Hunter, Johnson Calhoun (1787–1855)

Type: Biography

Published: 1952

Updated: February 1, 1995

Johnson Calhoun Hunter, early Texas doctor and one of Stephen F. Austin's Old Three Hundred colonists, was born in South Carolina on May 22, 1787. He received a diploma in medicine about 1805. In 1813 he and his wife, the former Martha Herbert of Virginia, were living in Circleville, Ohio, where Hunter practiced medicine, taught school, had a mercantile business, and acted as county judge. He moved to New Madrid, Missouri, in 1817. In 1821, after the earthquake there, he made an exploratory trip to Texas, going as far as San Antonio, where he left a supply of medicines with Juan Martín Veramendi. On that trip he selected land near the Nacogdoches Road crossing of the Colorado River. The vessel bringing the Hunter family, including five children, to Texas was wrecked on Galveston Island in June 1822. After repairing the boat the Hunters proceeded to land at the future site of Morgan's Point or New Washington.

From his cypress-bark home on Sylvan Beach near the mouth of the San Jacinto River, Hunter sailed the Santa María of San Jacinto and, after its loss, the Adventure, to bring supplies to the colonists. He also traded in bear oil and skins, acted as a surveyor (and as such had disagreements with Enoch Brinson, John Iiams, and John R. Harris, and practiced medicine; one of his patients was the widow McCormick, with whom a quarrel over a bill furnished several documents in the Austin Papers. As one of the Old Three Hundred, Hunter received title to a sitio of land now in Harris County on August 10, 1824. The census of 1826 listed him as a farmer and stock raiser with a household including his wife, four sons, two daughters, and three servants. In 1829 Hunter moved to land now in Fort Bend County, bought part of the Randal Jones survey, and developed the Hunter plantation on Oyster Creek. For fifty years the Hunter home was a landmark in the Richmond area. The family retreated from the plantation at the time of the Runaway Scrape, and the Mexican army camped there for three days; both Mexican and Texan troops subsisted on cattle belonging to Hunter. In October 1836 Hunter was postmaster at Rocky Well, on the road between San Felipe and Liberty. He died at his plantation on May 29, 1855, and was buried in the family cemetery, known as the Brick Church Graveyard.

Eugene C. Barker, ed., The Austin Papers (3 vols., Washington: GPO, 1924–28). Lester G. Bugbee, "The Old Three Hundred: A List of Settlers in Austin's First Colony," Quarterly of the Texas State Historical Association 1 (October 1897). Robert Hancock Hunter, Narrative of Robert Hancock Hunter (Austin: Cook Printing, 1936; 2d ed., Austin: Encino, 1966). Adele B. Looscan, "Harris County, 1822–1845," Southwestern Historical Quarterly 18–19 (October 1914-July 1915). Andrew Jackson Sowell, History of Fort Bend County (Houston: Coyle, 1904; rpt, Richmond, Texas: Fort Bend County Historical Museum, 1974). Telegraph and Texas Register, October 19, 1936. William Barret Travis, Diary, ed. Robert E. Davis (Waco: Texian, 1966).

Time Periods:

  • Mexican Texas

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

Anonymous, “Hunter, Johnson Calhoun,” Handbook of Texas Online, accessed October 17, 2021,

Published by the Texas State Historical Association.

February 1, 1995

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