| Maple Hill Cemetary Stroll, 5/8/05 ||
JOHN HUNT || ................Portrayed by Lee Sentell
John Hunt was born in Virginia 1750. He spent his early adulthood in North Carolina, having important community jobs and starting a family. To obtain land holdings, he moved to the frontier in east Tennessee and started what would become the community of Tazewell. As this area grew with new settlers, John Hunt expanded his holdings and prosperity. Eventually, he wanted even larger land holdings and thought he could take advantage of "squatters rights" in new lands further southwest, In 1803 he explored the Big Spring area that is now Huntsville, Alabama. It was here that he moved after disposing of his Tazewell property. As new settlers poured end, John Hunt was at the center of activity. His cabin was located at what is now called Big Springs Park. The community picked its name "Huntsville" for its founder... Sometime after 1807, Congress called for a land sale, giving squatters special rights. John Hunt did not go to the land sale in Nashville but trusted LeRoy Pope to secure his land. It turned out that Pope took advantage of the fact that Hunt had not registered his claim and bought Hunt's holding for himself. Thus Hunt was out in the cold and forced off his property. It is hard to understand how John Hunt could have been careless with the legal matters concerning his property. He had owned and sold properties in Tennessee and probably in Virginia also. He was not inexperienced in business. There are many wild stories about the activities and travels of John Hunt after his eviction from Big Springs. Some accounts have him in other states. One story was that he founded Huntsville Texas. That city was indirectly named for him but he was never in Texas. .. Huntsville,Texas was actually founded by Pleasant and Ephraim Gray, who had formerly lived in Huntsville, Alabama...
In reality, John Hunt never left the Huntsville area. He bought land outside the then existing town boundries, near the current Airport Road/Memorial Parkway intersection.
He died in 1822 and was buried at a cemetary near the current City Landfill.
The old cemetery was apparently used for fill in constructing Joe Davis Stadium. So, Old John has a connection to the current baseball team and probably relishes their name, the "Huntsville Stars". It was good have him come over to the Cemetery Stroll to tell his tale, even though Maple Hill is not his permanent home. ---------- N. Walker