Hunter, John Dunn (ca. 1796–1827)

By: Robert Bruce Blake

Type: Biography

Published: 1952

Updated: August 1, 1995

John Dunn Hunter, Cherokee leader around the time of the Fredonian Rebellion, was born about 1796. He claimed that as a child he had been captured by the Cherokee Indians before they came to Texas. He adopted the name of an English benefactor, John Dunn, and later added the name "Hunter" given by the Indians because of his prowess in the chase. Although he lived with the Indians until about 1816, he received a fairly good education and traveled considerably through the United States and England. While in England Hunter wrote an account which was published in London in 1824 under the title of Memoirs of a Captivity among the Indians of North America. Dr. Hunter, as he was often called, returned to the Cherokees at one of their East Texas villages in 1825. In December of that year he was sent by Richard Fields to renew negotiations with Mexico for land for a Cherokee settlement in Texas. He arrived in Mexico City on March 19, 1826, and was promised land to be granted to individual Indian settlers but was unsuccessful also in getting a tribal grant with the right of self-government. Hunter returned to the Cherokee village in East Texas in May 1826 and, with Fields, began negotiations with Martin Parmer and his associates for the movement that resulted in the Fredonian Rebellion. Arrangements were made at Sand Springs in the area of southern Rusk County for dividing Texas between the Indians and the Anglo settlers with a line beginning at those springs and running due west to the Rio Grande. At this juncture Peter Ellis Bean arrived in East Texas as an agent of the Mexican government. Through Bean's influence the Cherokee council repudiated the agreement and refused to send men to assist the rebels. Richard Fields and John Dunn Hunter fled after their trial by the Cherokee Council and were caught and executed in early February of 1827.

Eugene C. Barker, ed., The Austin Papers (3 vols., Washington: GPO, 1924–28). John Henry Brown, History of Texas from 1685 to 1892 (2 vols., St. Louis: Daniell, 1893). Richard Drinnon, White Savage: The Case of John Dunn Hunter (New York: Schocken, 1972). Dianna Everett, The Texas Cherokees: A People between Two Fires, 1819–1840 (Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1990). Edmund Morris Parsons, "The Fredonian Rebellion," Texana 5 (Spring 1967). Henderson K. Yoakum, History of Texas from Its First Settlement in 1685 to Its Annexation to the United States in 1846 (2 vols., New York: Redfield, 1855).
  • Peoples
  • Native American
  • Chiefs and Other Leaders

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

Robert Bruce Blake, “Hunter, John Dunn,” Handbook of Texas Online, accessed May 29, 2022,

Published by the Texas State Historical Association.

August 1, 1995