R. G. SIMPSON HATCHETT. In order to perpetuate for coming generations the record of one who was very prominently connected with the growth and development of Searcy County, Arkansas, but who has now passed to his final reward, a brief account of the life of R. G. Simpson Hatchett it placed on the pages of this volume. He was born in Wayne County, Tennessee, in 1837, to King and Nancy (Harris) Hatchett, whom it is supposed were born in Haywood County, Tennessee After their marriage they lived for some years in Wayne County, whence they came to Searcy County, Arkansas, where the father died in 1861, and the mother still lives at the age of eighty-one.
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The father became wealthy as an agriculturist, and became exceptionally well known throughout Searcy and adjoining counties. His father, Hubbard Hatchett, died in Tennessee, having been a soldier of the Revolution and of English parentage.
In his early manhood the subject of this sketch followed various occupations, for he was a man of varied talents, and for some time followed the occupation of a pedagogue, and also taught music for some time. The most of his attention in later years was given to the occupation of farming, however, and being industrious, enterprising and pushing, and a man of sound and practical ideas, he made a success of all his undertakings and became possessed of a considerable amount of this world’s goods. In 1861 he died of a slow fever, eleven of his people dying of the same disease inside of three months, including his father, several of his brothers and sisters and uncles and aunts. He was married in December, 1855, in Van Buren County, Arkansas, to Miss Eliza Hunter, who was born in that county in 1838, and very shortly after the celebration of their nuptials they located on a farm in Wiley’s Cove, on which some slight improvements had be made, and here they resided until their respective deaths, the father being taken with his last illness while teaming for Gen. McCullough during the war.
The children born to him and his wife were as follows: Christopher C., who was born in 1857, is now the owner of the old home farm of 220 acres in Wiley’s Cove, is a prominent farmer and stock dealer, and is one of the most energetic and substantial of citizens, and has never married (like all the male members of the family for several generations back, he is a Democrat politically); Susan S. is the wife of Samuel L. Redwine, of Wise County, Tex.; King R. G. Simpson is a farmer and merchant of Wise County, Tex., and married Mary J. York, of Clinton, Van Buren County, Arkansas; and Imogene is the wife of James M. Boyd, all of whom were reared on the old home farm, where the mother and her eldest son still reside, and were educated in the district schools of the county. The family has given homes to several orphans, Miss Kate Flory, who was born in Virginia about twenty-four years ago, having been a member of the family for the past six or seven years. Nellie Euna, who was born in Wisconsin, is now eight years old, and is also one of the family.
Mrs. Hatchett’s father was Isaac Hunter, who was born in the Old North State in 1801, and when about eight years old accompanied his parents to Nashville, Tennessee, where he was married to Rebecca Maddox, about 1834 or 1835, and later emigrated to Van Buren County, Arkansas, which was at that time a vast wilderness. Mr. Hunter purchased a tract of land from the Indians near where Clinton now is, and this land he greatly improved in all ways. He erected thereon a mill, which was the first in that part of the State, and which was for many years patronized for fifty or sixty miles around. He also followed distilling, farming and keeping tavern, etc., became wealthy, and became widely and well known as a man of excellent principles. He took no part in the Civil War, and tried to remain strictly neutral, and fed and sheltered both armies alike for a time, but was finally compelled to leave home on account of harsh measures taken by the Federals, was absent three years and his family knew nothing of him during that time. He spent his declining years on his old home farm on which he died in 1879, Mrs. Hunter surviving him until 1886. She was a local physician and a noble, self-sacrificing woman. His father, Elijah Hunter, was a North Carolinian by birth and bringing up, but in 1809 became a resident of Nashville, Tennessee, where he became a wealthy merchant and horse dealer. He was of German extraction. The Hunter family was among the first white people to settle in northern Arkansas, and Mrs. Hatchett has a vivid recollection of many of the customs and habits of pioneer days. She is a woman of active intelligence, is an entertaining conversationalist and can relate many interesting anecdotes and incidents that occurred when the State first began to be peopled by the whites.