History of San Joaquin County, California, George H. Tinkham,
Los Angeles: Historic Record Co., 1923, pp. 442, 447.
ANTHONY HUNTER.--Among one of the most prominent and influential of the early day pioneers of San Joaquin Countv who left his impress on the development of this famed section and garden spot of the world was the late Anthony Hunter, who was born in County Antrim, Ireland, March 10, 1819. He was a son of Anthony, and Eliza (Lynn) Hunter. The mother died when he was a youth, but his father lived to the age of eighty years.
When a mere lad, Anthony, with his grandmother, left Ireland for Glasgow, where he was reared in her home, and was set to work at menial labor in a distillery. From childhood he had a strong inclination toward prohibition and rebelled at being compelled to remain long at such a task, and all this time he never tasted liquor. He was liberal in thought, set in his ways, and inclined strongly to freedom, his aim was to start in a new land. So he chose the country of the Stars and Stripes for its liberal government and for the untrammeled opportunities it afforded.
He boarded a westbound sailing vessel, the "Lord Ashburton," and landed in New York in February of 1844. He went directly to Monroe County, Ohio, and there he invested $500 in a fifty-acre farm; this he held two years and sold to good advantage for $1,600. The next five years he was employed at various jobs, being located near Wheeling, W. Va, as a dairy farmer for a time.
In 1851 he decided to come to California. The journey was made from New York to Aspinwall on an old side-wheeler. He then crossed the Isthmus on muleback to Panama, where he boarded a steamer and arrived in San Francisco August 1, 1851. He went directly to the mines in Calaveras County, and he was occupied at prospecting for nine years, making a marked success, but discontinued it in 1860.
In 1863 Mr. Hunter purchased a ranch of 500 acres near Waterloo, where he engaged extensively as a wheat grower. This ranch he sold in 1867. He went back to Ohio, visiting friends in that state, then went to New York, where he visited in the city and as far west in the state as Westfield. The trip, besides being very pleasant, was also an educational one for him. In 1868 he returned to California and was married at Murphys, being united to Miss Eliza J. McGill, the ceremony taking place June 8, 1868.
In 1868 Mr. Hunter bought a ranch on the Copperopolis Road, in a favored section nine miles east of Stockton. Having noticed the natural climatic conditions favoring that locality, as well as the wonderful fertility of the soil which made it possible to raise large crops in a succession of years, he acted as his insight directed. His first investment was a ranch of 120 acres--the home place; the residence was suitably remodeled and has been the Hunter home ever since. He was also a prominent figure in financial circles in Stockton. On his ranch he developed a small orchard and set out a vineyard. Meantime, after a succession of favorable years, he invested in 322 acres eleven miles east of Stockton on the Linden Road, which is now owned by Miss Hunter. He was one of the first in that part of the county who demonstrated the adaptability of the soil for fruit raising.
The union of Mr. and Mrs. Hunter was blessed with a daughter, Jennie Mateer Hunter. who was a delight and comfort to her patents. As she grew up she displayed marked business acumen. Her father took her into his confidence and close association with him in varied business affairs. His death, occurring as it did on January 21, 1891, was a severe loss to his family and many friends. He was reared a Presbyterian and he held to that denomination; but he was liberal, and as a Christian man he contributed freely to all denominations. Quiet and unassuming, but kind-hearted and generous, he aided much in the development of the valley and the great state which he loved.
MRS. ELIZA J. HUNTER.--It is interesting to chronicle the life history of the pioneer women who in their prime entered the wilderness, braving the perils of savage beast and who endured the hardship and privation incident to the conquering of the virgin soil they claimed as their heritage. Such a worthy character is found in the story of the life of the late Mrs. Eliza J. Hunter, who was born in County Down, Ireland, August 31, 1839.
She was reared at the country home of her parents in Ireland, her education being obtained in the local schools of her native land. Her father, Joseph Magill, was also born in County Down, Ireland, and his father, Thomas Magill, was born in Scotland; he, in turn, was a son of Lord Magill of Scotland, who fought for the freedom of Scotland, and during the reign of Cromwell left his native heath with his family for Ireland, settling in County Down, where he could have religious freedom. Thomas Magill was a farmer in Ireland and a very ardent Presbyterian, observing very strictly the discipline of the church, and insisting on each member of the family observing the Sabbath Day. This same religious zealousness was adhered to by his son, Joseph, and his descendants. Mrs. Hunter's mother was Jennie Mateer, also born in County Down, of Scotch parentage.
In 1866 Eliza J. Magill came to America with her sister and brother-in-law, Mr. and Mrs. John Douglass, and in 1868 she arrived in San Francisco. Miss Magill had two cousins, Mrs. Johnston and Mr. McKee at San Andreas, Calaveras County, and to their respective homes she went to visit.
On June 8, 1868, at Murphys, she was married to Anthony Hunter, with whom she passed a happy married life of almost twenty-three years. Immediately after her marriage she took up her residence and duties on the frontier farm of her husband; here she aided him in his ambition, and they became very successful, accumulating a large acreage. Their only daughter, Jennie Mateer Hunter, was the pride and light of their home, and after the father's death the two lived together and managed the large affairs bequeathed them by Mr. Hunter, and were inseparable in their companionship.
Mrs. Hunter lived twenty-four years and seven months after her husband's passing away, retaining her faculties unimpaired until her death, September 14, 1915. A woman highly honored and beloved, she was a devout member of the First Presbyterian Church of Stockton; by her simple, earnest, and Christian life she left an influence for good in the community and was indeed a great benefactor.
MISS JENNIE MATEER HUNTER.--Worthily perpetuating the name of a highly honored pioneer family, Miss Jennie Mateer Hunter is a native daughter born on the Hunter homestead near Linden, San Joaquin County. Her parents, the late Anthony and Eliza J. (Magill) Hunter, natives of Ireland of Scotch parentage, were pioneers of the Golden State. Miss Hunter was afforded an unusually good home on completing the public schools. She entered and completed a business course at the Stockton Business College, finishing her education at the celebrated Mills Seminary, Oakland.
In the meantime she was acquiring a thorough knowledge of the ranching business in close association with her beloved father prior to his death, January 21, 1891, and on his death he bequeathed her a ranch of 322 acres, a valuable legacy. However, she remained with her mother at the old Hunter home, ministering to her comfort at all times as well as looking after her business interests; she thus relieved her mother from all unnecessary worry and care. This she faithfully carried out with a daughter's true devotion. She was constantly at her mother's side during the latter's declining years, and no wish was ever left ungratified. On September 14, 1915, at the passing of Mrs. Hunter, death separated the two who had been so closely attached for nearly twenty-five years after the death of her father.
Miss Hunter is a prominent member of the First Presbyterian Church of Stockton, and is active in its many benevolences. She is a member of the auxiliary of the San Joaquin County Pioneers. Intensely interested in ranching, she has been a keen student of progressive ideas and advance made in farming methods, and attributes her success to the selection of assistants in her extensive enterprise. In May, 1921 Miss Hunter accompanied the famous Lundy party on an extended travel tour of the British Isles and Continental Europe. Four months were occupied in the trip, the return being made September 17, 1921. While thus engaged, Miss Hunter made a side trip alone into Ireland, visiting the home in Countv Down, Ireland, in which occurred the birth of her grandmother, Jennie Mateer Magill; here she met old-time relatives and enjoyed their hospitality. Aside from the many pleasurable experiences, Miss Hunter regards the trip from the standpoint of an education, and one which is never to be forgotten.