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Pleasant Hunter Family papers


Pleasant Hunter Family papers
Hunter, Pleasant, Family
Collection number:
105 items
Bulk dates:
Inclusive dates:
Collection Area:
State of Maryland and Historical Collections
Special Collections, University of Maryland Libraries, Hornbake Library, College Park, MD 20742. Tel: 301-405-9212, Fax: 301-314-2709, Email:

A group of business-related letters, addressed to a Pleasant Hunter, mainly from correspondents in Annapolis and Baltimore. Hunter was active in local politics and was the county sheriff of Baltimore County for many years. Also includes letters addressed to Sheriff Hunter's daughter, Laura ("Lida") Hunter in which the women describe their families, personal relationships and jobs.

Important Information for Users of the Collection


The collection is open for research.

Preferred citation:

Pleasant Hunter Family papers, Special Collections, University of Maryland Libraries.

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This collection is PROCESSED.

Historical Note

Pleasant Hunter was born in Maryland in 1810 and lived his adult life in Baltimore County in the area of Parkton and Wiseburg along York Road. He was a farmer, an innkeeper, a Baltimore County sheriff (1853), a member of the Board of County Commissioners (1851-1852 and 1875-1876), and a delegate to the Maryland General Assembly (1860-1861). During the 1850s he also collected taxes and other monies. In 1875 he ran on the "Potato Bug" ticket, a third party comprised of Republicans and Democrats who wanted a change in the county Democratic leadership.

In 1839 Pleasant Hunter married Margaret Smyser (b.1820) at the Saint James Protestant Parish, Baltimore. Between 1841 and 1866, Pleasant and Margaret produced nine children. Their son, Pleasant, who was born in 1855, became a clergyman who married and subsequently moved to Minnesota. Peter (b.1841) was a farmer; Thomas (b. 1845) a lawyer; and Silas (b.1849) a physician. All three married and settled in Baltimore County. The oldest daughter, Eliza (b.1843), also known as "Lida," was educated at Linden Hall Seminary in Lititz, Pennsylvania. She died of consumption on April 18, 1872. Clara lived and died in the 1850s. Maggie Eloise (b.1866) died at age seven on January 16, 1873, of scarlet fever. Mary (b.1847) and Laura (b.1857) were living with their parents in 1870; in 1880 only Laura was still at home.

Pleasant Hunter died at his home in Wiseburg on May 2, 1894. Three sons (Thomas, Silas, and Pleasant) and one daughter (possibly Laura), and several grandchildren survived him. In 2001, the Baltimore County Council placed the Pleasant Hunter House and Smokehouse at 18213 York Road, Parkton, on its Landmarks List.

Scope and Contents of the Collection

The papers of the Pleasant Hunter Family date from 1852 to 1890 and consist primarily of personal correspondence between Pleasant Hunter's daughter, Eliza ("Lida") Hunter, and her cousins and friends, dating from 1860 to 1870. Also included is other family correspondence, including letters to Pleasant Hunter and his wife, Margaret. Topics covered include daily activities, weather, places visited, illnesses, weddings, births, and deaths. A portion of the collection documents Pleasant Hunter's business and political activities, primarily dealing with financial matters. Correspondents include Joshua Frederick ("Fred") Cockey Talbott, U. S. Congressman from Maryland.

Custodial History and Acquisition Information

The University of Maryland Libraries purchased the Papers of the Pleasant Hunter Family from Carmen D. Valentino, a rare books and manuscripts dealer, in 1996.

Processing Information

Processed by:

Processed by Terry Ann Sayler, March 2006.

Processing note:

The materials were placed in acid-free folders and stored in an acid-free box. One item, a flyer from the Central Congregational Church, was added to the Maryland Manuscripts collection as MDMS 5493.

Encoded by:

EAD markup created using EAD database in Microsoft Access. Markup completed by Jennie A. Levine, April 2006.

Arrangement of Collection

The collection is organized into two series:

Detailed Description of the Collection

Series 1: Family Correspondence, 1860-1889 (81 items)

The bulk of this series consists of correspondence between Eliza ("Lida") Hunter and her cousins and friends, dating from 1860 to 1870. The remaining are letters to her father, Pleasant Hunter, and mother, Margaret Hunter, from their children and friends; a letter to Mollie F. Guyton (a Hunter family cousin) from M. C. Crosby; to a "cousin"; to "sister" from her brother Thom; and to "J. E. H." from Estelle Moore. The topics covered include their daily activities, weather, places visited, illnesses, weddings, births, and deaths. Many of Lida's friends were schoolmates at Linden Hall and often reminisced about their school days and the lives of other students and faculty. Lida's cousins wrote from Carrolls Manor; York, Pennsylvania; Memphis, Tennessee; and Baltimore, Maryland. Her friends wrote from Boston, Massachusetts; Harmony Retreat, New Jersey; and Brookville, Philadelphia, and Bethlehem, Pennsylvania.

Thomas attended Dickinson College in Carlisle, Pennsylvania; his college experiences are the subject of two letters. An 1866 letter from Thomas to his father mentioned his interest in studying law. He also wrote of meeting Mr. Clymer, the Democratic candidate for governor, who he believed would not be elected. An 1867 letter to "Dear Sister" detailed how he spent his twenty-first birthday escorting four ladies to the libraries and around town before studying.

In 1857, "Eliza" wrote to Mrs. Hunter and wondered if she was still at Litiz [sic] or at home. Lida Conn wrote to Mrs. Hunter in 1860 and told of a dream in which she flowers on Clara's grave. In 1863, Jane West asked Mrs. Hunter for a favor: to board a Miss Pollock and her two sisters for a few days and to not tell anyone of this request. In an 1889 letter to his mother from Newtonville, Massachusetts, Pleasant Hunter, Jr., worried about having to move to a new church nearby. He expressed a desire to move west "where many young men are headed."

