moulton, Alabama ,  Abingdon, Virginia 
Knoxville, Tennessee, Brandon, Mississippi

 

by Iris Teta Eubank Wagner
great-grandniece
 

President James Knox Polk family
Born in Northern Ireland in 1766, Capt. William Leetch was married to Naomi Knox in Mecklenburg County, North Carolina, in 1795.

Naomi Knox and her sister Jane Knox were daughters of James Knox of Mecklenburg.  Jane married Samuel Polk in Mecklenburg, and some time after their son James Knox was born, Jane and Samuel Polk moved to Maury County, Tennessee.  Jane and Samuel were the parents of U.S. President James Knox Polk.  William L. Hunter's mother Maria Leetch and President Polk were first cousins.

William and Naomi Knox Leetch immigrated to Moulton, Lawrence County, Alabama in 1818.  William Leitch (sic) bought a 160-acre  tract of land in Lawrence County on September 11, 1818.

William and Naomi's daughter Maria Leetch married young businessman David McCord Hunter on December 10, 1822, in Moulton.   

Maria Leetch Hunter died from complications of the birth of her only child, William Leetch Hunter.   William was born in the later months of 1826 in Moulton.  An obituary notice in the Nashville Banner & Whig announced the death of Maria Hunter, wife of David M. Hunter, on January 20, 1827.

David Hunter married second Margaret Allen (Smith)
William grew up in the household of his father David M. Hunter and  step-mother Margaret Allen Hunter, whose mother was Hannah King, half-sister and one of the heirs to the estate of her brother William King.

William King of Abingdon died unexpectedly in 1809.  He was owner of the King Salt Works and left a large estate including  the Salt works and many other business properties throughout the early southwest territory.  King's heirs were in litigation concerning the estate for many years. 

A Washington County, Virginia, Court Order of 1849 gave the several heirs of the estate legal authority to operate the Salt Works.  David and Margaret moved from Aberdeen, Mississippi, where they were living at the time, to Abingdon, and to Knoxville, Tennessee. With other heirs, they managed the Salt Works through 1852 or 1853.  Their youngest son Trigg Hunter was born in Abingdon in 1853..

During his time in Abingdon, David was a civic leader in the community.  He was a member of the delegation that initiated the several steps leading to the first construction of the railroad from east Tennessee through Washington County, Virginia, and Abingdon. 

David is guardian of his brother's  children
David's twin brother, businessman Ambrose Richey Hunter died in 1852 in Aberdeen, Mississippi. His widow, Jane G. Allen Hunter, a sister to David's wife Margaret Allen, had died in 1847. The brothers' families had been close, living in Alabama, and later in Aberdeen, Mississippi, where they lived until David and his family moved to Knoxville, Tennesse, and Abingdon, Virginia, in 1848 to operate the Salt Works.

After the death of his brother Ambrose, David Hunter became the guardian of the children of Ambrose.  By 1853 David had moved to Goodlettsville, Tennessee, near Nashville, and had bought a home there in which his extended family lived.

1850 U. S. Census in Abingdon
By 1850 William L. Hunter was living separately from his father's family in Washington County, Virginia.  David and Margaret  Hunter and their family are entered both in Knoxville, Tennessee, and Abingdon, Virginia, on the 1850 U.S. Census. 

1850 U. S. Federal Census, Washington County, Virginia, William L. Hunter
 ancestry.com

Joseph Jacques  -  One of the young men with whom William shared a residence in 1850 in Abingdon, Virginia, was Joseph Jacques, born 1825 in England. Joseph Jacques, Sr. had arrived with his family at New Orleans on February 12, 1836.  In 1850 young Joseph is entered on the census as a clerk, and it is likely he was a clerk in the offices of the Salt Works that David and Margaret Hunter were operating with the other heirs at the time.
 

