1857: Jesse B. Hunter to Major James B. Bailey

This letter was written by Jesse B. Hunter (1805-Aft1860) from Orange Springs, [Marion county,] Florida, which is about 30 miles southeast of Gainesville, Florida. Jacob was a blacksmith, a native of Jonesboro, Tennessee, and the husband of Malinda Catharine Rutledge whom he married in 1836.

Hunter wrote the letter to Major James B. Bailey, a prominent citizen of Alachua county, Florida. Bailey was instrumental in getting the county seat located to his plantation in what was to become Gainesville. The letter was addressed to Fort Clarke which was located six miles west of Gainesville. It was originally a US Army post during the Seminole War and afterwards a settlement.


Addressed to Major James B. Bayley, Ft. Clark or Gainesville, E. Florida

Orange Springs, [Florida]
23rd March 1857

Major Bayley, Sir:

I received your short letter on yesterday that was written on the 10 inst. which I was so very glad to hear that you done me so great a favor for which I return my grateful thanks. I had no use for the house & lot but did not want it to go for nothing. I want you to sell it at some price I will be satisfied with any arrangements that you shall make with it so you may feel perfectly free in making any arrangement you see proper. If there can be no sale made as soon as I gather my crop, I will pay you all damages to your entire satisfaction.

I have sent your daughter a pair of parakeets by Mr. Lewis’s wagon which you will please accept as a present for her. You can feed them on cockleburs and by keeping corn by them. They will eat it after awhile. Give them water to drink and to wash in.

Major Bowland — the administrator of Child’s estate — requested me to say to you and Doctor June that you can have the Jack ¹ that I sent to Ingram’s for $200 so if you or June or anybody else want him, you can attend the sale at Child’s farm on Monday 30th of this instant 4 miles west of Micanopy.

So I remain your friend, — J. B. Hunter

N. B. [Note well] I will send you a purchaser as soon as I can for the house and lot in Micanopy. — J. B. H.

¹ “Jack” is a male mule that has not been gelded.



  1. First, I do not see who you are–care to give a name? Second, I do appreciate you posting these letters and making them available to the public. Third, in regards to this letter particularly, what makes you believe that this is the Jacob Bradbury Hunter that you named? If you have any evidence that he was ever in Marion County, or had reason to write a letter from there, please give it. All I have of his whereabouts place him in the Bradford County (New River/Columbia) area. Or if you have similar documents that shows this is his writing, please share. Or if you have any other documentation that he had dealings or even knew Mr. Bailey, Mr.Bowland, or Mr. Childs, please show it. This even suggests that he may have owned property in Micanopy–is there any documentation to support this? Just wondering if you pulled this name out of a hat. This is intriguing to say the least, and lot to digest for one of his descendants who has researched this family. I would appreciate your candor.


    1. My sincere apologies. I don’t often make these kind of errors but I’m human. Since you brought this to my attention I have determined that the letter was written by Jesse B. Hunter, not Jacob Bradbury Hunter. Thanks for helping me to correct this post. — Griff


      1. Well thanks for the correction. It’s a bit disappointing that it was *not* my Jacob B. Hunter. I thought maybe a whole new rabbit trail could be explored! 🙂 Can I ask how you determined it was Jesse? He’s probably a cousin from way back too… I’m also related to Rutledges. It will be fun to explore this! Thanks again for your preserving these letters and making them available to the public! ~ Dori


  2. I can’t confirm by any of the content in the letter except that he is the only one enumerated with those initials in the 1860 US Census in that county.


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