Hunter, John Warren (1846–1915)

By: J. Marvin Hunter

Type: Biography

Published: 1952

Updated: February 1, 1995

John Warren Hunter, teacher and newspaperman, was born in Rogersville, Alabama, on August 10, 1846. His father and stepmother brought him to Texas in 1856, settled in Hunt County, and then moved to Sulphur Bluff in Hopkins County, where he attended school for two months. When he was fifteen the Civil War broke out. He was not old enough to enlist, and after a group of Confederate soldiers hung one of his friends, he decided he could not fight for the Confederacy. As he would not fight against the South, he escaped conscription by securing a job as a teamster with a wagon train hauling cotton to Brownsville, whence he crossed to Matamoros, Tamaulipas, where he remained until the end of the war. An account of his harassment by the home guards on a trip to Columbus, Texas, early in 1864 is recorded in Heel-Fly Time in Texas, an autobiographical work first published by the Frontier Times in 1931. He came back to Texas and spent two years in Lavaca County. After learning of his parents' deaths, he went to Tennessee on a visit and in 1868 met and married Mary Ann Calhoun. He moved to Boonville, Arkansas, and farmed while his wife taught school. He knew little of farming and failed in a drought year, but his wife taught him enough writing, arithmetic, and grammar for him to obtain a third-grade certificate. Hunter began teaching a course on writing to the local residents that became very popular.

In 1876, with three daughters, Hunter started for Gillespie County, Texas, but stopped at Black Jack Grove to teach for four months before proceeding to Fredericksburg. He taught at Spring Creek and other frontier schools until 1891, when he purchased the Menardville Record. In 1892 he moved his newspaper plant to Mason and established the Mason Herald, which for fifteen years was one of the outspoken newspapers of the state. In 1905 he moved to San Angelo to become editorial writer on the San Angelo Standard. With his oldest son, J. Marvin Hunter, he founded Hunter's Magazine, now published monthly at Bandera as the Frontier Times. Hunter had become a student of Texas history; his booklet Rise and Fall of Mission San Saba was published in 1905. He was survived by his wife and six children when he died on January 12, 1915.

J. Marvin Hunter Papers, Dolph Briscoe Center for American History, University of Texas at Austin. Southwestern Historical Quarterly, April 1923.
  • Education
  • Educators
  • General Education
  • Journalism
  • Writers, Authors, Publications, and Literature
  • Literature
  • Publications, Journals, and Magazines
  • Journals and Publications
  • Newspapers
  • Editors and Reporters
  • Publishers and Executives
Time Periods:
  • Civil War

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

J. Marvin Hunter, “Hunter, John Warren,” Handbook of Texas Online, accessed June 30, 2022,

Published by the Texas State Historical Association.

February 1, 1995

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