By 1858 Joseph Jacques (above) had moved to Knoxville, Tennessee,  and was serving as Mayor of Knoxville.  Jacques again served as mayor in 1878.  At that time Knoxville mayors  served a one-year term.  During Joseph Jacques' career, he was an industrialist and a bank president in Knoxville.  He died in 1883, and is buried in Old Gray Cemetery in Knoxville.  Though in need of restoration, his portrait hangs with other mayors on the walls of the 5th  floor of the  Knoxville City County Building, on the banks of the Tennessee River.

1860 U. S. Federal Census - Knoxville, Tennessee
William L. Hunter is entered on the 1860 census in Knoxville with Joseph Jacques.  It is reported by earlier researchers that William's grandfather, William Leetch, left William a "nice" inheritance.

1860 U. S. Census, Knoxville, Knox County, Tennessee, Joseph Jacques

ancestry.com

A Deed of Trust, July 15, 1853, is recorded in Henry County, Tennessee, between William L. Hunter of Washington County, Virginia, and his father David McCord Hunter, of Davidson County, Tennessee.  The deed conveys, by lease, to William L. Hunter, for the term of six years, Margaret Allen's ownership of  one-sixth of one-eighth of the King Salt Works.  William Hunter conveyed in exchange by the terms of the lease several valuable items.

By the time the Civil War began in April, 1861, the King Salt Works had become an important resource to the Confederate armies.  William L. Hunter had worked the mines for several years before the war by the lease from his step-mother Margaret Allen Hunter.  But now, in 1861, and the war underway, competition to control the Salt Works came to the court of Washington County.  Owners of a smaller and adjoining salt works seized an opportunity to control the King Salt Works and sued  William Hunter and the several owners of the King Works., who were now living out of the state of Virginia.   Unable to answer the court in the time given, the suit was lost by William and the other heirs who were living out of the state.

Capt. Hunter and The Abingdon Confederates
William L. Hunter received a Captain's commission to organize  Co. A, the Abingdon Confederates.
                                            
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Capt Hunter organized the company on March 31-April 1, 1862.  Company A was part  of the 63rd Infantry Regiment from Washington County, Virginia, Palmer's Brigade, Stevenson's Division in the Army of   Northern Virginia.  

Capt. Hunter resigned his commission as company commander on February 26, 1863, due to ill health and the inability to perform my duties as an  officer of the regiment.                                                       

Commission as Colonel
William came to his family living in Brandon, Mississippi, to recover from his illness.  He was subsequently in 1863 given a commission as Colonel to raise a regiment of Chickasaw Indians in Mississippi for the Confederate Army. The regiment was known as Hunter's Indian Volunteers.  The document below is a receipt for supplies requested by Capt. E. T. Henry at Brandon, Mississippi, for Col. William L. Hunter, and acting under orders from the Secretary of War - one horse, one bridle, one saddle, and one blanket.  The receipt is signed by William L. Hunter, Col. on December 22, 1863 at Brandon, Mississippi.

William's sister Jane Catherine Hunter and brother-in-law Richard Newman Eubank II, had moved to Meridian, Mississippi, with his regiment. Richard was with the CSA Quarter Masters Department, commanded by Col. Livingston Mims at MeridianLiving across the Pearl River from Jackson in Brandon was Jane Catherine's sister Sally Bullis Smith Ware, wife of  attorney Thompson Parrish Ware.


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Research is ongoing to learn more about William's life after the war. 

Research and Narrative © Iris Teta Eubank Wagner 2013-2014

Sources:
Margaret Jacqueline Moore, Eubank-Ware-Hunter-Allen-King, published privately in 1970.

Nashville Banner & Whig, Nashville, Tennessee, announcement of the death of Maria Hunter, wife of David M. Hunter, January 20, 1827.

Col. James Edmonds Saunders, Early Settlers of Alabama, Graham & Son, 1899, New Orleans, Louisiana.

rootsweb.com, Mecklenburg County, North Carolina, Marriages 1720-1866

U. S. Gen Web, Lawrence County, Alabama, Site -  Lawrence County, Alabama, Marriages.

ancestry.com - U. S. Federal Census Records 1790-1940  and Historical Records

fold3.com - U.S. Military Records