Monday, October 10, 2011
Memucan Hunt Jr. (1807-1856), Memucan Hunt Sr. (1729-1808)
The intense looking gentleman above is Memucan Hunt Jr., a North Carolina native who became one of the pioneering politicians in the Republic of Texas. He was born on August 7, 1807 in what is now Vance County, North Carolina, the grandson of North Carolina State Treasurer Memucan Hunt (1729-1808). Hunt is recorded as attending schools local to the Hillsboro, North Carolina vicinity and was later involved in various business and planting interests in the North Carolina and Virginia areas.
While still a young man, Memucan Hunt Jr. moved to Mississippi to take over the ownership of a family plantation. While living in Mississippi, Hunt joined a group of volunteers headed to Texas to take part in the ongoing revolution. Within a few months of his arrival, Hunt was promoted to Brigadier General by then Texas President David Gouverneur Burnet (1788-1870.)
Hunt was named to his first major political office when Burnet appointed him as the Texas Republic's Minister to the United States in 1837. During his few months in that post, Hunt drew up a proposal for the possible annexation of Texas, but this was effectively squashed by the U.S. Senate.
This portrait of Hunt appeared on a 19th century carte de visite.
Towards the end of 1838, the new Texas president (the wonderfully named Mirabeau Buonaparte Lamar) named Hunt as Texas Secretary of the Navy, and he served just six months in office. Three years after this, Hunt was nominated as a Texas Vice-Presidential candidate with the aforementioned David Burnet, but lost the election to the famed Sam Houston.
Memucan Hunt married on Valentine's Day 1850 to Galveston native Anne Taliaferro Howard (1832-1916). The couple is recorded as being childless during the course of their marriage. One can also note that Hunt was twenty-five years older than his eighteen-year-old spouse!
Hunt was later elected to a term in Texas State legislature in 1852 where he served for a year. He spent his last months in Tipton County, Tennessee, dying at age 48 on June 5, 1856 at the home of his brother. Hunt's body was subsequently returned to Texas a few days after his death and he was buried in the Montgomery New Cemetery in Montgomery County, Texas. Anne Hunt later remarried three times and died in 1916 at age 83. She is interred along with Memucan at the above-mentioned cemetery.
The grandfather of the preceding gentleman, Memucan "Muke" Hunt Sr. was born in 1729 in Virginia. He migrated to North Carolina in his youth and in 1773 was elected to the North Carolina General Assembly. He continued to serve here until 1779 when he was elected to the state senate.
In 1784, the North Carolina General Assembly established the office of North Carolina State Treasurer and Memucan Hunt Sr. was selected as the first man to hold the post. He served in office until 1787, when he was defeated by John Haywood (1754-1827.) Haywood went on to become the longest-serving state treasurer in North Carolina history, serving for forty years, until his death in 1827.
Memucan Hunt Sr. died at age 79 in 1808, a year after the birth of his grandson. The origins of the name "Memucan" stem from a figure with that name in the biblical book of Esther. This ancient Memucan is listed as being a vice regent and adviser to Ahasuerus, a Persian King.