In 1940, at age 77, Mary Elizabeth (Hunter) Copeland (born 1863) wrote a 28-page hand-written account of the Hunter history which started with the first Hunters to arrive in America.
-Mr. Mathew Hunter (born 1744) was from Ireland, but was Scotch-Irish; had Scottish ancestors, but lived in Northern Ireland and was Presbyterian. He had two sets of children.
Mathew Hunter and his first wife had 3 children:
1. Agnes (Hunter) Kennedy of Ireland. She did not come to America with the rest of her family, for her brother Henry (see below) in his Will, spoke of her in Ireland if living, and if dead, he left some inheritance to her heirs.
2. Henry Hunter never married and became a rich merchant of Boston, Massachusetts. He lived in Boston but bought much land in South Carolina. In his Will he left his land to his brother John Hunter's heirs 6,000 and more acres of 6 miles square on 18-Mile and 23-Mile creeks-Anderson County, South Carolina, near the town of Pendleton. Henry Hunter also owned merchant ships that were destroyed by the French, during the French Revolution. He did not name the ships in his will. It is supposed he thought they were a total loss, and they were as far as the family was concerned. The French government paid for them many years later, but the money was received by the U.S. Government.
3. John Hunter came over from Ireland with his 10-year-old half-brother, Mathew Hunter (see below) in 1773. John and his wife Sarah Smith raised his younger half-brother, Mathew, in the Clinton, South Carolina area along with their twelve children. He completed preparatory studies and became a South Carolina Judge. He also engaged in agricultural pursuits near Newberry, South Carolina. John Hunter was a member of the United States Congress (State House of Representatives) from 1786-1792, Federalist presidential elector in 1792, elected to the Third Congress (March 4, 1793-March 3, 1795), elected as a Democratic Republican to the United States Senate to fill the vacancy caused by the resignation of Pierce Butler and served from December 8, 1796, to November 26, 1798, when he resigned, due to ill health. Senator John Hunter resumed agricultural pursuits on his plantation and died in 1802. John Hunter was a member of and was buried at Little River Presbyterian Church in Belfast, South Carolina. After the death of her husband, Sarah married Colonel John Simpson in 1813. The marriage was short, for when she went to his Belfast, Laurens County, South Carolina home, and asked for the keys, his three grown daughters, who had been keeping house, refused to give them to her. Sarah left and went back to her own home, and ended the marriage. Sarah lived until 1837. John Hunter's house, when he died, was the plantation known as The Phinny Place, four miles south of Clinton, South Carolina on Bush River. The house was finally moved to Clinton during the Civil War and was rebuilt on the railroad on main street. It is the oldest house in Clinton, though not the first one built there.
Mathew and his second wife, Jane from Ireland (born 1745), had 4 children:
4. William Hunter married Mary Neal and had eight children. He was always called William Hunter, esq. in deed and documents. He was Sheriff of Laurens County, South Carolina and a representative of his county when he died in 1803.
5. Jean Hunter married William Bryson from Cross Hill, South Carolina and had ten children.
6. Elizabeth Hunter married William Young. They are buried at Little River Presbyterian Church in Belfast, South Carolina along with their seven children.
7. Mathew Hunter (from whom we are descended) was the first Hunter on our side of the family in America. It is estimated that he was born in Ireland in 1763. It is unknown why he left his parents behind, but he came over from Ireland in 1773 at age 10 with his adult half-brother Judge John Hunter (see above) who was a father figure and with whom he lived and was raised by. Mathew grew up in the Belfast section of the Clinton, South Carolina area. Relatives said he told them "how afraid he was" on the boat coming across the ocean as a small boy. He married Margaret Middleton (1763-1834) on September 30, 1784. She was the eldest daughter of Ainsworth and Jean Middleton. Ainsworth Middleton (1735-1796) was the son of John Middleton (1713-1766) and Margaret (Ainsworth) Middleton (died 1751). Mathew and Margaret (Middleton) Hunter settled at The Old Hunter place on Highway S.C. 56 between Clinton and Goldville (now Joanna), South Carolina. Mathew Hunter died in December of 1822 and Margaret (Middleton) Hunter died November 7, 1834. They had nine children, the oldest was Nancy, born August 2, 1785. Their fourth child was John Middleton Hunter, who lived 1791-1873. He was the only son to live to maturity. Their eighth child Sarah (born 1799) married her first cousin Andrew Middleton. They also had a daughter named Jenny.