Fullinwider, Peter Hunter (1797–1867)

By: Robert Bruce Blake

Type: Biography

Published: 1952

Updated: June 18, 2016

Peter Hunter Fullinwider, the first Presbyterian missionary in Texas, son of Jacob and Katherine (Winter) Fullinwider, was born on June 6, 1797, in Shelbyville, Kentucky. He was trained for the ministry at Princeton Theological Seminary from 1827 to 1830 and licensed to preach by the Brunswick Presbytery in New Jersey in 1830. In 1831 he made a missionary tour through East and South Texas-probably from San Augustine to San Felipe-as the first Presbyterian missionary to Texas. He distributed Bibles and other religious books and preached as he journeyed. On March 18, 1834, he married Belinda McNair (McNoir) near Holly Springs, Mississippi. They had two sons and two daughters. Fullinwider returned at once after his marriage to Texas, where, on September 3, 1834, he assisted two Methodist ministers, John Wesley Kenney and Henry Stephenson, in a camp meeting on Caney Creek near the site of present Kenney. In September 1835 at the same place Fullinwider and the Cumberland Presbyterian Sumner Bacon assisted the same two Methodist ministers in another camp meeting.

In late 1835 or early 1836 Fullinwider moved his family to Fort Houston, near the site of present Palestine, where he remained until the Runaway Scrape. He was shepherding the women and children toward the Old Stone Fort at Nacogdoches for protection when the news of the battle of San Jacinto stopped the flight. In 1838 Fullinwider returned to Mississippi, where he remained until 1846 as pastor of Jaynesville Presbyterian Church. That year he returned to Texas. He traveled first to Fort Houston, then to Nacogdoches, where he stayed for several months, and then on to the Huntsville area, where he organized and preached in Bethel Church (now Madisonville). He remained in Huntsville until he died of yellow fever on August 25, 1867. His wife and daughter died in the same epidemic.

William A. McLeod, Fullinwider and McFarland (1931). Ministerial Directory of the Presbyterian Church, U.S. (Presbyterian Church in the United States, 1898, 1942-). Vertical Files, Dolph Briscoe Center for American History, University of Texas at Austin.

  • Peoples
  • Swiss
  • Religion
  • Presbyterian

The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this entry.

Robert Bruce Blake, “Fullinwider, Peter Hunter,” Handbook of Texas Online, accessed May 29, 2022, https://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/entries/fullinwider-peter-hunter.

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June 18, 2016