Estelle Moore's letter to J. E. H. is a reply to a "Free Press" newspaper column written by a "candidate for married happiness." She described herself as taking advantage of leap year to respond to his request and hoped that she would meet with his approval.

Arrangement is alphabetical by recipient name and then chronological.

DescriptionSeriesBox / ReelFolder / Frame
To Cousin -- From L. H. [Lida Hunter], 1870 series 1box 1folder 1
To Friend -- From C. Herbert Richardson, 1870 series 1box 1folder 2
To Mollie F. Guyton -- From M.C. Crosby, 1870 series 1box 1folder 3
To J. E. H. -- From Estelle Moore, undated series 1box 1folder 4
To Lida Hunter -- From her cousins, 1860, 1866-1869 series 1box 1folder 5
To Lida Hunter -- From her cousins, 1870 and undated series 1box 1folder 6
To Lida Hunter -- From her friends, 1862,1865-1867 series 1box 1folder 7
To Lida Hunter -- From her friends, 1868-1870 series 1box 1folder 8
To Pleasant Hunter -- From Thom(as) Hunter, 1866 series 1box 1folder 9
To Pleasant Hunter -- From Silas Hunter, 1886 and undated series 1box 1folder 10
To Mrs. Pleasant Hunter -- From Eliza, 1854, 1857 series 1box 1folder 11
To Mrs. Pleasant Hunter -- From Makala, 1859 series 1box 1folder 12
To Mrs. Pleasant Hunter -- From Lida Conn, 1860 series 1box 1folder 13
To Mrs. Pleasant Hunter -- From Jane West, 1863 series 1box 1folder 14
To Mrs. Pleasant Hunter -- From Pleasant Hunter Jr.,, 1889 and undated series 1box 1folder 15
To Sister -- From Thomas Hunter, 1867 series 1box 1folder 16

Series 2: Business Correspondence, 1852-1890 (24 items)

This series consists of business and political correspondence received by Pleasant Hunter between 1852 and 1884, a note to Thomas, probably his son, and a letter from Elizabeth Myers to Hunter.

Following Hunter's term as Sheriff of Baltimore County, the State Comptroller questioned duplicate charges to the State Treasury from Hunter when he was Sheriff. Correspondence between 1855 and 1857 requested information to support Hunter's ledger entries.

From 1872 to 1876, Elizabeth B. Myers of Millersburg, Pennsylvania, wrote Hunter several letters asking that he collect monies owed her so she could settle an estate. Her entreaties indicated that he was slow to respond to her. In a letter dated February 1876, he explained his troubles in collecting her money.

Jno. Crowther, the Chief Clerk of the Baltimore County Commissioners, sought Hunter's support for Richard Grason as the Democratic candidate for Congress in 1884. Richard Grason also sought Hunter's support for his candidacy in a September letter that same year. Both Crowther and Grason were opposed to the re-nomination of Fred Talbott. Mr. Talbott also wrote Hunter in September 1884. Joshua Frederick Cockey Talbott was Maryland's Democratic representative to the U. S. House of Representatives from 1879 to 1887 and 1893 to 1895.

Arrangement is alphabetical by recipient name and then chronological.

DescriptionSeriesBox / ReelFolder / Frame
To Pleasant Hunter, 1852-1884 series 2box 1folder 17
To Pleasant Hunter -- From [unknown], 1852 series 2box 1folder 18
To Pleasant Hunter -- From Thomas Love, 1852 series 2box 1folder 19
To Pleasant Hunter -- From O. W. [Trea__ll], 1853 series 2box 1folder 20
To Pleasant Hunter -- From [illegible], Clerk to Comptroller, 1855 series 2box 1folder 21
To Pleasant Hunter -- From [illegible] Purnell, Comptroller, 1857 series 2box 1folder 22
To Pleasant Hunter -- From Harry Levely, Clerk to Comptroller, 1857 series 2box 1folder 23
To Pleasant Hunter -- From W. Gordon, 1857 series 2box 1folder 24
To Pleasant Hunter -- From Edward R Sparks, 1858 series 2box 1folder 25
To Pleasant Hunter -- From C.A.M. Blair, 1858 series 2box 1folder 26
To Pleasant Hunter -- From James [illegible], 1858 series 2box 1folder 27
To Pleasant Hunter -- From [illegible], 1862 series 2box 1folder 28
To Pleasant Hunter -- From Walker Dorsey, 1868 series 2box 1folder 29
To Pleasant Hunter -- From Elizabeth B. Myers, 1872-1876 and undated series 2box 1folder 30
To Pleasant Hunter -- From (no signature), 1872 series 2box 1folder 31
To Pleasant Hunter -- From J. M. Street, 1872 series 2box 1folder 32
To Pleasant Hunter -- From Mrs. P.W. Keury, 1873 series 2box 1folder 33
To Pleasant Hunter -- From Lennox Birckhead, 1878 series 2box 1folder 34
To Pleasant Hunter -- From J. A. Matthews, 1884 series 2box 1folder 35
To Pleasant Hunter -- From Jno. Crowther, Jr., 1884 series 2box 1folder 36
To Pleasant Hunter -- From Richard Grason, 1884 series 2box 1folder 37
To Pleasant Hunter -- From Fred Talbott, 1884 series 2box 1folder 38
To Pleasant Hunter -- From James Buchanan, 1884 series 2box 1folder 39
To Pleasant Hunter -- From [illegible], 1884 series 2box 1folder 40
To E. Myers -- From Pleasant Hunter, 1876 series 2box 1folder 41
To Thomas -- From Pleasant Hunter, Jr., 1890 series 2box 1folder 42

Related Material

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For other related archival and manuscript collections, please see the following subject guides.

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