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Henry Hunter was born in the county of Derry, Ireland, on the 11th of August, 1751. About the time he became of age, he married Martha Sloan, and, after remaining a little upwards of one year longer in Ireland, he emigrated to America, and landed at Charleston, S.C., after a long and boisterous voyage of thirteen weeks. After reaching the shores of the New World, to which his fond anticipations of superior civil and religious privileges had anxiously turned, on surveying his situation, grim poverty stared him in the face; for, his stock of cash on hand was just “one silver half dollar.” Yet, being raised to habits of industry, he did not despair, feeling assured that, “where there is a “will” there is a “way”” to act in earnest, and battle against the adverse fortunes of life.
Finding in Charleston a wagon from North Carolina, he made suitable arrangements with its owner, and accompanied it on its return to Mecklenburg county, whither his mother and four brothers had emigrated several years before, and settled in the neighborhood of Poplar Tent Church. Here, by strict economy, and persevering industry, he was prospered as a farmer; blest in his “basket and his store,” and soon enabled to purchase a comfortable homestead for himself and his rising family.
When the war of the Revolution broke out, being deeply imbued from childhood with the principles of liberty, and the justness of the American cause, he did not hesitate to assist in the great struggle for freedom.
He first entered the service of the United States as a volunteer in Captain William Alexander’s company, Colonel George Alexander’s regiment, and marched to suppress a large body of Tories assembled under Colonel John Moore at Ramsour’s Mill, near the present town of Lincolnton, but failed to reach that place before the battle had been fought and the Tories signally routed by Colonel Locke and his brave associates.
He next entered the service under Captain Thomas Alexander, and was ordered to Charlotte for the purpose of guarding the public magazine in that place. Captain Alexander succeeded in having it removed to a place of safety on the evening before the entrance of the British army into Charlotte on the 26th of September, 1780.
He again entered the service a short time afterward, in Captain William Alexander’s company, and Colonel George Alexander’s regiment. The rendezvous of the regiment was about four miles south of Charlotte. After this service, on account of severe local injury, he was honorably discharged by Colonel Alexander.
Henry Hunter had twelve children, ten sons and two daughters. He was signally blest to see them all attain the age of maturity, and settle on comfortable homes around him. His wife, Martha, the worthy partner of his joys and sorrows, and whose earthly pilgrimage was protracted beyond the usual bounds of life, died on the 30th of September, 1832, in the eightieth year of her age.
He was long a consistent member and ruling Elder of the Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church. Like a sheaf fully ripe in its season, he met his approaching end with peaceful resignation. On his tombstone, in a private cemetery, on the old homestead property, is the following inscription:
“In Memory of Henry Hunter, Who departed this life on the 18th of May, 1836, in the eighty-sixth year of his age, leaving a posterity of eleven children, and one hundred grand children, with thirty great-grand children to mourn his loss.”